Learn the best resume writing techniques, strategies, and formats that help get you hired from Donna Shannon, owner of Personal Touch Career Services. A former HR Recruiter, Ms. Shannon is intimately familiar with what works to not only survive the screening process but also make the right impression on the hiring manager.
*Slides are from the Connecting Tech Talent Day in Denver on March 14, 2017
Contact us for more information: http://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact
Tricks and Traps for Effective IT
Personal Touch Career Services
The Personal Touch: what we do
• Our Mission: To help job seekers of all levels achieve
their employment goals through solid, practical advice
Job search strategy development
Get a Job Without Going Crazy
Key words make the world go ‘round..
• Websites recommend jobs by key words
• Recruiters search passive candidates by key words
• HR departments screen on key words
• Hiring managers respond to targeted resumes
Unique problem for the IT
• HR usually doesn’t fully
understand the job
• They almost NEVER take off old
programs or recognize similar
• Calls for lengthy technical
A Great Truth:
Your resume is not about YOU…
Your resume is about the EMPLOYER and
how your skills, experience and education
meets their NEEDS.
Hiring managers want to know:
1. What you can do
2. Where you’ve done it
3. How it applies to their needs
Most job seekers fail at number 3
- especially those transitioning to a
different career path
Where are they?
• Read through the sample job description
• Circle relevant key words
JOB SUMMARY - Manager IT Systems Administration
This position is responsible for the management of the Systems Administration
team, processes and technology tools. It includes design, implementation, and
operational support of a high performance, scalable, secure, cost-effective, and
highly-available compute and storage infrastructure in support of Battelle
Ecology Inc. and the NEON Project/Observatory.
The Systems Administration Manager also participates in strategic planning
activities, and other tactical activities related to the Battelle Ecology Inc. IT
organization in collaboration with the Sr. Manager IT.
Where to use the key words
• Skills section
• Description of duties
• Guidance on achievements
• Identification of soft skills
Key word trap:
• The hidden key word blast in the Word
– A listing of every possible key word and its
variation inserted into the footer with white text
• THIS is why HR often strips information OUT
of the header and footer sections
Common resume myths:
• Ideal resume length?
• Perfect format?
• Other rules you’ve heard?
Overcoming the Overqualified Trap
• Only list 10-15 years experience unless the job
descriptions consistently request more
• Don’t list college graduation date unless it is within
• Only include high school if no college AND it is
listed as a requirement for the job
Overcoming the Underqualified Trap
• Capitalize on professional development
• Focus only on relevant transferrable skills
• Out-think the computer:
– Instead of “College courses, UCD, 2016-Present”
– Use “Coursework towards a Bachelors in
Computer Science, UCD, pending graduation
Get your cover letter to work for you
• Emphasize your story while researching the
• Convince the manager you can do of 1 of 3
– Make money
– Save money
– Solve problems
Chronological vs. Functional
– Lists work history and education in reverse
– Reduces impact of timeframe by emphasizing
past skills or “functions” of jobs
• OK you were
same thing in
lots of jobs
• Individual jobs
• Often does not
get enough key
A trap in and of themselves
• Frequently used by someone trying to hide
– their age, spotty work history or some other
– When HR people see a functional resume, they
will not take the time to decipher the work
– 75% of hiring managers prefer chronological
(Source: USA Today survey of hiring managers in the US, December 2009)
• Include a healthy skills section to load in key
• Describe work history in a logical manner
• Often considered HYBRIDS
The Laundry List
• A simple list of
duties, skills and
• Logical flow
– Favored by heavy
“duty” jobs: IT,
Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards
303-555-1234 Cell email@example.com
Driven Sales Professional
Highly successful sales professional with talents and experience in regulated industries. A collaborative sales expert,
with the ability to help customers determine the best products for their needs. A specialist in building long-term
customer relationships based on technical expertise, availability and pro-active customer service. As a former Olympic
Athlete, understands how discipline, creativity and attention to detail are crucial to a world-class performance.
• 15+ years of proven Sales results
• Revenue and profit growth above goals
• Proactive customer service and retention
• Accurate forecasting and pipeline management
• Prospecting, cold calling and networking
• Enterprise Software/ Capital Expense Sales
• Consultative sales/ solution selling
• CRM/account documentation through SalesForce,
SalesTrak, SalesLogix and SAP
• Successful complex selling experience
Healthcare Software Solutions 2010 – Present
Business Development Manager
• Built account base through lead generation, prospecting, pipeline development, networking, targeting and
qualification of new opportunities
• Developed and implemented complex sale strategies for selling solutions in the C-suite and at the
department level to ensure internal buy-in
• Worked with clients to identify products that reduce operating costs, improve financial results and increase
XYZ Corporation 2003 – 2010
• Won business at all buying stages from engineering prototypes to volume production.
• Identified new opportunities and develop business analysis and specifications for new products.
• Directed R&D and Production groups in Japan and USA on sales strategy, competitive environment, market
acceptance of products, and other strategic issues.
World-Level Competitive Ski Jumping Coach - Location, CO 1993 - 2001
Teaches jumpers of all levels from ages 5 to 75 in the art and sport of ski jumping. As a former Olympic Athlete
for Great Britain, brings high level of professionalism and insight into the international competitive industry.
• Trained individuals, couples and teams, including athletes competing on a national level
• Represented Britain in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Travel Agent Certification - Bradenton, FL 2008
Manatee Technical Institute - Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Program
• A detailed career
• Key points are
paragraphs on the
– Often favored by
mid- to upper-
555 Stardust Way Olympia Base, Luna 303-555-1234 firstname.lastname@example.org
ersatile professional with record of enhancing clients’ efficiency and
productivity through technology. Effective solutions developer and
tester with experience in all phases of software development lifecycle.
Proficient in quality assurance practices, web applications and database
management systems. Conscientious, analytical, and organized.
Quality Assurance: Functional testing, regression testing, user acceptance testing, test case development,
test execution and defect tracking
Software Development: Web application development, database scripting/querying, object oriented
programming, Client/Server and design patterns
Application Software: Microsoft Test Manager, Team Foundation Server 2012, Visual Studio 2008/2012, MS
Office 2003/2012 and Visio
Databases: Oracle 11G Enterprise Edition, MS SQL Server 2008 R2/2012, Postgres 9.x and MySQL
• Quality Assurance Lead, QSMI. Wrote plan to document company software development quality assurance
policies through all phases of development lifecycle. Authored test plans and cases for user acceptance and
functional testing, executed test cases for functional and regression testing, configured test environments for
functional testing and tracked defects during testing phase prior to implementation and release at client site.
• Designed, Developed and tested web pages for a healthcare services system modernization. Purpose of Agile
project was updating ASP.NET website and SQL Server database design. Automated unit testing of application
objects using Microsoft Test Manager. Used agile methodology while participating in design meetings and
CLASS / SPECIAL CIVILIAN ADVISOR, Colonial Marines (5/2125 – 12/2138)
• System Modernization Designed, developed, and tested ASP.NET pages for a government client’s IT site
modernization effort. Collaborated with other team members in data migration of legacy SQL Server database to
updated site. Created unit tests for class methods using Microsoft automated testing tool.
WARRANT OFFICER, assigned to Nostromo, Weyland-Yutani Corporation (03/2118 - 04/2122)
• Web Service Repository web site, U.S. Air Mobile Command Developed and tested data-driven functionality
through PL/SQL views, procedures, and scripts which provided content for this web application. Tested database
procedures and views with web pages and created database script packages to accompany web application.
Maintained versions for configuration management.
LUNAR UNIVERSITY OF OLYMPIA
Bachelor of Arts: Navigation
KEY SKILLS OFFERED:
Class 2 Rating – Heavy Loaders
Testing & Quality Assurance
• Jobs start with a
• Followed by aspects
– Bulleted points
arranged into sub-
– Favored for complex
123 Paper St, Denver, CO
800-555-1234 | email@example.com
MANAGER OF CUSTOMER CARE/SUPPORT SERVICES
Customer-centric, team focused manager with over 5 years of extensive technology experience, progressive career track, and
broad achievements on behalf of Fortune 500 corporations. Expertise in developing and implementing strategic plans,
reengineering internal systems, leading new continuous improvement initiatives, and managing all types of complex projects.
Recognized as a visionary and influential leader with a talent for creating strong team dynamics that facilitate a collaborative,
productive work environment and make a difference in customers’ lives.
• Team Leadership & Development
• Requirements/Solutions/Business Analysis
• Program/Project Management
• Technical Problem Solving
• Quality Assurance
• Strategic Business Planning & Analysis
• Operations & Organizational Development
• Business Continuance Techniques
• Employee & Client Training
• Continuous Process Improvement (CPI)
Technological Proficiencies: SQL Server 2000 | Oracle | IAS | Apache | UNIX | HTML | HL7 v. 2.2B
Microsoft Operating Systems | Mac and PC Proficiency | Microsoft Office Suite
Large Corporation, General, CO 2010 - Present
Progressively promoted to new positions of increasing responsibility throughout tenure with Large Corporation. Recognized for demonstrating exceptional
control during complex projects.
Technical Support Engineer
Provided high-level support to technical support engineers and healthcare clients for Electronic Medical Record systems in a
HIPAA-controlled environment. Responded to and effectively resolved a high-volume of complex, multi-layered software
issues. Responded to complex technical support questions regarding application or server interfaces.
• Presented effective solutions or recommendations to streamline practices and optimize productivity.
– Improved engineers’ productivity and efficacy more than 15% by developing processes to track retention of
• Rated a top case closer, averaging between 55 and 60 closed cases per month.
• Maintained an average 98% customer satisfaction score by delivering quality client service and assistance.
ALS, Some town, CO 2006 - 2010
Information Technology Team Leader
Created and implemented mission statements for the newly developed production support team. workflow, delegated work
assignments, created metrics to track team and individual performance, and fostered a team-based environment. Developed and
mentored employees, including facilitation of training programs designed to maximize team potential.
• Recruited and retained top talent, including the coordination and leadership of orientation programs.
• Developed, implemented, and maintained technical processes in compliance with SOX standards and regulations.
• Led process and support improvements with application owners, including the creation of internal KPIs, which
subsequently grew the number of systems and applications supported by the team from 4 to 12.
– Implemented Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that yielded a 60% productivity increase.
– Improved internal customer satisfaction scores from less than 30% to more than 90% within two quarters.
Selected coursework in Information Technologies with an Emphasis on Management of Networks / Systems
University of So, Some town, CO
The Good Stuff…
• Relevance and emphasis
• Resume order
• Concise statements
• Achievements vs. scope
• Volunteer experience
• Only highlight parts of your resume that are
the most relevant for the job...
• I don’t care about your speed typing award if you’re
an IT Manager
• Emphasis is shown 2 ways:
– What is listed first carries the most influence
– If your degree was obtained more than 2 years ago, it
should be listed towards the end
– The more you write, the more it means
Different levels of emphasis:
Experienced – 2 pages
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT – SAMPLE RESUME
Address, City, State ZIP – Phone - Email
High power Executive Assistant focused on making your priorities a reality. Proven ability to create top
quality work within strict deadlines. Previous support areas include Executive, Sales, Marketing and
Facility Management. A natural self-starter with the willingness to help wherever needed.
Expert in Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Visio & Excel
Skilled with SharePoint, SalesLogic, Adobe, ResX
Meeting & event coordination for up to 350 guests
International and domestic travel arrangements
Leadership for senior administrative staff
Expert document and report creation
Multi-level calendar management
10+ Years of dedicated Executive Assistant experience
Able to anticipate needs in a variety of situations
Effective interaction with staff of all levels
Exceptional oral & written communication
Adaptable & intelligent problem solver
Office organization and management
Highly organized & detail-oriented
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT 2008- Present
In support of the Vice President
Xxxxx Company – Golden, CO
A diversified energy holding company with two major business groups – Utilities and Non-regulated
Energy. The utility companies serve 750,000 natural gas and electricity customers in a 7 state area.
▪ Provides information management support to the VP of Power Delivery.
▪ Assists with detailed report preparation by collecting and analyzing information.
▪ Conserves executive's time by reading, researching, and routing correspondence; drafting letters and
documents; and coordinating phone calls.
▪ Coordinated logistics for meetings and special events for more than 100 employees, including such
details as catering and/or venue selection.
▪ Served as the database administrator for the company-wide division electronic filing system.
▪ Created and maintained BHC Power Delivery internal website with department administrative
procedures and contracts.
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT 2007- 2008
In support of the Vice President
Xxxx Company – Golden, CO
An international $4 billion producer and supplier of aggregates, concrete products and construction services
to the building material industry.
▪ Assisted the VP with the development of the division’s business plan, including the roll-out of new
sales and marketing strategies, product development and operational improvements for 4
manufacturing plants and 3 distribution outlets.
▪ Created quarterly business review PowerPoint presentations with embedded graphs and tables for
▪ Coordinate monthly Executive Board meetings, including both domestic and international travel and
▪ Developed numerous Excel tracking scorecards to assist General Managers to improve sales quotas,
financial ratios and manufacturing efficiencies.
▪ Served as an interim office manager for one of the locations; improvements to the work flow
process increased on-time customer service by 75%.
Entry level – 1 page
Sample Entry Level Resume
City, State ZIP
Intelligent and resourceful, I enjoy the challenge of making a difference every day, whether that is through helping my co-
workers or by helping the customer. I am ready to dedicate my career to a professional level.
Superior Communication Skills, both oral and written
Proficient in Microsoft Office, including Word and Excel
Advanced Internet Research Skills
Dedicated Team Player and demonstrated Team Leader
Superior problem solving abilities
Answering multiple phone lines
Excellent Customer Service abilities
Over 1 year of office experience
Metropolitan State College of Denver, Denver, CO
English Major Attending Classes: 2008 - Present
XXXXX High School, xxxxx, CO
High School Diploma, Graduated: May 2006
Special Honors: Captain of Debate Team, 2006, Debate Team Member, 2002 – 2005
Recipient of Awards in English
XXXXX, ARVADA, CO, MARCH 2009 — DECEMBER 2009
• Answering multi-lined phones and entering orders in a quick, efficient and timely manner
• Safely prepared and delivered pizzas, pasta, and deserts in a timely and accurate manner
• Responsible for Cashier duties and cash handling without use of register
• Provided excellent customer service, including helping displeased customers and helping to ensure everything was
done right the first time
XXXX, LAKEWOOD, CO, JANUARY 2009—JUNE 2009
CONTRACT EDITOR/ RESEARCH ASISTANT
• Provided grammatical and content editing for 50,000 word non-fiction book using Microsoft Word
• Researched various fiction and non-fiction publishers and magazines, both online and by traditional means
• Data entry and simple database construction using Microsoft Excel
XXXXX, LARKSPUR, CO, SUMMER SEASON 2006 — 2010
SEASONAL POSITION, GAMES AND RIDES
• Worked as a crew member on period-themed games and rides
• Provided customer service to children and adults, creating a fun atmosphere while increasing sales
• Responsible for the safe operation of human-powered rides
• Interacted with customers while maintaining character
• Handled cash and provided security/ theft protection without a register
• Resumes are understood better when the
sentences are simple and to-the-point.
• Read your resume out loud. If you run out of breath
before you finish a sentence, it’s too long!
• A bullet should be no more than 2 lines
• MANY IT professionals fall for
• Achievements do matter
– Pick ones that relate to the target job
– If unrelated, distracts instead of enhance
Achievement vs. Scope
• Trouble thinking of achievements?
• Many IT roles are duty-centric
• Consider scope:
– Use quantifiable metrics:
• Size of job
• Numbers give the full story
– How many clients, what volume of users, number of calls
per day, revenues of the company, size of territory, etc.…
• Rising trend: 1 in 5 hiring managers consider
volunteer experience in their hiring decision
(source: LinkedIn, 2014)
• Helps when transitioning back into workforce
• Reflex format of work history with no duties,
unless holding leadership roles
Junior League of Denver, 2012 - Present
– Events Chair, 2013. Vice President, 2015.
• Never say “Responsible for” again!
• Use action verbs and variety to keep your
“Responsible for processing accounts payable on a weekly basis”
“Accurately processed accounts payable worth over $100k on a weekly
MASTER RESUMES AND MASTER
Do you know what you did where?
Let’s get one thing straight…
• Applications are legal documents
• Resumes are marketing tools
• Application requirements:
– Complete employers’ address
– Employer phone numbers
– Supervisor’s name
– Salary history
– Signature/ authorizations
• Applications = easy to customize
– Pull in as many duties as possible from the job
• Resumes = difficult to customize
– Quick changes cause problems in formatting
– More likely to make mistakes
– Forget the changes made
• The more rare jobs are in your industry….
– The more you need to customize
• A Master Resume lists everything you did…
• Select which accomplishments, duties and
skills matter most
• Resumes tell your story and history
• Use LinkedIn like SEO for your future
• Make EVERYTHING relevant to your target
Networking Group: Brown Bag Job Search Group on Meetup.com
(c) Donna Shannon, 2010, 2013