CEO Resume Evaluation

I received a resume recently of an individual that founded and managed a business for the last seven years. The resume illustrated several problems.

First, the job seeker listed their title as "Chairman, CEO, President and COO." Listing four concurrent titles that say the same thing is redundant. That they are all top level title raises ego questions. Didn’t CEO or President sound impressive enough by themselves?

This is actually fairly common with self employed and small businesses. Some individuals give themselves inflated titles. One of my favorite examples of this was an individual that had started a consulting firm. The firm had two principles – the individual and his wife. His wife didn’t have active involvement but was the majority owner and had the title President (to qualify as a woman owned business). The consultant was essentially the only active participant in the business. He gave himself the title "Senior Executive Vice President." If you have the authority to give yourself a title in your company, don’t make up something ridiculous.

Second, the job seeker listed the ticker symbol of their company on their resume. This can be valuable if looking up the ticker provides useful information. When I looked up the ticker, it showed a stock that never traded at more than a penny per share in the last several years and had been delisted. No other information was available.

Third, the job seeker gave no reason why the business they owned and managed for seven years failed. Highlighting the failure with the ticker symbol makes it very important to explain why the business didn’t succeed.

Fourth, the resume contained no accomplishments. If you start and manage a business over a period of seven years, I would hope that you would have at least one minor success over that time. Sharing no successes, even if the venture ultimately failed is a bad idea.

Fifth, the resume doesn’t give any indication what career path this individual is seeking. The job seeker had held two positions prior to the business they owned. These positions were in completely different career fields. I can’t share the exact titles – they’re weird enough it may comprise the confidentiality of the candidate. Suffice it to say, I have never met a candidate that had worked in two of the three industries listed. Plus, the industries have absolutely nothing in common. I can’t determine from the resume (there was no cover letter) what this person would want to do – not even a remote guess.

Now, this individual may be extremely capable and talented. Unfortunately, there are so many questions about this person and no reason to move forward. The result: with this resume, they are going to be rejected from almost every opportunity.

By the way, as one of the owners of Palladian, I’m thinking I need to jazz up my title.  I’ve narrowed my choices to "Executive Senior Executive Vice President" or "Senior Executive Senior Vice President"  Which do you think sounds more impressive?  Maybe I should just use both!