IT resume makeover: Avoid a list of job descriptions

When writing your resume, make sure you sell yourself, rather than present a long list of job responsibilities. Read how career expert Andrew Ysasi helped this month’s resume makeover candidate overcome the job description issue.

Tech Resume Makeover
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Your resume is how you sell yourself to a hiring manager or a recruiter, which means you want to avoid a long list of job descriptions. That's the mistake resume writer Andrew Ysasi, president of Admovio and executive director of Kent Record Management, says that Kristine Spence made in her original resume. She focused on highlighting her work experience, but neglected to demonstrate the impact she had on the bottom line of her former companies and the impressive trajectory of her career from manager to senior director of digital marketing.

Spence wanted to look for a job outside the hospitality industry, but Ysasi said her resume emphasized only her experience working in that field. "Andrew found that my summary did not describe where I am at this point in my career and what I have accomplished. It didn't open pathways that could lead me to opportunities outside of the hospitality industry," Spence says.

Getting Started

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Ysasi's first task was to rework Spence's resume to reflect the path that led to her role as a senior director of marketing and shortening the document from two pages down to one. "The major issue with her resume was it didn't do a good job of telling the story of how she was a manager early in her career and how she grew into a senior director role."

Spence agreed with Ysasi's assessment that her resume was too long and didn't have the right focus, but, she says, "I was unsure of how to present my experience on one page and still capture a true sense of my progression throughout my career." Spence also felt that she focused too heavily on her hospitality experience, having worked in the industry for most of her career. Ysasi was able to take her experience in the hospitality industry and reflect how it could translate to other fields outside of hospitality.

[ Related story: IT Resume Makeover: How to cut through the technical noise ]

Choosing the right data

Ysasi tackled the resume re-write by first asking Spence to go back and find evidence of her past accomplishments. "She brought forward a number of reports and graphs that helped with showcasing her success," said Ysasi. "We both came to an agreement on what data to use, and it quickly became apparent why she has been successful in her role for five years."

Telling your story

One of the biggest focuses for Ysasi was to emphasize the achievements and demonstrate the value that Spence added. "The major issue with her resume was it didn't do a good job of telling her story." The overall focus of Spence's resume changed from that of "hospitality professional" to "senior director of marketing." It served to better reflect her career and show that, while she is certainly a dedicated hospitality professional, her experience spans far beyond the hospitality industry and could translate well into other industries, like technology. Ysasi wanted to ensure that Spence's resume would be easy enough for a hiring manager to quickly scan and still be impressed with the highlights.

"It is important to show she can present profound information in a concise and succinct way, which is important when you are communicating to executives. Every candidate is different, and in Kristine's case the concept of 'less (filler) is more' was the recommended approach," says Ysasi.

Eliminate the unnecessary

Next, Ysasi focused on making the resume more concise. He decided to eliminate the skills section of her resume and instead moved that experience into her latest role to show she has experience with technology. Finally, Ysasi also decided to move Spence's credentials from her name to the education section of the resume, to show that she isn't afraid to learn new and necessary skills to further her career.

[ Download new resume ]

A new resume with a new focus

The final result is a resume that is concise, but emphasizes Spence's impressive climb from manager to senior director of marketing. Ysasi says, "We both feel that Kristine's new resume should attract employers hoping to enhance their marketing efforts using her leadership and experience."

And Spence agrees, noting that the process was eye-opening and made her evaluate her career progression in a new light. "It allowed me to take a step back and think about where I've been, what I have accomplished and realize all the places I have yet to go. And I feel confident with the outcome of my resume as the perfect starter to get me there."

This story, "IT resume makeover: Avoid a list of job descriptions" was originally published by CIO.

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