Problems-Solutions-Results: Is PSR Part of Your IT Resume Portfolio?

Posted on January 9, 2014. Filed under: Job Search Tips, Resumes | Tags: |

IT resumeHere’s the story of two IT directors. Both were engaged with medium-size operations, and both had 15+ years of experience building, launching, and maintaining/transforming IT organizations. And both spent about 6 months putting feelers out conducting a job search. Although they live in two different areas of the country, on paper, at least, they were comparable.

But only one of them had success, while the other was left wondering what went wrong.

Although there are a variety of factors involved with any search, in this particular case, the IT director who successfully landed a new position had something in his arsenal that made a big impact in each and every interview he engaged in: a PSR page.


Traditionally, IT and technical resumes have followed a chronological format, and by and large, they should continue to do so. However, poor hiring practices combined with a flood of potential candidates are making it difficult for companies to differentiate good talent from bad. A PSR page as an addendum to your chronological resume can help do just that.

Simply stated, a PSR page (emphasis here on page singular, not pages plural; keep it pithy!) should highlight two or three of the most complex projects you have worked on, providing an overview of the problem, the solutions you employed to resolve it, and the quantifiable results of your efforts (saved $X or X downtime, etc.).

The idea here is that you are showing two things: 1) how you problem solve and 2) that you recognize your work in IT as a strategic business partner, transforming and enhancing business operations.

For the successful IT director, this approach had a big impact because he was able to go beyond just listing credentials and he was separating himself out from the herd by showcasing the scope and complexity of the work he had done.

So  if you haven’t considered putting together a PSR page, you should. It just might make the difference.

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Is Your IT Resume Ready to Face the Tech Talent War?

Posted on December 27, 2013. Filed under: Job Market Trends, Job Search Tips, Personal Branding, Resumes | Tags: , , |

technical resumeAs we charge ahead into 2014, gone are the days when we would argue over whether a war for tech talent really existed. Now, it seems, the general consensus is that this war is very much alive and well and that it will only escalate as we move into the second half of the decade.

Unfortunately, that is generally where the agreement ends.

For although there seems to be a lot of talk about this war, you will find (as in most wars) a lot of confusion about what caused it and even less understanding about how to resolve it (but instead a whole lot of finger-pointing). Oddly enough, despite the cry for more strategic visioning on the part of tech candidates, there seems to be a severe lack of it on the hiring side as well.

If you scour long and hard enough, you can find all kinds of statistics, like how few people are graduating with computer science degrees and how current tech professionals are looking for corporate wonderlands. You will see calls for better hiring practices and for corporations to step up their benefits and “fun” meters.

You also will see blame placed at the foot of universities that haven’t adapted to the changing marketplace fast enough and at the foot of cultural dynamics because more women aren’t taking up technical careers. High schools are blamed for poor curriculum in the math and sciences, and U.S. parents are blamed for not encouraging their kids to focus on tech careers more.

As if that isn’t enough, we also have industry execs putting forth clarion calls for techie MBAs and companies filled with staff who all understand computer code (just enough to be dangerous) from the marketing department to the CEO. In other words, techies need to speak less Geek, while non-techies need to speak more of it [so they “in theory” can meet in the middle]. IT as a service provider is out (at least “in theory”), and IT as a strategic business partner is in (at least “in theory”).

In the meantime, while all this pontificating is going around, real, live tech candidates are wondering just what to do with their IT resumes.

Here are some tips for positioning your resume to meet the demands of this tech talent war:

  • Show, don’t tell, that you are a team player. And by “team player,” I mean successful in collaborating across business segments. Highlight experience that showcases instances of where you collaborated with various company operations and used your knowledge base to improve on those operations, not just to fix computer problems.
  • Don’t run away from service provider skills, but show that you are agile enough to use them in a strategic way. It’s great you can put the fire out, but what can you do with these skills to resolve the needs of business? Again, IT as a strategic business partner is hot right now. So you need to play along, and your resume should show that you have and will continue to do so.
  • Recognize that metrics matter…to leadership…if not to you. Often those with highly technical skills don’t track and give as much weight to the quantifiable results of their work. Instead, they would rather focus on how they accomplished such and such miracle. The problem is that leadership likes to communicate results, not necessarily the nitty-gritty. So candidates need to show both, the measurable results as well as the know-how.
  • Be forward-thinking. Companies don’t just want to know what you’ve done but how you will take that knowledge and use it to better their environments. So be innovative. Brainstorm ahead of time some ideas for improving business operations and prepare an “innovation” page that showcases those ideas.
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IT Resume Tips: IT Candidates Need to Highlight Team Experience

Posted on September 12, 2012. Filed under: CIO, Personal Branding, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

IT Team Environments

The business landscape has changed dramatically for IT over the past few years. The days of IT folks or departments operating in a vacuum are gone, never to return. Although this is a good development for business as a whole, it has required a change to the way IT works.

IT professionals must have the ability to directly engage business leaders, users, and process owners. This direct interaction is designed to eliminate the gaps in communicating needs and requirements that have plagued the business in the past.

The IT Resume

IT candidates must be able to communicate their ability to work well in collaborative team environments on the resume. Employers and recruiters today expect IT professionals to possess this skill. But simply stating that you’re a “team player” is not good enough. Everyone says that. They want the candidate to prove it in the meat of the resume.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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