This month we tackle a project manager resume in our makeover. The makeover is done by Stephen Van Vreede, the Solutions Architect for ITtechExec.com. Stephen has 10 years' experience as a career-branding strategist/resume writer. He also has eight years of corporate management experience, where he oversaw a large-scale, blended inbound and outbound call center with operational sites and virtual agents in the United States and India for a GE Capital company.
Here are Stephen's comments on the changes he made. (You can click here to download the before and after versions of the resume makeover.)
1. John provided little, if any, information in the profile or summary section at the top of the old resume to quickly capture the attention of the hiring director. In the resume makeover, you will notice three distinct areas in which the profile was strengthened considerably:
- I added a high-level "brand" or "value" statement directly underneath the IT Project Manager objective header. This one line of text quickly and clearly communicates the way that Jim can influence the organization as an IT Project Manager, by transforming operations, helping to fuel revenue growth, and bridging the gap between business, finance, and IT.
- The second improvement to the profile was communicating some of Jim's most important "soft skills" in a way that makes them leap off the page.
- Finally, I tied it all together by listing some specific examples in which John's activities as an IT Project Manager brought value to the companies he worked for. I used examples that could be implemented by and benefit any organization.
2. I got rid of the "death by bullets" approach that is common to so many resumes. Death by bullets simply means that a bullet point is used to communicate every thought. People do like to review bullets because they are typically brief and easy to read. However, when everything has a bullet, the reader doesn't know where to start. With up to only 30 seconds or so to pique the interest of your audience, that's not a good thing. You want to steer them to the information you want them to know and remember most about you. So I listed the basic day-to-day job duties in paragraph text to reserve the use of bullets for John's achievements.
3. The old resume didn't really tell the reader how John's work helped the company. In the few places a benefit was mentioned, it was stuffed at the end of a long sentence or paragraph. With the resume makeover, the bullets were shortened and the benefit was moved to the beginning of the statement to stand out better. For cases in which there were several thoughts to communicate, I added sub-bullets to break the statements down into more manageable entries, as once you go beyond three lines of text, the bullet point becomes a paragraph of its own.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.