Resume Checklist for Executives

Posted on 05-14-2019
resume checklist

As executive recruiters, we have hundreds of resumes from C-level executives and director candidates pass through our office each week.  Even at the executive level, we see tons of variation in the quality of resumes, and many of the resumes we see either fail to adequately highlight the executive’s accomplishments or contain formatting missteps that are at best distracting and at worse detract from the candidate’s experience.

Before you apply for your next job, quickly review this easy executive resume checklist which highlights the key areas you should focus on to make your resume a more impactful “sales” tool for you.  (While some of the checklist items may seem obvious, we see them pop up enough that they’re worth mentioning.)

Executive Resume Checklist


☐ Contact information featured prominently at the top

☐ Work history presented chronologically with month and year for each position

☐ A brief overview of the organization and scope of position provided for each position

☐ Work experience bullets contain quantified accomplishments rather than job details

☐ Clear notation if a position is a contract, interim, or consulting engagement

☐ Completed degrees show graduation date; degrees in progress clearly noted and have anticipated completion date

☐ Certifications, awards/recognition, publications, speaking engagements, and community involvement listed in a separate section

☐ Omits “references available upon request”  (it’s a given that you’ll provide these if asked)

☐ Doesn’t contain an “objective” or list of generic attributes to summarize your qualifications

Design & Formatting:

☐ Appealing ratio of white space to text

☐ Margins one inch or more; even margins on all sides

☐ Body copy font of 11 or 12 points; headlines should be 14 to 18 points

☐ No more than 2 fonts used (one for headings and one for body content)

☐ Avoids use of ALL CAPS for section headings

☐ Consistent font size, bullets, and text formatting used throughout

☐ Sections are clearly delineated and labeled

☐ Email address and professional social media accounts (if included) hyperlinked from the document

☐ Maximum length of 2-3 pages

☐ Color and graphics used sparingly, if at all

☐  Doesn’t contain any photos

☐ Your last name and page number included in the footer on pages 2 and 3

Writing Style:

☐  Uses strong, varied action verbs to highlight accomplishments

☐ Avoids the use of the pronouns “I”, “me” or “my”

☐ Industry keywords used strategically

Final Review:

☐ Visually appealing and easy to scan

☐ Spellchecked and reviewed for typos

☐ Saved as a PDF

☐ Filename contains your first and last name


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