How to write a resume for a six-figure job (with example)
Writing a resume for any job is hard work. You have to look back over all of your past experiences, education, and accomplishments, decide how much you have the space to mention in a reasonably-short resume, and then guess what will be the most relevant to the potential employer.
Writing a resume for a six figure job is an even bigger challenge. The competition for high-level positions is fierce, and employers are much more demanding of applicants. How can you stand out? What do you highlight in a two page resume?
For higher-end jobs, duties, responsibilities, and even some of the technical skills that have landed you jobs throughout your career become irrelevant. That’s because much of the information you would traditionally have included in your resume is just assumed once you reach a certain level in your career. Organizational skills, computer skills, enthusiasm, work-ethic, and teamwork, the very things that used to land you have carried you this far are now table stakes. You wouldn’t have reached this level without them – but they’re not what will carry you up to that next rung.
Canada’s highest paying jobs span industries from healthcare and finance to technology and engineering and more. Each industry has its own set of conventions for resume formats and content, but top-level jobs share one key qualification that can set candidates apart. What employers want to see is your ability to achieve results.
That’s why most employers look for your achievements over the specific job titles you may have held. Job titles are basically made-up terms that vary widely across sectors and companies. I’ve worked at places where every sales rep was a “vice president” of business development. A “junior manager” here might be a “senior director” there.
It’s not what they called you, but the stuff that you can actually do that matters most.
The most sought-after candidates are those who can understand the challenge of a situation, formulate practical solutions, and execute the strategy to a successful outcome.
Proven strategies, measurable results: that’s what your resume for a high-paying job needs. Focus on your key achievements and career wins that are most relevant to your coveted job.
Especially for leadership roles, employers are looking to see that you can understand the challenge of a situation, formulate practical solutions, and execute the strategy to a successful outcome.
Use numbers to highlight the impact of your success. Employers hiring for top-paying roles will want to see the specific ROI on their investment. Prove how you’re worth the six-figure investment by your ability to deliver six-figure results.
And of course, customize. At this level a generic, one-size-fits-all resume won’t even be read. Write a document that markets your skills and accomplishments specifically for the role you are targeting.
I’ve created a sample resume template you can download as a Word document. It has some examples of impact statements to help get you started and a clean, modern layout. (Firefox users may need to right click on the link and “Save As…” a Word document to download the file.)
The path to the most successful careers is almost always a long and winding one. Reaching the top usually requires hard work, targeted education or training, work experience and accomplishments, perseverance and determination. (And of course, a killer resume.)
Update: After reading this, Martin Buckland from Elite Resumes, Canada’s leading resume writing service for senior executives, was nice enough to offer their template for a six-figure resume. It contains the same information and sections as mine, but with what his team feels is a more modern look/layout. You can download it here.
And find out more about Elite resumes executive career management services at www.aneliteresume.com.
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