Whether you’re applying for your first CEO job or you’ve held multiple chief executive positions, you’ll need a compelling CEO resume to stand out from the competition.
Below, our resume writing pros provide some critical considerations for crafting CEO and executive resumes, including a CEO resume example which you can use as a template.
And if you’d like us to write your CEO resume, consider hiring one of our executive resume writers.
- Creating a unique resume for each job post will align your application to the company and its specific values.
- White space, wide margins, and bullet points enhance readability and visual appeal.
- Quantifiable data and examples highlight key achievements and leadership experience.
- There are 38,000 chief executives in the United States. You need a great CEO resume to stand out.
- Being selective about which accomplishments and skills you include creates a stronger CEO resume.
What Are The Main Components Of CEO Resumes?
Your CEO resume may look very different from another applicant’s due to differences in employment history, education, and professional accomplishments.
Still, a CEO resume template typically includes the following sections:
- Objective statement (or resume summary)
- Employment history
- CEO-relevant skills
- Awards, certifications, etc.
Below, we explain the best practices for crafting each section of your resume.
If you use a CEO resume template, you may need to fill out each section. See our CEO resume example below.
The Importance Of Writing A Great Resume.
An effective CEO resume targets the ethos and values of the company to which you’re applying.
The hiring manager, team leaders, and other decision-makers will know the type of person they seek. You must demonstrate to them your suitability to fill that role.
Before you write your CEO resume, research the company to find out how they think, how they operate, and what they value most.
Their job description often provides keywords you should include.
Once you understand what makes your hiring manager tick, use the following guide as a template to write a compelling resume for those CEO positions on your radar.
[Include image of a CEO resume example]
C-Suite Resume Examples.
The Arielle Executive team has developed guides resume writing guides for every job in the c-suite:
How To Write A Chief Marketing Officer Resume
How To Write A Chief Financial Officer Resume
How To Write A Chief Information Officer Resume
How To Write A Chief Operating Officer Resume
How To Write A Chief Executive Officer Resume.
Follow my 5 steps below to create a resume that will get you noticed by business decision-makers.
1. Use An Appropriate CEO Resume Format.
Most professionals agree that the best CEO resume format is the chronological resume (aka the reverse chronological format).
If you do a Google search for ‘CEO resume samples’, most will be similar.
The chronological resume format gives hiring managers a concise, well-organised view of your education and career history.
This format will suit you best if you’ve had a relatively straightforward education and career.
(Related: Top Executive Job Search Trends For 2023).
However, a functional resume (aka a combination resume) may be a better format to present your industry-related expertise if your background is in contract work or a non-traditional path.
This guide uses the chronological format because it provides an appropriate option for most CEO applicants.
2. Use A Clean And Compelling Resume Design.
Your resume creates the company’s first impression of you. To make the most of that impression, use a clean and streamlined design that makes a visual impact without appearing cluttered or disorganised.
You may use resume builder software, a pre-made executive resume template, or a CEO resume sample to ensure a polished design.
Follow these tips to create a clean CEO resume:
- Use professional-looking fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
- Use bold and large headings to make the sections easy to identify.
- Optimise margins and white space. Too little white space results in a cluttered resume.
- Use bullet points to make your CEO resume easily scannable.
- Export your resume as a PDF to prevent formatting and compatibility issues.
If you’re stuck for ideas, follow the CEO resume example we’ve included below.
3. Take Advantage Of All Header Opportunities.
The typical, and indeed outdated, resume header shows a hiring manager the applicant’s personal and contact details. But the name, address, and email format doesn’t take advantage of all the available opportunities for helping them get to know you.
Use your resume header to its full potential by including the following information:
- Name and job title: The text size of your name should exceed the size of all other text (consider using an H1). List your job title beneath it using smaller text (using an H2).
- Phone number and email address: List your phone number, including the area code, and your email using normal next.
- Social media and personal website URLs: In the same section, share the URLs for your LinkedIn profile and personal website, if applicable.
4. Craft A Powerful CEO Resume Summary.
The resume summary (also called the objective) is an overview of your experience, CEO skills, and relevant accomplishments, typically in three to four statements.
You should reference your successful roles, the extent of your experience, and the leadership skills that have helped you reach your previous business goals.
Keep your CEO resume summary concise using statements such as:
“Chief executive officer with 10 years of experience in business administration and public affairs.”
To avoid repetition, it’s best to write this professional summary after completing your resume’s experience and skills sections.
If you’re having trouble writing your resume summary, check out some executive resume examples for inspiration or contact our resume team at Arielle.
5. Effectively Describe Your Executive Experience.
When writing a work history section, use reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent employer, and list three to five relevant or recent positions.
For each previous position, include the following:
- Your job title
- The company name and location
- The dates you worked there
- Your responsibilities and accomplishments
List four to six responsibilities and achievements for the most recent position and one to three for the rest. Use action verbs and measurable data for a compelling professional history section.
Here’s an example of what an employment history section may look like:
CEO at Company Name, Sydney 03/2018 – 01/2023
- Successfully managed more than 300 employees
- Established and implemented transition strategies for remote employees
- Reduced employee turnover by 60%
- Increased overall revenue by 145% in three years
6. Don’t Neglect The Education Section.
The CEO resume education section should begin with your most recent and highest-level degrees.
You should include a bachelor’s degree and an advanced degree like a Masters or PhD, but there’s no need to list your high school education.
(Related: Top Benefits Of Hiring An Executive Resume Writer).
Each listing in the education section should include the following:
- The degree
- The institution and its location
- Your course dates (for instance, September 2009 – May 2012)
Include any education-related accomplishments as a subsection, such as relevant coursework, mentorships, keynote speeches, and the like.
7. Include A Section For Your CEO-related Skills.
Writing a CEO skills section allows you to highlight the specific skills that make you the best match for a job posting.
Examples of skills you might list here include:
- Project Management
- Public relations
- Business ethics and law
- Business strategy
- Team building
- Effective communication
- Public speaking
- Executive leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Creative thinking
When writing a CEO resume, discuss key hard skills and soft skills that accurately describe your capabilities and reflect the job requirements.
Listing a dozen generic executive skills may not have as much of an impact on hiring managers as a succinct list of your six key skills that relate to the CEO job description.
8. Highlight Your Accomplishments.
If you have impressive achievements, such as certifications, memberships, skills and accomplishments outside of your industry, you should include them with an additional section titled “Achievements” or “Awards.”
Consider your special skills, such as speaking a foreign language, and your personal accomplishments.
Have you scaled a mountain, travelled abroad, or overcome a significant challenge in your life? Use your unique experiences to your advantage.
9. Don’t Forget To Write A CEO Cover Letter.
Cover letters provide the opportunity to include additional information when applying for CEO positions.
Your resume shouldn’t exceed two pages.
If you have any additional experiences and skills you’ve not been able to include, be sure to discuss these in the cover letter.
When writing a cover letter for a CEO position, keep the following tips in mind:
- Format your cover letter correctly. Use a pre-made template if needed.
- Begin the letter with a few sentences describing your related achievements.
- Describe why you would be a successful CEO, and provide data-driven examples if possible.
- Provide a brief summary of what makes you a good match for that particular company.
- Close the letter with “Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Your Name.”
If you need a CEO resume example for formatting, design, or content inspiration, we’ve provided a few effective professional resume examples to get you started.
While you shouldn’t rely too much on a sample resume, a good CEO resume sample can help you determine the type of format and design that will suit you best.
Are you ready to become the next CEO of your dream company?
Put your best foot forward on your next job application with a well-organised, polished CEO resume that effectively explains who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the executive position.
If you need professional help to write a CEO resume, reach out to us at Arielle.