CIO Resumes: 5 More Mistakes IT Executives Make

From lack of specificity to too much information, IT executives continue to make a variety of basic mistakes on their resumes that get them ignored. Take a look at your resume: Are you making any of the same mistakes outlined in this article?

Fri, July 29, 2011

CIO — When I screened résumés for's résumé makeover, I observed a variety of mistakes IT professionals repeatedly made. They included not emphasizing relevant work experience, failing to explain the business benefits derived from their work, and including too much information.

Howard Seidel, a career coach and partner with outplacement consulting firm Essex Partners, has also noted his share of mistakes that executives make on their résumés. Here he shares the five most common missteps he sees.

1. The résumé lacks an overarching brand. A résumé is a vehicle for communicating an individual's . So before IT executives even think about writing a résumé, they need to give thought to their personal brand—that is, their unique combination of skills, experience and personality that distinguishes them from all other IT leaders in the job market.

Every element of a CIO's résumé, from the executive summary to specific work experiences and accomplishments, has to back up his or her brand. That way, recruiters and potential employers get a clear picture of the CIO's unique value.

"The purpose of the résumé is primarily to enable people to identify what kind of leader you are, based on the accomplishments and skillsets you have," says Seidel.

IT executives make two common mistakes when it comes to branding: They either try to portray themselves as jacks-of-all-trades in order to appeal to as many jobs and employers as possible, or they attempt to depict themselves as whatever flavor-of-the-month companies say they want in a CIO. (These days it's innovators or transformational leaders focused on business growth.)

The problem with portraying oneself as a generalist on one's résumé, says Seidel, is that it makes it hard for recruiters to determine your strengths. The issue with the latter approach is that when CIOs try to portray themselves as something they're not, hiring managers see right through it: Often the CIO's work experience does not substantiate the brand he or she is trying to communicate.

2. The résumé lacks an executive summary. Seidel says an executive summary that highlights a CIO's expertise and the professional traits that differentiate him or her from everyone else in the market is critical. Good executive summaries are clear, concise and powerful. They're important because they're the first item on an executive résumé that recruiters and hiring managers read. If a CIO's executive summary piques a recruiter's interest, the recruiter will continue reading.

Here's an example of a good executive summary for a CIO, taken from the résumé makeover:

Influential IT Management Executive with 20+ years of achievement in leveraging technology to drive organizational growth, performance, profitability, and expand intellectual property capital. Acts as a change agent, capable of orchestrating transformative business strategy through data-driven decisions. Champions innovation with a focus on developing flexible, scalable solutions for consumer and organizational problems. Diverse experience in high-growth, startup, and turnaround environments with extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry. Respected leader in both highly-matrixed corporate environments and in the Indianapolis-area technology community.

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