Résumés – Are You Lost?

Wikipedia DefinitionA résumé is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. The résumé or CV is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment.

A Curriculum Vitae (loosely translated as course of life) provides an overview of a person’s life and qualifications. It differs from a résumé in that it is appropriate for academic or medical careers and is far more comprehensive. A CV elaborates on education to a greater degree than a résumé. A résumé is tailor-made according to the post applied for. It is job-oriented and goal specific. One of the key characteristics of a proper résumé is conciseness. 

(Definitions pulled from Wikipedia)

Those of you that read my blog know that I have been out of work since September 2008. During this time I have met with or consulted with a variety of professionals: large scale recruiters, boutique recruiters, career coaches, life coaches, outplacement counselors, professional résumé writers, human resource professionals, etc. It is interesting to hear each professional’s take on what the resume format should be.

Here is a short list items that have been said to me – in no particular order:

  1. Keep your resume to 1 page
  2. Keep your resume to 2 pages
  3. Senior executives should summarize on their resume
  4. Use details to convey your accomplishments
  5. Use bullets points
  6. Don’t use bullet points
  7. Use dates sparingly
  8. Use dates where you can
  9. Have a summary statement that is eye catching
  10. Don’t use a summary statement it is out dated
  11. Use tag words to pop up on searches
  12. Don’t use too many buzz words
  13. Quantify and qualify your work experience and its impact to business
  14. Use hard numbers
  15. Don’t use specific numbers
  16. Use more business jargon
  17. Your experiences should be painted in broad strokes
  18. Be creative
  19. Take chances
  20. Resumes should convey “Shock and Awe” (This is my favorite)

See what I mean? It is confusing. I have revamped (totally overhauled) my resume several times based on the advice I was given. Honestly, while I have been around for sometime and have years of experience under my belt there are only so many ways to say something.

With millions of Americans out of work and the only thing to represent you is an 8-1/2 x 11 piece of papyrus, what should the resume format and message be? If the professionals cannot come to a consensus, how is the average Joe/Jane suppose to know?

Is the resume out-dated in these times?

Networking 101 – Tips To Work A Room

So I have been attending various networking events around the tri-state area-events that specifically cater to senior IT executives.

I was a little apprehensive to attend functions like this because I really did not see the value for myself. Can a room full of other out-of-work IT executives provide any good leads? We are all looking for the same type of job. If anything, this is my competition. Why would anyone help the competition? But I digress….

People would come up to me and recite their resume – their elevator pitch. I have to be honest, I am not good with names and I am definitely not good remembering the intricacies of your last job. I am, however, good at remembering trivial details about a person. I think most people are good at that.

Here are a couple of points to consider when you are planning to attend a networking event:

  1. What are you trying to get out of the event? Is it knowledge transfer, critique of you resume, making contacts? Go in with a game plan.
  2. Don’t regurgitate your résumé to people. Honestly, the people I remembered the most were the ones that just talked about themselves, not the ones that spoke about managing a global ERP implementation. It makes it easier to remember you in a room full of other people that have also done ERP implementations. Know your audience.
  3. Be yourself. Not your last job.
  4. Be happy. You are in a room with other people out-of-work. It makes no sense to cry about your situation. Everyone is going through similar or worst ordeals in this economy.
  5. Carry some business cards. Go to Kinkos (or FedEx Office – whatever they are calling themselves these days) and make 100 business cards for $30 and put your information on it and hand them out to people as you talk to them. A business card still goes a long way. Have fun with it be a little creative. And do not forget to add your LinkedIn profile address and blog.

I would like to hear stories from you about the networking events you attend and any tips you may have.

Happy networking…

12 Secrets To Finding a Job in a Down Economy

Yesterday I attend my first TENG meeting. The Technology Executives Networking Group. LLC (TENG) http://www.theteng.org. TENG is a great group with various chapters across the country.

 Last night they had 3 speakers come to discuss recruiting and how best to market oneself.

Let me paraphrase some of what was said:

  1. Senior executives should not post their resumes on free sites like Dice, Monster. There are unscrupulous recruiters out there who will use your resume without you approving.
  2. LinkedIn should be used wisely and discretionarily. Do not add contacts for the sake of adding contacts.
  3. Keep your resume to one page (page and a half max). Senior executives by their very nature should be able to summarize information including their career history. This forces you to remove the fluff and keep your information current. Who cares if you interned at Company XYZ in your senior year of college. Other senior executives will be reviewing your resume. Their time is precious. 
  4. Your resume should be treated like a first date. Only provide enough information to get a second date. Anymore and you have the possibility of scaring of the other person.
  5. If you have been working for sometime, it is not necessary to provide college information. Use this space for details about your current position. Again, who cares about your GPA 15+ years ago. You are a senior executive with proven experience.
  6. Create an eye catching summary statement. You are selling yourself. SO SELL YOURSELF!
  7. Be creative. In this market, you have to stand out from the pack.
  8. Stay in contact with your network. Send periodic updates to them.
  9. Be wary of recruiters that cold call you.  They are just trolling for information or mining you.
  10. Job postings on web sites usually mean the position has been filled. Very few senior executives get jobs via free websites. They get them through senior recruiters and networking.
  11. Build relationships with some recruiters. Have a handful of recruiter names in your rolodex that you have met you and know your skill-set and experience.
  12. Take chances. In a down economy, those that take risks get big rewards. You have nothing to loose.

From Architect To CIO

I was born on March 31, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. My father was an avionics engineer in the U.S. Army and my mother was a nurse. I grew up in a middle class family. Both parents were born in Trinidad. My grandparents were born in India. Where exactly has been lost. We were indentured servants brought to the Caribbean to harvest sugar cane and have been there since. We have no ties to India.

My father served in Vietnam; one of a handful of Hindus that served. He is American through and through. My mother was trained in England and is also an American. So I am first generation American along with my younger brother.

We moved from Brooklyn to upstate New York when I was 4. My father’s unit was transferred, so the whole moved for a better life. I started school and was one of a few minorities in elementary school.

In high school I discovered industrial drafting and fell in love with it. From there I started taking architectural drafting classes. When my senior year rolled around and the time came to figure out where and what I was going to study I knew I wanted to study architecture.

Architecture like any other sophisticated practice has many sub disciplines i.e. medicine or law. I decided I wanted to be a designer and focused my efforts on understanding the concepts of solid and void and circulation-all concepts which are important to a successful building. Along with this understanding, any design student must learn how to present, project management, engineering, interior design, and history. I graduated and started working immediately as a draftsman/designer.

Like any graduate, I had big dreams to one day design the next famous building. However, I quickly learned that one has to pay bills. I learned that architects do not make huge salaries and work on smaller scale projects. When I graduated there were very projects where there was mass building. Most of the buildings being built were going up in Asia.

I joined a small firm that was specializing in network implementations in architectural, engineering, and construction firms. They needed someone with an architectural background to help transition these firms to CAD and computer networks. This is how I got involved in computers, networks, and data management. It was great. I learned how to repair computers and printers, how to set up networks, how to transition a firm from paper base processing to electronic processing. I was able to leverage my education and make money doing it.

Then in 1997 I joined a financial firm on Park Avenue. Not knowing anything about banking or financial services. This firm was a subsidiary that specialized in middle/large ticket leasing and offered specialized finance to corporate customers. They wanted someone to come onboard and help manage and grow their technology and help move from a paper base process to electronic. So I joined. I was a one man show. I did it all: building servers, racking them, backups, antivirus, email, etc. I was all hands on. I had designed and built a stable network with capacity to grow as business grew. Management loved it. They had a stable infrastructure that allowed them do conduct business. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week I worked and I loved it.

Business started growing and there was a demand for more sophisticated systems: general ledger, accounting, market data, firewalls, disaster recovery sites. So I had to hire more staff to meet demand. Eleven plus years later, I had managed a successful IT operation that had weathered: Y2K, 9-11, blackouts, datacenter outages, upsizing and downsizing, a merger, branch office build out in London, increased regulatory process, and all the intricacies that come along with managing and IT department in a global organization.

So this is my story about how I went from building buildings to building networks.