Executive Resume Templates for 2021

Posted on 01-14-2021
executive resume templates

Every executive should have a strong resume ready to go, so to get you started, we’re sharing four easy-to-use Word executive resume templates. 

Your resume is arguably the most important piece of paper you’ll ever own. It can open doors for you and influence your earning potential for your entire career.

To succeed in today’s competitive job market, your resume must communicate what you’ve accomplished in a clear, concise, and visually appealing way.

At Kirby Partners, we receive thousands of resumes a year and most are underwhelming at best and fail to deliver on this basic goal. We’re committed to changing that! 

Here’s what we’ll cover here, and a way to skip directly to the resume templates:

What you need to know about selecting an effective executive resume template

There are all sorts of resume templates available on the internet; we’re seeing a trend towards more creative formats being used, even by executives.

These formats typically include two-column designs, substantial use of color, non-standard sections and layouts, and fancy fonts or bar graphs to indicate skill levels.

These highly designed styles are touted as being more eye-catching. While that may be true, our experience tells us that these templates are largely ineffective for actually landing interviews.

Keep in mind that many of the people who profit from selling creative resume templates are designers without any experience as a hiring manager. Just as you would never hire an executive recruiter or resume writer to design your logo, you shouldn’t rely solely on a graphic designer for your resume design.

As we’ve explained in our article on top resume mistakes, incorporating fancy graphs, charts, colors or images into your resume may capture a recruiter’s attention, but it might not be for the right reason.

Elaborately-designed resumes are often more difficult to decipher and cause the reader to have to hunt for relevant information. 

Unless you’re applying for a job in a field like graphic design, it’s better to stick to a resume in a basic format with a simple, black, sans-serif font. You won’t get an interview if the hiring manager can’t read your resume.

At the executive level in particular, you can’t go wrong with a simple, classically elegant resume design.

Understandably, you don’t want your resume to be perceived as boring, so you do need to put in some effort into your design, layout and font choices.

Also, keep in mind that most resumes are entered into an applicant tracking system, and this can be a huge problem when you use a trendy resume format.

Our research tells us that most applicant tracking systems struggle with two column designs, non-standard fonts, graphics, and tables.

While they continue to improve their accuracy over time, it’s simply too big of a risk that your resume will look like a jumbled mess or the system will decide you’re not a match for the position because it couldn’t parse out the relevant content from your resume.

Two column designs actually give you less space to describe your qualifications which isn’t ideal.

Key takeaway: top-performing resumes have simple layouts and plenty of white space.

Executive resume formatting best practices

Our resume templates use classic or contemporary designs to appeal to today’s corporate and best search firm recruiters.

Our templates adhere to these design and styling best practices:

  • Body copy font size of 11 or 12 points for easy reading
  • Headlines are at least 14 to 18 points
  • No more than two fonts used (one for headings and another for body content)
  • For designs where two fonts are used, one sans serif and one serif font is used so the fonts look deliberately distinct
  • Avoids the use of ALL CAPS for section headings (they actually de-emphasize the text)
  • Minimum one-inch margin on each side with minimum of .75 inches on the bottom
  • No photos or graphics used anywhere in the document
  • Color used sparingly and only on headings or candidate name

Whether you design your own resume format or use one of our executive resume templates, we highly recommend you consider these styling best practices.

To get your resume content in order, check out from CIO.com on streamlining your executive resume or our post on how to write a resume that works.

High impact executive resume templates

(Click the image to download the resume sample in Word format)

Need more help creating an executive resume that gets you interviews?

We’ve helped hundreds of top executives craft better resumes and land their dream jobs.

Our career coaches can work with you 1-on-1 to turn your resume into an “interview magnet.”

If you prefer a DIY option, our Ultimate Executive Resume Guide is a 50-page roadmap for easily creating a resume that works.

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