If you google “IT manager resume template”, you’ll find a lot of resume models filled with roles and responsibilities such as:
- Oversaw support of all VMWare, Linux, UNIX, EMC SAN, Cisco Nexus, Oracle and SQL applications.
- Built an onsite/offshore QA/performance team to enable round-the-clock support for releases testing.
- Negotiated and managed SaaS contracts including Microsoft Office 365.
- Partnered with executive peers to create IT three-year strategic plan and budget, which included capital project and ongoing expenses.
- Introduced performance checklist, test plan, strategy and results templates.
That seems about right, no?
But there’s a problem. A huge problem, actually. Think of the IT managers that you know. How many of them have done similar things? Probably most of them. Because that’s pretty much what that job is all about. There are differences here and there, but roles and responsibilities will often overlap. So if your resume is very close to a typical “IT manager resume template”, how is that helping you get interviews? After all, the best resumes are distinctive. They make you stand out, not blend in!
So here’s a little something to help you make your resume stand out. It’s based on the 3 Laws of Resume Writing. And it’s not material that I made up. I found it by carefully studying good IT manager (and director, project manager…) resumes.
5 IT Manager Accomplishments to Make your Resume Distinctive
- Directed relocation of data center from managed service provider to [redacted] co-location facility in San Diego, along with a technology refresh, resulting in 60% ($65K/month) cost savings. (Obviously, when so much money is saved, your job and salary are fully justified, and employers will want you on their team.)
- Relocated large data center with only 120 days notice, which included leasing location and design/management of build out. The highly successful relocation resulted in only 20 hours of downtime to the organization and no impact to customer shipments. (Here, we see the capacity to work under pressure and we can guess that there was a lot of hard work to meet that goal. From the employer’s perspective, these are valuable assets.)
- Orchestrated IT implementation for new campus build-out encompassing 7 buildings, up to 700 staff members and a data center. (This accomplishment isn’t directly tied to a clear benefit, but the fact that there are 7 buildings and 700 staff members gives a sense of breadth to the implementation. Measurable results add to your credibility.)
- Managed server consolidation including HP blade server deployment in conjunction with Citrix and VMware implementation,
achieving 20% annual savings. (Again, direct bottom line impact is always a positive, concrete result. As a manager, you should have a few examples of financial impact on your resume. An approximation is better than nothing.)
- Received the company’s first “Award of Merit” in recognition of rapid expansion of IT systems and support to align with unanticipated business growth. Shortly thereafter was promoted
to vice president. (Awards and promotions are a clear testimony to the value that previous employers saw in you. While a resume is generally perceived as biased, awards seem objective and trustworthy.)
The benefit is the key component of each accomplishment: improved operations, more money, demonstrated leadership and reliability, … Accomplishments like these are the most critical pieces of your resume. Now read that last sentence again, because that’s the best resume advice you’ll get this month.
If you’re a fantastic employee but your resume is silent on many of your accomplishments, you’ll end up behind a good employee whose accomplishments are all clearly laid out.
And for that matter, an average employee with weak accomplishments better know how to network, since the resume alone won’t pull its weight. (Actually, networking skills are critical to everyone’s job hunt. But I’m more of a resume guy, so let’s stick with the topic, if you don’t mind.)
Accomplishments are where it’s at. When you solve a problem, reduce costs, make something better/simpler/faster, when you show initiative, it has to be on your resume, without being drowned out by too much roles and responsibilities (i.e. the “we’ve-all-done-it” resume template material). In my view, half of the energy and time spent on your resume should be focused on your accomplishments. To write good accomplishments, you need to think of what your potential employer is thinking about (problems solved, better results, and so on) and emphasize that. If you go through 20 resumes of your peers, you’ll certainly find great accomplishments that you could adapt on your resume. I truly believe that is time well spent.
Many More Accomplishments, Just for You
I’ve already done that research… The 5 ideas above are just a glimpse of the full list of accomplishments I’ve assembled. If you’d like that well-rounded, unique list of real-world IT manager accomplishments, for just a few dollars, check out our e-book, IT Manager Resume Hacking, on Amazon. You can read it even if you don’t have a Kindle device.