IT Resume Makeover: How to show employers the real you

In this installment of our Resume Makeover series, Andrew Ysasi took a senior security system administrator's resume and reworked it to show his qualifications for a career in security or cloud management.

it resume makeover

Joshua Jacobs, a senior security systems administrator, was once told by a hiring manager that when looking at his resume, he assumed Jacobs was "just another sys admin," but after interviewing him, he realized he was much more than that. That's when Jacobs knew it was time to work on his resume. We heard Jacobs plight and teamed him up with Andrew Ysasi, president of Admovio and executive director of Kent Record Management, who took on the task of reformatting Jacobs' resume to reflect his impressive background and skills.

"There's a lot of my story that's difficult to fit into one page -- my personality, my work ethic, my leadership qualities, my passions, my sense of humor. I think someone who's worked with me and someone who looks at my resume would have different ideas about who I am, if they'd recommend hiring me, what compensation is correct, and what responsibilities I could handle or excel at," says Jacobs.

Ysasi's first impression of Jacobs' resume was that Jacobs' skills jumped out at him, but his experience did not. "After speaking with Josh there was a richness to his background that his resume did not project," says Ysasi. The objective was clear: Create balance in Jacobs' resume to reflect his 15 years of experience and skills in a more organized format.

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Getting focused

Resumes require the writer to be objective about his or her own experience and skills, which is not an easy task for anyone, including Jacobs. "My instinct was to include as many details about my experience as possible to try to 'sell' myself and get some uniqueness across," he says. While he knows it was counterintuitive, he was motivated by a desire to set his resume apart from the others. Otherwise, he worried that his generic-looking resume would be "thrown in the pile with all the other guys and gals who are 'just another sys admin'."

What surprised Jacobs the most is that he quickly realized it wasn't easy to take a step back and critically asses his own achievements, experience and skills. That's where Ysasi's unbiased and expert eye came in, and his overall task was to bring a stronger and more organized focus to Jacobs' resume.

[ Related story: IT resume makeover: Turn your resume into a story ]

Cutting down the skills

Jacobs has acquired plenty of skills and expertise throughout his 15-year career, but Ysasi wanted to focus on the most pertinent and desirable skillsets. He started with the second page of Jacobs' resume, which included a list of conferences and associations he attended. The list wasn't the problem, but rather its location on the resume was problematic, says Ysasi. Since the courses and events were recent, and relevant to his current role, Ysasi decided to relocate them to a more prime location on the resume.

"By including only the key courses and moving them to the education and training section, he was able to communicate more while saying less," says Jacobs. He felt that Ysasi created a stronger focus for his resume by "cutting out irrelevant information for a succinct, well-rounded history."

In learning more about Jacobs' background, Ysasi felt his experience was diverse, and that he was certainly a great fit for his current role as a senior security systems administrator. But beyond that, he also realized that Jacobs is qualified to do more, including "cloud migration projects and development."

"Those skills can certainly segregate him from other candidates or catch the eyes of his current superiors for taking on new projects outside the system development realm if he chose," says Ysasi. So with that in mind, he reworked the resume to emphasize these qualifications so that they wouldn't go missed by a hiring manger.

Download final resume

The end result

Jacobs says the experience wound up being less difficult and much faster than he originally anticipated. And, in the end, he says the process took his resume to a level he wouldn't have achieved on his own, thanks to Ysasi's keen eye. "Andrew did a fantastic job. I was quite impressed with his ability to communicate, his openness to ideas, his encouragement, his positivity, and his confidence in my background. It might be tough to give over control to someone else, or to accept that maybe someone could drastically improve it in just a few passes," says Jacobs.

Ysasi was impressed with the end result as well, and enjoyed working with Jacobs throughout the process. He managed to take Jacob's resume from a list of skills and experience to a document that shows how qualified he is to work as a leader in other emerging areas of tech.

"The focus of his resume changed from a bland listing of his past job experiences and what training he had to what kind of jobs he qualifies for, what skills he possesses, and how he applied those skills. We see now that Josh is more than a systems administrator, but someone who has the ability to lead complex security and cloud projects," says Ysasi.

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This story, "IT Resume Makeover: How to show employers the real you" was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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