Is CV/Resume writing really about opinion?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 - curriculum vitae, CV Writing, Job Application, resume writing

Professional CV

David asks: So much of CV/Resume writing is about opinion – what should or should not be on a resume – for IT management, should certain things be or not be on the resume? For example, I have had 9 books published, should I list them? Professional references, should they be listed?

In answer:
So much in CV/Resume writing is about opinion, because its the employing readers opinion IF you have the skills and experiences required to meet the competency requirements of the job/post you are applying for AND could fit into the team and deliver the required results.

Lets start with some basics – your CV/Resume is about your application for a specific job, and hence its a factual sales document. No more, and certainly no less.

Is advice therefore in applying for a new post in actual fact opinion based? No, there are some clear rules as to what does and does not work, and those can be easily learnt – what is more difficult to master are the details of putting that all together into a successful job application – consisting of a Cover Letter and a CV/Resume.

Lets take your case in example:
– No more than 2pages
– Most recruiters/HR people only care about the last five years/three jobs: so summaries only at best before Pitts Consulting Inc. Everything before that is almost irrelevant
– Relevant skills only: so are you actually skilled in all the technologies you list from IMG, at both a management AND an operational/helpdesk level? If yes to the latter, why take the MA in Systems? It certainly wouldn’t fit with the book writing

I dare say you could write a CV/Resume from your skills in four paths (listed from most to least skilled):
– IT systems VP/manager: an advance or at same level opportunity
– a technology consultant/director, in either sports or NFP markets
– IT system operations: a retrograde step
– a technical columnist for a publication

Which one you choose is your choice, but a professional CV/Resume writer could write a good application around any of those areas from the skills you list.

Lets assume you want to focus on IT management, the easiest next role for you to transition to. Since you will be applying to management opportunities, think about leadership roles you took on and what positive result came from your leadership; think about problems you solved and how those positively contributed to the company. Your published books hence may or may not be important information: do they show leadership, industry expertise, etc? If so, use them!

References should never be used on your resume as the people reviewing your resume do not need that information immediately upon application. Use that space to sell the value you offer employers!

Good Luck!

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