When seeking an IT leadership role, your resume needs to tell a different story than it may have for previous rungs on the ladder. It needs to present your greatest strengths as a leader and highlight results you’ve achieved along the way, based on those strengths.
For Tony Stark (name changed for this article), this shift in focus would be all about transformational leadership. Stark turned once again to J.M. Auron, owner of Quantum Tech Resumes, for a resume makeover. Stark had previously sought Auron’s help writing his last resume, which helped him land his most recent IT leadership role. Ready to move up the ladder, Stark knew he had to update his resume to better align with an IT executive career path.
“My goal was to make a significant advancement in my career and I needed a top-notch professional resume to accomplish this task,” says Stark.
Auron already had a sense of Stark’s accomplishments and skills, but he had to catch up on what Stark had been up to since they last spoke. After a few conversations and interviews, Auron was able to gain a sense of what Stark wanted out of his resume and how to help him make the next step in his career. The key? Write your resume for the job you want, not the job you have.
The following resume makeover lends insights on how to take your management-level resume and turn it into an executive-worthy document that outlines your leadership capabilities.
Finding a focus
Creating a focus for your resume becomes more important the higher you move in your career. The key is to look back on your career and identify what makes you unique or valuable in your field. Once you pinpoint these skills and traits, you can organize your resume to highlight these strengths.
Although Stark has many valuable skills, talents and accomplishments, Auron was struck by Stark’s success as a transformative leader.
“He’s one of those rare executives who can come in to a complex environment, triage business-critical issues and get everyone on board for enterprise-wide change,” Auron says.
This type of collaborative leadership is a “critical skill,” says Auron, so he suggested making it the primary focus of Stark’s resume.
Having already tackled Stark’s resume for length, formatting and language the first time around, Auron focused strictly on reshaping Stark’s resume to reflect that of an aspiring executive. However, for your own resume, it’s important to revisit formatting and length if you haven’t had a professional look it over. For example, in this resume makeover, one candidate managed to cut his resume down from six pages to just two.
Out with the old, in with the new
Updating your resume requires more than editing dates, changing titles and tweaking job responsibilities. You need to craft a resume that demonstrates how you’ve grown as an employee and how that experience makes you a strong candidate for your desired role.
“The approach J.M. took to discover my professional abilities and value was highly effective. He interviewed me and asked many questions to understand all the major and minor events that have impacted my career,” says Stark.
Stark was able to view his career growth in a new light, with a better understanding of how past efforts and initiatives impacted his path. Through the interview process, Auron was able to nail down a few “eye-catching statements about my professional accomplishments,” says Stark. And it’s those statements that he feels made the biggest impact.
Every time you update your resume you want to make sure it’s from a fresh perspective, even if that means bringing in an objective third-party. Once you get farther along in your career, you want to reflect those changes and demonstrate that growth in the updated document.
Finding your executive identity
Auron established Stark’s executive identity as a transformative leader — someone who can come into a business and enact successful change. It’s a valuable skill in the fast-paced tech industry and it says more about Stark as an employee than cliché phrases often found on resumes. Your brand defines who you are as an employee, so it’s important to tell a strong narrative that helps recruiters understand your unique capabilities.
Using phrases like “motivational team builder,” “recognized security SME,” “decisive professional” and “dedicated firefighter” say more about Stark than commonly used phrases like “hard-worker” or “motivated team player.” Auron included these unique and strong statements in the executive summary to catch the reader’s eye and then uses the rest of the resume to back them up.
Once you move past the summary, you’ll see actionable results listed below every job description, each one showing how Stark’s valuable traits influenced businesses directly. In one role, he was able to spearhead the transition to AWS cloud while saving $24 million in infrastructure savings. In another role, Auron highlights Stark’s success with pushing IT initiatives that executives were initially hesitant to adopt, helping to modernize a company’s enterprise IT.
Reinforcing statements in the executive summary help recruiters and hiring managers paint a picture of who you are as an executive, even before the first phone call. Establishing your identity and then backing up all those statements helps present you as a strong candidate, worthy of a second look.
“Auron produced a resume so professional and effective that I received an interview for my perfect job within a week of applying. When I asked why the quick reply for an interview, I was told the resume was very impressive and warranted a quick response,” says Stark.
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