It has to be said, there’s more than a little ego involved in being a senior digital marketer aiming for an executive position. The problem is, this ego can easily prevent you from getting hired.
Ultimately, the company CEO is almost certainly going to be deeply involved in hiring you. All the impressive metrics in the world aren’t going to matter if the CEO doesn’t think you have the right attitude.
That said, a digital marketing executive resume is going to have different rules and expectations compared to all the resumes you’ve had before.
So, throw out what you think you know about how to create an effective digital marketing resume because you’re playing by executive level rules now.
This guide will teach you:
✔ What the core focus of your digital marketing executive resume should be
✔ How to write an effective professional summary for an executive role
✔ What you should be mentioning in your experience according to a seasoned marketing executive
✔ What you need to do to appeal to both headhunters and CEOs when tailoring your resume for a role
✔ Which skills you’ll be expected to include
2 digital marketing executive resume examples
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What does your digital marketing executive resume need?
There are a few core things your resume needs to show:
- You can achieve great results (emphasis on great, just okay results won’t cut it)
- You can communicate those results effectively
- You have a good attitude and will work well within the company culture
There are plenty of other “nice to haves” but these three things need to be your central goals.
But first, let’s expand on what results we’re talking about. One of the key differences between a digital marketing manager and an executive is a shift in focus from digital metrics to business objectives. You can and should still include traffic numbers, conversion, etc. but be prepared to discuss how those metrics fit into the big picture.
That might be done on your resume or it may be in an interview but it’s imperative that you’re ready for that discussion.
That said, what content should your resume have to nail all three of those top-line goals?
That’s it. True, a resume for an executive position will be longer on average, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that justifies adding more sections and content that doesn’t add value. If you submit a 3 page resume it’s going to get read, but make sure the recruiter or CEO doesn’t feel like their time was wasted.
What’s the ideal resume design for a digital marketing executive?
Sadly, the best answer here is “it depends”. In interviews with executive recruiters, we’ve heard everything from “no colors, no design, keep it simple” to “I appreciate when a resume has nice design elements.”
Because this comes down to personal preference, it pays to know your audience. Who’s making the hiring decision and what kind of person are they? Are they more conservative, more daring, more creative, or curious? Tailor your approach to the person.
That said, clean and easy to read design with sufficient margins and a classic font is always going to be your safest bet.
The one thing a digital marketing executive header needs
The first mistake most marketing executive resumes make is right there at the very top. As a C-suite member, you’re going to be expected to represent the company, network, and help recruit. Today, social media is a key part of achieving all of those goals.
That’s why you need to link to your professional profiles in your header.
To be clear, the recruiter is going to find your profiles anyways, but being transparent and upfront with them (as well as saving the recruiter the time spent searching) makes a good impression.
Besides linking to your profiles, the same basic advice for any resume applies: include contact information, a location (just the city), your name and title. Sometimes a photo can be included but be sure to check both the national laws and internal company policies regarding resume photos as they are sometimes prohibited.
Show you can write effectively in your professional summary
Effective written communication is one of those skills that gets mentioned time and time again when marketing executives talk about what they need to succeed. From communicating to your employees to fellow executives, investors, the media, and the general public through marketing, your writing needs to be always on point.
Besides showing off your marketing, your professional summary needs to make a case for why you’re ideally suited for this role. For that reason, you’ll want to write one for each position to which you’re applying. It’s work, but expectations will be high.
Sometimes a professional summary can contain lots of metrics showing past successes. For an executive role, this often takes up too much space (and those numbers can and should be in your experience section anyways). Instead, this summary focuses on clearly explaining what their past experience is and how they plan on applying it towards the business objectives of the company where they’re applying.
It effectively answers the question “who are you, what will you do in this role, and how do you plan to do it?”
True, there isn’t room for specifics, but this professional summary serves as a starting point for a conversation on those specifics.
Now let’s look at a professional summary that’s less effective.
This summary certainly is short and sweet, but that’s about all it has going for it. It’s simply too vague and full of empty buzzwords to have an impact. It simply doesn’t answer any of the three questions the previous example did.
How to write digital marketing executive experience
Cummings says it perfectly. If you simply re-use the same resume that landed you a digital marketing director job, don’t expect to be hired as an executive. There are simply fundamental differences in what you’ll be expected to do that need to be reflected in how you frame your past work experience.
Below, you can see an example that perfectly hits all of these areas.
There are a few issues with this work experience. The first is that it focuses on the wrong kind of numbers. As Cummings mentioned above, these metrics are too granular for an executive to focus on. There’s no mention of how these metrics relate to the business’s core goals.
Then, when numbers are left off, we’re left with vague statements that don’t tell the reader anything.
Do you need an education section?
There’s no denying that an expectation exists that an executive will have at least a university education. If you have degrees, include them, but leave off any details about GPAs or other specifics.
That said, always take statements like “Higher education required” with a grain of salt. Often, head hunters are willing to overlook a lack of higher education if you have top notch relevant work experience. Headhunters are under tremendous pressure to find excellent candidates, so they’re not going to let you not finishing a degree over a decade ago torpedo your application.
How should you decide which skills to include and emphasize?
Similar to how what you emphasize from your work experience changes when you go from a marketing management to an executive position, the same applies for the skills. There’s a lot of overlap but the emphasis is a bit different. Here’s how Cummings explains it:
These skills are important for managers but when the competition is fiercer, standards rise.
In general, try to find a balance between marketing and management skills which reflects the balance you’ll be expected to strike in the position. Focus too much in either direction and you could be portrayed as a candidate unready to meet the full challenges of the role.
Does a digital marketing executive resume need certifications?
In short, no. By this point in your career, you shouldn’t need to rely on certifications to demonstrate your abilities.
Unless it’s from some kind of executive or leadership training, run of the mill adwords or inbound marketing certifications should be left off. They’ll only make you seem amateurish.
How to write the best digital marketing executive resume
- Start by studying the decision makers, likely headhunters and CEOs to understand their goals, style, and other factors that will enter into their decision.
- Use your professional summary to make a clear argument for why you with your experience can perform set actions to get the results they want.
- Frame your experience around achieving business objectives instead of lower level marketing metrics.
- Ensure your skills show a balance between marketing expertise and management prowess.