September 19, 2011, 3:16 PM — In 2007, Don Bernal left his job as the ETL (extract transform load) program manager and business intelligence (BI) services lead with Blue Shield of California in San Francisco. He had been working with Blue Shield for seven years when he decided he needed a change. He travelled for more than a year, until he received a call from his mother in 2008, informing him that his father had had a stroke. Bernal rushed home and spent the next year caring for him.
During his year away from IT, Bernal decided he wanted to pursue a career in education, and in 2009 he began teaching middle school students. A year into it, he realized that teaching children was not right for him at the time. He wanted to get back into IT.
Bernal updated his resume and LinkedIn profile in 2010 and posted his resume on Monster.com, Dice.com and Indeed.com. Since August 2010, he says he's applied to 150 positions.
"I have re-made my resume several times based on advice from books, recruiters and from the Web," Bernal told CIO.com via e-mail. "I feel my resume has become a Frankenstein product that has been reduced to fit two pages and is an awkward mix of achievement-based statements with technical keywords [sprinkled in] to satisfy HR filtering applications."
The fact that Bernal has been out of the IT profession for four years complicates his job search the most. He told CIO.com that employers and recruiters are keen on his background and skill set, but they worry his experience isn't up to date with the latest technology. So they move on to the next candidate.
Bernal realizes his "sabbatical" is a liability in his job search. So in the resume he created (and recreated) in 2010, he attempted to address it directly. In the fourth and final bullet point in his summary, at the top of his resume, Bernal tried to spin professional experience out of his time off: "Took an extended sabbatical to explore a career change and vagabond through several countries, this experience enhanced skills in: planning, negotiations, independence, flexibility, boldness, self-sufficiency, and improvisation."
Improvisation indeed. Clearly, Bernal's attempt to address his sabbatical wasn't impressing recruiters or hiring managers. He needed an IT resume makeover.