To break into the upper echelons of IT, your resume has to be honed to emphasize leadership skills and experience. Even if your resume has a strong foundation, shifts in structure and subtle tweaks can significantly enhance your chances of landing a CIO role.
Matthew Bond, whose name has been changed for this article, is looking to move into a CIO or other executive leadership role, so we paired up Bond with IT resume expert Andrew Ysasi, president of Adamovio and vice president of Vital Records Control, to help optimize Bond’s resume.
Ysasi noted that Bond’s CV was “complete and had the basic elements” for a solid resume. He also saw that some restructuring could help emphasize how Bond’s background and skills qualify him for the C-suite, as his original resume didn’t quite tie his skills and experience to the necessary qualifications for a leadership position.
Here’s a look at how Bond’s resume makeover came together, along with tips for honing your own.
Bring clarity to your career path
The first issue Ysasi noticed with Bond’s resume is that it lacked clarity on what kind of job Bond wanted. And after a conversation about Bond’s 25-year career, Ysasi found that Bond had left out some important skills and experience on his resume.
“His experience in big business and his global reach were also not evident. As I got to know the candidate, he had quite a bit of skills that weren’t highlighted early in his resume,” says Ysasi.
It can be difficult to look objectively at your own work history. Some people also struggle with feeling as though they’re “bragging” on their resume. But to write a solid resume, you need to find a way to get a fresh look at your career path and history to highlight your biggest accomplishments and accolades. Your resume is the first place you should feel comfortable showcasing your career achievements.
Bond’s resume was originally split into two separate documents: a skills summary and his actual resume. Both documents had valuable information for the new resume, but Ysasi wanted to condense everything into one page that highlights the most important information from both documents. Bringing the two documents together was the first step to bringing clarity to Bond’s career path.
Line up your resume to your target roles
Once Bond expressed interest in transitioning into a CIO-level role, Ysasi worked with Bond to complete a “job task assessment.” Together, they searched through open job postings to find job descriptions that fit what Bond wanted from his next position. Due to Bond’s extensive background in AI and ML, Ysasi focused on job listings for leadership positions that required analytical skills.
“We added the titles at the top of his page. We rewrote his summary and added quantifiable elements to his resume,” Ysasi says. “We took items from the job descriptions that matched his analytical skills and made sure to highlight those skills in his new resume.”
If you’re not sure what to include on your resume, job descriptions are a great place to start. Relevant job descriptions can give you an idea of what skills, experience and accomplishments you should highlight on your resume.
Boost the visual appeal of your resume
Bond’s resume was strong to start with, so Ysasi soon moved his focus to boosting the visual appeal of the final document.
“The big change was the transformation to a more graphically appealing resume that highlights the skills for senior data and analytics leadership positions. Those positions could be a CIO, CDO, or VP of Data and Technology,” says Ysasi.
Formatting can be useful in guiding the reader through your resume. Using colors, page breaks and simple graphics can make information easier to read and can create stronger definition between the sections on your resume.
For example, you might want to highlight your executive summary using a blue header or a shaded box, while setting your skills section apart with simple, formatted lists separated by colored page breaks.
Bond’s original resume featured a standard resume format, with bolded text, bulleted lists and Times New Roman font. None of these things are necessarily bad for your resume, but it’s exactly what most resumes look like, which won’t do much to make you stand out. Taking the time to bring some clear design to your resume can help catch a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention.
On Bond’s final resume, Ysasi highlighted all his identifying information at the top of the document in blue and then carried that color throughout the rest of the document to keep it cohesive. He included a headshot of the candidate beside his summary, which outlines exactly why he’s qualified for the job he’s applying to. Each section is clearly labeled, with a professional font that still brings attention to his skills, summary, experience and education.
The final result
In the end, Bond walked away with a single-page resume that clearly spells out his 25 years of skills, experience, accolades and accomplishments. The document shows recruiters and hiring managers exactly how Bond is qualified for leadership positions with analytical requirements.
“He had a lot of insight and involvement from draft to draft. He was happy we captured the future positions he would want to have, and that we tightened up his experience,” says Ysasi.
Bond agrees that his original resume didn’t offer a “holistic view” of his experience and that his resume wasn’t written to position him for the specific roles he wanted. In the end, he was surprised at how the focus was more on formatting and design, and less on “improving the existing content.”
“It was very helpful to start with a career goal discussion to influence the added summary and skills section. Finding a way to reduce 25 years to one page without losing value was great,” says Bond.