Does your executive resume say you’ll sink or swim?

Does your executive resume say you’ll sink or swim?

Does your executive resume say you’ll sink or swim?

According to an article on LinkedIn by Lou Adler, the well-known performance-based recruitment extraordinaire, an old recruiting method is making a comeback. The method, referred to by Adler as “throw people in over their heads and see if they sink or swim,” is a theory that believes the best people will rise to the top, quickly learn new skills and gain the confidence to take on more responsibility.

This concept isn’t new at all. According to Adler’s article, the biggest names in business were very well known for this back in the day including Pepsi, Mattel and Disney. However, there was a change for many years where recruiters and hiring managers would hire individuals who fit into a certain box of qualifications.

If the individual was good at a particular skill and had a certain kind of experience, the hiring manager would select a candidate based on that.

Unfortunately this led to some stagnation within companies as employees would have a difficult time acting outside of that particular role or skill set.

As a result, companies are reverting back to the “sink or swim” method. This begs the question, is your resume ready for this and does it say you will sink or swim?

Focus on overcoming challenges.

Rather than specific qualifications, recruiters are going to be looking at whether or not a candidate can overcome challenges.

At the end of the day hiring managers want candidates who can solve problems, work under pressure and handle more responsibility. Otherwise, they aren’t going to experience much growth as a company.

Furthermore, they need to know that candidates can thrive in the face of a problem. Therefore it’s your responsibility to show them how you can handle pressure on your resume.

The STAR technique is a great process to have in mind to help you do this. You can also find several examples on how to do this on our resume samples page.

Showcase your achievements.

Another kind of candidate recruiters are now going to be looking for are achievers. You may think that perhaps they’ve always done this, but remember they’ve been hiring based on qualifications for some time.

Since this didn’t work out for them they’ve now decided to look for people who can accomplish great things for their company, not those who necessarily fit a certain criteria.

Highlight your go-getter personality by using an achievements based resume. In other words you have to answer the question, “What results have you gotten for your previous employers?”

You can use our guide on how to write achievements based bullets to help you out.

According to the LinkedIn article, you may want to consider highlighting your biggest accomplishment where you had the least amount of experience. Simply put, recruiters and hiring managers want to know that you can solve problems even when you don’t have all the information or skills necessary.

Show a consistent pattern of success.

It wouldn’t make much sense if under one job you listed all of your achievements and on the other you had generic job description bullets. Maintain a level of consistency throughout so that the hiring manager knows you have a solid track record of success. Outline how you made something out of nothing, so to speak. Demonstrate how you worked with limited resources, budgets and labor to make things happen. Indicate how you turned around disgruntled clients or weakened vendor relationships. Show how you retained talent during a transition and diplomatically helped those employees that did not fit within the new model, leaving a positive impression with all of those involved.

The achievements in your executive resume need to reflect that you can be resourceful and get the results needed or to find another solution to meet the goal, no matter the situation at hand.

Be well!


Lisa Rangel – Executive Resume Writing Services

Chameleon Resumes

Daily Career Tips


Landing your next job doesn't have to be an overwhelming, frustrating or time-sucking task. Get daily tips on how to find the position you deserve,  delivered right to your inbox:

  • The #1 addition every resume needs in 2023 and beyond.
  • How to get prepared for a job change even if you like the job you have.
  • How to handle a chaotic job market and where to focus your job-seeking efforts (hint, it’s not the job boards).
  • Where to find great jobs without submitting 500 meaningless job applications.
  • How to slice through the Applicant Tracking System B.S. and land a 6- figure role you love.
  • How to track down the “unpublished job market” and have your pick of the best jobs out there.
  • How to write a resume that will hit hiring managers right between the eyes and have them scrambling to book your interview.
  • How to get up to speed with your online branding and write a LinkedIn profile that positions you as the #1 expert in your field.
  • How to approach job seeking with the “human touch” so you can keep the bots at bay.
  • And finally, access to our 4-stage META Job Landing system we’ve used with thousands of job seekers just like you.

About Lisa

Lisa Rangel and The Chameleon Team are the only executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and job landing consultancy who has been hired by LinkedIn and recognized by Forbes. Our 4-Stage META Job Landing System stems from decades of corporate and executive recruiting experience to position you to land your next 6 or 7-figure role faster.


Looking for an article on a particular topic? Use the search below...