October 27, 2011, 12:37 PM — There comes a time in many IT consultants' careers when they decide to exchange the trappings of their jet-set professional lives for a corporate IT job with more stability. For Sevin Straus, an IT consultant based in Chicago, that moment came at the height of the financial crisis in 2009.
At the time, the IT consulting company he co-founded in 2002 dissolved due to a lack of business. It had served the auto industry, which he says went into a tailspin just before the financial industry collapsed. Straus tried to strike out on his own, but consulting engagements were sparse. CIOs across the country were cancelling projects left and right.
Straus decided that after two decades of consulting, he was ready for a full-time job as an IT director. "I want to put together all these things I've learned [about IT management] over the past 20 years in that type of role," he says.
Since the only résumé he had was a five-page document that his previous consulting company, 4Gen, used to showcase his experience when it was bidding on a project, Straus sought advice on how best to write his résumé. He quickly found that there was no single, definitive answer. The only advice that approximated a definitive answer was that each résumé should be tailored to the specific position the job seeker is applying for.
So Straus began customizing each résumé he sent. "I'd look at the job description in the ad and make sure some of that language appeared in my description or bullet point accomplishments," he says.
He struggled with the length of his résumé and with capturing the scope of the responsibilities he held with various client projects in a few succinct bullet points.
"I spent so much time trying to tweak my résumé for any individual application that I finally gave up," says Straus. "I could spend 80 hours a week tweaking my résumé to apply for 20 positions. I didn't have any better response from employers than I did with my original résumé. I thought, 'Why am I putting all this effort into each résumé when it doesn't do any good?'"
Straus needed a résumé makeover.