What makes your IT resume stand out in the crowd?
Your resume is your opportunity to market yourself as a commodity to a recruiter or perspective employer, so it’s important that it represents you in such a way that the reader is intrigued and wants to invite you for an interview. A recruiter may receive hundreds of applicants for an IT job they are trying to fill and research shows that sometimes only one out of 200 applicants is short listed for an interview. Employers scan a potential resume or CV in about 20 seconds before they make the toss or decide to short list. This article gives you tips and pointers about making your resume a keeper.
No two resumes will ever be the same, and your resume should be as unique as you are as an individual, so it’s probably not wise to apply a cookie cutter approach to drafting your resume. That being said, there are some key factors you should keep in mind when drafting your resume to ensure it stands out in the crowd.
The structure and form of your resume does matter. A professional IT resume should look elegant, so take time to think about the fonts that you choose and the size of fonts for headings, subheadings and text. The information should be laid out in such a way that there is plenty of white space. With your use of a consistent structure, comprising main headings, sub headings and the appealing way you lay out your work experience, the reader's eyes can easily find exactly what they are looking for easily.
At the bare bones, your resume should convey your contact details, a confident and succinct statement of purpose, a high level summary of your technical skills and your general skills (e.g. attention to detail, highly polished analytical skills, or the ability to manage a small technical team). It should convey your highest level of education, and your certifications that are relevant to your career (e.g. Linux certification, MCSE.)
Your wording and tone is so important. When you’re writing your resume, don’t be overly humble, or outrageously boastful. The tone should be factual, positive and professional.
Whilst summarising your work history, more than needing to mention every aspect of the responsibilities of a role, it’s really important to highlight your achievements whilst carrying out a role. For example you may have developed a piece of software. On its own, it’s not a compelling achievement, but if you mention the increased productivity for the organisation after implementation, now that’s a tangible achievement with a dollar value that you facilitated directly through your work!
Finally, the quality of your resume document reflects your professionalism. Make sure there are no spelling errors, grammatical errors, and that the language is consistent in terms of the tense used. Nothing is more discrediting to a resume than when a reader picks up on these issues and goes into ‘editor’ mode rather than ‘buyer’ mode. This is a common flaw that may lead to a toss decision.