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Someone working in an IT-field has advised a close friend of mine that in the IT field, the longer the resume is, the better it is. My friend has business and management experience, but no IT experience.

I'm not in IT and haven't seen many IT resumes. But this advice seems very misguided and runs counter to everything I've ever heard/read about writing a good resume.

I think it also runs counter to what my friend thinks . . . but he trusts this guy on all things related to IT careers. Primarily because he knows that he doesn't know any better.

[b]Questions:[/b]
-- I'm assuming that the "long resume is a good resume in IT" is bad advice. Correct? (thoughts from IT managers or recruiters?)

-- Other than pointing my friend to the resume cast, is there any other advice I should offer him?

Thanks much!

Mark's picture

IT resumes need not be any longer. PERIOD. Your friend's friend is just plain wrong.

I'll be blogging about this in the near term, as several people have asked me about it.

One page.

Mark

dbeene's picture

Thanks Mark. I figured that I already knew what the best answer was here. I just don't know how to counter what my friend clearly believes to be an expert opinion.

I do think this other guy is an expert on technical matters. But I doubt his "expertise" on hiring & managerial matters. He's probably working from a "my long resume worked for me" perspective.

I'll probably start with pointing my friend to the resume cast . . . and go from there.

Thanks again...
Donnie

billramo's picture

Hi Mark,
I've applied your advice and have a decent one page resume for my 26 year career. I just got through reading John Lucht's book - Rites of Passage - and he makes a compelling argument as to why more would be better for the resume. Can you share your insights as to when more would be better?
Thanx,
Bill

Mark's picture

I've been trying to find my previous post on this topic, which I remember as being quite detailed... but it must have been in a dream (ahhh, of course it was a dream, because it was really quite good!).

The bottom line here is that Lucht's approach only applies to more senior executives, at the VP, SVP, EVP level. I don't see this as working for Directors.

Of course, there are all kinds of subtleties that could apply. But I'm nearly 50, graduated from college 25 years ago, and only have a one page resume.

Mark

billramo's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]
The bottom line here is that Lucht's approach only applies to more senior executives, at the VP, SVP, EVP level. I don't see this as working for Directors.
[/quote]

Hi Mark,
This makes perfect sense in the context of an "exec". I couldn't imagine coming up with the "story" approach to the accomplishments that I've made. I can imagine applying the technique for my annual review.
Thanx,
Bill

jprlopez's picture

Hi Mark,

still related to IT resumes and one pagers.

Spending around 10 years in the IT industry, I currently maintain two resumes, a detailed 11 pager with all the projects outlined and a two-pager.
(yep, still trying to cut it down to 1, page 5 organizations 3-4 bullets fills up the first and the specific IT skills, academic and prof certs on 2nd)

Dealing with executive recruiters, a few would ask for the 11 pager after getting the two page one and send 11-page version to the employer. My gut tells me that i'm being used as cannon fodder.

Any thoughts on this?

btw, feel free to feedback if this is way off the original topic context

Joseph

Mark's picture

Joseph-

No feedback here. It's public, and in writing, two no-nos. :wink:

ONE PAGE. There is no one who has 10 years experience who is justified with a whole second page of certifications.

Let me put this differently: you are selling the wrong thing. They are not paying for your classwork, certifications or not. They are paying for your ability to accomplish results.

I wouldn't mention or send the 11 pager, either. Some recruiter is teaching some other recruiter what to look for.

Your resume is supposed to get you an interview. PERIOD. The 11 pager is what you communicate in an interview.

Mark

cincibuckeyenut's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]Joseph-

No feedback here. It's public, and in writing, two no-nos. :wink:

ONE PAGE. There is no one who has 10 years experience who is justified with a whole second page of certifications.

Let me put this differently: you are selling the wrong thing. They are not paying for your classwork, certifications or not. They are paying for your ability to accomplish results.

I wouldn't mention or send the 11 pager, either. Some recruiter is teaching some other recruiter what to look for.

Your resume is supposed to get you an interview. PERIOD. The 11 pager is what you communicate in an interview.

Mark[/quote]

Actually I think Mark makes a great point here. Everyone should have that 11 page resume. It should be what you pull from and customize pieces from each time to make up the one pager. And it should be all the background and basis for the interview discussion. He says as much in some other discussions about resumes when he talks about keeping the running resume every qtr.

Mark's picture

What he said.

Mark

jprlopez's picture

Thanks Mark and cincibuckeyenut

Great nuggets of advice.

[quote="mahorstman"]
Let me put this differently: you are selling the wrong thing. They are not paying for your classwork, certifications or not. They are paying for your ability to accomplish results.
[/quote]

:lol: point well taken
-- have to admit in my old version which didn't carry certs, only very few recruiters/employers even asked about them. Just me trying to cram in as much information as possible. :)

[quote="mahorstman"]
I wouldn't mention or send the 11 pager, either. Some recruiter is teaching some other recruiter what to look for.
[/quote]

On hindsight, I think part of it is related to "bad" habits in screening interviews.

Such that when a recruiter asks if I can provide a more detailed resume outlining the projects I've handled, I readily cough up the 11 pager.

So its very clear, IT resumes, no exception, 1 page

Thanks again
Joseph

Mark's picture

Well done you! Glad we could help.

Next step, a mental exercise: What does that 11 page resume teach you about yourself? What are the themes? WHO ARE YOU and WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT?

Because:

What's worse?

Losing an offer because you acted how you "thought" they wanted you to, only to discover that you would have gotten it had you been true to yourself,

OR:

Getting an offer because you played the game, only to discover that you're not a fit in the job after you've taken it?

NOW we start talking not interviewing, not resumes... NOW we start talking career substance, and making a real difference.

There's career skills, and then there are CAREER skills...

Mark

cincibuckeyenut's picture

I just switched jobs within the same company, and as part of that, I incorporated this concept into an exercise I did. We do annual work plans and I had previously done a 3 month review of results based on some of the MT teachings, but basically that was strictly did I do what was on my work plan. More of tracking what I accomplished kind of like that 11 page resume.

This go around, I actually got a sample I loved that I incorporated into my 6 month review of results. A format that really highlighted what did you plan to do, what were the real results (in a meaningful quantified way wherever possible) and what were my unique contributions to the results. Talk about hard. That was a tough document to think through and write. Took me about 4 hours to get it good enough to show a first draft to someone, but I was thrilled with the results. The power of reading that vs what I had put in front of people before? Night and day. It is incredible the difference.

As a project manager, it is much easier to put things in tasks and items accomplished than in results. But having those results on there really made it sing. And I felt like those results (coupled with actually applying some of the MT teachings to my day to day work) were better than any of my peers and better than I had ever done in the past over a whole year, much less in just 6 short months.

Folks, if you are in any way, shape or form skeptical about the MT teachings, this stuff REALLY works and works well. I have personally just touched on the tip of the iceberg and the difference is astonishing and has been noticed by everyone I work with. I wish I was better at application. I am much better at teaching others than I am doing myself. But that is going to be part of my new year's resolution, to apply MT to my work every single day.

cincibuckeyenut's picture

Wow, sorry for the complete veer way off topic there. :)

To get back on topic, good luck trimming that resume down to one page.

Mark's picture

Thanks Mike. Glad you're seeing the value.

I think for many, the value eludes them until they have some early success, and then after they start trying more things, they gradually realize that they are changing how they see - and therefore how they feel about - their jobs.

For many, too, there are few rewards from the organization, and sometimes just the opposite.

Keep us posted!

Mark

pneuhardt's picture

I suddenly feel so inadequate. Not only did it take me hours and hours to get my resume to a single page (and I'm still not happy with it, but that is a matter of the contents and not the length) but after a fairly successful 22 year career I only started off with a 4-pager to begin with. 11 pages? Holy cow!!!!! I feel like suck a piker now!

On a serious note, I do still maintain my old 4 page resume as well, but it is now formatted in a Curriculum Vitae style and I intend to use it as a career history and interview study guide and not as a resume for presentation.

11 pages... wow.

dennisstinissen's picture

I believe that is exactly what Mark is suggesting in the podcast 'Your Resume stinks'.

You should maintain your resume with all experience you had in your career and when you are about to use your resume for a job interview you should select the experience relevant to stand out for the interview.

jprlopez's picture

sorry took a while for me to get back to this topic and again with the indulgence of Donnie... short story, I've trimmed down my resume to one page (but still fine-tuning).

Mike, the scenario you throwed at us is tough. Personally I would see myself regretting being in the latter scenario.

Paul, don't feel bad about the 11-pager, I was just lucky to be in outsourcing organizations that deliver projects at an excellent clip but very stressful environment.

sambahat's picture

I understand that most if not all of the topics covered here (forums, podcasts, blogs) apply to all fields of management, but I can't help but think that this piece of advice needs to be emphasized to those in the Information Technology industry.

I am in that industry and have been raised from birth (so to speak) to attach value to the number of technical skills, certifications, other similar quantitative lists. To me, it became a "Who ever has the most toys wins" type of game.

And this translated into resumes. My peers and I tried to pack as much as we could into a resume. We all "knew" that a resume shouldn't be too long just like a teenager "knows" he or she shouldn't blast the radio too loud... but the person with the loudest tunes (longest, most technical resume) was the best.

Since one will find a higher number of "rule followers" (those are the high C's, right?) in the IT industry, I believe this one piece of sage advice will help the most: One page and that's it.

Whoa... Now I have to really think about what I've done. And you know what? It wasn't as much as I had thought. Sure I had performed lots of technical feats and could impress my peers with a deep knowledge of technology, but to express it as career accomplishments that have helped the business?

Now I GET it. Not only did it force me to rethink what I've done, but I've refocused on the true goals of my career [u]and[/u] on the well-being of my employer.

I haven't been in management long enough to be considered wise or even good, but if one of my peers in IT came to me and asked what it takes to get into management, I would tell that person that the first thing to do is create a one page resume.

Most will laugh and stick to their mutli-page resume. That's OK. It's less competition.

douglase's picture

Ok... well, I am a manager in the IT industry. I have been doing a significant amount of the recruiting for my help desk over the past 5 or so years. Up until recently we had to have a resume submitted with a series of written responses to selection criteria (read 500 word essay explaining how you meet each criteria). This is government btw. So I am kinda used to longwinded painful recruitment processes (as required by policy).

About a year ago we changed government wide the process and now we no longer have to write to the selection criteria. Now people have to submit a resume that shows how their experience matches up to the duties and role of the position.

The resumes are huge, people are not adjusting well. I cut mine down to three pages with a forth for my reference check info. I considered going shorter, but I know that a large number of the recruiters in government aren't used to seeing short resumes anymore.

Now. From me recruiting you point of view.. it goes like this. I would love to see a one pager outlining some of your acheivements etc. In our job descriptions we normally show what skills sets are required and some that are desirable. Show that. I would prefer to see a seperate bit of paper with the technical history. This is mainly because about half of the IT techs I deal with have insuffucient writting skills.

Regards
Douglas.

crrowland's picture

My preference is to receive a one page, no more than two page, resume. It is typical to receive 4 to 5 page resumes. I like a nice tidy format with good white space too. My boss, the CISO, prefers 4 to 5 page resumes. He sleeps on a bed of nails and chews coffee grounds too.

Nothing like an ambiguous answer.

(I keep the "11 pager" and 1/2 pager updated.)

Cheers,
CR

Mark's picture

All-

One page.

The issue is verbosity and failure to customize (versus the kitchen sink), not length.

ONE PAGE. :D

Mark

zenzeninbox's picture

Hi,

I completely agree that FOR A HUMAN READER a 1 page resume as detailed in podcast and the sample at http://www.manager-tools.com/sample-resume is best , as when I was re-reading my resume I got to the bottom of page 1 and thought that was enough reading..

BUT BUT BUT what about for AUTOMATED RESUME SYSTEMS, it seems to me that if it is searching through texts, that additional detail would be better? I know they have different ways of creating the "score" but a shortened 1 page human optimized resume might get completely ignored. Sure if I was head of sales for coca cola and added increased sales by 1% I could have a half page resume and look like a superstar. It can be quite difficult for IT resumes to convey a depth of experience without having all of the technologies that I've used in the past listed.

A possible solution - A human readable Page 1, with additional detail keyword pages afterwards?
Or does it come down to customizing for each position applied for.

 

PS I found an excellent article about how to lay out for electronic systems from one of the companies that make the software
http://sovren.com/faq/TipsForElectronicResumes.pdf

mattpalmer's picture

This came up a few days ago (http://manager-tools.com/forums-7522).  I'd recommend heading over there to soak up the opinions given.