The IT Director role can be a critical turning point in your career—the time when you move from a largely technical job description into a position with significantly expanded strategic and leadership possibilities. That's one of the many reasons why your IT Director resume has to clearly reflect that transition from "in the trenches" to a leadership role.


But too often, when an IT Director resume crosses my desk, it doesn't shout "leader." There are a number of reasons for that—and I'll provide further IT resume tips in future posts.


Today, I'd like to provide this piece of resume advice from my many years as an IT resume writer.


When I'm working with clients—both IT Directors and higher in the org chart—they'll regularly tell me they're "hands-on." Often, they mean that they're willing and able to roll up their sleeves and get to work with their teams on a critical project.



Now, that's not a bad thing. It can be a great thing—a way to build team cohesion and ensure talent retention.


But as with some many things in life, there is, er, a dark side.


When recruiters hear the words "hands-on," their first thought isn't "motivational leader." Unfortunately what does come immediately to mind is "micromanager." It can often be the case that people who self-apply the term can be the folks who are too quick to jump in—not because the team needs help, but because the manager is getting impatient.


And that's a problem. First impressions are a big deal and you don't want to give a prospective employer any reason to believe that you are anything less than a net benefit for their team and their bottom line. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re not ready, or not qualified to lead—that you’re going to be spending too much time fixing your team’s problems, when you should be working on delivering strategic value.


Because by the time you're reached  IT Director, people are absolutely  hiring for a leader—someone who can delegate the daily tasks efficiently while devoting his or her time to more strategic business objectives.


As I've mentioned above, your IT Director resume needs to present the clear picture that you are that kind of leader—with no red flags that might influence the recruiter to think you'll be “caught in the weeds.”


Now, you may ask, “But J.M. We’re talking two words. Will including “hands-on” in my IT Director Resume really make that much of a difference?”


That’s a fair question.


And the answer, surprisingly, is yes. People read resumes very quickly, and they’re going for the initial “feel” as much as content.


So even apparently small red flags can be the deciding factor on whether you get a call—or whether you’re put in the “save for later” stack.