by Sarah K. White

IT Resume Makeover: Showcasing skills for the private sector

Jan 14, 2019
CareersIT LeadershipResumes

In this IT resume makeover, Andrew Ysasi helps a candidate transform a more academic public sector CV into a private sector resume that pops.

resume pink background cv job interview stack of paper
Credit: Getty Images

After working as a director of technology and a senior technical programmer in the public sector, Andrew Wiedlea wanted to shift to a position in the private sector. But when he decided to apply for jobs, he discovered his resume was “too wordy and detailed for the private sector” noting that he had more of a “CV, not a resume.”

“My previous work experience has been largely in the public sector, with National Laboratories so a more academic style of document was expected. My main problem was determining how I wanted to shorten my narrative and how I wanted to position my experience for private sector employers,” says Wiedlea.

Resume expert Andrew Ysasi, president of Admovio and vice president of Vital Records Control, agreed, noting that while Wiedlea had a lot of experience, he “wasn’t sure what type of job he wanted or specific skills he was trying to showcase.”

Wiedlea’s resume makeover provides important insights, not only for those looking to shift to the private sector, but for any seasoned IT pro seeking to making a move up the career ladder.

Streamline to stand out

When applying for jobs in the private sector, your resume should be streamlined, capable of catching a recruiter’s or employer’s attention quickly. Here, the more academic nature of Wiedlea’s resume would be a hindrance.

Wiedlea’s original four-page resume had too many “acronyms and jargon that were specific to government roles,” says Ysasi. He focused on replacing some of the jargon and acronyms for keywords that are better related to the positions Wiedlea expressed interest in. Ysasi also knew he wanted to cut down on the length of the document, making it more concise.

Download Andrew Wiedlea’s original resume

He removed “technical information and acronyms that aren’t normally found in job descriptions.” He also edited down some of the included published works listed on Wiedlea’s resume since they took up a lot of space on the resume, and “some of the works didn’t quite relate to the jobs he was looking at.” Ysasi also cleaned up his job descriptions, moving all the most relevant data to a summary at the top and keeping the job descriptions short and sweet.

Know what to highlight

When applying for a job, there’s a good chance your resume will pass through an automated tracking system, which will pick up on key phrases and words related to the job opening. Ysasi knew Wiedlea wanted to “make his resume and experience more relatable to recruiters and systems designed to find candidates with his skills,” says Ysasi.

If you aren’t sure what words to include in your resume to get past a tracking system, one good rule of thumb is to review the job description and include similar verbiage. You can see what skills, responsibilities and experience are required and then ensure your resume reflects those requests.

While Wiedlea’s original resume was packed with information, he made the common mistake of overlooking key skills and accomplishments. When writing your own resume, it can be easy to downplay your success, so having an expert like Ysasi bring a fresh eye to your career history is a useful way to uncover impressive information for your resume.

For example, Ysasi added in Widlea’s Ph.D. title to “identify him as a candidate for senior or management positions,” and added a new skills section that included his years of experience. He also uncovered more skills and experience that he included in the summary and skills section, demonstrating how qualified he is as a candidate.

Tell a story

Your resume always needs to tell a career story so recruiters and hiring managers can quickly see how you’ve progressed in your career and understand where you see yourself heading. However, mapping out your career story easier said than done for most of us, which is why it’s great to have the help of an expert.

Download Andrew Wiedlea’s final resume

“He has a lot of experience, but I wasn’t sure what type of job he wanted or specific skills he was trying to showcase,” says Ysasi. After a couple conversations, Ysasi had a better picture of Wiedlea’s experience and helped him translate that for a private sector job.

“The expert was really helpful with providing a more focused format and providing a critical eye on how I was telling the narrative of my career. He was also very helpful in identifying what labels and concepts to use as part of translating what I’ve done in the past as a ‘public sector entrepreneur’ into a private sector context,” says Wiedlea.

A comparison of Wiedlea’s original and the final document Ysasi and Wiedlea put together shows how a career story makes for a more compelling resume.

Organize and format for flow

There isn’t a standard template for resumes, so it’s easy to get bogged down in bullet points and lists that make your resume disorganized and hard to read. To fix the disorganization on Wiedlea’s resume, Ysasi included “subtle colors” to separate his skills, experience and education and to help give the document a better flow.

He also pulled together a summary to include at the top of the resume where he organized Wiedlea’s biggest accomplishments and skills across his entire career. Including a summary at the top of your resume is the perfect spot to combine all the relevant skills, experience and education that you want to highlight for recruiters.

On Wiedlea’s resume, Ysasi pulled information from his long job descriptions on the original resume and moved them to the summary and skills section. Now, a recruiter or hiring manager can easily scan the first half of the page and quickly gain a better understanding of Wiedlea as a potential candidate in minutes.

Final Result

In the end, the final resume is easier to read, offers more clarity on the positions the candidate wants to be considered for and tells a stronger career story. Ysasi transformed his resume visually too, fitting it all onto one page, down from four, which makes it more likely that a recruiter or hiring manager will read the entire document.

“This was terrific — a really big help and Andrew was a joy to work with. It is very hard to get a friendly, honest but critical eye on one’s resume — but I badly needed it and I think the end result will be helpful.  I would absolutely recommend it to others,” says Wiedlea.