by Sarah K. White

IT Resume Makeover: Streamlining your executive resume

May 21, 2019 6 mins
Careers IT Leadership Resumes

It's every executive's challenge: Condensing decades of experience and expertise onto a single resume page. Here's how our resume expert helped streamline a CIO's storied 25-year career.

It’s a common issue for IT executives seeking a new gig: how to convey your extensive expertise and accomplishments in a way that grabs the attention of recruiters and hiring managers snowed over in resumes.

With nearly 25 years of technology management experience and 10 years of senior leadership experience, Rizwan Khan struggled with that very issue.

“I wanted to show all the key accomplishments from my professional background. I was able to accomplish that by keeping my resume under two and half pages, but I felt that my resume was still too long to get the key points across to the recruiters who are going through hundreds of resumes,” says Khan.

That’s where resume expert Andrew Ysasi, president of Admovio and vice president of Vital Records Control, came in. After a few conversations, Ysasi identified what type of positions Khan was interested in and helped reshape his resume to reflect his desired career path. Ysasi knew he’d have to help Khan fit his experience onto one page, while also better defining what role he was looking to fill.

“It was also unclear what industries he had experience in his summary. He also had a lot of great experience that was too far down his resume. A quick glance by a hiring person may have overlooked the richness of his experience,” says Ysasi.

Ditch the tech jargon

If you have highly technical knowledge, it’s important to remember that — even if you’re applying for a job in IT — the person reading your resume might not understand all the same lingo as you. When writing your resume, the trick is to find a way to demonstrate your technological knowledge without potentially alienating the reader.

Download Rizwan Khan’s original resume IDG

To do this, Ysasi overhauled Khan’s skills section at the top of his resume, placing it under his executive career summary. In this section, Ysasi listed out the hard and soft skills on Khan’s resume, including highly technical skills and knowledge such as SOA and API design, microservices and containerization, and healthcare informatics. Recruiters and applicant tracking systems looking for these skills will find them easily on Khan’s resume, but they aren’t taking up more space than necessary.

Get specific about your skills

Khan’s original resume was more of a “general technology resume,” so Ysasi wanted to make sure his updated resume better identified him as a CIO. If you’re at the executive level, like Khan, or looking to branch into executive leadership roles, it’s important to design your resume to reflect that.

When you’re at the entry or middle-management level, it’s more important to highlight your hard skills or relevant industry skills. But as a CIO, it’s important to focus on your leadership skills and accomplishments, since that’s a huge part of the job.

For example, Ysasi highlights Khan’s success in recruiting more than 20 new IT staff members and building a competent IT team of 80 employees at his current company. This offers hard evidence to back up his leadership skills claimed in the skills summary and demonstrates that he has the ability to lead, grow and develop large teams.

Cut it short and keep it focused

Khan’s original resume held a lot of valuable information, but it was dense and wordy at two and a half pages. A long resume can ultimately turn a hiring manager or recruiter away, given that they typically have a large stack to get through and are more likely to focus on easier-to-read documents in the pile instead. But when you have a career history as impressive as Khan’s, it’s difficult to know what should stay and what you should leave off.

“Ysasi was able to assist me in condensing my CV to one page. He assisted me in wordsmithing and picking up the most recent roles and most relevant accomplishment on my CV. The result ended with a CV that can be reviewed very fast without losing important content about my accomplishments,” says Khan.

The original resume featured blocks of text and bullet points — something Ysasi wanted to get away from in the makeover. Ysasi created focused sections for the resume: career summary, skills section, experience and education and certifications.

Each section has a bold, blue heading to help guide the reader through the document and Ysasi included a headshot at the top. All of these small details not only set Khan’s resume apart from the competition, it also makes it an aesthetically pleasing document for recruiters to read. It’s easy to see what Khan wants in a new job and clearly demonstrates his capabilities and experience as a CIO and technology manager.

The final results

The final design of Khan’s resume is visually appealing and — most importantly — the entire document fits on one page.

Download Rizwan Khan’s final resume IDG

“We rewrote his summary to highlight his leadership experience. We also identified what roles he wished to be considered for early in the resume. We also focused on his career highlights and condensed his resume to one page,” says Ysasi.

Khan was surprised at how “fast and painless” the process was. “We were able to accomplish so much in a short period of time with only one meeting and emails. Even with our busy schedule, we were able to finish the CV very fast,” he says.

Khan was happy with the final result of his resume and feels that his CV has more visibility now and will be more successful with recruiters and hiring managers.