The career development to management

Thursday, July 24th, 2008 - CV Writing


This is a common situation these days, and one which is ages old – the career development to management. In present career paths, the average person will change careers four times – but this career development has been happening from the beginning of time. So, here’s a typical question on career development into management….

Mike asks: How can I format my resume to emphasize several leadership roles I’ve taken on in my past positions, even if my official title is one of an individual contributor? I’ve worked as an engineer in the information technology function for over fifteen years and I’m interested in making the change to a management role. My past position titles all are some version of software engineer or applications developer. So, many recruiters send me jobs that are of the same individual contributor type, even though I’ve recently completed an MBA degree and am looking for management positions. I have much experience leading teams and projects, but this wouldn’t be evident by just looking at my past titles. How can I emphasize this experience so the recruiters will send the types of jobs I am really interested in?

In answer:
Easy one to answer – I did the same thing myself, although I can give you a bit more insight these days.

You are a software engineer, and as you would expect, we in the recruitment industry use software to manage our dBases of candidates. So, I have a client who needs core skills A, B and C, so after skimming my head for the current candidates/those who are looking for a career change, I search my dBase for those skills and up pop the basic search candidates. I am in recruitment to make money, so if those skills are in your CV/Resume, you’ll pop up in my search of the dBase.

Now, here’s the problem for career changers. If you are in the mind and dBase of a recuiter as an X, then you are unlikely to jump to becoming a Z if in both their heads and their CV dBase you are filed as an X. Hence why they keep sending you the wrong job.

So, here’s what to do. Get a friend – women are better at this than men – and get them to read the first page of your CV/Resume. Ask them to decide whether you are a manager or a software writer – because its that first page which dictates where afterwards the average reader will file you, and the average software system also.

I’d suggest from that exercise (get at least three people to do the same thing), you need to do two things. Firstly, rewrite your resume emphasising your managerial skills over your software skills – that will be tough for you to do, so in such cases it is often worth employing a CV/Resume writing professional. Secondly, register with a select few new recruitment and head hunting companies, emphasising your outright managerial aspirations. The moment they or any of your existing recruiter contacts send you a software job, kindly point out your new desires – if they do it a second time, ask to be removed completely from their dBase system, and explain your reasons. They may ask for a third chance, but I bet if they contact you it will be about a software job!

This is something I address regularly, and what the candidate needs to do is recognise why they keep getting sent particular opportunities, and work with professionals (and dBases) which recognise their new aspirations.

If I can help further, please just ask – and Good Luck!

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