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Ultimate IT Director Resume Writing Guide with Examples
8 minute read
Updated on 2020-07-07
IT directors are some of the most valuable professionals in the IT world.
They combine the technical skills of an IT professional with business acumen and managerial talents. No wonder the best IT director resumes straddle the business and IT worlds, speaking both languages.
Getting that balance right, however, is extremely hard. You generally first need to impress a recruiter and then convince a CIO that you’re ready for the job.
If you haven’t been able to get hired as an IT director, that’s probably why.
“An IT director has one of the toughest management jobs in the business. Your employees have extremely specific skills and tribal knowledge that can make turning them over very, very painful.”
- A Senior System Admin sharing their experience on Reddit
This IT director resume guide will teach you:
✔ How to balance technical and management skills
✔ Where and how to include certifications
✔ What a professional summary can do for your resume
✔ Whether you should include your education
✔ How to read the job description and pull out the skills they’re asking for
If the goal of your IT director resume is to show you’re up to the challenge, you need to decide how you’re going to make that argument.
Which elements of your education, experience, certifications, etc. best make the case that you’re up for the challenge? Plan your resume around that.
As you should have many years of experience and very specific areas of expertise you need to emphasize, a hybrid resume layout makes the most sense.
Begin with a section focusing on outlining your skills and providing evidence for them. This could be in the form of examples or certifications. Be sure to include specific metrics when possible (more on that in the experience section below).
Here are some ideas for sections that you can use.
The top sections to include on an IT director resume
Soft skills (with examples)
IT and management experience
Something to show a bit of personality (a Most Proud of section works well)
PRO TIPBecause IT directors are not hired lightly and are expected to have substantial experience, a 2-3 page resume is okay. A recruiter is going to take the time to read your resume far more carefully than for a more junior position, so don’t worry as much about length within reason (a recruiter willnot appreciate feeling like you’re wasting their time with fluff).
What your resume header is probably missing
Showing that you understand both business/management and the IT world starts from the top, literally.
Your resume header should show your relevant certifications (or at least the most important one if you have many) and a LinkedIn account.
Right from the start you’re sending a message: “I’m well qualified and comfortable in a business strategy session or with your technical team hammering out bugs in the code.”
Alexander Malinov, CISSP, CAPM
+359 88 888 8888
+359 88 888 8888
That second example isn’t terrible but it doesn’t do anything to encourage the hiring manager to keep reading. By missing a vital opportunity to make a strong first impression, this kind of resume header doesn’t do you any favors.
Show you can write and tell your story in your professional summary
An IT director needs to be able to write and communicate effectively. Show you’re a bad writer, too wordy, or make grammar mistakes and the CIO reviewing your resume is going to think “I do not want to spend the next few years reading reports from this person.”
That’s why you need to nail your professional summary. Tell a story about who you are as a professional, mention specific results, obstacles you’ve overcome, and generally what brought you to where you are now.
Here’s how to do it right:
5 years ago I took over a section with 24% annual turnover and implemented new onboarding and conflict resolution procedures which reduced that to 5%. During that time, by reshaping team culture, average employee output rose by 20% while I negotiated a contract for new software implementation which saved the company $240k.
By framing their experience in terms of the problems which existed when this IT director took over, this professional summary tells a story. “I found a problem, implemented a solution, and got a result.”
This summary shows someone who cares about both the numbers and the human experiences of the employees working under them. They sound like someone you’d want working for you and someone you wouldn’t mind working for.
Working as an IT director for the past 4 years I’ve maintained accountability and performance of the company’s technology investments and managed a $780k IT budget
This summary can be boiled down to “I did my job and managed a budget.” That’s not going to cut it for a position as senior as IT manager. The CIO and recruiters in charge of hiring you need to see results.
What’s the most effective way to include your IT director resume experience?
The challenge here is that an IT director can have a huge variety of responsibilities depending on the individual role. Your goal is to identify exactly what kind of IT director they’re looking for before framing your previous around it.
In general though, any IT director is going to need to demonstrate skills and experience around contract negotiations, IT strategy, and vendor management.
Look at these two examples, both showing experience from the exact same job, to see how to do this:
IT DirectorHamilton Technologies
06/2015 - 09/2018
Reduced turnover from 24% to 5% by creating a new onboarding process and focusing on reforming team culture and accountability practices.
Re-negotiated supplier contracts, saving the company $55k annually.
Found a new IT support vendor which was able to improve customer support satisfaction by 15% while reducing costs by 10%
Developed and implemented a new ATS-based IT strategy
Ensured the development and continuous integration of 22 mainframe platforms and critical applications by creating high-level architectural specifications.
IT DirectorHamilton Technologies
06/2015 - 09/2018
Improved company culture and reduced turnover.
Negotiated supplier contracts.
Found new IT Vendors.
Transitioned the IT infrastructure to AWS
Developed and maintained mainframe platforms.
By being more specific and focusing on the results from actions, the former example is far more effective. In addition, it balances experience examples which demonstrate people management, negotiation, and technical prowess. This shows the person is comfortable in all three areas.
PRO TIPTry and show that you have had good relationships with your technical staff, as this is one of the biggest challenges IT directors mention when describing their jobs.
Does your IT director resume need an education section?
In general, IT directors are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science (or a similar field). So the short answer is yes, you need to include your education.
The more relevant question is whether you should include details about your education (courses taken, GPA, other achievements).
The answer here is no, by the time you’re applying for a position as senior as IT director, you should have years of work experience that speaks for itself. Don’t waste space talking about what you did in university 5-10+ years ago.
How should you decide which skills to include and emphasize?
Listing skills somewhere on your resume is easy. Anyone can say they are a talented manager or excellent at managing IT budgets. What makes the difference is including the right skills and showing that you have them instead of just telling.
Add numbers, show what results you got by using your skills. Also include specific examples as much as possible.
While the technical or hard skills required to be an IT director will vary from position to position, the soft skills needed are more universal.
The top 10 skills to include on an IT director resume
The ability to manage teams effectively
Onboarding and training new staff
Testing IT systems for vulnerabilities
How to pick skills out of an IT director job description
Reading a job description and translating the language into a list of skills you should include on a resume is its own skill.
Let’s break down how to do it with this real example from Amtrak:
“...responsible for all front-end technology systems and services which serve Amtrak’s Train Operations. Train Operations includes Mechanical, Engineering, Transportation, Network Support, Stations business functions among others. This role owns the transform, grow and run the business budget associated with their service and ensures optimum utilization of investment against company priorities.”
You need to be familiar with front-end development, TCP/IP, and networking.
Experience in mechanics, engineering, transport, etc. is important but not everyone one is necessary. Emphasize experience in as many of these areas as possible.
Budgeting experience is helpful, even if it’s something like running the finances and budgeting for a group you volunteer with. Even non “work experience” can show you have a skill.
Show instances where you worked to achieve a set of goals set by those above you. This last point shows that you need to balance demonstrating independence with showing that you can execute on instructions you’re given.
If you can nail all four of those points, you’ll have a resume that makes it easy for a recruiter to forward you on to the CIO.
How to include your certifications on your resume
Certifications are a powerful tool for prospective IT directors to show that they’re self-motivated in improving their skillset.
They’re also a great way to show some level of knowledge in an area you haven’t had the opportunity to obtain regular work experience.
So, if you’ve never worked with Scrum but it’s a core part of an IT director position you’d like to apply for, take the time to get certified in it. Though the exact certifications relevant to a position will vary, these 8 are valued across IT director positions:
The top 8 certifications for your IT director resume
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
TOGAF 9 Certification
Six Sigma Certification
PRO TIPIf you have just one or two certifications, it’s best to simply include them in your resume header. If you have more, dedicate a section to them.
We used big data to get you critical insights
The business strategist side of every IT director knows that finding a market gap between what customers want and what firms are providing means a huge opportunity. The same goes with resumes.
That’s why we analyzed thousands of IT director resumes and job descriptions to identify which skills were most in demand and which were most supplied in resumes. Have a look to see which skills your fellow IT directors applying for jobs aren’t supplying.
In short, what makes an IT director resume work?
Creating the best IT director resume comes down to these 6 key elements:
Showing a balance between technical know-how and solid business/management skills
Putting your certifications front and center
Including a well-written professional summary to tell your story and showcase your writing abilities
Using specific examples and metrics to demonstrate the impact you’ve had in previous roles
Use a hybrid resume layout, beginning with your skills before including your IT experience in reverse-chronological order
Including a relevant degree but leaving off too many details
Choosing skills that are asked for in the job description and demonstrating that you have them
* Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com. Use this IT Director resume sample as a base to create a unique resume for yourself.
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Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.