Executive Resume Trends of 2020: 3 Things You Must Try

by Mike Podesto

Executive Resume Writing Tips

Writing an executive resume in 2020 is not the same as it used to be. With technology changing constantly, new job boards popping up daily, and the job market ever-changing, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest resume trends.

Executive resumes are unlike any other resumes. Executives are held to a higher standard and what is acceptable for a recent graduate may not be acceptable for an executive. Below, we will outline the most important resume trends that you should be aware of.

1) Make Your Resume Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Compliant

Applicant Tracking Systems have become a huge topic of discussion lately. Everyone is talking about applicant tracking systems. But what are they?

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS for short), are software programs that employers use to organize and screen job applicants. Applying to a job online will likely result in your resume and personal information being added to an applicant tracking system.

Why is this important?

In short, some resumes are not compatible with certain applicant tracking systems. There are a few easy ways to know if your resume will be ATS compatible or not.

  1. Does your resume include any images, photos, or icons?
  2. Does your resume include pie charts, tables, or graphs?
  3. Do you have two columns of information on your resume?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, chances are your resume is not ATS compliant. Below we have provided a couple samples of non-ATS compliant resumes. We’ve highlighted in red the sections that would cause issues with the ATS.

Can you spot the issue with the resume above? The globe on the top left is an image. Images are not ATS compatible.

Can you spot the issue with the resume above? This one is a little bit harder to spot but there are actually many more issues with this sample. Not only is this resume using two columns, there is a text box being used to format the information. If you notice where the arrows are pointing, this is a clear giveaway that the resume is not ATS complaint.

If you aren’t sure if your resume is ATS complaint, it’s best that you reach out to an executive resume writer and ask them to check for you. Many executive resume writers will tell you if your resume is ATS compliant or not for free.

2) Customize Your Executive Resume for Each Job in 30 Seconds

With more job boards than ever before, competition is stiff. The world is becoming a smaller place and especially due to recent events with COVID-19, many people are working remotely. This means that recruiters are spending even less time (6-seconds on average) reviewing resumes.

To stand out, it’s crucial that you customize your executive resume for each job that you apply to. Don’t worry, these are not extensive customizations. You shouldn’t spend more than 30 seconds customizing your resume for each application.

To customize your resume for each job, the simplest way to grab a recruiter’s attention is to add the title of the job you are applying to at the top of your resume. Underneath your contact information and above your summary statement you should always include a title.

This title can be easily customized in a Word document to include the title of the job you are applying to. Below is an example where Michael Smith is applying to a Chief Information Officer Job.

If he were applying to a Vice President of Technology job, it would say “Vice President of Technology” instead of Chief Information Officer.

3) 2-Page Resumes Are In. 1-Page Resumes Are Out.

There has been quite the debate in the resume industry over the years on how long a resume should be. At one point, everyone said “Your resume must be one page! Anything more than one page is too much to read!” Thank goodness those people are not recruiting for executive positions.

Executive resumes are expected to be 2-pages 99% of the time. Executives have a wealth of experience that cannot be fully captured on one page. On the flip side, very rarely is it acceptable to have a resume that is over two pages. Unless you are in an academic profession or research, two pages is the sweet spot for executives.

More important than the length of the resume is the flow of the resume. How well does your resume read? Is it easy to scan? Can a recruiter find information that they are looking for in a matter of seconds? Having a nice resume design and clear headings can make or break a resume.

Use some color and a slightly larger font size to identify headings on your resume such as “Key Skills”, “Professional Experience”, “Education & Certifications”, etc.

4) Wrapping Up

The job market is constantly changing, and resume standards are evolving to match new hiring software’s. Kudos to you for staying up to date with the latest resume trends for executives.

Because executive resumes are held to a higher standard, you always want to remember:

  1. Make sure your resume is ATS compliant.
  2. Customize your resume for each job.
  3. Don’t force your executive experience onto one page.

With just a bit of time and effort, you are going to land your dream job in no time!


Mike Podesto is a former recruiter and current Founder & CEO of Find My Profession, a leading resume writing and career coaching company. Mike’s career advice has been featured on sites like Inc., Zety, Motherly, Fast Company, and more. His viral posts on employment have been seen by millions on LinkedIn. He’s even been featured in a variety of career-related podcasts such as the Hired podcast Talk Talent to Me, Strong Suit, and Authors Unite. Mike is passionate about helping job seekers find fulfillment in their careers by breaking down the tedious job search barriers.

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