IT Resume Makeover: Gaining a new perspective

After over a decade with the same company, jumping back into the job search process can be overwhelming and sometimes requires writing your resume from a new perspective

The last word you want to use to describe your resume is “generic,” but that’s exactly how Shepherd Book, whose name has been changed for this article, felt about his own resume. “It looked like a shopping list—even though it included my latest list of duties, it really highlighted nothing,” he says.

After 16 years with the same company, it had been quite a while since Book had updated his resume. And with his eyes on an executive-level position, he knew he needed to create something that truly told his career story.

J.M. Auron, a leading global IT careers leader, resume writer and owner of Quantum Tech Resumes, was up for the challenge. He started by digging deep into Book’s career history, with a goal to uncover relevant skills Book may have overlooked to “help him clarify his own value proposition, and get a sense of the many significant achievements that he’s delivered,” says Auron.

[ Download original tech resume ]

Getting a new perspective

After some discussion with Auron, Book realized that his resume was targeted more towards a system administrator or network engineer role—and not the executive-level positions he wanted. “I was still looking at it from the trenches, like I was the guy actually doing the work. He wanted a perspective change, for me to focus at a much higher level,” says Book.

Auron knew he wanted to broaden Book’s resume to fit a “range of opportunities,” so he downplayed Book’s experience working at the state and local level, as well as some of his military background. He ultimately wanted to show that Book was qualified for an executive position across multiple industries.

Book was surprised how in-depth the interview process went. “He wouldn’t let me give half answers or gloss over any answers to the questions he asked. He wanted the 50,000 foot view and I was still looking at things from a ground up perspective,” says Book.

[ Related story: How to overcome 5 common resume mistakes ]

Reformatting for clarity

Next, Auron focused on the aesthetics of Book’s resume—namely, cleaning up the bulleted lists of skills and experience. He notes that bulleted lists on a resume are difficult to follow, and won’t do anything to keep the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter. However, reformatting and redesigning the document is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what to include and what to leave out.

”More important that the formatting was the lack of any real, hard, quantifiable achievements. The initial resume was completely procedural—duties and responsibilities—with nothing to demonstrate Book’s unique contributions.”

It’s a common resume trap. Your resume is the place to brag about your accomplishments, yet many job seekers hold back, giving only a modest representation of their experience. Auron used all the information gleaned in their interviews to demonstrate how much he had contributed in his time with his current employer. He not only included major projects, accolades and experience, but he also included “his record of promotions and his unique leadership style.”

[ Related story: IT Resume Makeover: Focus on results that matter ]

The final results

Auron focus on creating a resume that demonstrated clear achievements and results at an executive level. The focus of the resume changed to one of clear “value proposition and achievements—not boilerplate responsibilities,” he says. The final document is more organized and visually appealing, making it easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to read.

[ Download final tech resume ]

And although it took work, Book appreciated Auron’s push to change the way he viewed his career and the resume writing process. He calls it an “eye opening” experience, nothing the process required him to have his “mind rewired after years of just looking at things through a tunnel.” While uncovering his career past may have been frustrating at times, Book is happy with his final resume and his newfound perspective on advancing his career.

”He said after our interview that I had ‘melted his brain,’ and clarified that it was a compliment—I’d helped him think about things he hadn’t thought about in many years—which pays real dividends in the interview process,” says Auron.

This story, "IT Resume Makeover: Gaining a new perspective" was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.