Resume Makeovers

Tech Resume Makeover: How to cut through the technical noise

Allen Bocian's resume was packed with skills, experience and knowledge, but his overall message was getting lost. Here's how Regal Resumes' Caitlin Sampson helped him focus his story.

Resume Makeover
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Allen Bocian is the kind of guy who likes to let his experience speak for itself. The problem was there was so much to say that the pertinent message about his skills and knowledge was getting lost, and potential employers stopped listening.

"My resume had lots of information. I'm a technical guy, but trying to cram eight million pieces of information into the document was hard. If you're not a technical person, it was hard to read, and nothing really stood out, so it was hard to sell myself even with all the experience and tech knowledge I had," Bocian says.

Caitlin Sampson, professional resume writer and career consultant with Regal Resumes agreed that Bocian had the technical chops, but needed help crafting his years of experience and extensive knowledge into a much better story.

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"I recognized that Allen has a great deal to offer to a company, but it took some digging to understand the full extent of his career and accomplishments. Immediately I saw that there was potential for an exceptional resume. I was impressed to see the well-known companies for which he worked and I was looking forward to leveraging this experience by highlighting it at the beginning of Allen's new resume," Sampson says.

[ Related Story: IT Resume Makeover: How to start from scratch ]

Short story

The biggest problem Sampson faced was condensing Bocian's information to make it easy to read, concise and quickly highlight the most important accomplishments so potential employers could swiftly grasp his value.

"We also focused on the past 10 to 15 years and condensed the information from roles prior. Allen's resume had large boxes of texts that made it difficult to read, so we made sure to separate his responsibilities from the accomplishments and used bullets for these.

We built up the top third of the first page to give a professional overview of Allen's skills, background, achievements and education. It is filled with keywords and career highlights. The reader will easily be able to find that he is a fit based on this information and they will want to read on to learn more," Sampson says.

Usually, candidates should remove any job experience that's more than 10 years old, but in Bocian's case, his roles prior to the year 2000 helped to explain his career progression, so Sampson created short paragraphs to explain those roles while still devoting much of the available space to Bocian's recent and current experience. In addition, Sampson focused on separating Bocian's responsibilities from his achievements to show how he exceeded expectations for his roles.

"When you think about an IT project manager, you come up with the list of typical responsibilities. We have to show what it is that Allen did above and beyond those responsibilities and what additional value he brought to these companies," Sampson says.

Bocian's new resume provides an immediate overview of his areas of expertise and career direction. The reader is quickly able to find the relevant experience to back up the professional summary. It demonstrates Allen's exceptional ability to manage projects, lead teams, and create efficient processes and procedures, especially for elite IT companies, Sampson says.

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Keep it simple

Bocian was most impressed by how simple the process was, and how a few simple tweaks have made a noticeable difference in his job search. While he's currently doing contract work so he can remain close to his family in Ohio, he says the changes to his resume will help him land a permanent position in the near future.

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"I don't know why anyone would write their own resume -- this was such a painless process. I used to think that if I have the right abilities, skills and experience then it wouldn't matter how 'bad' or 'good' my resume looked, but Caitlin showed me that there's more to it than that. I wasn't very good at selling myself, and the new resume definitely helps me do that much more effectively," Bocian says.

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