One problem executives run into when crafting their resumes is that, with such storied careers, it can be difficult to keep concise. But a long resume can work against you. Recruiters and hiring managers have only so much time to review stacks of resumes, so you want to deliver a clear, succinct message about what you have to offer. That means establishing a cohesive theme that tells your career story \u2014 leading inevitability toward your next gig.\n\nKey to this resume strategy is targeting your resume to the main audience of decision makers who will be hiring for that role, and outlining the business benefit you will provide them when hired.\n\nWith more than 25 years of experience in enterprise technology management, Mihai Strusievici, most recently vice president of global IT at Colliers International, was finding it difficult to pinpoint what to highlight in his resume. We paired Strusievici up with Stephen Van Vreede, president, executive resume writer, and coach for ITtechExec.com, to help him strengthen his resume to convey his career path to CIO. \n\nHere\u2019s how Strusievici and Van Vreede worked together to establish a cohesive, streamlined resume designed to draw recruiters\u2019 eyes.\n\nCondense your experience\n\nReviewing Strusievici\u2019s resume, Van Vreede found a solid foundation with \u201ctoo much left unsaid in many of the bullet point achievements.\u201d The two met for an in-depth video interview, during which Van Vreede uncovered more details about Strusievici\u2019s career history and gained \u201cdeeper insights into the value he offers as a senior technology and business executive.\u201d\n\nFrom there, Van Vreede and Strusievici worked together to build a stronger resume that highlighted all his achievements and accomplishments in his career.\n\nAt four pages, however, Van Vreede knew Strusievici\u2019s original resume was too long and would need to be shortened or else risk being overlooked in the early application stages. \u201cAlthough the roles Mihai is pursuing are executive in level and strategic in nature, those reviewing resumes, at least the first time through the candidate list, are doing so very quickly \u2014 often in 30 seconds or less,\u201d says Van Vreede.\n\n> Download: Mihai Strusievici Original Resume\n\nThere\u2019s no hard and fast rule for how short or long a resume should be, but the general advice is to keep the document to two pages or less.\n\nTo cut the resume down, Van Vreede combined \u201cwork history prior to 2005 into an abbreviated Additional Experience section without listing dates.\u201d He then trimmed down any less relevant content \u2014 such as his experience with the Legal Services Society and Catalyst Paper and turned the focus to more pertinent roles. Van Vreede outlined Strusievici\u2019s experience as senior director and vice president of IT since those roles are more relevant to his pursuit for executive-level positions. He still included work history prior to these roles but kept only the most pertinent accomplishments and accolades to keep things short.\n\nBuild a unifying theme\n\nIt\u2019s important for your resume to have a cohesive theme throughout in telling your career story. Everything should point to why you\u2019re qualified for an executive position and how your career has led you to the executive level. If you don\u2019t create a theme, readers have to \u201cdigest enough information and then connect the dots to shape their perception\u201d of you, according to Van Vreede. It\u2019s to your advantage instead to control that narrative on your resume to ensure it reflects your professional brand and gets the right messaging across to recruiters and hiring managers. \n\nStrusievici agreed that his resume \u201cwas lacking a theme,\u201d and felt that it was \u201cjust a collection of statements that did not provide a clear picture of [his] achievements.\u201d\n\nIt can be difficult to step back and objectively assess your career to establish a theme for your resume. Having an unbiased party, such as a resume writer, look at your career and help you uncover your achievements and successes can be helpful for building a strong resume. \n\n\u201cStriking the right chord with messaging is usually the most difficult item to achieve,\u201d says Van Vreede.\n\nTo do this, Van Vreede helped establish a core theme for Stusievici\u2019s resume, also known as a brand message or value statement. He based the core theme off Stusievici\u2019s desired next role, the main audience of decision makers who are hiring for that role, and the \u201cbusiness benefit the company will realizing by hiring this candidate in the role.\u201d\n\n\u201cIn Mihai\u2019s case, the business benefits were achieving operational excellence and gaining a competitive market advantage through innovation of digital solutions and business models using technology,\u201d says Van Vreede.\n\nThey worked on \u201cimproving the achievement statements\u201d as an exercise to help develop the brand message. Together, they \u201ccreated content that highlighted accomplishments focused on digital innovation, business model transformation, and other activities that improved operational excellence and helped the company be more competitive in the market,\u201d says Van Vreede.\n\nHighlight your achievements\n\nIt\u2019s always difficult to be objective about your own career history, as everyone has blind spots to their own achievements and successes. Van Vreede quickly discovered that Strusievici\u2019s original resume had several hidden achievements that didn\u2019t stand out because of how or where they were written.\n\nVan Vreede discovered that Strusievici had noted progress he\u2019d made to \u201cestablish a global technology innovation function,\u201d but the way it was written made it sound as if he hadn\u2019t made any headway on the initiative. During the interview, Van Vreede discovered that Strusievici had already made significant progress and had \u201cdelivered some great outcomes for the business, including three innovative solutions that he took from concept into production.\u201d\n\nAt the top of the resume, Van Vreede included an executive summary to help establish the theme and to highlight some of Strusievici\u2019s leadership qualities. He included a header that identifies Strusievici as a \u201csenior technology and business executive,\u201d and below that included a blurb, \u201cdriving digital transformation and technology innovations to achieve operation excellence and build competitive advantage.\u201d This helps establish Strusievici\u2019s experience and what type of leadership style he subscribes to.\n\n> Download: Mihai Strusievici Final Resume\n\nYour executive summary is a great spot on your resume to list relevant skills that you have developed through your career. For Strusievici, this meant featuring skills such as strategic planning, digital transformation, agile, data and analytics, and change management, among others.\n\nImproving the aesthetics of your resume can potentially extend the amount of time someone spends looking at it. This can help you \u201cgain some control over where the eye of the reader is directed,\u201d says Van Vreede.\n\nAlthough Van Vreede didn\u2019t make dramatic changes to Strusievici\u2019s resume, he did include formatting to help draw the reader\u2019s eye across the document, bolding Strusievici\u2019s key achievements for each role, adding extra details in a non-bolded font, and using color to highlight his titles. This helps highlight the most important information that recruiters and hiring managers should see.\n\nThe final result\n\nStrusievici found the process \u201cextremely pleasant, easy\u201d and that it \u201cdelivered a lot of value.\u201d He was \u201csurprised by Stephen\u2019s ability to capture the essence of what I wanted to say based only on a one-hour conversation.\u201d\n\nVan Vreede was able to take the resume from four pages down to just two, while building a cohesive message and theme throughout the document. He helped Strusievici uncover impressive career achievements and highlight his most impressive accomplishments throughout the final resume. In the end, Strusievici\u2019s resume sends a clear message about his experience, leadership qualities, and what makes him qualified for executive IT positions.\n\n\u201cThe focus of the resume changed from more tactical to more strategic. It also changed from having achievements that were more passive to more active combined with a link to how those actions favorably impacted the business,\u201d says Van Vreede.