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3/5/2014
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IT Resume Revamp: Goodbye, Contract Work

Many contractors see the improving economy as a lure back to full-time work. See how our expert remade one IT consultant's resume to help him stand out in a sea of candidates.

too much detail about tasks, such as "elicited requirements, developed strategy, defined solutions, created & presented proposals & SOWs." This is task-oriented, not achievement oriented, which Fermin said is what a resume should focus on instead.

Below the overview of qualifications, Wilder included a long list of skills grouped by software, environments, applications, and operations. While this list may impress a hiring manager at first glance, Fermin said the candidate needs to differentiate between skills he or she is an expert in and those he or she is merely experienced in.

The better
[View the revamped resume.]

To tackle the length problem, he cut work experience from more than 10 years ago. "If it ever comes to the point where the hiring manager asks about what you did after graduating from college, you can explain that in the interview," he said. Your most-recent experience is the most important to hiring managers.

Fermin also cut Wilder's breakdown of software, environment, application, and operation skill sets to shorten the resume length. "He included every technology and skill he ever used, even if it was only once," He said. "If you use it once for a few weeks, does it make you an expert? If hiring managers are looking for someone with a particular skill set, they want an expert. You need to be prepared to defend your expertise for everything you list."

Last, Fermin worked with Wilder to make the details under each job experience accomplishment-oriented. This also helped to cut the resume's length from four pages to just over two pages. These changes entailed deleting vague details -- such as "provided business analysis and client delivery services for numerous clients" -- and everyday tasks.

For example, they reworked the details under his engagement at Verizon Wireless from: "Managed a multiplatform custom Agile development team to completely change the way the entire revenue stream is processed, saving $50 million per year," to "Managed a multiplatform Agile custom development team to completely re-platform the entire order-to-cash process, saving $50 million per year, which dropped straight to the bottom line."

Wilder said that the exercise in focusing on accomplishments was particularly useful. "I learned that I need to put on another hat and think like a hiring manager who just got 500 resumes in response to a simple job posting," Wilder said. "They're not going to want to read four pages of details, so the point of my resume should be to get the hiring manager to ask me, 'So how did you save $50 million a year?'"

Do you want to be featured as InformationWeek's next IT resume revamp candidate? Email senior editor Kristin Burnham at Kristin.Burnham@ubm.com.

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 8:56:38 PM
Your thoughts?
Readers, is there any area in particular that you struggle with when it comes to writing or updating your resume? What is hardest for you? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 8:30:49 PM
Re: Ideal IT resume length?
You're right -- you do want those buzzwords in there if you're submitting your resume through an automated service but you also need to be prepared to back them up in your interview. If you're not an expert in them, don't list them.
infosecxx
IW Pick
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infosecxx,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2014 | 6:55:57 PM
Excellent insight on how to frame an IT Resume
Past strategies I have used to construct an IT Resume was to search "Professional IT Resume" and reverse-engineer and tailor it to my needs with my experience.  Of course, I have read many articles on how to construct a resume, but they seemed to focus on more general professional positions when offering advice.  I incorporated the advice where relevant but resumes for IT Professionals are very different.  I did not think to visually distinguish contract work from permanent positions held.  I will be taking advantage of the insight written in this article to potentially construct my best personal resume yet!  Thank you for providing such a well written article regarding Professional IT Resumes.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 3:50:12 PM
Ideal IT resume length?
Interesting discussion of resume length. I think many applicants list every skill because they are afraid of weed-out by automated software tools -- but this recruiter didn't advocate that approach.
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