The year is 2019 and resumes...well, resumes haven't changed much. Even with advancements in technology, networking events, and things like applicant tracking systems to find the most qualified candidates, resume continue to stand the test of time and still prove to be the best way to let hiring managers know how valuable you are. But hiring IT talent hasn't changed much, either - making resumes the best way to get a foot in the door. The point is this:
Your resume: The best self-advertisement you have
When you send out a resume, it's like giving someone your business card. Ideally, you want your business card to give your prospective customer a glimpse of what you do, a way to contact you, and you want it to serve as a reminder of your services. No one likes to receive outdated, or worse, misleading business cards. In this case, think of your resume like a more detailed business card - you want it to represent your best 'work' self. A good resume highlights your strengths, shows that you are a valuable teammate, and (most importantly) gets you in the interview room.
You may be asking yourself, "How am I supposed to write a detailed and effective resume that isn't just a laundry list of things I've done in the past?" Well, we've created a 'cheat sheet' of Resume Dos and Don'ts that will take your IT resume out of the dreaded resume pile and get it in front of the hiring manager.
DO include an eye-catching header
A single job opening will attract an average of 250 resumes, which means that the hiring manager for those jobs will review 250 resumes (Turczynzki, zety.com). That’s a lot of Word and PDF documents. This also means that the person reviewing these resumes is more than likely skimming over them to find the most interesting candidates. Put yourself in that category by including a header that is going to pique their interest. Yes, all resumes will no doubt have your name in large, bolded font at the top, but under your name, include a short subtitle that relates to the job you’re applying for. Are you a QA lead? Director of DevOps? State that up front by including a subtitle that reads ‘Director of DevOps with 5 years experience’. This small addition can make the difference between landing in the interview pile or the discard pile.
DO focus on your strengths
Earlier we said that a resume is basically an advertisement for yourself. Put your best foot forward! Ben Brumm makes a great point in his article, How to Write A Great IT Resume - you want to write your resume with the intent of showing your potential employer why you’re an asset to their team (Brumm, Spiceworks.com) What makes you different than other candidates with your title? Highlight your strengths and achievements instead of just listing your responsibilities. For IT resumes in particular, this may mean including tech projects that you have successfully completed. Add a few bullet points that tell a short, but compelling story about how you came, saw, and conquered a project. Be sure to include the results and how it helped the company you worked for. Hiring managers want to know that you can solve problems, so write your resume to show that you are an innovator and not just functional.
DO write clearly
Let’s face it - the first person to see your resume probably will not be the hiring manager. It’s more likely to be someone who may not have the knowledge that you do, or may not be in your field at all. Keep this in mind as you write your resume and remember that you aren’t writing your resume for yourself, you’re writing it for someone else. Write out your achievements and skills in a way that will make it easy for anyone to understand, not just people in IT (Brumm). Use words that will explain what you do in a concise yet effective way. Stay away from repetition! Talking in circles and using repetitive phrases is a quick way to make your reader lose interest. Lastly, make sure your formatting is reader friendly! Use a clear, standard font (11 or 12 point), cut down on the images, and don’t squeeze in irrelevant content that may make your resume unnecessarily long. A 2-3 page resume will no doubt take precedence over an 11 page one.
Keep in mind the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying to be a Python Engineer, don’t fill up your resume with experience irrelevant to the role. Liz Ryan at Forbes.com gives some great advice on resumes: detail only the experience that is directly related to the job you’re trying to get. If you choose to include a summary, talk briefly about your experience as it relates to this goal. Highlight any technical and/or soft skills that are important to the position. If you have other experience, that’s great! List the company, dates, and titles on your resume but don’t waste valuable resume space describing these jobs. When you get the interview, the hiring manager can ask about these separately.
DON'T forget to update your resume
Skills, skills, skills! We’re always learning something new, and it’s important that your resume reflects those changes. Updating your skills and job experience can make a huge difference when applying to a new job. In The Key to Having A Successful Career in IT (if you've been keeping up with the HC blog), we mentioned how consistently technology undergoes changes. So, it is especially important to keep your skills updated. Hiring managers are looking for candidates that have experience with the most up-to-date technologies, so neglecting to update your resume with new technologies that you have learned can really hurt you in the long run. Be sure to include new training courses and certifications that you've completed. Don't hesitate to list training that you might still be working on. This shows your willingness to learn and dedication to becoming an expert in your field.
DON'T forget to proofread!
Last but certainly not least, always remember to check your resume for correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. Don’t leave it up to spellcheck! After crafting your ideal resume, take a moment to make sure your resume presents the way you intend. Keep in mind that the words you choose can make or break your resume, so choose them carefully. Need some ideas? Read more about word choices that can help you stand out from the competition at The Balance Careers’ website. Don’t let grammar or spelling errors keep you from getting your dream job.
Sounds simple enough, right? The above tips should help you write a killer resume, but we know it can still be a little tricky. Luckily, here at HIRECLOUT we provide resume help so that you can put your best foot forward when applying for a new job. The road to a new job may have some roadblocks, but we have you covered. Ready to get started? Find your next opportunity on our Browse Jobs page and read more about how we can help. Then, give us a call at 818.882.2000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with a Recruiter today!