Impress IT leaders with a CAR resume
Have you ever been asked by an IT recruiter if you have a shorter, more defined resume? At Agile, we recommend that in addition to having a task-based resume, experienced candidates who have a long work history or have done multiple projects should also have an achievement based resume. This type of resume uses a formula known as CAR: Challenge–Actions–Results. The CAR resume can be extremely effective for IT professionals who are searching for a management/leadership level role.
Before a company considers you to join its management team, it’s critical that the organization understands how you have impacted your previous employers. This is why a CAR resume can be so effective. A CAR resume provides a clear picture of the challenges you faced, the actions you took to achieve your goals, and most importantly, the outcome or results of those actions.
Writing a CAR resume isn’t difficult. In fact, once you understand the formula, it should be fairly easy to complete. A CAR resume tells a story of what you did to add value to each company in one brief paragraph. The first part states why you were hired or why you took the position. This is the “Challenge” in your CAR story. The next portion details the steps or tasks you took to achieve your goal. These are the “Actions.” The ending of the story is the outcome or impact your actions had on the company’s profitability, product line, productivity, etc. These are the “Results.”
Here’s an example of how to formulate the Challenge-Actions-Results statement:
CHALLENGE: Assumed leadership position in the Product Management organization which had been experiencing slow sales and negative profitability from initial product launch.
ACTIONS: Reinforced and coached internal team through intensive training and sales techniques. Introduced new marketing initiatives which helped the company form strategic alliances with regional distributors and vendors.
RESULTS: Product sales increased from $100,000 to 350,000 in just four months and continually grew unit sales by 20% each year from 2007 to 2010.
Once you have the elements, it allows you to create a revenue-impacting, quantifiable accomplishment for your resume that reads like this (and it doesn’t need to be a long drawn out paragraph but it does need to be listed before your tasks for the position):
Grew new product sales 250% in 120 days and sustained 20% annual sales growth for three consecutive years by introducing new marketing initiatives, forging effective strategic alliances, and implementing innovative training and sales techniques.
Other examples you can use to build your CAR resume:
- Helped the company save money or reduce costs
- Implemented processes that save time or increase work productivity
- Improved company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace by developing innovative technology
If you are an IT professional looking to move into a leadership role (near-term or in the future), Agile highly recommends that you keep a up-to-date log of your accomplishments by creating CAR stories as they occur in your career. By doing so, you’ll be able to create an impactful resume that tells an impressive work history highlighting some of the challenges you faced, the actions you took to accomplish your goals and the measurable results of your expertise.