IT Resume Makeover: Just the facts (and only the pertinent ones)

In this edition of's IT Resume Makeover, expert Stephen Van Vreede helps remove the cloak of invisibility surrounding one candidate's resume and allows his true value to emerge.

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David Thorburn-Gundlach's resume might as well have been covered by a cloak of invisibility, at least as far as recruiters and hiring managers were concerned. Though the nine-page document included a wealth of technical skills, knowledge and facts, it wasn't doing him any favors. In fact, it was hiding his true value to potential employers.

But what Thorburn-Gundlach did have going for him was an awareness that his resume was more of a hindrance than a help, and that it was badly out-of-date.

Out-of-date and much too long

"I had invested a lot of time and effort into crafting a resume -- 10 years ago! I knew my resume was entirely out of date, and that the focus of my career has since changed. I figured it needed modernization to bring it into line with current presentations, since styles change," Thorburn-Gundlach says.

Old Resume

"Aside from being out-of-date, David's old resume was way too long and way too technical to be appealing to the decision makers handling the hiring for the types of roles he is pursuing," says Stephen Van Vreede, personal brand strategist, CRW and job search agent for IT, technical and STEM careers with ITTechExec and CERW. (Van Vreede is also a blogger for NoddlePlace and co-author of the upcoming book, "Uncommon: Common Sense but Uncommon Knowledge From Today's Leading Entrepreneurs and Professionals to Help You Lead an Extraordinary Life of Health, Wealth and Success.")

To address the length as well as the overabundance of information, Van Vreede had Thorburn-Gundlach describe the ideal type of role he envisioned. Once that was established, the two worked together to create a profile of Thorburn-Gundlach background as well as his wants and needs for filling this role. Then they went through his extensive experience, projects and achievements to determine what content would be included, how it would be prioritized, and the manner in which it would be presented.

A necessary process

Though the process wasn't easy, Thorburn-Gundlach says it was both necessary and worthwhile to get his resume into shape.

"It was time-consuming and painful, of course; I don't do introspection well and always have, at the very least, a hard time getting rolling, especially with all of the other demands of life. Annual performance review time is always my own personal hell. Like reviews, though, this was incredibly worth it both because of the result as well as for the thought processes and mindset shift I had to go through," Thorburn-Gundlach says.

He adds that having Van Vreede as his coach during the process was especially helpful, as it kept him from becoming distracted or discouraged.

When all was said and done, Van Vreede had whittled Thorburn-Gundlach resume from a whopping nine to two pages of expertly crafted, easy-to-read information that clearly showcased the value of his skills, experience and knowledge without including any filler.

"The focus of the resume went from, 'Hey, here's everything and then some in nine pages. Hope you have some time on your hands; good luck.' to a direct presentation of David's relevant soft skills, experience, and achievements. Even if the reader only spends 20 seconds scanning the resume, they will know with certainty what David wants to do and the value-add he brings to their organization. When they come back later to read the resume in full, there's still enough detail to support his claims that he's a guy with deep technical knowledge and strong skills interfacing with the business," says Van Vreede.

Psychological impact

Through a series of meetings, Van Vreede and Thorburn-Gundlach were able to fine-tune the resume so that it contained only the information, skills and experience directly relevant to the types of roles Thorburn-Gundlach wanted.

Link to Final Resume

Thorburn-Gundlach was understandably excited about his new, more effective and powerful resume, but he says it's more than just having a new set of documents to take with him on the job search. "What surprised me most was how unexpectedly excited and motivated I was when I saw the revised version for the first time. Now, I have a great marketing platform that will do a much better job of presenting me, highlighting my strengths, and delivering my message to potential employers. A resume is a living document, and now I've made it past the 'resurrection' and am in a great position to be able to tweak and fine-tune it for different opportunities and markets," Thorburn-Gundlach says.

"But beyond that, the psychological makeover that's happened is great --I'm suddenly more ready to get out there and land that next gig which will bring me new challenges and opportunities," he says.

This story, "IT Resume Makeover: Just the facts (and only the pertinent ones)" was originally published by CIO.

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