Saturday, September 27, 2008

The First Steps: Create a resume that conveys the role I played in the completion of successful projects. (Part 1)

The closest I've come to writing a resume in years, is describing work experience for proposals, biographies for journalists, or creating job responsibility documentation for human resources. However, for the past five years I would typically receive fifty unsolicited resumes monthly from applicants applying for positions ranging from desktop support technician, web/application developer, network support technician, to business development associate and everything in between.

From Wikipedia, a resume is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education... and is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker, and therefore a large amount of importance is often ascribed to it.

So what does a Chief Creative Officer's resume look like and how should I organize my resume to highlight only those experiences and credentials that are most relevant to the desired position in executive level project management?

Google "resume" + "chief creative officer" and your results will fluctuate between real resumes, real job offers, example resumes, and job announcements, but adding the additional search query "filetype:doc" will provide the best response. I plan to review the resulting documents, take notes on the practices and phrasing that promote coherent expression of work experience, client information disclosure, specialty skills, and entrepreneurial success.

Of the eighteen resume documents downloaded, I critiqued and selected nine to represent my research data. I used Google Documents to create a spreadsheet and record results.

Review criteria:
  • Resume Title - Does the job seeker include one?
  • Last Position Held - What was the job seeker's last job title?
  • Tenure - How long did the job seeker work with their last employer?
  • Document Organization - How does the job seeker categorize and bullet relevant information?
  • Visual Impression (10/10 highest) - Does the document's design look impressive or embarrassing?
  • Visual Notes - Is there anything unique or especially interesting about the job seeker's layout?
  • Structure Notes - Is there anything unique or especially interesting about the job seeker's organization?
  • Verbiage Notes - Does the job seeker use any terminology or phrasing that really sounds impressive?

Compare Documents

Resume Title
Only three of the nine documents I reviewed included a "Resume Title", usually a one line statement that describes the job seeker at the beginning of the document, but none of those reviewed really provided a persuasive hook. So what should a resume title convey? The title differentiates your resume from others, and in addition to your name, is the first position specific information that prospective employers will see when searching for candidates.

Inventive and Disciplined Design Director Seeks Fresh Challenges

How did I come up with that? Simple, break down the statement structure.

Inventive - Adjective
Disciplined - Adjective
Design - Adjective
Director - Noun
Seeks - Verb
Fresh - Adjective
Challenges - Noun

Inventive and Discipled - What skills or motivations does the job seeker possess that highlight their talents and experience?
Design Director - What role or job position is the job seeker applying for? (This does not have to be the exact title of the position, but merely a descriptive noun that represents the job seeker.)
Seeks - What is the job seeker doing to pursue an employment opportunity?
Fresh Challenges - What the job seeker is pursuing?

Let's hit and brainstorm other title examples. I will try my best to eliminate words or phrasing that are overly dramatic or hint at condescension.


Nouns (job seeker):

Nouns (Goals):
Talented development team to collaborate with
Solutions to complex problems
Environment to excel

Remember, this is just an introductory statement and should not be too long or stuffed with commas, so keep it simple stupid. (KISS)

Last Position Held and Tenure
The job seeker's last position title and tenure dates will tell a potential employer about the prospect's most recent responsibilities and how long they have been managed.

Document Organization
Each document has its own information hierarchy and outline.

Resume #1
Last Position Held and Tenure:
Senior Producer - 2000

Document Outline:
Brief Self Selling Paragraph Objectives (Ordered list)
Experience (Bulleted as Results)
Professional Recognition
Systems, Software, and Skill Keywords

Visual Impression and Comments:
(3) - Dense 2 Pages, ugly bullets, sans-serif fonts

Structural Notes:
Systems, Software and Skill keywords section to organize alphabet soup of technical acronyms

Verbiage Notes:
Flexible, Enthusiastic, Self-Motivated and a Quick Study, Excellent Writing, Verbal and Visual Presentation Skills. digital assets, developed support materials and proposals that directly resulted in sales, defined successful site architecture and database blueprints with programming team, Compressed difficult concepts into entertaining metaphorical learning tools.

Resume #2
Last Position Held and Tenure:
2000 - Founder, CEO, Chief Creative Officer

Document Outline:
Skill Summary (keyword bolded sentences list)
Education/Certificates/Software Fluency
Boards/Committees Served
Career Experience
Position (keyword bolded sentences)
Conference Speaking
Publications, Articles, Press Releases
Customer Testimonial
Industries Served

Visual Impression and Comments:
(6) - Sans-serif content and red-hued water marked client testimonial in serif

Verbiage Notes:
"My purpose is to create business and personal brand strategies with effective verbal and visual communication solutions that help individuals and businesses present themselves in an highly effective and professional manner." Professional, creative, versatile leader with demonstrated success in graphic design, web design and customer relations services. Enthusiastic leader with qualified experience in business ownership, sales, management, and business strategies. A bright, educated and determined individual with the passion to influence others and make goal-oriented decisions for the success of the company. Confident in ability and purpose in helping people reach their potential through the use of effective design concepts and verbal message deliverables. A passion and commitment to serve by developing interpersonal relationships within various business industries and stake-holders. Marketing success by understanding trends, diversity relations and developing support for a brand. Training expertise by providing instruction and curriculum development for graphic/web design and technology driven platforms.

Resume #3
Last Position Held
Chief Creative Officer

Document Outline:
Proficient with languages and applications including Familiar with languages and applications including Online Portfolio Recent work
Experience (statements separated by astrick)

Visual Impression and Comments:
(5) - Use of four contrasting colors, Verdana font bold not recommended

Structural Notes:
Skills broken up as "Proficient with languages and application including" and "Familiar with languages and applications including"

Verbiage Notes:
Detail oriented not only in visual design, but also in information hierarchy, site structure and web graphic optimization • Experience developing for cross-platform and cross-browser deployments.

Resume #4
Last Position Held and Tenure:
2007 - Creative Director

Document Outline:
Cover Letter (175 words)
Experience (multi paragraph per engagement)
Press & Awards

Visual Impression:

Verbiage Notes:
Managing and mentoring teams of highly talented individuals brings me a great deal of satisfaction. Finding the right combination of team and environment is my highest priority in identifying my next work adventure.

Resume #5
Last Position Held and Tenure:
2006 - Vice President, Interactive / Group Creative Director

Document Outline:
Employment (paragraph plus bulleted list of Key Accomplishments)
Awards & Recognition Languages & Special Interests (nerdy hobbies)
Technical Skills Sets (as 2 column bulleted list, rating proficiency with "Expert, Advanced, or Intermediate")

Visual Impression:
(6) - All caps header text, technical skill sets organized in two columns

Verbiage Notes:
I have exceptional skills and a long history of creating brand experiences. These talents are amplified by my drive to succeed through principle-centered leadership and team building skills.I was selected by the board of directors to spearhead all integrated marketing efforts. My successes in this position impacted the company by helping secure 21 million dollars of funding as well as the sale of the company to EMC the world’s largest storage provider. I began by conducting research on competitors with best in market experience. Once research was formulated I spearheaded a steering committee of designers and engineers to gain support for new product features as well new product launches. eyond setting up the new business process, my day-to-day duties included initial business researches, concept development, cross discipline collaboration, proposal writing, and client pitch front person.

Resume #6
Last Position Held and Tenure:
2006 - Vice President, Director Interactive Strategy and User Experience

Document Outline:
Summary of Qualifications (bulleted list)
Work experience (bulleted responsibility details)
Education & references
"Client List and Book of Work at www."

Visual Impression:
(8) - Serif fonts, underlined words, and horizontal rules

Verbiage Notes:
Leader of Interactive Strategy and User-Experience group encompassing online strategists and information architects. Mentor, manage, hire, and focus group to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services to clients and highest quality work product. Manage group as part of an integrated offering delivering interactive solutions to clients in collaboration with traditional agency account, planning, and creative teams as well as with interactive creative and development teams. Responsible for development of resource and capability planning for group as well as management of teams in the delivery of strategy, information architecture, assessment, evaluation, and thought leadership to clients . Working with this global diversified industrial in developing and implementing an enterprise-wide internet strategy including governance, website development, internet applications, metrics, and content development. Leading a multidisciplinary team in development of a global strategic assessment across business units and geographies and developing a global online strategy that will inform development of properties and assets worldwide.

Resume #7
Last Position Held and Tenure:
1999 - Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder

Document Outline:
Experience (bulleted list)
Skills and Interests (sub-headed as Languages, Computing Skills, Interests - Music, Sports, Reading)

Visual Impression:

Resume #8
Last Position Held and Tenure:
2004 - Senior Creative Director / Strategist

Document Outline:
Cover Letter (175 words)
Summary of Qualifications (356 words in bulleted statements)
Position (bulleted responsibilities)
Industry Expertise Technical Expertise (Interactive, Print, Video/Broadcast/DVD) The Evidence URLS (Web Site, Web Design, Flash Design/Actionscript, Print Design, Commercial Broadcast, Video, and DVD), Education

Visual Impression:

Verbiage Notes:
I have a demonstrated ability to listen to prospects' needs, develop solutions to meet their goals and budgets, and build trust and respect. The Evidence URLS:Performed strategic account planning with senior management in vertical marketing teams.
Lead, build and direct multidisciplinary 30 person teams comprising: Creative Directors, Art Directors, Designers, Information Architects, Content Analysts, Copywriters, Animators, Audio Designers, Multimedia Specialists.
Oversaw the creative work developed for clients’ print, web, broadcast, and DVD projects. Help evaluate client’s brand strategy and develop course of actions for the client to have a maximum reach for brand awareness.Managed the successful development, creation and/or execution of unique and original marketing concepts that work across all mediums (on-air, off-air and on-line), working with creative concepts of others and refining them as well as relationship development within and outside the department.
Work with strategy team (colleagues, supervisors, and reporting staff) to develop and define strategic short-term and long-term marketing initiatives to fulfill strategic plans as determined by senior management; troubleshoot related creative activities; anticipate, identify and form solutions to problems which arose. Provided creative leadership for branding on all platform initiatives across all my past company divisions and clients brands to ensure that all creative executions align with established guidelines, brand standards, style guides or any other official positioning documents.

Resume #9
Last Position Held and Tenure:
2007 - Marketing Director

Document Outline:
Cover Sheet with 50+ logos Introduction (400 words)
Employment history (paragraph)
Agency Work / Consulting, TV / Media, Entertainment / Casinos / Events, Liquors / Beverages / Tobacco, Publishing, Political / Elected Officials, Fashion / Cosmetics / Luxury, Non - Profit / Charities / Education / Real Estate / Sports Nutrition / Medical

Visual Impression:
(9) - Layout is impressive, but the content indentation and text justification distracts

Structural Notes:
Clients / Accounts / Events section organized by industry

Verbiage Notes:
This position had enabled me to act in the capacity of being the top adviser to the C.E.O., the C.O.O. and C.M.O. of the company on developing strategy and marketing for new business acquisition. Single-handedly, recruited and managed a panel of over 600 MD’s. Designed and developed management software and training on the process.

Document Organization Analysis
I used the collected resumes to refine an outline that integrates a project manager's diverse skill sets and unique experiences. (Items in bold are universal to most resumes.)
  • Title
  • Objective
  • Career Experience
  • Management Skills - Web Design and Development, Human Resources, Marketing, Structured Cabling, Network Integration
  • Technical Skills - Scripting / Programming (rate proficiency expert or advanced), Applications (rate proficiency by expert or advanced), Platforms
  • Education / Exclusive Academic Programs
  • Conferences / Technical or Sales Training
  • References
  • Industries Served : Satisfied Clients (partial list)
  • Project Examples
What now?
Relax. Turn on some music, and try to remember details of your past work experience. Write your brainstormed thoughts down, and try to describe each endeavor in terms of responsibilities and results.

In part two of this article I'll continue to describe the steps I've taken to develop a professional Project Manager's resume.