As a Chief Operating Officer (COO), it is up to you to implement visionary policies and execute both day-to-day and big-picture operational functions that support, elevate, and transform excellence.

You are a naturally detail-oriented and distinguished communicator so you may be well versed in utilizing keywords and quantifying achievements throughout your C-level resume. But what is the prime way to depict other features that establish your value and make your career story compelling?


Which “extras” are essential for inclusion in an executive-level resume and which ones are best left out? Simply follow these recommendations:

  1. Focus on degrees. You likely have a bachelor’s degree in a business field. You may have also earned an MBA. Include these degrees and any others in bold text beside or beneath the schools (and locations) you attended. If you received an elite scholarship or award, demonstrated exceptional leadership with a team or organization, or published a thesis applicable to your current career path, feel free to note them. But now that you are a respected professional, you do not need to pad this section with extracurriculars, your GPA, or graduation dates. In fact…
  2. Save the dates. While it is crucial to be honest and precise regarding the tenure of your work history, it is not only acceptable but often preferable to exclude other references to time—including accomplishments and awards achieved more than 15 years ago—that could possibly work against you in this potentially ageist society.
  3. Don’t neglect certifications. Continuing education classes, professional development courses, and of course, any licenses or certifications (such as Project Management Professional or PMP) should absolutely make the cut, especially if they directly highlight knowledge that is vital for a COO, along with the organization from which they were earned. But that cooking seminar at the local culinary institute or your yoga instructor certification? Unless it directly applies to your would-be new role, save that information to potentially provide “color” later in an interview.
  4. Doing good counts! Especially depending on your field and industry, volunteer efforts and community engagement can demonstrate your empathy, compassion, and altruism, as well as necessary skills—people savvy, organizational skills, financial management—that could contribute to being an exemplary COO. However, omit any stand-alone “Personal Interest” section, which does not belong on an executive-level resume.
  5. Hold off on offering references. Unless specifically requested as part of your resume when applying for a specific COO position, these just take up too many lines. It is no longer a best practice to include “references available” on your resume. If and when references are requested, have them available to present on a separate page.

Applying these tips will help you create an even stronger and more unique professional brand, as well as assist in locking in your next COO position. For more comprehensive resume writing strategies, please see our Chief Operating Officer Resume Guide or contact us to leverage ERW’s proven expertise and get hired even faster!