In my Technical Resume Writing Service, I often work with Technical Professionals - up to the IT Manager, IT Director, and CIO level - who feel uncomfortable discussing achievements. So the process of writing a technical resume often involves helping my clients clearly distinguish cause and effect, to be able to effectively highlight the real achievements that are the core of a strong technical resume. One valuable approach to writing the technical resume for IT professionals - up to senior technology executives - is the CAR format.
CAR stands for Challenge, Action, Results. This approach can be used it two ways. First, CAR can be a great way to unearth the real accomplishments that differentiate you from your competition. Thinking about the specific challenges you've addressed throughout your IT career can, in itself, help you see accomplishments you may have missed when initially beginning to write your technical resume. This approach can help to dissolve some of the writer's block that's natural when beginning your technical resume - especially if you've been out of the job market for a while.
In addition, there are instances where the CAR format can be incorporated into the body of the technology resume. In an earlier post, I discussed ways to utilize the CAR format in a Project Management resume. In PM resumes, CAR can cut through the clutter of multiple projects, and clearly differentiate your technical resume from the competition.
The CAR format can also be an effective strategy for senior technology executives. By highlighting successfully completed projects, a business technology executive can rapidly demonstrate his or her unique value proposition. By utilizing the CAR format, you make it obvious that you are committed to solving problems, and not merely to maintaining the status quo within IT. As I've previously mentioned, hiring authorities are always looking for the best people to solve their problem. The CAR format demonstrates that for the very first read through of your technical resume.
One quick note, though. The CAR format is great - and I use it when it's best supports the goals of clients in my technical resume writing service. But don't overdo it. If you do pick this format, limit the number of CAR stories you tell - too many are more likely to dilute, rather than strengthen, your technical resume.