Dan, I am 32 years old and I have just started an MBA program at Auburn University because I have spent the past 5 years in a very technical/engineering position at the bottom of the corporate ladder. I picked the MBA route because with each company I have evaluated a lot of the upper management had their MBAs. Since my desire has always been to be a market leader, I just assumed that an MBA would be a requirement.

What really separates a resume/person from a CEO position in a fortune 500 company?  Hopeful Trish

Trish, I commend you on moving forward and not being content with the status quo.  You are right to question what is it that separates a “resume person” from a CEO.  And it’s never just a matter of having the right degrees.  Actually, it’s less that now than ever before.  In the last year at 48 Days LLC we have engaged a social media director, product fulfillment manager, webmaster, graphic designers, blog coach, podcast consultant, speech coach, marketing director and several other positions.  In not one case did I ask for a resume or even inquire about degrees or certifications.

More likely I am going to look for:

1.  Notes of recommendation from 3 people I know and respect.

2.  A past project I can review.

3.  Media buzz about what that person has already done.

4.  Leadership of a group on a social networking site.

5.  A regular blog that is compelling and engaging.

6.  A high EQ (Emotional Quotient) vs a high IQ

You may say, Well, I don’t have any of those things.  Then that begs the question.  Why would someone see you as an outstanding candidate?

Unfortunately, the MBA has become a very common and generic degree.  No one knows what it really means other than you have shown the discipline to stick with a program for a couple of years.  It is also the degree most often added to a resume dishonestly.  Seldom are degrees checked and there are thousands of people who have added MBA to their resume, hoping for a little extra edge.

I would encourage you to be building your reputation in ways like those noted above that will get attention and open doors all around you.  The days of a great resume being enough are over.  You have to be remarkable in some way.


 Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You LoveTM'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love, and now No More Mondays, Dan reaches over a million people every month in his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit http://www.48days.com.