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Wow, that person has accomplished a lot!

That is music to any recruiter’s ears.

It is certainly so much better than, this candidate has a lot of experience.

All else being equal, or nearly equal, I am going to focus on the candidate whose resume provides a great picture of success based on quantifiable accomplishments versus someone with all of the bell and whistle credentials, perhaps with even more experience, but whose resume is more of a roadmap to where he/she has been, or a list of previous employers with dot point lists outlining responsibilities.

That latter version of the executive resume might have worked as late as two or three years ago, but not any more.  Clients need and expect more.  So, unless you were one of the top four or five healthcare CEOs in the country, and if you want to put yourself at a disadvantage in a competitive search, send an old school resume that focuses on experience and responsibilities.  The candidate who gets the job will probably be the one who has the experience and a documented list of relevant, quantifiable accomplishments.

The C-suite turnover rate is rising due to retirements and an increasing number of CEOs are making strategic missteps, but there are a lot of people out of work.  Some are certainly not top-tier performers but their flood of voices, and resumes only makes a hyper competitive job market more hyper and more competitive.

For those executives seeking help with career management/career transition, know this: getting someone to rewrite your resume is the worst first step you can take on the road to re-employment.  The really good healthcare transition coaches, and they are few and far between based on the dismal quality of the resumes several executive recruiters report seeing, do NOT start with the resume.  The good coaches begin by helping you understand where you excel and then defining your value.  They teach you how to tell your value proposition in a more compelling manner.  A very savvy turnaround CEO currently working in Washington, DC for Huron, said this: “When a candidate tells me they excel at a certain skill or function, I ask, as evidenced by…?  Show me what you have accomplished that will confirm that claim.  I need executives who can deliver results, not managers who have been around a long time.”

To make it easy for recruiters — most are covered up with resumes and the average “first look” at your resume is between 15-20 seconds — explain your scope of responsibility in three or four metric-rich sentences and save the valuable dot points for your quantifiable accomplishments, with the most impressive at the top of the list.

Most resumes ARE NOT structured in that manner.

For those arrogant executives among us who think you know better, good luck.  Let us know how that is working for you because I am betting that unless you know the recruiter and he/she is familiar with your accomplishments, sending an old school resume is not going to push you to the front of the line, your graduate degree(s) and professional fellowship notwithstanding.

In a competitive search, the front of the line is a much better place to be than the trashcan.