‘Rajan’ had an M.B.A., a Ph.D., published articles in scientific journals and patents pending. It was an accomplished resume, but in the wrong industry.
“Rajan” has an accomplished resume.
Rajan, who asked that Ladders change his real name, has worked more than 30 years in technology; he has a doctorate in material science, boasts several articles published in industry and scientific journals, and has developed a number of patent-pending technologies.
Two years ago, Rajan added an MBA to his list of credentials and was already considering a career change when the technology startup where he was working in New England lost its financial support and he was laid off.
Now a member of FinanceLadder, he is doggedly pursuing work in the financial field.
“I want now to work with venture capital or investment firms, perhaps in performing due diligence or helping evaluate equity investments for emerging technologies,” said Rajan.
He had an accomplished resume in the wrong industry.
“My resume had been focused on my technical experience history in the semiconductor business, but it was full of too many bullets and jargon – something I knew that would not appeal to these businesses.”
He reached out to Ken Moore, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders, to help him craft a business-oriented resume from his technology career.
Moore helped Rajan discover that he had a career in business all along; he just needed the resume to declare it.
Among Rajan’s challenges: He wanted to appeal to investment houses while still showcasing his technology skill set, his MBA and business acumen.
The original resume Rajan presented to Moore did neither. It was full of IT industry jargon and lost in technical detail, Moore said. It left no clues to the fact that Rajan was managing projects and directed business engagements that were often international.
So Moore directed Rajan to complete what he calls the “intake process,” a details questionnaire and interview to dig up buried nuggets of roles, responsibilities and accomplishments that, Moore said, often fail to make it to the resume. In Rajan’s case, Moore wanted to surface the business benefits of the three to four most recent positions he held and projects he directed.
Rajan said he spent four hours completing the questionnaire.
“I was surprised to learn how much there was to talk about in terms of my value to the business,” he said. “It was a good exercise…. Ken was able to then transform these values into bullet points that were placed in the summary of the new resume. The summary now speaks directly to the kind of job I want rather than a laundry list of past tasks.”
In other words, the tasks had become accomplishments and results that would be the first thing a hiring manager would see.
“My aim with (Rajan’s) resume was to get it really targeted at the kind of jobs that he wanted,” Moore said. “He had real business experience, including interfacing with customers, with responsibility for setting up the production and fabrication facilities for semiconductors in the U.S. and internationally. This is stuff he just needed to bring to the forefront and make it shine.”
Feet in the past, head in the future
In crafting a business resume from Rajan’s technology career, Rajan and Moore wrestled with the cumulative force that faces most job seekers with more than 30 years experience – how much of the job seeker’s early career history is relevant to the his current goal.
“I knew that I would be competing with people who are, frankly, a bit younger, and who might appear fresher than I given my lengthy work history,” Rajan said. “Ken got me to focus on the latest crop of jobs and prioritize the business skill sets.”
“We had to eliminate a number of the lighter staff engineering roles from the resume,” Moore said. “I didn’t want to water down his credentials with things that went back to the late 70s. It is a balancing act…. Rajan was a star technologist with experience that would appeal to many companies, but when you are competing for jobs at capital investment houses with individuals with investment experience and who are fresh out of leading MBA programs, the resume becomes a game changer.”
Moore focused on Rajan’s four most recent jobs but included his patent-pending work, his degrees and published works to keep it grounded in the past, but aimed at his future.
“I always stress to my clients that the resume needs to speak to the future,” Moore said. “I think Rajan’s is speaking to it very well now.”
An added bonus for Rajan is a tighter, leaner resume.
His original resume was three pages long, but Moore trimmed it to two pages, and Rajan went a step further: He edited the document to a single page that he calls his “networking resume,” which he brings with him to informational interviews, industry events and other job-search opportunities.
“I do not have a new job yet,” he said, “but I am fairly confident that I am better positioned with this resume for the next opportunity that I want.”