A clear majority of our executive members are already successful in a leadership role and create a profile in GatedTalent to ensure that they are 'on the radar' for future opportunities rather than as part of a proactive job search campaign. However, clearly, with hundreds of new registrations every day, there are a percentage who are actively looking to make the next career step.

As a result, every day when I open my inbox one message I often see is this: "Do I need a résumé and, if so, how can I make it perfect? What are your recommendations?" And this question links in with the other question "how can I make myself more visible to executive recruiters?"

Equally, on the other end of the scale I will receive messages from executives who will ask me what the benefits are of creating a profile on GatedTalent or indeed updating their resume, when they are happy in their role and not actively looking right now.

The subject itself is vast, and of course many executives will retain the professional services of a resume writer to ensure that any resume is as powerful as possible. One leader in this space is Tim Windhof. Tim Windhof is a certified executive résumé writer and international career coach who specializes in executive level career advancement. Tim is a Member of the Forbes Coaches Council and one of only 30 Certified Executive Resume Masters worldwide. 

I came across Tim when I was reading an article written by him recently on Forbes. I was impressed with his background and expertise and so engaged with him to do a Q&A interview on what makes the perfect resume. I wanted to seek Tim’s advice on the key questions I get asked daily by executives and see what his thoughts are on executive resumes, visibility to recruiters and why even if an executive is not actively looking now why they should consider staying 'on the radar’.

So, this is my Q&A with Tim:

1) I’m not actively job hunting so there’s no need to review or update my résumé/ create a GatedTalent profile is there?

My answer would be that it depends on how well you like to be prepared for the day that changes. An activist investor. A takeover. Some of my clients have been hit by lay-offs out of the blue and then panic to get their résumés, LinkedIn and GatedTalent profiles up in a rush. I like to compare this situation to someone who starts training for a summer six-pack in June.

My comments: I agree completely with what Tim states here - I have received emails from executives who I originally reached out to but declined to join GatedTalent telling me that something has changed - perhaps a week later, or even a few days after that conversation I had with them and now there is a sudden rush to complete a profile and update their résumé. My advice to the executives I speak to is, I would always encourage them to create a profile. It’s entirely confidential – you can hide your name and company details – and so there is no risk to you, and you never know what is out there. Many of our members like to maintain a profile to stay 'on the radar' for executive positions but also in case a Non-Executive role appears. The world we live in now moves at such a fast pace, it’s better to think ahead than plan on the day!

2) I have a LinkedIn profile and GatedTalent profile. Do I need a résumé and why?

Irrespective of what you may have read to the contrary, the résumé is still alive and continues to be your most important career document. LinkedIn is really working hard on changing this but there is one caveat that’s difficult for LinkedIn to overcome: a resume can be shared confidentially between a few senior decision makers whereas your LinkedIn profile is potentially visible to the entire world. Executives will thus always have to be very careful about what they can share about their achievements on LinkedIn. Your GatedTalent profile sits between the two – it may be your first point of contact with executive search firms, but once a match is established, you will still need a resume that can submitted to the respective target company.

My comments: I would agree with what you say here Tim, the confidentiality you have in your résumé can be related to a GatedTalent profile which allows executives to share more information but do so in a private manner. The executive can protect their name and personal details until a specific project of interest arises. As a result, many executives share more information in GatedTalent than in LinkedIn. A well written and accurate résumé, listing achievements an executive wouldn’t share on LinkedIn would thus work in synergy with a GatedTalent profile in my perspective.

3) What will make my résumé ‘stand’ out from the rest? It’s a competitive market… 

Your résumé can only stand-out if you clearly communicate your unique value proposition consistently throughout the document. So before you start writing, you need to gain clarity on what it is that you typically do when you take on a new position? Or in other words, what are you known for in your industry? Also, you have to make sure that your document is 'easy to digest'. Executive recruiters might spend as little as 10 initial seconds 'scanning' your résumé, so you have to communicate your value rapidly.

4) Apart from a résumé, what else should I consider? 

This largely depends on your application strategy. Particularly, if you intend to actively network your way to a new position you might benefit from a short one-page branded bio that you can distribute when sending out a full-blown résumé to your contacts might not be appropriate. Also, some of my clients have gained big traction from using a one-page networking resume that specifically outlines some of the desired points of contact/interest. Last but not least, a hand delivered cover letter by certified mail to the CEO of a company can still set you apart from your competitors.

My comments: It is worth keeping in mind, if you use GatedTalent, that your biography can be embedded in your profile and will be searchable.

5) Why might I consider a professional résumé writer and how do I find the right one for me?

It is said that a professionally crafted résumé increases your chances of getting noticed by 40%. Also, as a seasoned executive you know that it’s time to get an expert involved when you are lacking expertise yourself. Most executives have maybe 10 to 20 hours of experience in résumé writing whereas a professional résumé writer will bring thousands of hours of experience in positioning their client to the table. One resource to find an expert resume writer is through the US based National Resume Writers’ Association where you can find Nationally Certified Resume Writers who underwent rigorous training and testing.

6) What other advice can you give me in terms of visibility that will help me engage with executive recruiters?

Executive recruiters are like all of us, human beings, and a lot of them might get bombarded with daily inquiries from 'strangers'. So, if you want to stand out, take the time to establish some genuine relationships. As discussed above, this is really hard to do if you only start this after you have already been impacted by a lay-off.

7) Finally, any success stories on how a rewritten résumé can transform an executive’s chances of being approached/interviewed/ hired?

The fastest feedback I received this year was from a healthcare industry executive who sent me the following email, one day after we finished her resume: “You were spot on.... the recruiter sent the resume and they were asking for a phone interview within 10 minutes of getting it!” This is, of course, an extreme example and the quick response was also due to the industry and the unique skillset of the client. However, that client had previously not unearthed this core unique skillset message prior to revamping her résumé.

I would like to thank Tim for his time insights - I found them interesting and I’m sure our members will find his comments helpful!

Tim Windhof is a certified executive résumé writer and international career coach who specializes in executive level career advancement. Tim is a Member of the Forbes Coaches Council and one of only 30 Certified Executive Resume Masters worldwide. Tim has lived, studied, and worked in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the U.S. He utilizes his cross-cultural knowledge to work with international résumé and coaching clients from around the globe. You can read more about Tim’s credentials and career services on his website: https://www.windhofcareers.com/.