Retooling the IT Resume: When to Throw Out the Rulebook

Job Interview Prep

Everyone knows that when you write a resume, you want everything to move back in time from the present. Is that always the way that it should be done, though? Experts at ARC Resumes might disagree with that particular ideology and so does our client of resume revamp specialist Donald Burns.

  • Tossing the Rulebook
  • Past Successes
  • Excess Complexity
  • The Upside-Down Resume
  • Partnerships You Can Trust

Michael Wallace has an important characteristic that he shares with huge tech icons: a big success straight out of the gates. Like Zuckerberg and Gates, Wallace has been spending his career leveraging the success he saw upfront.

With this atypical history, a standard format proved unuseful when career consultant Donald Burns started rewriting Wallace’s resume.

Tossing the Rulebook

Burns says that his objective as a resume writer is to take two hours of conversation with a job candidate and turn it into a document that is easily digestible so that a a recruiter can get the basic gist in six seconds.

“I’ve revamped over 1,200 resumes, but I had the worst time organizing Michael’s story, because his chronology is backwards,” said Burns. “The vast majority of successful people break through midway through their careers, or towards the end of their careers, but that’s not Michael’s story.”

A standard resume, as we all know, is organized to promote the most recent activity to show that the person has been steadily growing since a person usually has more impressive credentials and successes as they move along.

That said, along with preparing an ideal resume, it might be also essential to write a cover letter (with the help of Cultivated Culture’s cover letter builder) to communicate “the intangibles” not readily apparent from the factual content of your resume. It should be written in a tone that is direct, unassuming, and conveys enthusiasm.

Anyway, once the resume and the cover letter have been created, it is time to put them on the right platforms. LinkedIn is a good option for most job seekers, given that millions of people have registered there. On LinkedIn, many employers post their hiring requirements. In light of this, it seems wise to create a detailed profile on such platforms.

An ideal resume generally consists of a candidate’s headshots, which are likely to create a positive impression on the person who visits your profile. For that, you may need to hire a professional headshot photographer, if you are unable to find one, you can search on the internet with phrases like “LinkedIn Headshots Vancouver” (or wherever you live). Once you have completed the initial step, you may need the assistance of a professional resume maker to incorporate other relevant details into your CV.

However, resume organization is not etched into stone. Sometimes it makes sense to throw out the rulebook so that whoever is looking at your resume will be impressed with the opening highlights and be drawn into your story.

Past Successes

After getting an engineering degree in 1992, Wallace joined Display Products Technology, a startup founded by three executives who used to work for IBM. The company had come up with a way to fix broken liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Wallace came up with a much cheaper way to perform the same task in his first six months on the job. His own breakthrough ideas made it possible for LCD recycling to grow into a multi-billion-dollar market.

“Over the years, DPT grew fast,” Burns explained. “It reorganized and changed its name five times in 20 years — but Michael stayed on as the technical linchpin that kept the operation growing.”

The heyday of DPT came and went. Just last year, the company closed down. Especially because of the different names, such as Incline Global Technology Services, his resume made his career seem much less impressive than it actually was. It looked as if he had been jumping around from one company to another, when he had instead been loyal to the same company that had continually rebranded itself.

Excess Complexity

While those in sales and marketing often have an easier time with their resumes since they are constantly thinking about how to present themselves, many IT folks struggle with readability, as was the case with Wallace.

Specifically, prior to Burns revamping the resume, it looks like a bunch of puzzle pieces on a table – an image that Burns often evokes with his clients. Rather than the whole picture, it was broken up into disparate headings and bullet items that weren’t integrated.

“When I first saw it, the resume consisted of about 80 bullets and sub-bullets. These bullets are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – I could see the pieces, but no completed picture,” said Burns. “If you present readers with a box of puzzle pieces, they have no idea what they’re looking at.”

Burns himself didn’t understand Wallace’s story until Wallace told him about conceiving the new repair approach. The method caused DPT, a UK company, to grow astronomically. Buckingham Palace even acknowledged the business’s success.

The Upside-Down Resume

Once Burns knew all the facts, he decided the best approach was to simply turn the work history upside-down so that he was telling the career story as a straightforward timeline rather than moving back from the present.

According to Burns, the original resume “made [Wallace] look like a low-level LCD repair technician, [while] the new version makes him appear as an engineering Superman.” He added, “[A]ll we had to do was break some rules!”

Partnerships You Can Trust

When you look for a new IT job, you want to know you aren’t short-selling yourself, as was Wallace prior to Burns.

You also want to find organizations that you can trust with your talent and your experience. That’s especially the case if you are currently frustrated with anything about your current employer.

Truth be told, it is the same for any kind of job, be it in the IT sector or the Legal. Hence, it is imperative that you develop the skills with the help of a coach (similar to Alex Gotch— he is known to offer career consultation to candidates who want to pursue a career in Law) to find an organization that can prove to be trustworthy in the long run.

Let’s take an example to better understand the words written above. In the same manner, when you look for a cloud provider, you want to know the best approaches are being used. (For instance, you need a distributed architecture supported by InfiniBand technology if you are to achieve full 100% high-availability. Unfortunately, many CSP’s use Ethernet and mainframe-era centralized storage instead.) It is the same when you are looking for a job!

Note: Partner with Superb Internet to experience performance that is generally 300% stronger than AWS and SoftLayer for cloud-hosted virtual machines with similar specs.

By Kent Roberts

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