Q. I’m applying for my first senior level (director) position. I want my resume to show that I’m ready for the challenge. How do I do that?
A. Good for you for recognizing that your resume must match expectations for a senior level position. When you are listing your skills, make sure that you feature leadership, financial (profit and loss), strategy, and talent development skills. At this level, no one is interested in your skill with Excel or Salesforce but in your ability to understand and meet a company’s goals and inspire others. Include technical strengths in your achievements if they affect the company’s bottom line (“Led conversion of multiple legacy systems to unified CRM system.”) Devote the most space in your resume to your most recent and relevant jobs. If you need two or more pages to summarize your career to date, that’s fine.
Q. I want more responsibility in my next position but my entire career has been in engineering. How do I transition from engineering to a senior leadership role?
A. As a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a long career as a chemical engineer and project manager, I understand that you have approached your entire career one way: what do companies expect of an engineer? But now it is time to look at your career another way: what do companies expect of a senior leader? First, they expect the ability to solve problems; as an engineer, you’ve solved problems throughout your career. Second, they expect the ability to work with and lead a team. As an engineer, you have undoubtedly worked with many diverse teams and have probably taken the lead on at least a few projects. Third, your career may have sent you to other countries or involved communications with off-shore peers or clients. Global experience is an important plus for a senior leader. When you take a fresh look at your career—and I can help with that—you will find the experience that prepares you for a senior leadership role.