IT Resume Makeover: How to Showcase Your Strengths

Your resume needs to be more than a description of the roles you previously held. It needs to tell the story of you. Learn what it takes to showcase the skills that will get you hired.

Michael S. Smith is a 13-year IT management veteran who's done some amazing things in a short amount of time. From an early point in his career he's taken on major projects and crushed them, resulting in a relatively quick rise into IT leadership.

Smith is currently senior manager of IT Infrastructure with a major technology company, but he's always eager to solve the next problem and he has been feeling stagnant in this position and has been looking for a change.

Data security issues in the workplace

The IT Job Search Blues

"I have been looking to advance my career, but feel like my resume was holding me back from getting that first interview," says Smith. He had used his network and social media, but he wasn't getting the kind of offers he expected.

"It was dismal to say the least. I've been gradually searching LinkedIn and Monster for jobs that fit my experience. I received call backs for some temp positions, but nothing longer term. I feel like my resume was looked over but put in the pile as a contender," says Smith.

He suspected his resume wasn't doing him any favors. "The biggest problem was my old resume did not describe all that I have done in my career. I feel the accomplishments were scattered across the resume and not organized to highlight my abilities," says Smith.

Resume Writer and Career Coach Laura Smith-Proulx

Laura Smith-Proulx is also a veteran in her field. She's worked with countless executives to help them find the roles they desire, and she's won plenty of awards and accolades along the way. She saw Smith was in need of some help and decided to offer her services and be a part of CIO's IT Resume Makeover.

Link to Original Resume

First Impressions

"It was heavy in terms of specifics and yet it was a bit dense in terms of reading. He had quite a bit of career progression and a lot of good intel but I had to read into it more closely to get that there was a very strong business support component and an alignment component to what he had been doing," says Smith-Proulx.

Everybody has a story and a back story within that and it didn't take her long to figure out why Smith had been successful in his previous roles. "For Smith the back story was being this business leader; someone who has been so valued in his organization. He had value internally that wasn't necessarily coming out before [in the original resume]," says Smith-Proulx.

The Resume Makeover Interview

Part of the makeover process involves a one-on-one interview between the writer and the candidate in which they work together to find out what's really important to the candidate and how best to present his skills in the resume, interview and beyond.

"He had a really fast career and didn't have the traditional type of coming through lower-level positions. He had risen very quickly and part of that was because he was put into major project management roles at an early point in his career. As the company grew he grew with it," says Smith-Proulx.

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