See the Business Value in Your Technical Resume

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By Jennifer L. Hay

The vast majority of technical resumes that I see, lead with the technology and technical activities, and don’t describe how the business benefited. IT professionals describe their work in such generic terms that it could apply to many other people. This happens because IT professionals are more comfortable with the technology aspect and less so with the business value proposition. Their technical resumes are just too technical.

The standard IT resume is dry and boring. It describes the end result – basically what was implemented. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of people apply for the same position and have made similar sounding implementations. How are you going to convince the hiring manager or recruiter that your experience is superior to others?

When people submit their resume for an open position, they are surprised when their resume doesn’t result in interviews. After all, that is how they wrote their IT resume in the past and they had always gotten the interviews they wanted. The fact is that there are many jobs available, but it more competitive than ever before. It is simply not enough to focus primarily on the technology.

Most IT professionals try to try to talk about business value by describing how their work saved the company money.  While this is important, it is only one aspect of the value they provide. In today’s rapidly evolving marketplaces, often the greatest stories are about the creation of business capabilities. Allowing the company to do something that wasn’t previously possible.

Throughout my career writing technical resumes I have often found that a project becomes much more interesting with some context about the issues that the person faced. The good news is that IT has some of the most interesting challenges. Mergers and acquisitions? Tight deadlines? The continuous evolution of software features and functionality?  The list goes on and on. These are the things that need to be in your technical resume.

Does your resume look like the following? If so, its time for a dramatic change. These statements are primarily about the technology and technical practices. There is little about the business context and the value to the organization.

  • Enterprise Administrator for 6 domains, 10,000+ clients and 1200+ servers
  • Designed and implemented migration to Microsoft End Point Manager.
    • Replaced antivirus and software update processes company wide.
    • Implemented a proactive software standardization design for clients replacing reactive solution.
  • Created documentation and guidelines to ensure systems support.
  • GPO creation and maintenance in multiple domains.
  • Assisted in companywide WSUS, and Symantec EP rollout. Later replaced both processes with newer technology.
  • Lead – Windows Standard Desktop project. Tasks included: creating images, task sequences, software packages, driver packages, scripts, collections, advertisements, language packs, site settings, and GPOs.
  • Configured Global BDD server, created company Standard Image, defined distribution methods for global Standard image rollout.
  • Integrated 5 sites into the global company domain.
  • Integrated 1 site into domain and standardized all local client machines

Start thinking, not just about the end result, but also the journey you took to get to that result. Look below to see how dramatic the change can be.

  • Led a 6-member team in a Windows desktop project to globally standardize a very diverse environment, across 6 companies and ~200 locations. Provided CIO with reports to prepare for the complex rollout.
    • Compared all processes and technologies for compatibility remediation. Assessed the environment and documented the current state.
    • Worked with business stakeholders to define the requirements and the project plan. Determined the method to replicate content.
  • Automated the top 300 application installations and computer OS installations, reducing administrator tasks by over 10,000 installations a year and standardizing for a uniform user experience and a global support model.
  • Deployed a standardized environment (server hardware, desktops, operating systems, software, and configuration) enterprise wide. Established policies, documentation, and guidelines to ensure consistent systems support.
  • As Lead Architect and primary technical admin for a server standardization project, met an extremely tight deadline for the “on time” roll out of Microsoft Endpoint Manager to replace a chaotic, non-standardized environment. Overcame challenges of multiple, high priority project demands that initially put the project 5 months behind schedule.
    • Delivered a one-server model for all sites, under budget, using a high level of automation with remote connections and configurations and minimal resources. Eliminated 90% of ongoing issues.
    • Built the environment, defined rollout schedule, and replaced antivirus and patch management systems, while also saving $200,000 in licensing costs.
    • Wrote extensive documentation to ensure ongoing standardization over time, including “how to” use the automated process and console, setup computers, and install applications.

Summary

Make your project stories more compelling so you can draw the reader into your resume. Yes, you will still need to include the technical details, but also think about your project journey. Here is just a sample of the types of questions you can ask yourself.

  • Have you turned around a challenging project that was struggling to meet deliverables?
  • Did you take on expanded responsibilities that are not reflected in your current job title?
  • Did you lead a modernization effort that stabilized a fragile and at-risk environment?

About Jennifer Hay

I’ve been writing technical resumes and advising on career transitions for almost 15 years.

Throughout that time, I’ve read numerous articles about best practices for IT resume writing. What I found in those articles is a lot of bad information because it’s the same advice they give for non-technical professionals. This is important because IT resumes are different.

I built this website to share what I’ve learned in my career. I think you’ll find information on this website that will help make your IT resume a success.

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