Executive CV Examples

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 - Executive CV Examples

Executive CV Examples

Part of our Executive CV Examples series; see also the Executive CV Formatting series

Many executives, directors and job seekers when considering a job change, look around the internet for Executive CV Examples. This is either to find CV templates they can use on which to create or update their own Executive CV, or find a Professional CV Writer whom they then can instruct.

I hence decided as a Recruiter and Professional CV Writer to do the same myself, and search Google for the term “Executive CV Examples.” Firstly, I have to say that the number of Executive CV Samples was low – summarised as one repeated. But it did give a good insight into what the unsuspecting Executive could see as good, and in fact find in use in actual job seeking didn’t work.

Using the principles that we outlined in the article Executive CV Writing, lets analyse some typical Executive CV Examples.

The sample below is the singular most copied Executive CV Example that I found on Google Image Search:
Executive CV Example 001d

Executive CV Layout

When analysing a CV, while from a Professional CV Writers view point CV Format and CV Layout come last, when first seeing a CV these are the factors which create first and highly visual impact with the recruiter or employer. On the whole, the layout is fine and clear (a simple test of clarity: does it look good when held at the end of your reach?), and looks easily readable. But there are a few problems on layout and format which take it back from perfect.

The second issue is the number of bullets which we will come to later, but the first is the choice of font. Analysis has shown that most readers prefer certain fonts over others. The core issue is over clarity of that font’s ability to be read, particularly in letters involving strokes above or below the line, curves and dots. Hence Arial and Times New Roman score high, while more calligraphic and stylised fonts score low. Secondly, like in every industry we have trends as to what is in or out of vogue/style. Younger and more creative people tend to either like more computerised or creative fonts, while the over 40’s like the traditional writing fonts. In this case, the font choice of the writer was Tahoma at a font scale of 10pt.

Your font choice is your font choice, but remember that it is more about the reader and that they can easily read the text, over your style choice and hence what it conveys. But choose a font scale which can be read by a human reader, and scanned by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS); this is generally seen at 11pt or greater.

The second issue on fonts in this example is the multiple use of different fonts. Most advice says stick to one or two, where as this examples uses at least three (header, sections, main body).

The second issue that I have on CV Layout is width. To create this example, I had to push the page scale out on an A4 piece of paper to 2.0cm, as opposed to a standard 3.25cm. When job seekers are trying to get too much information in, they normally do one of two things:

  1. Reduce the font size – in this case to 10pt
  2. Increase the page width – in this case to 2.0 from the standard 3.25cm, thereby gaining an additional 2.5cm

Neither is a good idea! The problem with both choices, particularly when combined, is readability, especially via an ATS. Most ATS’s are set up to scan a standard piece of A4, and then optimised for the text-dense middle section. By widening the area in which text is written, you are assuming that the scanner has no errors and is set-up to scan the complete A4 sheet to its edges. Adding a small font simply multiples this problem. The most likely outcome is that some or all of the text will not be scanned, and hence readable by the employer. Surely they will go back and ask for the CV to be rescanned? When you have 300 CV’s to read, and plenty of good suitable candidates, its easier to reject than slow the whole recruitment process down.

Finally, on CV Layout lets come to the bullet problem, I have written about the over use of techniques such as bullets, BOLD and highlighted text before, but have expanded on this now in our Executive CV Formatting series. Whilst these techniques used in proportion will direct the reader to take in certain issues, there over use is like continually shouting in a quiet room. The effect is lost. This CV Example over uses bullets.

Executive CV Writing

Now let’s get to the text. Firstly, the name and contact details are easily found and read, and should be repeated on a never seen page2. The footer also repeat the details and shows the total number of pages: things easily get lost in many HR departments!

An opening profile/statement is a good focal point, but whether it should be titled or not, and if so what, is a debating point among many Professional CV Writers. However, what is the profile focused on: the job seeker, or what they offer to that company/job? As we can not see the advert to which the CV was focused it is difficult to conclude fully, but the title and the text points at the job seeker over the job. This is a key point of disengagement with the target employer.

I have outlined before, a personal profile is a good/essential opening, but it must be focused around the job being applied for, and customised on each job application. The formula we use is: I am; I do/deliver; I seek. Analysis against this formula shows a good but too power word packed opening (why use CAPS? It is an insult to the reader and consequently suggests a lower skill level). After that it falls off into power word oblivion.

Now lets come to those bullets in the job write-up. The use of bullets is great to both create impact and highlight key deliverables/successes. But using 22 bullets on page1 means they lose their impact, and it feels more like a machine gun touting typist’s massacre! If you are going to use bullets, then most Professional CV Writers would guide towards five, with eight at maximum per job. Why? It communicates to the reader what was important, and your focus on it. 22 just says you thought you would add everything plus the kitchen sink in.

Five of those bullets are easily removed, by using a STAR format write-up for what the job was responsible for delivering to the business. As an account manager, who was/were your key client/s, and what did you achieve above your target? Describing the job you were assigned to do and saying you achieved it is not as impressive as highlighting the items you achieved above your target.

The second group of bullets can now be addressed, and easily pruned if the position of the hiring employer is taken. The key question here is: what is important to the hiring employer, and secondly what was achieved beyond the defined role? We can not easily identify the second item, but we can grade the points on the first issue, that of the hiring employer.

Any hiring employer will look for deliverables in the order of how quickly they delivered cash to the organisation. This is similar to the way in which an accountant would place cash deliverables in a set of company accounts, the Professional CV Writers version of stock, debtors, cash. Hence for a commercial organisation, the order of preference is nominally:

  • Money generated
  • Customers won/market share gained
  • People managed/developed
  • Costs saved
  • Products/services developed
  • Strategic initiatives

Note that in the whole of the 22 bullets and the entire page, only once does a £/$ sign appear. Sales people live and die by their targets and achievement against target, giving me the thought that this may not be a successful sales person, and more of a relationship developer: hence the line “Devising selling agenda for…”

One therefore has to question why the revenue achievements and the claimed fact that all targets were surpassed are so low in the bullets? These are core job issues and key to a hiring employer.

If we then get into some of the bullet wording – much of which has been split to create two points out of one achievement, something which should never be done; the difference between a great and effective Professional CV and the rest, is the inbuilt verification. Hence use of the word successfully is worthless unless it is qualified, which it never is. If it was a success, then it would have an output business result in terms of: cash, customers, people, costs, products, strategy; which could be stated. None have, so these look like interesting but unverified claims, and hence could easily be dismissed.

Recruiters conclusion

The key issue for any Executive CV, is: does it create enough opportunity, measured by the number of recruiters/employers calling you? Less than 1 telephone interview per 10 job applications, and you should conclude that your job application problem is either in your CV or in the jobs you are choosing to apply for. This Executive CV Example for me suggests an over written candidate. Hence as a recruiter it would depend on how many good candidates I had in the telephone interview pile as to whether this job applicant would receive a telephone call back.

Any job seeker can get a CV format from the internet, and create their own CV. One of the essential tests then is to get three friends – at least one female and one male – to read and critic it for you. You could also use of free Professional CV Help service at CV4.biz. This will enable you to create a better job application, measured by the ratio of the number of job applications to telephone interviews your receive. But what ever you do, do not go grabbing any old CV Example, and just sending it – it just won’t work, and you don’t know what you have grabbed in the first place.

NB: to take advantage of the Free CV Review offer and a 15% discount off of any of our CV Services, simply download one of the above CV Templates, and then return it together with your existing CV in an eMail to info@CV4.biz. We will then return to you a Free CV Review and 15% discount voucher.

Good Luck!


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