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CIO resume reactions: Is there a right way?

Recruiters, consultants and former IT execs weigh in on the CIO resume debate.

Our recent article "CIO resumé advice: Keep it simple," by Senior News Writer Linda Tucci, struck a chord with many of our readers. Here's what some readers had to say:

Sound-bite society

It is a sad day when a key resource cannot be spared the time of a four-page resumé. No wonder companies are consistently making bad choices. It may be today's reality, but it doesn't make it right or best practice.

I have been in IT for 40 years and have run my own IT consultancy for 25 years. If I am looking for good people, I make sure myself and my team spend lots of time looking for the right people. And if that means wading through four- to six-page resumés, so be it.

We have become a sound-bite society, and we are not better for it. Putting effort and time into any tasks brings its own rewards.

-- Glenn B. Draper, ISP, PMP
Influence Business Systems Inc.

Tell a compelling story

I've been a recruiter/search guy for 11 years in NYC, with Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry and now with my modest firm.

In general, resumés are really pretty bad. What it boils down to is this: people tend to present a required "book report about their career" in a resumé … and it comes across as cold and unsatisfying to the reader. The issue of two and a half pages to four pages isn't the main point. Here's what is critical:

People preparing materials about themselves need to think about presenting a sales pitch centered on what they deliver to organizations. The first slide? "At the end of the day, here are the three most important contributions that this person makes to an organization like yours. Bullet, bullet, bullet."

What comes on the next slide? A story that fleshes out that bullet: "What I'd like to do it tell you a story about the first bullet (let's say, finding ways to save 32% off the IT budget after I've been on the job for a year. Let me tell you a story: The situation was … ; My task that I took on was ... ; Here's what my team and I did (the observable actions) … ; And, in the end, here are the results … (in terms important to the people in the target organization)."

This ability to present a compelling and engaging story about yourself -- and then capture it in the body of text called a resumé determines whether someone has a viable sales pitch … and, in the end, a viable reason to compel others to talk with them about a role.

So the length of the resumé is interesting, but it's the emotional power and the compelling stories that determine if a hiring manager:
1. gets engaged, and;
2. is interested enough to "take it to the next step."

Thanks for putting out this great article!

-- Jack H. Cage, Ph.D
Cage Talent

Job continuity

Just a couple of comments about yet another interesting story. First, short resumés are fine if you are going to be CIO of a large firm. However, smaller firms are more particular. They want to see that you have experience in particular technologies. They want to see your expertise reflected as they look at your history. Leaving out this information can work to your detriment.

Also, one thing that was not mentioned in this article is the difficulty of showing continuity in employment in today's cost-cutting environment. In my case I left three of my last four jobs because of reorganizations that eliminated my position. The advice I have gotten from placement firms was "don't worry about it; recruiters are used to seeing this and it doesn't reflect badly on you." However, if recruiters are looking for continuity, as some quoted in your article suggest, many of us may have a hard time showing it through no fault of our own. If you have a resumé like mine that has a lot of this, you may want to mention your reasons for leaving a particular position.

-- David Pinkard
Pinkard Consulting LLC

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