How to write a resume

Have you ever been confused about how to put a resume together? Planet4IT Vetern Allen Earle breaks it down for you in this informative guest post.

Overall Impression

  • White space
  • Organized Presentation
  • Spelling and grammar checked and rechecked



  • Large font, bold, indented


Professional Summary

  • Try to limit to just two lines describing what is your role now (function, industry, essential knowledge not listed in Technical Skills)



  • Degree, must be dated, clearly show the degree and the institution
  • Certifications – dated and relevant (omit certifications that won’t help you find the job you’re looking for)
  • Don’t list all the “training courses” you’ve taken on the job.


Technical Skills

  • Complete, organized, and related to the experience (that is, a skill that is listed here must show somewhere in the body of the resume under one or more jobs)


Professional Experience

These notes refer only to the most recent 2-3 jobs, over the last 3-5 years. Older jobs may be much shorter, describing only the general nature of the role, and any special accomplishments which might be relevant to your search.

  • Opening Paragraph
    • Active verbs describing your function
    • Clear description of what you were tasked to deliver
    • Clear description of the reason for the role/deliverable
    • Clear, concise description of the technical/business environment
  • Bullets (4 – 7 only)
    • War Stories – project/function achievements (a story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and it tells what the problem was, what your role in the solution was, and what the result was)
    • Metrics or measures
    • Roadblocks overcome
    • Significant achievements
    • Do not include a long laundry list of “process” bullets


How to Write a War Story

Select the best 2 to 3 projects you have done in the last 2 to 3 years – the things of which you have been most proud, or most challenged, or that you feel demonstrate “you in action.”  This is a very credible and interesting way to show what you have done. It is a proven way to make your resume stand out from others.

Create paragraphs around those 2 to 3 projects, beginning with the one of which you are most proud, or that was the most important to the company. Those paragraphs should state as much as possible of the following:

  • What was the project mandate? (Show your business savvy by talking about the project objective to avoid looking like you are just a mechanic)
  • If this was any initiative of your own, how did you come to it and how did you get it accepted?
  • What did you do, what functions did you, yourself perform? (Note, this is where you talk about you.  It is not a place to talk about what the others on the team did. No “we” allowed.)
  • With whom did you work? (To show presence with senior people or clients/end users; collegial skills with other groups and your team members, remember to say how many.)
  • How did you do the project?  What methodology did you use?
  • What technologies were used and what did you do with them?
  • On what platform did you develop and deploy?
  • If testing was part of the project, what was your involvement?
  • What was the result?


Try to quantify the results as much as possible. For example:

  • On time project delivery
  • Received a commendation
  • End users were really happy
  • Did better than the minimum defect rates
  • The system stood up in production with minimal support
  • The system improved performance by XXX %
  • Cost, time, function points, lines of code, any other number can add dimensionality to your story

As you can see this story follows a typical project life cycle.  It is interesting because there is background context, a start, a middle and an end.


Project Manager War Stories

Choose the best 3 projects in the last 4 years

Talk about them under the following headings:

  • What was the project mandate – the business problem?
  • What did you do on the project – what functions did you fulfill?
  • With whom did you work – senior, colleague, vendor, stakeholders, team size and what type of people?
  • What process did you follow – PMBoK, CMM?
  • What tools did you use – MS Project?
  • What technologies were involved?
  • What was the result – how do you know you did a good job?


Quality Assurance War Stories

For each major project or assignment you worked on indicate the following:

  • What did the application do that you were testing?
  • What did you do, what kind of testing?
  • What technologies where underlying your testing?
  • What tools or methods did you use?
  • How big was the team?
  • What was the result – quantify if you can (e.g. on time on budget completion, promoted cleanly to production)?


Application Developer War Stories

For each major project or assignment that you worked on, indicate the following:

  • What did the application do, and who are the target users of the application?
  • What did you do (analysis, design, code, unit test, integration test, implement, post-implementation support, etc. – all that apply)?
  • What technologies, tools and methods did you use in the development (design tools, coding tools and frameworks, database tools, connectivity, communication, testing, etc.)?
  • How big was the team, and what was  your place in it?
  • What was the result (quantify if you can, e.g. on time, on budget completion, clean promote, few defects, user satisfaction, etc.)


Sample One

 Joe Analyst


A Business Analyst/Project Manager with depth of experience in Capital Markets, Basel II, Credit Risk, Market Risk, Banking and Trading Book Products, Derivative Instruments and Credit Derivatives.



2008                             Project Management Institute (PMI) – Project Management Professional (PMP)

2006                             York University, Toronto, Ontario – Master of Business Administration (MBA)

2000                             CFA Institute – Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

2001                             Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) – Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

1997                             Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) – Canadian Securities Course (CSC)

1997                             York University, Bachelor of Business Administration



Packaged Solutions:       Algorithmics

Design Tools:                Visio, Excel

Project Tools:                MS Project, PowerPoint




August 2000                  Financial Software Development, Inc.

to Present                      Toronto, Ontario


Lead a team of 5 Business Analysts to achieve application development and support project deliverables in Liquidity Risk and Real Time Risk Management Analytics, while providing coaching to staff members in producing business requirement specifications, graphical user interface designs, test plans and test cases for this firm providing analytic solutions to the financial services industry worldwide.

  • Prioritized competing projects in conjunction with business groups. Acquired high level impact analysis and sizing from development teams. Developed mid-term release plan (2 year horizon).
  • Translated long-term visions from marketing team into concrete business requirements. Gathered work estimates from development team, and proposed to marketing team a roadmap to achieving the visions.
  • Managed and prioritized software requirements and defects. Coordinated activities across functional departments including development, documentation, marketing, and professional services teams.
  • Negotiated and scheduled requirement deliveries with existing and potential clients. Performed feasibility studies and cost analysis. Produced release plans and oversaw development progress during release cycle.
  • Participated in Change Control Board. Performed impact analysis of new change requests, scheduled change requests for each release cycle, and communicated decisions made to stakeholders


Liquidity Risk

  • Spearheaded the design and implementation of Liquidity Risk Solution. Managed development work items among 6 development teams in providing the capability to forecast liquidity gap, simulate sale of liquid assets to counterbalance liquidity gaps, and execute dynamic business strategies to simulate business growth and other liquidity assumptions. The solution also allows client to perform advanced what-if trade and what-if scenario analysis to stress test liquidity positions.
  • Reported project status to business group and senior management (senior director and VP).
  • Presented Liquidity Risk data management solution to clients during pre-sales.


Real Time Risk Management Analytics

  • Spearheaded the product definition for new “real time analytics” solution. Solution allowed risk managers to interactively define hypothetical trades and stress scenarios, and view risk management results on a real time basis.
  • Developed project charter and scope document. Identified key project risks and risk mitigation controls. Prioritized features and defined project phases.
  • Led a team of 5 BA’s in requirement gathering efforts. Documented process and data flow designs.
  • Negotiated and acquired resources across functional teams. Resources involved in project include 3 GUI designers,5 business analysts, 2 integration engineers, 1 architect, and 16 developers (across 5 development teams).
  • Monitored project progress and coordinated activities across functional teams


Same Company


Basel II Implementation Projects

  • Performed detailed data gap analysis to assess the readiness of a potential client bank in meeting Basel II requirements. Proposed to senior management a high-level ‘implementation roadmap’ to meet the OFSI’s BCAR reporting deadline.
  • Led a team of 4 business analysts and 2 integration engineers in the implementation of a Basel II solution for a Canadian bank. Produced detailed work breakdown structure and sizing estimates. Negotiated delivery priorities and schedules with the project manager of the client bank.
  • Spearheaded requirement gathering sessions, supervised the development of requirement specifications and ETL mapping documents, produced and executed validation and test plans.


PRODUCT MANAGER (May 2002 to April 2004)

  • Managed and prioritized software requirements and defects. Coordinated activities across functional departments including development, documentation, marketing and professional services teams.
  • Translated long-term ‘visions’ from marketing team into concrete business requirements. Gathered work estimates from the development team and proposed a roadmap to the marketing team to achieve a vision.
  • Negotiated and scheduled requirement deliveries with existing and potential clients. Performed feasibility studies and cost analysis. Produced release plans and oversaw development progress during the release cycle.
  • Participated in the Change Control Board. Performed impact analysis of new change requests, scheduled change requests for each release cycle, and communicated decisions made to affected groups.
  • Liaised with clients in discovering system implementation issues and proposed solutions.
  • Provided training to integration engineers and clients. Responded to clients’ Request for Proposals (RFPs).


Same Company

BUSINESS ANALYST (August 2000 to May 2002)

  • Produced business requirement specification and graphical user interface design for new applications. Applications designed included a Risk Management Reporting Application, a Scenario Generation Application, an Input and Metadata Management Application, and an Access Control Security Application.
  • Developed and executed project plans. Oversaw development activities to ensure on-time deliveries. Produced test cases and liaised with test teams on the execution of test plans.
  • Analyzed the database migration processes. Proposed and implemented solutions to facilitate clients’ migrations of risk management analytics and data.


August 1999                  George’s Mutual Funds

to August 2000               Toronto, Ontario


  • Researched latest industry developments in T+1 settlement and proposed technology solutions to meet projected business requirements. Performed cost-benefit analysis and prepared business cases.
  • Analyzed and documented existing investment and support function processes. Identified process/system gaps in meeting current business objectives. Proposed and implemented automated and integrated solutions for portfolio management, trade order management, trade settlement, portfolio administration and performance measurement processes.
  • Developed and executed test plans, produced test cases, conducted user acceptance testing and provided user training.
  • Liaised with third party vendors. Managed Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP).


May 1997                      Canadian Bank, Risk MIS

to August 1999               Toronto, Ontario


  • Implemented an Equity Market Risk Reporting System for the equity trading business unit.
  • Gathered business requirements from trading room market risk managers. Analyzed data availability in portfolio management and accounting systems. Prepared specifications for data extraction and consolidation processes. Communicated specifications to the technology group for development and unit testing. Conducted system and user acceptance testing.
  • Analyzed and monitored risk exposures of investment banking activities and proprietary trading portfolios.
  • Examined market variables (e.g. historical and implied volatilities, correlation between different asset classes and instrument groups) for assessing accuracy of Value at Risk results generated from risk measurement models.
  • Analyzed the adequacy of existing internal control procedures. Designed and implemented additional control procedures, such as reconciliation processes to ensure completeness and accuracy of risk reported.


November 1997             Manufacto Inc.

to December 1997          Toronto, Ontario


  • Proposed, designed and developed applications using Visual Basic for evaluating investment alternatives for a cable manufacturing company. Created spreadsheet models for performing cash flow projections, net present value analysis, break-even calculations and sensitivity analysis.
  • Prepared and executed test plans for validating spreadsheet models.
  • Prepared user’s manual, business requirement specifications, technical documentation and provided user training.

 Sample Two

 Infra Manager


A Senior Infrastructure Manager with a track record of successful data centre builds/moves, ITIL Service Management Implementation and Enterprise Data Warehouse delivery.




2008                             ITIL V2 Foundation Certification

2000                             Oracle Database Certification

2000                             IBM pSeries (AIX( Certification



2001                             Concordia University – Management Skills for Technical Professionals

2001                             DMR Project Management



Platform Tools:              BMC Service Assurance, CA Autopsies, CA Entrust, BMC Remedy, Symantec Netback up, Symantec Endpoint Protection, Microsoft SMS/SCCM

Internetworking:            TCP/IP DNS / DHCP, firewalls, VPN technology, web server management (Apache and IIS)

Hardware:                     IBM pSeries, xSeries, Sun Tape Libraries, Dell, IBM Storage, Brocade SAN Switches

Operating Systems:        UNIX (AIX, NCR SCO) Red hat Linux, Windows NT/ 2003/2008 Server and VMWare

Software/Databases:      Oracle 9, 10g RAC, BEA Web logic, IBM MQ, Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SAP Crystal Enterprise,  Micro strategy, PeopleSoft (HR and Financial) and a wide variety of diversified applications.

Productivity Tools:         Microsoft Project, Word, Power Point, Excel, Visio and CA Clarity



1990                             Large Retail Chain Limited

to January 2010             Brampton, Ontario

DIRECTOR, Enterprise Systems Infrastructure Support (2005 to 2010)

Led a team of up to 45 Systems Administrators, DBA’s, Storage Administrators, Change Management and IT Operations staff for 3 data centres supporting 40 distribution centres, configuration for 1200 store locations and PC Mastercard/PC Loyalty Points.  Developed, gained approval for, deployed and monitored the spend of projects of up to $8.3 MM.

  • IT Service Management

Championed the concept with the CIO to improve incident management and avoid cost.  Prepared the business case.  Used Gartner Group to assess and provide market comparisons of the Maturity Model.  Evaluated tools, using an RFP and selected BMC Remedy runnin on AIX/Oracle/Wintel.  Created the 18 month road map.  Selected the first phase to include implementatonof  incident, problem and change management (vs release and service request modules) in order to deliver the largest ROI with the largest impact on the end users (distribution, finance and supply chain and advertising and retail).  Discussed the SLA with senior management team to identify the key measurements for IT.  Recognized the need to educate about the difference between incident and problem management.  Created the operational metrics and led the development of  reporting.  Gained funding and recruited a Change Manager and a team of 3 Change Analysts.  Selected the Gas Bars as the pilot project.  Led the PM in creating and deploying the project plan for the pilot and the enterprise roll out to the stores and supply chain segments and finally PC Financial.  Delivered the process to a steady state.  Met and exceeded the SLA for 20 core systems.  Earned a personal and team bonus.

  • Supply Chain transformation project – 24 months/ multi million; Multiple distribution center rollouts with Manhattan which includes Data Center upgrades, computer room builds, equipment relocation/decommission, DR site hosting.
  • Storage/Server consolidation and Data Center Optimization project – 18 months/ $ 7 MM part of the centralization of the head office from a regional model.
  • Consolidation and decommission of multiple legacy IBM Storage Unit , implementation of VMWare for Wintel, implemented IBM LPAR’s, Virtual I/O servers, hypervisor technologies and SAN Volume Controllers.
  • Westfair Foods Infrastructure Transition project – 6 months / $ 1M; Data Center relocation transferred of IBM Mainframe and Point of Sale development environment from Calgary to Mississauga. Established outsourcing agreement with IBM on Mainframe management and Business continuance


Same Company

SENIOR MANAGER, Technical Services (1999 to 2005)

Managed a department of 22 technical professionals to develop, implement and maintain technology solutions to meet Supply Chain, Retail and PC Bank Business requirements. Manage Q/A, Risk and Change Management with a $14M annual budget.  Interfaced with clients and managed various internal application development and integration projects with SDLC disciplines.

  • Head offices and Data Center transformation project – 18 months / multi million
  • Led Data Center relocation from GTA to Mississauga, over 300 server equipment moves, Network Operations Center build, and consolidated 7 Business offices from Atlantic Region, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. Utilized Disaster Recovery plan for seamless transition to minimize Business interruptions.
  • Provigo Distribution Inc. Business transformation project – 18 months / multi million
  • Led and merged Infrastructure and implementation of Warehouse Management Systems in Quebec Distribution Centers, decommission of AS400 systems to established Eastern Canada Merchandising and Ordering Management Systems. Established Montreal data center as Disaster Recovery site.  Relocated Teradata Data Warehousing Complex from Montreal to Toronto data center and migrated Novell Netware to Microsoft Active Directory Domain.
  • National Data Warehouse – 12 months /$1M
  • Led and consolidated multiple AIX and Windows based standalone data marts to Linux / Itanium based Oracle RAC Data Warehouse on IBM storage and established standard server platform for ETL processes.
  • Infrastructure Oracle Linux RAC Implementation – 2 yrs / $1.5M
  • Initiated and managed the implementation of Oracle Real Application Clusters on Intel platforms for PC Financial Data Warehouse, Warehouse Management and Customer Ordering System. Led and developed standard build books, systems management and established support processes.
  • PC Master Card and Loyalty Points Program Implementation – 12 months / $ 500K
  • Led and managed the Infrastructure research, design, development and implementation of PC Financial System on 3 tier architecture with high availability Web sites configuration.


Same Company


Provided 24×7 Database Administration Support to PeopleSoft Human Resources Management Systems, Financials and in-house developed Supply Chain/ Warehouse Management Systems. Established database release management and recovery strategies.

  • Team leader of Database Administrators group, task assignments and coordinated after hour’s on-call support process within the department.
  • Performed Oracle installation, configuration and patch upgrades on various UNIX and Windows NT systems
  • Provided technical guidance to developers in tuning DB and application for optimal performance. Cloned, imported and exported databases from production to testing environments


Same Company


Same Company


Prior to 1990 Worked as a LAN Administration for a systems integrator


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