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An impressive resume and well-designed LinkedIn profile are imperative for an executive job hunt. For this reason, they should be distinctly different from one another. While your resume length will typically be two pages, the summary on your LinkedIn profile branding statement can be up to 2,000 words. Resumes are more formal and profiles are more personable, but both affect how you are perceived by a potential employer.

Here are some common resume and profile mistakes and tips for avoiding them:

On Your Resume

Just because you have the experience doesn’t mean you have to list it. Limit executive resumes to two pages, not three. Be particular about which experience, achievements and other components to include.

Resume blunders also may include:

  • The wrong format: Decide whether a chronological, functional or hybrid format will work the best. A purely chronological resume may fail to highlight your skill set and expertise. A strict functional format does not provide chronological context. A hybrid often is the format of choice. The top portion lists your skills and accomplishments followed by a section that provides a chronological explanation.
  • No title: Your title at the top of your resume enables the reader to understand immediately what position you are seeking. Your title should be descriptive and compelling.
  • Lack of customization: Competition for the best positions can be intense, and resume customization is critical . Use 10 to 20 keywords matching the job description. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are customized for every position. Make sure keywords are sprinkled into the top half of your resume.
  • Lack of quantifiables: Use quantifiables that corroborate your skills and accomplishments. Stay away from murky language such as “improved performance” and “led a winning team.” Use numbers or percentages.
  • Weak or missing verbs: Use action verbs. Avoid lackluster word combinations like “was responsible for” or “assisted with.” Do not start your bullet points with verb-implying nouns such as “implementation of process controls” or “project management.” Use strong terms; for instance, “spearheaded, steered” or “influenced.”
  • Graphic faux pas: Keep your resume strictly professional. Do not mix fonts. Stick with the tried and true, such as Times Roman, Garamond or Tacoma. Use only one. Keep photos off your resume. Graphic files tend to choke ATS software. Legal issues lead many HR departments to automatically reject resumes with photos to avoid accusations of discrimination.

In Your Profile

Unlike your resume, your LinkedIn profile should include a professional headshot. Your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed as a result. Perception is reality – and the general assumption is that if a profile lacks a picture, something is wrong.

Additional profile mishaps are:

  • Use of the wrong photo: Your photo should be current and convey energy, openness and a natural smile. The wrong photo will result in an interviewer perceiving you as deceptive when you meet in person. For example, it is an automatic strike against you if your headshot was taken in your 30s and your actual age is 49. Do not use a family photo or one that includes your beloved pet. The subject is you and only you.
  • A stale status: Your profile is the right place to update your network on your professional milestones and progress. Keep it dynamic and vibrant by updating your status often to show that you are active and engaged.
  • Elimination of past jobs or volunteer experience: Even if you have changed fields, your latest job is not the only important one. While your resume should be targeted to a specific position, you should list your entire work history on your LinkedIn profile. Include volunteer work as well. In today’s economy, volunteers often are given real, business-critical responsibilities. These may enhance your standing among potential employers.

Call on the executive recruiters at BrainWorks for more help with your resume, online presence and other key tactics to enhance your career planning strategy. Read our related posts or contact us today.


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