IT Resume Makeover: Emphasize challenges, actions and results

In this IT Resume Makeover, JM Auron helps a VP of security engineering dig into his experience to craft a resume that properly outlines his abilities, initiative, and accomplishments.

Do you ever feel like your resume doesn’t quite capture your experience and passion for technology?

That’s where Hoban “Wash” Washburne (not his real name), vice president of global infrastructure security engineering, found himself recently. But after a consult with J.M. Auron, a leading global IT careers leader, resume writer and owner of Quantum Tech Resumes, Wash walked away with a CV that better captured his experience -- and his positive impact on the bottom line.

Here’s how Auron helped Wash transform his resume.

A security exec sold short

Wash’s original resume portrayed him as a “rather dull, procedural candidate,” says Auron. But once Auron got Wash on the phone, Auron quickly realized he was selling himself short.

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IT Resume Makeover original: Emphasize challenges, actions and results

“Wash is engaging, intelligent and genuinely passionate about securing the enterprise. In addition, one of the first things I noticed was his commitment to staying on top of rapidly evolving security solutions. I talk to a lot of great IT leaders — and I was impressed,” he says.

Wash knew his resume didn’t reflect the “full extent of his own experience.”

“I found it very difficult to put into words what I am passionate about and how my ethics and experience have shaped my career,” he says.

It’s a common trap that job seekers fall into — underselling yourself on your resume. But if there is ever an appropriate time to brag about your accomplishments, it’s on your resume and CV.

Lengthening the resume to strengthen it

While most job seekers find it difficult to keep their resume concise, Wash had the opposite problem. Auron noticed that his short, sparse resume was severely lacking in valuable information, including only his “most recent and most senior job,” with “just a few procedural bullets.”

Auron dug into Wash’s career history during their in-depth interview, which allowed him to “get the critical data on Wash’s many accomplishments.” He was also able to develop a “sense of his personality, character and leadership style.”

Using that information, Auron developed a new document with a stronger focus on “the challenges Wash faced and the results he has delivered.” He focused on building up Wash’s unique abilities and individuality in security to set him apart from similar candidates in his industry.

Challenges, actions and results

Auron relies on “CAR,” an acronym for demonstrating challenges, actions and results on your resume. You want to show recruiters and hiring managers that you’ve faced challenges in your career and that you have acted on those challenges in a way that has produced valuable results. Instead of just telling them what you can do, you show them what you can do and back it up with measurable success.

“In terms of the CAR strategy, [Wash’s] resume was all actions with no data on the value this delivered to the business,” says Auron.

Wash says that, during their interviews, Auron took their “discussion about [his] thoughts, feelings, experience and career goals” and packaged it into a “consolidated and concise” document that gave him a new perspective on his own career. He appreciated the CAR approach, because it brought more structure to the resume writing process.

“This helped me take a new look at how I have grown throughout my career and how my experience has impacted the companies I have worked for,” he says.

Wash’s original resume featured basic, to-the-point bulleted lists and a lack of eye-catching detail. Auron helped transform it into a document led off by an executive summary to highlight Wash’s key attributes as an IT leader. Each section, marked off by simple, elegant graphics, breaks down Wash’s accomplishments, supported by data, including a grouping of “key wins” in his current role. Overall, the headers and sections Auron introduced better organize Wash’s experience into a clear, intentional, upward career path.

The end result

Auron took a dry, simple resume and built it into a document that properly demonstrates Wash’s extensive skills and experience, all while setting him apart from the competition.

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IT Resume Makeover final: Emphasize challenges, actions and results

“It’s a completely new document — I’ve focused on communicating Wash’s very impressive value proposition from the initial summary through the end of page two. The focus has been transformed from day-to-day duties — that every security executive performs — to Wash’s distinct approach,” he says.

And Wash agrees, he was surprised at how a fresh set of eyes on his resume helped him view his own experience in a new light.

“I was very happy with the process. With J.M.’s coaching I was able to rethink about what I have done with my career and articulate the experiences and benefits I have brought to my employers,” he says.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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