Resume Makeover Sharpens Details for IT Director

When the senior director got laid off after 11 years with his employer, the details of his experience were fuzzy –until a certified resume writer helped him discern fluff from fact.

It took only 11 years for the eager professional who came in at the ground level to work his way up and become a senior director of global IT infrastructure and operations management.

When the senior director, in his 40s, was laid off a year ago, it was difficult to look back on his long tenure and succinctly sum up his experience. Like most professionals fresh out of a long-term position, he was unclear on the details his work history encompassed.

“As (the company) grew, I had increases in responsibility,” said the executive, who requested anonymity. “Over time, you sort of lose track of details in terms of your experience.”

After taking some time off, he got serious about the job hunt and realized the state of the economy was in dire straits. He knew he’d have problems competing with the legions of unemployed.

Details that stand out

Knowing he needed a competitive edge, he had his resume appraised by Ladders.

“My focus was on having a good enough product to send out to someone to convince them I had the right skills. I wasn’t highlighting my skills enough (in the original document),” he said. “Just going through it, I was thinking more of highlights, bulleted comments.”

Indeed, the primary problem with the original document was that it highlighted responsibilities that were lifted from his job description rather than highlighting how he benefited his former employer.

“I was focusing more on the resume comments,” he said. “What I did was grab from my responsibilities that were, well, my job description, but I wasn’t highlighting what I actually did and I wasn’t using appropriate key terms.”

Rather than listing vague, pre-written job-description details, his resume now drills down into specifics that could apply only to the exemplary job experience he accumulated. It also uses appropriate key terms that jump out at resume readers and are picked up by ATS (applicant tracking system) software. Finally, they state, in hard facts, what he accomplished in terms of increased efficiency and cost savings.

Here’s an example, taken from the bulleted list of accomplishments that his certified professional resume writer, Carol Anne Braswell, who works with Ladders, compiled to describe his job role as senior director of strategy management and engineering:

Saved company $700K in maintenance expenses by upgrading network infrastructure to host subsidiary Internet access, installing Payment Card Industry (PCI) processes for compliance measures, and renegotiating maintenance contracts.

Decreased enterprise site-to-site traveling and entertainment expenses by $350K through deployment of Video Conferencing solution throughout subsidiaries.

Braswell rendered in bold, exact figures how much the director saved the company and in what operational areas it realized the savings. In addition, she mentioned relevant details that also make for powerful key terms, such as “Payment Card Industry processes” and “Video Conferencing solution.” Companies facing these major technology initiatives are extremely likely to search for candidates with these keywords; as a result, the director’s revamped resume should shoot to the top of a pile of applications.

An investment pays off

Shoot to the top it did. With the new resume, the director was contacted by three interested companies. The director said he thinks the overhauled resume was “absolutely instrumental” in his job-hunting success. He went on a number of interviews, and there he always received positive feedback on both the structure of the new document and how comprehensive it was.

“Presentation was a big theme,” he said.

Out of 300 applicants, he was offered, and accepted, a position as a data-center manager for a 9,000-employee technology company and started work July 13. “My current employer was looking for a data-center manager, and they were able to hone in on the skills I offered in terms of my background,” he said.

The director credits his new resume as well as the advice he read about never to giving up on the search. The reality is, we don’t know the processes a lot of companies go through when we send in our resume,” the director said. “We don’t know how many people we’re competing with, and there’s a tendency to get frustrated. Every company has internal processes, and we just have to keep going. I was fortunate. You really have to invest in yourself in terms of putting out a good product, and going through a professional writing program would be a good way to go.”