Over the past year I have read almost one hundred resumes from candidates applying for Head of School positions and many suffer from a common resume malady. By listing responsibilities and detailing jobs such as supervising faculty, being a part of the administrative team, and attending trustee meetings, in essence, these resumes are simply replicating the administrator’s job description. Lacking in this laundry list of duties are initiatives that add value to the school by helping it fulfill its mission, strengthening its market position, increasing capacity for fund raising, enhancing faculty morale and more. Listing responsibilities may signify that the candidate is an excellent senior administrator, but it provides no information about the person’s capacity to lead.
Effective leaders know the difference between action and results. In fact, great leaders are obsessed with results, more specifically results that clearly add value to the organization. And make no mistake; the primary job of a Head of School is to add value to the school and make it better. When candidates list elements of their job description on their resume, I have no idea 1) if they understand the difference between action and results and 2) if the results they achieve truly make a difference.
A resume that emphasizes results tells me that the candidate knows not only what to achieve but also how to achieve it. Execution is a critical component in leadership, and it often requires courage, judgment, teamwork, humility, persistence, communication and most importantly, an unswerving devotion to talent. I know of one Head who wrote notes on faculty contracts, pleading with teachers to raise the “academic bar.” Little changed. His successor implored but also invited discussion, used professional development funds, supported early adopters, and held faculty accountable. He wanted certain results and he was not going to be deterred. Every academic metric improved dramatically. Taking action is easy; taking action that achieves significant results is difficult. Leaders do the latter.
To make your resume stand out, focus on results that make a difference.