Retooling the IT Resume: Focus on Your X-Factor (Part 2)



NOTE: To read Part 1 of this article, please click HERE.

  • Minor Changes for Major Impact
  • Don’t Appear Complacent
  • Structure, Structure, Structure
  • The Perfect Amount of Focus
  • Finding an X-Factor in the Cloud

Minor Changes for Major Impact

When Burns spoke with Shevchuk, he realized that she was not sluggish, detached, or unfriendly as her resume might suggest. He started making tweaks in the file so everything that he could see in the person was evident in the document that would represent her.

Burns offered one example: “[W]e worded it to say, ‘I grew my technical and leadership skills alongside the 30x growth of Wells Fargo Capital Finance …’ to highlight her progression and accomplishments.”

In other words, the resume advisor injected more meaning into her role by establishing her as a member of a team that together boosted revenue 3000%. Plus, he added specific language to indicate that Shevchuk had been second-in-command to the CIO, developing the IT department with him for almost two decades.

Don’t Appear Complacent

Additionally, Burns reworded the bullets of Shevchuk’s Wells Fargo experience to convey that she was developing her skillset and taking on a stronger leadership role. When the promotions she had received over the years weren’t highlighted properly, it appeared as if she may have stayed at the company more out of complacency than loyalty.

The original resume didn’t have a sense of direction. All of the information provided by Shevchuk felt disparate. If you are in her position and have held numerous positions while staying at the same firm, you want to be sure the specific tasks and achievements that you list don’t come across as a data dump.

The reason recruiters equate disorganization with poor performance is that it seems there is nothing holding together the person’s career trajectory but the place of employment.

To fix this issue, Burns divided her work at the bank under two headings.

“On the first page, we started with this big, unifying headline: ‘Co-led the continual scale-up of WFCF’s infrastructure during 1997-2014,'” he said.

That heading crystallized her 17 years at Wells Fargo into an overarching accomplishment and  made her appear more dynamic.

On the second page, following the chronology of progressive development (the numerous advancements she made), Burns more broadly and effectively demonstrated that she was evolving throughout her tenure. To that end, he described her achievements in a different way – as elements of specific categories such as management and mentoring. By establishing the breadth of her responsibilities, Burns was again able to show that she was not stuck but was growing at a successful business.

Structure, Structure, Structure

Burns also mentioned that her resume was so jampacked with disparate items that it wasn’t easy to take it all in. In other words, it was similar to puzzle pieces scattered on a table, showing bits and pieces of the picture, rather than joined into one cohesive image. You can’t properly show someone your X-factor if your resume isn’t really intriguing them and drawing them in – which can only occur in the context of placing the parts into a larger whole: structure.

Some of the biggest achievements made by Shevchuk were immediately apparent, while others weren’t even listed. Two examples include the development of a fraud-detection application that predated efforts at all other major mortgage firms and budgeting software she designed that is now actively promoted in six dozen nations.

The reason this information didn’t appear naturally on the page is the resume wasn’t carefully structured to grab the reader’s attention, instead just rattling off disparate elements of her job.

“In the middle of the first page, for instance, Tatiana had 16 consecutive bullet points. Nobody would make it past the first four; it’s just too dense and difficult to read,” noted Burns. “I call this the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ problem.”

The jigsaw puzzle problem is essentially a lack of structure. By providing structure that gives grounding and focus to your objectives, you are replicating the structural approach of a well-managed organization.

The Perfect Amount of Focus

Shevchuk said Burns walked her through the process of improving her resume by comparing the written document with her own retelling of her experience. That way he was able to tell what valuable information had been omitted or could use additional highlighting.

Her new version of the resume is centered squarely on readability, easily establishing her primary values to any organization. Readability was achieved in two basic ways:

  • Treating the overall experience as integrated categories of information, like different areas of a puzzle (as you would when dividing pieces into parts of the sky, water, house, etc.); and
  • Never listing five or more bullets in a row.

“[N]o element … is repeated more than three times, even the major career highlights,” Burns commented. “We added three claims at the top of [the] resume to cover the absolutely critical aspects of Tatiana’s career.”

The resume no longer feels drab and disjointed. Shevchuk’s X-factor ties the document together, as introduced by the highest-priority, most tantalizing aspects at the top.

Finding an X-Factor in the Cloud

If you’re looking for a new position, make sure that your X-factor is clear to the reader. You can make the improvements on your own or with a career coach.

You want to partner with a cloud host that can confidently position its X-factor as well. At Superb Internet, our X-factor is evident in our high customer ratings.

By Kent Roberts

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