Hiring a resume service is a great idea for many reasons but selecting the resume you need can be tricky. Often times there is a significant price difference between the types of resumes, and you may feel you don’t necessarily fall into one bucket. So how do you choose?

The distinction between a professional resume and an executive resume lies primarily in their content, format, and the level of detail they present. Here’s how they differ:

  1. Content and Scope:
    • Professional Resume: A professional resume is typically used by individuals in mid-level positions or early in their careers. It focuses on showcasing the candidate’s skills, work experience, and achievements relevant to their specific field. It may include education, certifications, and a concise summary of qualifications.
    • Executive Resume: An executive resume is designed for individuals holding high-level or senior management positions, often at the C-suite level (e.g., CEO, CFO, CTO). It places greater emphasis on leadership accomplishments, strategic initiatives, and the impact the candidate has had on the organization’s success. It may also include board memberships, publications, and speaking engagements.
  2. Length:
    • Professional Resume: Typically, a professional resume is kept to one or two pages to provide a concise overview of the candidate’s qualifications.
    • Executive Resume: An executive resume may extend to multiple pages (commonly two to three) to accommodate the depth of experience and achievements associated with executive roles.
  3. Tone and Language:
    • Professional Resume: The tone of a professional resume is generally straightforward and focused on describing skills and responsibilities.
    • Executive Resume: An executive resume often employs a more strategic and results-oriented language, highlighting the candidate’s ability to lead, make critical decisions, and drive organizational success.
  4. Design and Visual Appeal:
    • Professional Resume: The design of a professional resume tends to be clean and simple, with an emphasis on readability and clarity.
    • Executive Resume: An executive resume may have a more sophisticated design to reflect the candidate’s status and the expectations associated with high-level positions.
  5. References and Recommendations:
    • Professional Resume: References and recommendations are usually available upon request and are not included in the resume itself.
    • Executive Resume: An executive resume may include references or recommendations to reinforce the candidate’s credibility and achievements.

In summary, a professional resume is suited for individuals in mid-level positions, while an executive resume is tailored for those in top-tier management roles, highlighting leadership abilities and strategic impact. The choice between the two depends on your career stage and the specific position you are targeting. It’s always best to consult with the writer prior to making a commitment if you are unsure (find out of the person selling the resume earns a commission- this will be telling about the service AND the sell!) and use your best judgement from there, especially if you are right on the cusp of both items.

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