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.
- White space
- Organized Presentation
- Spelling and grammar checked and rechecked
- Large font, bold, indented
- 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.
- 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)
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.)
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
BUSINESS ANALYST/PROJECT MANAGER/PRODUCT MANAGER (August 2007 to Present)
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
- 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
PROJECT MANAGER/PRINCIPAL BUSINESS ANALYST (April 2004 to August 2007)
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).
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
SENIOR RISK ANALYST
- 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.
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
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.
SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR/DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR (1996 to 1999)
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
TECHNICAL ANALYST/SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR UNIX/LAN (1994 to 1996)
COMMUNICATIONS ANALYST/SENIOR MICRO TECHNICAL SPECIALIST (1990 to 1994)
Prior to 1990 Worked as a LAN Administration for a systems integrator
Digital Project Management:
The nature of front office projects compare to traditional IT projects is one that generally involves a more co-operative project.
Not only do you need developers and testers but you might need artists, user experience and web analysts or more.
As a result THE key skill of a digital PM is the ability to be a strong scrum master who knows how to be a gatekeeper not just a facilitator.
Digital Strategist: There is still a lot of pushback from companies regarding embarking on digital campaigns and most of this derives from a lack of understandable direction. The front office loves quantifiable measures (If I call 100 people I will get 10 meetings and 2 sales) and the digital universe isn’t setup to be conducive to quantifying results. That is where the digital strategist comes in. They are the purveyor of all things actionable and can translate what a business needs into a measurable digital strategy.
The most mysterious of all positions. The ability to write algorithms that find relationships in datasets is only usable if it provides actionable insight.
Consumer behaviour analysis allows front offices to better predict what and when consumers are buying. Data science provides the raw information that allows that to happen.
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer’s foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.
These are my 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:
Keep your dress professional – seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners. Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:
- clean and crisp
- a suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals. No sundresses or shorts
- This is an interview not a date – don’t overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry. Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
- Polish or at least dust your shoes off.
No Perfume or Cologne – have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why?:
- A lot of companies/businesses are “no scent” zones.
- Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne. Reschedule if you are lucky.
How do you get to the Interview
- Google it, do a test run if you aren’t sure
- If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby
- 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour. Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
- Check the weather – rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. Be prepared
Never be late for the Interview
- It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
- And yes there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them. “The dog ate the directions” won’t work in the business world.
- And yes, you’d better have called to at least let the interviewer know.
Be Polite to everyone
- That older lady in the elevator might be “mom” going to visit her son the interviewer. You don’t want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
- The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
- Be polite to everyone all the time. It is a good road to travel down.
Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer’s name
- We live in a very multicultural country, let’s try our best to pronounce names properly.
- Ask the recruiter or phone the company
- Write it down phonetically and practice
Keep your right hand free
- Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
- Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office
Just before you get to the Interview
- Turn off your phone and tablet.
Chemistry is a very important part of the interview
- It starts as soon as you enter the room.
- Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
- Relax and take part in the conversation
Tell me about yourself
- This question is totally about relaxing you. Take your elevator pitch and expand it “a bit”. The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
- Keep it professional.
Check out my slideshare for some more pointers on these tips.
Don’t let a little thing muck up your interview. Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process. Remember they liked your resume – you look good on paper – now is the time to shine in person.
Good luck job hunting
Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment. Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!
I would love to hear from you about any interview tips, unusual questions or funny stories you have had.
Good luck job hunting
Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment. Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!
Technology is not only the talk of mobile device lovers, but it also has significantly changed the landscape for how industries interact with their customers.
Looking to the automotive industry, there is a plethora of companies looking to make their mark on the future today. No one company is further along those lines than Tesla motors.
Think of any modern device that you are pining for. Tesla motors has just entered the hot list of products on wish lists – (with 4 wheels and an environment fit for a king). A quintessential tech buffs dream with a future so bright it could be classified as its own innovative energy source.
Technology seems to be sitting in the centre as an answer to a lot of problems. More often than not, those problems refer to the gas guzzling, environment killing emission bombs known as automobiles.
The automotive industry has been under fire for quite some time as to what it will do to make sure that the future is sustainable.
What answers have technology provided for making cars sustainable?
Pure electric brilliance! Tesla Motors has arrived to rule this space and provide one of the most beautiful cars seen on the roads today while doing it.
The previous greatest impact technology had on cars was around the 60’s when computers made the entrance to consumer vehicles, and were used to monitor things like manifold pressure, engine temperature, and to turn on and off the distributor for fuel injectors on German cars made in the USA.
Noting that at the time technology here was used only as a way to make a mechanics lives easier by making the vehicles more reliable, to increase power, and to help keep the engines running smoothly- No talk of fuel efficiency yet.
It wasn’t until oil crises, multiple recessions, and the Global Warming Crisis of the modern age that technology has been used as a saviour to this industry; as something to reply with as answer to “what the heck have they been doing all these years?”
Technology allowed us to develop new materials that are lighter and stronger and therefore capable of being moved by the smaller less powerful engines that now run them, which in turn helped to create the compact and sub-compact and fuel sipping hybrid segments seen today.
But let’s circle back; barring a discussion over what technology was really doing for the industry (increasing profits!)
Technology has now taken another leap via Tesla Motors as the company reinvents the concept of sports cars, family sedans, and soon to arrive SUV’s and affordable vehicles for the everyday person. They do this by taking the stance of a pure electric vehicle that is so technology inclined that one day it may be these cars who drive us and not the other way around. This is what technology is or at least what it should be, it’s a game changer- but only when it is embraced and incubated with new methodologies designed specifically for it.
Tesla has shown the industry what it needed to do, to start over from the beginning and create something that not only makes you feel better about your impact on the environment, but that also gets your heart pumping just by looking at it. Needless to say this has changed the very fabric of what the industry is all about, as all companies are now under the looking glass of not just governments and regulators, but the public and its perception of what is in it for them.
Check out this awesome Tesla infographic via Visual Capitalist.
As Tesla continues to grow and offer more to the public, people will begin to question what it means to buy an inexpensive vehicle. Those questions will involve not just purchasing costs, but also the cost to run the day to day lives we all lead and the impact of doing it.
The technology in these vehicles allows us to look to other vehicles with luxury, power, and a zero emission impact as we drive them. The impact of technology on the automotive scene has been long and misused, but with Tesla technology is at the forefront of what they do and who they are. They call to light what the industry should do and what can be done as a result of the technologies available to us today and give light to what will be done with what may be available to us tomorrow.
Technology has changed the paradigm and the culture of the automotive industry because of the use of them by companies like Tesla who is an, if not the, automotive game-changer that designs vehicles of the future, today.
Devon is our newest Associate Recruiter at Planet4IT, and in addition to being a car fanatic, he is all about being healthy. Whether its business or personal, he knows how to keep everything in the best shape it can be.
Finishing his second degree in Business Management this fall, he’s focusing on our subdivision P4Capital, developing and organizing our own personal database of all the markets.
If you have any questions about marketing, finance, analytics, or health give him a call.
He can be found in the office from 10-6 Monday to Friday and be reached through both Telephone or Email.