Your dream company is looking for a new CEO to take over.
This would be the career opportunity of a lifetime for you.
You’re determined to land this role.
But, there’s no doubt that many other qualified executives have their eye on this position too.
You have to stand out from the other candidates. But how?
By writing a stand-out CEO resume that proves to the hiring team that you would be the perfect person for this important position.
You only have a few seconds to make an amazing first impression and land an interview, but this guide will help you do just that.
What you will learn:
- How to write about your executive experience in a way that proves your value
- The right information to include in your resume header
- What soft skills and hard skills are in high demand from CEOs
- Right and wrong CEO resume examples for inspiration
Looking for related resumes?
How to write a CEO resume
Writing a resume can seem daunting. You have the experience and competency to be amazing in this role, but you have to demonstrate that value in 1-2 pages. Where do you begin?
It all starts by writing a resume that is easy to scan. The hiring manager should be able to understand your passion and expertise after just skimming through.
An easy-to-read format, like the reverse chronological layout, will make the best impression. This format emphasizes your work experience first, starting with your most recent role. It also highlights your skills, education and your accomplishments.
Here are some other formatting tips to follow:
Recommended Resume Sections
- An executive summary that highlights your experience, accomplishments and goals
- Resume header with relevant contact information
- Work experience section with bullet points list of notable achievements
- Educational background, memberships and certifications
What recruiters want to see on CEO resumes
- Strong leadership skills, with experience managing a team
- Proof that you have provided significant value in your former roles
- Passion for the specific industry you’re in
- The right mix of soft and hard skills to succeed
What to Include in Your CEO Resume Header
The resume header is the simplest section of a resume, but it’s where hiring managers look first. It’s important that you start off on the right foot.
Here’s a list of what you need to include in your resume header:
- Full name
- Job title (and industry specification, if relevant)
- Email address
- Phone number
- Location (stick to just the city and state/province)
- LinkedIn URL, portfolio page, or personal website
Let’s take a look at two resume samples to see these tips in action.
At first glance, this header looks fine, but it got a few points wrong.
First of all, this example includes a full address, with street number and name included. It’s best practice to just include your city and state/province, for security reasons. They don’t need to know these details about you at this stage of the hiring process.
They also didn’t include a URL to a LinkedIn profile, personal website or portfolio. This is a missed opportunity to improve your resume, and give the hiring manager more opportunity to be impressed by your accomplishments.
Here’s a better example.
This example is much better.
It ticks all the boxes:
- Includes all important contact information, like email and phone number
- Shows the city and province only
- Has the LinkedIn profile URL
How to write about your executive experience
The CEO of a company represents the brand, leads the team and makes impactful business decisions.
Hiring a new CEO will be a huge decision for the company to make. It won’t be taken lightly.
The best way to show the hiring team that you’re the right person for the role is by proving your value.
How do you do that?
By highlighting your career accomplishments and backing up your claims with data.
Here are two examples to demonstrate.
This work experience example is uninspiring.
It doesn’t say anything about how they made a positive impact in their role.
This resume would be tossed to the side, never to be read again.
What an improvement!
This example work experience section, not only highlights the top accomplishments made, but they’re backed up with data and real statistics.
The hiring team will be confident that this candidate has great potential to be a valuable asset to the company.
The top skills to include on a CEO resume
An excellent CEO has just as many soft skills as they do technical skills.
They need to be constantly meeting people, negotiating, managing employees and being the public face of the company.
Not only that, but they also need to be proficient and extremely knowledgeable about the industry they’re in.
The perfect CEO candidate will have the right skill set to accomplish all of these goals, and more.
Here are some examples of the top skills a CEO needs to land an interview.
Soft skills list for CEO resume
- Public speaking
- Excellent communication (written and verbal)
- Client management
- Interpersonal skills
- Management of employees
- Decision making
- Time management
- Project management
- Analytical mindset
- Team building
- Risk management
- Remote working
Hard skills list for CEO resume
- Expert industry knowledge
- Business strategy
- Budgeting and financial management
- Product design and development
- Public relations
- Raising capital
- Project management tools (Jira, Trello, Asana, etc.)
- Computer/IT skills
This list of hard skills should serve as inspiration to start you off on the right path. Your resume should include industry-specific skills, directly mentioning tasks and tools that you are proficient in.
Tailor each individual resume you send out for the company you’re applying to. Use the same language and keywords that are used in the job description for maximum impact.
Summary: What makes a great CEO resume?
- Emphasize your accomplishments in your former roles, and back them up with data
- Use the same language and keywords that are in the job description for the biggest impact
- Include the right balance of soft skills and hard skills, since they’re both equally important as a CEO
- Your skills section should include industry-specific terminology and action-focused language