When you update your resume, make sure to highlight your incident management experience. That’s something prospective employers will notice, and make your resume stand out from the rest. Be as specific as you can, and use active verbs; if there’s anything special or unusual about your incident process, say so. Don’t forget to talk about post-incident reviews and learning from incidents, too.

Here are three examples, for three different imaginary people: an incident responder, an incident commander, and someone responsible for leading the company’s overall incident management program:

On-call Incident Responder

  • Served as a vital member of a global 24×7 on-call rotation of 13 engineers, responding as a subject matter expert to approximately a dozen incidents of varying severity over an 18-month period.
  • Maintained monitoring systems, paging alerts, and associated playbooks to ensure efficient and effective incident response.
  • Responded within 10 minutes when paged, to evaluate the situation and launch an incident response as appropriate.
  • Led blameless post-incident reviews for three incidents involving my team, resulting in significant adjustments to our service architecture and improved reliability.

On-Call Major Incident Commander

  • Served as a member of a global on-call rotation of senior engineers prepared to act as major incident commanders for services generating $3 billion in revenue annually.
  • Responded within 15 minutes of being paged to lead engineers from various teams throughout the company in resolving complex incidents, acting with the authority of the CTO.
  • Responsible for assessing the severity of the incident, identifying and activating additional responders, organizing and facilitating discussions among responders, and regularly briefing stakeholders to drive timely, safe, and thorough incident resolution.
  • Participated in blameless post-incident reviews of incidents that I led, and led the review of several incidents that I wasn’t involved with.
  • Mentored new incident commanders as they joined the on-call rotation and led the transition to a new Slack-based incident management tool.

Incident Management Program Lead

  • Developed and led the company’s incident management community of practice, providing guidance and support to an Engineering organization of 1,200 people.
  • Developed, documented, and taught incident management protocols, and shared best practices and standardized tooling, to help individual engineering teams establish and maintain their on-call rotations.
  • Responsible for developing and maintaining the company’s incident severity assessment guidelines, tracking requests for changes, and proposing updates for executive team review twice annually.
  • Developed and delivered basic incident responder training to all existing Engineering staff and new hires, as well as affiliates in related teams such as Customer Care, reaching a total of 1,500 people over a 6-month period through 17 training sessions.
  • Developed and delivered advanced incident commander training, preparing over 300 people to act in the incident commander role through 5 training sessions over a 6-month period.
  • Recruited, organized, and mentored incident commanders to ensure a healthy and staffed on-call rotation of major incident commanders.

If you’re one of the folks who’s been laid off, you have my deepest sympathies; please let me know if there’s anything I can do to aid in your job search, including reviewing your resume.

IT incidents can be incredibly costly for you with both your customers (resulting in lost revenue, missed sales, and damaged reputation) and your staff (resulting in decreased productivity, reduced morale, and increased turnover). That’s why it’s crucial to be proactive, prepare for future incidents, and learn as much as you can from every incident. As an expert incident management consultant, advisor, and coach, I can guide your organization in developing these critical skills and help you avoid expensive mistakes. Contact me today to learn how I can help your team.