An Executive Resume Writer Shares the Most Common Mistakes

An Executive Resume Writer Shares the Most Common Mistakes was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Executive Resume

You have worked with an excellent resume template. You have also filled in the template with all your glorious achievements and skills. Now, it’s time to polish your executive resume to perfection with a touch of final editing and proofreading. Executive roles are often the most competitive ones, and you can be sure that your competitors have likely armed themselves with professionally written resumes. 

We all know that unintended grammar and spelling mistakes are common and must be avoided. In fact, 77% of hiring managers reported rejecting resumes because of that. But executives are usually aware of this and do enough proofreading to fix typos. 

So, what other common mistakes do executives make? Keep an eye out for these common mistakes that frequently haunt executive resumes!


Although often ignored, readability is a critical factor for a resume. A resume should readily have all the vital information apparent and clear so the hiring manager can get an overview of what matters in just a few seconds. 

Unfortunately, many executives sacrifice readability in an attempt to squeeze their long and successful career history into those two pages. In doing so, they often end up having boring and tedious paragraphs that are not easily readable. But hiring managers are some of the busiest people you’ll encounter. You don’t want to go that route with them. They will simply push your resume aside in favor of a more inviting one. 

To increase the readability of your resume, only include targeted information specifically customized for the role you are applying for. Also, use varied presentation styles such as mixing paragraphs and bullet points for each section of your resume.  

Improper Length

Going overboard on the amount of information presented and pages used  is a common mistake executives make on their resumes.  While attempting to accommodate all the years of their career, the resume ends up being too lengthy. Frankly speaking, hiring managers that will actually read the third page of your resume are as rare as unicorns. And it could be that some of the most relevant information for the potential position was, in fact, on that third page. 

As long as you are not creating a CV, stick to writing a two-page resume, at most. 

Again, follow the tried and true method of adding only the most relevant and critical information for the job to which you are applying. Also, only include your experience of up to the past 10-15 years. It usually doesn’t help to go any further back.

Not Quantifying Your Accomplishments

It’s unfortunate that so many executives miss out on the powerful benefits of quantifying their accomplishments. 

Yes, it might require brainstorming and a bit of digging into the data of your past projects. But the benefits of quantifiable accomplishments on a resume can make all the difference for you. Data and numbers easily pop out and catch the attention of the reader. Moreover, they offer tangible proof of your capabilities and the true impact of your accomplishments. 

Take, for example, these two accomplishment statements on a resume: 

  • Restructured the marketing team and the workflow to maximize productivity and cost-efficiency.  
  • Restructured the marketing team of 25 members and their workflow, resulting in 18% faster campaign launches and 10% cost reduction.

The quantifiable data on the second one will provide proof of your success and would certainly fare far better than the first in impressing the hiring manager.

Not Demonstrating Your Value

You have all the skills required for the job and you have years of relevant experience under your belt. But this won’t matter if your resume fails to effectively demonstrate your value.  Unfortunately, we see many executives’ resumes severely lacking on this front. 

“The most common mistake that I see in executive resumes is not tailoring it for the role and industry that they are seeking. Executives tend to have years of experience, sometimes in various sectors. It is important to ensure that the content reflects how they are a fit for that position, not just a summary of their career highlights,” according to Emily Wittig, Manager of Find My Profession’s Career Finder services. 

It’s partly because there’s a significant amount of brainstorming involved. Also, the subtle nuances of experience and accomplishments can make it difficult to decide what to include and what not to include. 

It comes down to thoroughly evaluating your professional journey and uncovering the bits and pieces that resonate with what the employers want. Then, leverage those skills, projects, and achievements in your resume to demonstrate what you bring to the table for that specific job. This is the recipe for a precisely targeted resume that lands interviews. 

Missing Keywords Related to Job Posting

The knowledge of the applicant tracking systems (ATS) is something many job seekers lack, or they simply seem not to care. But ATS is very important in today’s hiring scene. Even small businesses are increasingly using ATS to filter resumes. That’s why even after fulfilling all the requirements, not using the right keywords at the right places of your resume can be a deal-breaker. 

Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it seems. It’s just a bit of extra work to find out the keywords most likely to be fed into the ATS in question. A thorough scan of the job post and description is enough to offer insights into all the keywords you need. Make sure to incorporate those keywords into your resume headline, summary, skills, and experience sections. No ATS should reject your resume now! 

Closing Thoughts

Mistakes can be good in a sense, especially when we learn from them. But mistakes on a resume are something you want to avoid at all costs.  As a busy executive, it’s natural that you might not be able to put in the extensive time commitment required to craft a perfect resume. Consider getting an executive resume writer to help you with the process. Having a professional by your side will ensure your resume doesn’t suffer from these common mistakes.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.