The role of IT director is one of the most challenging in any organization. These leaders are tasked with building, inspiring, and leading a technical team, while simultaneously understanding and keeping well-aligned with larger business objectives. An ideal IT director resume will show off your skills and experience in all these areas.
Key to the success of an IT director is understanding what the business is trying to achieve and supporting it—whether it’s trying to innovate, investing in certain areas, or figuring out ways to cut costs and become more efficient via technology.
“It requires a combination of business and technical skills,” explained Trevi’s Karel Lukas. “The most important thing to show on your resume is that you’ve had an impact on the business where you’ve held that role—describe some examples of what you did that either saved money or made money for the company.”
The second key point to get across, Lukas noted, is to demonstrate the scale of your accomplishments. “You didn't just implement a server, you may have transformed their datacenter and virtualized the global environment or moved things to the cloud,” he said. “Show how your decisions had a larger impact—scale is important.”
The third key point is to demonstrate leadership capabilities, be it through hiring (or firing) decisions, accountability delegation, leadership, and soft skills, including mentoring and coaching other team members or junior employees.
“Every company I talk to wants people who are a strong team leader,” Lukas said. “That means collaborative, respectful, positive, inspiring—those kinds of attributes.”
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Highlight Teamwork, Attracting Talent, Executive Involvement
IT directors should point to experience they have building or scaling up a team, offering some specific examples. For example, if you managed to recruit a dynamite artificial intelligence (A.I.) team while staying under budget and on deadline, you definitely want to highlight that in your resume’s experience section.
“If the company needed to scale its efforts in security or cloud or DevOps or business transformation, take something and build an example around that,” he said. “That speaks to leadership.”
Examples of industry participation, such as presenting at conferences, can help cement you as a thought leader. Lukas said such experience demonstrates communication skills and the ability to share with others in the industry.
“Show that you're involved or you're leading activities in on boards or committees,” he added. “That also helps because it shows you're taking an active part in in shepherding and leading efforts in the architecture of the organization.”
List the Certifications You Have—And the Certs You Want
Randy Gross, chief innovation officer and CISO at CompTIA, said that, in addition to listing any certifications you’ve already earned, it’s also worth including the certifications you’re actively working towards achieving.
“Once you've achieved something, you should constantly be looking to do the next thing,” he said. “And I think the hack here is if you say you're working toward a certification, the applicant tracking system is going to pick that up.”
While Gross is not recommending applicants misrepresent themselves, this tactic can help show a candidate is always learning new skills—meaning they’ll remain valuable to a prospective employer long into the future. “I think you can put that, and it will put you in a better position to show that you're continuing to improve yourself,” he said.
Like Lukas, Gross also felt it important to include any work involving executive leadership or technology execs. “It is the direct role you really want to show—strategic input into the technology decisions and therefore the business decisions, as well,” he said. “You should show you have the ability to make business-based recommendations, and you increasingly have the ability to do that the higher-up you're able to interact with people.”
Focus on Experience with Digital Transformation Technologies
Lukas added that companies are always looking for candidates who can help them solve “transformational problems,” particularly when it comes to transitioning to new technological paradigms (such as the cloud). “One of those is cloud migration, so experience with that is good, or leading business transformation projects or enhancing security because that's an ever-growing problem, or shifting development more toward the DevOps model,” he said. “I haven't even touched on business intelligence, artificial intelligence, or software defined networking.”
If the IT director is leading software development, there is a long list of skill sets to potentially include on your resume, from Python to Ruby. “Highlighting areas of technical expertise is a good thing because the combination of understanding technology and being able to relate to the business… and of course, the leadership skills,” Lukas said. “Those are the key legs to the stool.”
Formatting, LinkedIn, and Outside Interests
When it comes to formatting an IT director resume, simple, direct, and clear are the watchwords. Lukas suggested candidates could also tag certifications next to or underneath their name in the header.
In addition to your resume, recruiters and hiring managers will examine your social-media profiles, such as LinkedIn, so make sure those are all current. “That LinkedIn profile will give me some sense for whether the person seems like a serious enough player or not,” he said.
When writing the resume, focus on job experience accrued over the past ten years, listed in reverse chronological order; put the emphasis into the most recent jobs via a carefully curated list of bullet points under each job heading.
“These would be one or two-sentence bullets, I’m not looking for long paragraphs,” Lukas added. “Education can go at the bottom, and if there's something unique and special about the individual, for me it just shows they've got a passion for something outside the office, and I think that's intriguing.”
Mission Statements and Personal Info
Both Lukas and Gross recommended putting a mission statement near the top of the resume, which Lukas referred to as the “elevator pitch” for yourself.
“The challenge is you don't want to make the mission statement sound like you’re looking to leave my job to go somewhere else,” Lukas said. “It should read like this person excels and is passionate about doing certain things. It’s really a brand builder. I don't want to hear that someone's looking for a job. I want to hear about someone's brand and what they bring to the table.”
Gross agreed that making yourself personable is the first thing he would do when crafting a mission statement. “Communicate that, while you understand technology, you're looking to work together with the business to achieve goals,” he said. “Telling those stories will help people humanize you, and I think that makes it easier for them to reach out and talk to you.”
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