Your resume needs to convey your work history and experience in a way that makes sense to a recruiter or hiring manager. But it’s difficult to view your personal work experience as an outsider would, or to remember that not everyone has the same technical knowledge. That was the case for Rick Deckard, (whose name has been changed for this article). He needed to cut through the technical jargon to better show his personality and unique skills.
J.M. Auron, a leading global IT careers leader, resume writer and owner of Quantum Tech Resumes, took some time to get to know the resume makeover candidate Rick Deckard, who has worked as a CEO and Global CIO. He realized that Deckard was underselling his strengths and accomplishments, and he knew he’d need to reorganize the resume to better reflect his career history and show his value to prospective employers.
“The existing documents gave the wrong impression of Rick’s career. He looked far more ‘nuts and bolts’ than he is. Far less transformational. In short, the documents don’t produce the image of a business-focused global executive,” says Auron.
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Lacking resume results
Deckard knew that his resume was too short and that he included technical data that might alienate readers and listed skills that were no longer relevant. In addition, he included a career run down that was not only longer than the resume, but it read more like a long list of skills and job titles. Auron notes that the career run down had “a great deal of information on actions, but almost nothing on results — and it’s the results that really matter.”
Additionally, Auron noticed that Deckard’s resume didn’t reflect the chronological order of his career, despite Deckard having a history of regular promotions. The original format made it difficult for an outsider to get a sense of the progression of Deckard’s career, or to understand which accomplishments aligned with his career progress. Auron decided to tackle the chronology of his resume first, filling in the appropriate skills and accolades as he went.
“It made sense to rewrite with a clear reverse chronology highlighting his increased responsibility. Reverse chronology is much easier to read and much more clear. It’s also the expectation of recruiters and hiring manager,” says Auron.
[ Related story: IT Resume Makeover: Knowing what to showcase ]
Gaining focus, losing clutter
Auron knew that he’d have to focus on decluttering Deckard’s resume to effectively present his career history in a way that emphasized his skills and accomplishments. “That involved breaking Rick’s career down functionally to ensure that the reader can get an immediate sense of his breadth of experience — without making him look like a ‘jack of all trades,'” he says.
Deckard says he knew that seeking assistance from a pro would help him focus his resume on the most in-demand skills. He says he was having difficulty narrowing down the skills that were most important for his resume, to tell his career story in an engaging way. Auron helped make Deckard’s resume more personal by building the resume around Deckard’s strongest skills and accomplishments.
“Rick’s key value is driving transformation, so I’ve focused the document to tell that story — a visionary leader who leverages technology to drive global change,” he says.
If you are stuck on where to start with your resume, sit down and figure out what your biggest strengths and skills are in your career, Auron says. Once you narrow it down, it becomes easier to focus on those skills to write a resume centered around what makes you valuable as an employee.
[ Related story: IT Resume Makeover: Don’t downplay your success ]
Keep it simple
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One key element that Auron focused on while formatting Deckard’s resume, was to keep it as simple as possible. “These days, it’s critical to remember that a resume will likely be read on mobile. Colors, charts, highlighting and other bells and whistles can get in the way of conveying a career story rapidly,” he says.
Simple formats are also easier for recruiters and hiring managers to read. While images or graphics can draw the eye, with a clean, minimalist resume, you won’t have to worry about how the document renders on tablets or smartphones.
Ultimately, Deckard says that the final resume better reflected his professional experience, achievements and skills. He says it was a great experience and that working with Auron helped him get an outsiders opinion on his work history and qualifications. Even Deckard was surprised at his career history, stating that the final result made him feel proud of his own accomplishments.
“I get that kind of reaction often. When my clients see their careers through my eyes, they’re often surprised to realize just how much they have accomplished and delivered. And that helps not only with the resume, but as they move forward with the interview process,” says Auron.