There are a lot of tips and advice about resumes out there. You’ve probably encountered the “1-page vs. 2-pages” debate for how long a resume should be. While a lot of that information is sound, there are some additional considerations when sending in a resume for an IT position. After all, IT is a rather unique career field. Here are six tips to help you optimize your resume for the IT job of your dreams.
Keep it simple
As tempting as it is to cram every little detail on your resume, keep in mind that hiring managers scour through lots of resumes, meaning they usually spend 30 seconds or less initially scanning resumes. So, you need to keep on point, while making sure you stand out. That said skip the crazy fonts or wild colors. You want to make it very easy for people to read and digest your resume. Otherwise, it could end up in the shredding pile.
Yes, a lot of IT shops have laidback cultures. Ping pong tables, unlimited caffeinated beverages, and jeans are perfectly acceptable and often the norm. However, first impressions count, and that extends to your resume. If you haven’t already, ditch that silly email address from high school and create a more professional one. Don’t include links to social media accounts. It’s way too easy for an employer to find that years-old picture of you “out on the town.” Also don’t include private or personal information such as your social security number or marital status. In the United States and many other places, it’s illegal for companies to ask for certain information, so why include it?
Show, don’t tell
The more specific you can be, the better. For example, highlight projects you worked on and mention the different skills and technologies you used during those projects. When possible, use statistics to bolster your accomplishments. For example, maybe you implemented a new system that reduced site downtime by 30%. Cold, hard facts can help your accomplishments stand out more. Remember, many IT folks are numbers-driven, so try to speak the language.
Omit “duh” skills
There are certain skills and technologies that every IT professional is expected to know. Hence, the “duh” moniker. So, you don’t need to list things like, “highly skilled using search engines, including Google,” “adept at determining IP addresses,” “wizard of keyboard shortcuts,” or “proficient in Microsoft Office.” However, if the position you are applying for directly calls for experience in something that basic, list it. That’s why it’s also a good idea to tailor resumes to specific job descriptions. The bottom line: Don’t clutter your resume with unnecessary information.
Consider a skills-based resume
Traditionally, resumes list work experience in chronological order. But when applying for IT jobs, it might make more sense to focus on your skills. A skills-based resume lists your certifications and skills above your job history, enabling screening software and hiring managers to quickly identify if you have the qualifications they are seeking. Also, this approach can help you overcome any gaps in your work history.
Don’t shortchange your abilities
Your resume needs to sell your skills and abilities well enough to move you onto the next stage of the hiring process, whether that’s an interview or being asked to submit a project. So include other sources that validate your tech savvy beyond certifications, such as continuing education credits, bootcamps, and workshops. Including this type of information highlights your commitment to learning, which is critically important in the fast-paced, always evolving world of IT.
One last bit of advice that’s a no-brainer, but bears repeating, because it’s oh-so-critical in every piece of communication you send out: Proofread, proofread, and proofread again. Don’t let a misspelled word or silly typo trip you up as your pursue your dream IT job. Happy resume writing!