Finding the Right Executive to Match Your Business Needs Part 5 – An Executive Resume Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
One reason we don’t set all our stock in executive resumes is their enforced brevity. Since there is so little room in a two-to-three page resumé, by necessity, more experience—even relevant experience—is often left off rather than included.
For example, we often work with client organizations and owners looking to make an exit in the next couple of years, so it is critical that the executive we bring into a company has M&A experience. In one instance, we knew of an executive who would have been great for a specific client after the fact, but she hadn’t come up in any network search we did for that client. We later found out that very executive had completed a total of fourteen M&A transactions but didn’t think to mention that experience a single time on her executive resumé.
Likewise, the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” also applies to job titles, which can be very deceiving depending on the size of the company, the executive worked for, the client situation, company policy on position titles, and more. A $25 million organization looking for a chief operating officer may find what they’re looking for in a director of operations for a billion-dollar company, for example. Somebody in that role was likely the top operations executive for a $100-million division within the company, answering to the corporate chief operating officer.
Finally, some level of translation is almost always needed in the art of executive resume review. An executive states accomplishments from his or her point of view, while the business owner or CEO is looking for solutions to problems. It becomes a Mars vs. Venus situation. For example:
Business Owner/CEO: I am having an issue with accountability in my organization. We have grown from $20 million to $50 million in the last couple of years. We have a lot of tenured employees, plus new employees, and no one knows what the other is doing.
• Established policies and procedures leading to 20 percent more efficiency.
• Implemented a change management program leading to better communications and decreased turnover.
Though they are each addressing the same issue, the resumé format can make direct linkages between an organization’s immediate problems and the solutions an executive can execute difficult to recognize. Sometimes it takes a perspective shift and more than a quick resumé scan to identify the hidden gems in an executive’s background.
Come back tomorrow to read Part 6. You can find Part 4 here.