Whether you're new to the industry or a veteran in search of pastures new, creating or updating your resume is the first step in taking your career forward.
The original version of this post can be found on MentorCruise.com
However, a resume — and an IT job resume in particular — requires a certain format and approach. You need to let your relevant skills sing out, while convincing the reader that you’re the right fit for the job.
It’s not easy, but it is an art worth learning!
Grab a pen and paper, and get ready to brush up your IT resume writing skills.
Why your IT resume format matters
Creating a resume tends to be one of the murkier tasks of advancing your career. You rarely know exactly what a recruiter is looking for, you probably aren't sure how to translate your years of experience into a couple of bullet points, and you may not have created a resume in a long time — or ever!
So here’s the first reassuring thing to hear: you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can very easily use a technology resume template to get your first thoughts in order — but* don’t stop there. *
While there's nothing wrong with using a template, you should go the extra mile to make your IT resume stand out. Your resume is (hopefully) going to land you an interview with your future employer. It needs to be competitive, attention grabbing, and a shining representation of your unique talents.
Once you’ve found an IT resume template that works for you, it’s time to jazz it up and make it more distinctly yours...
5 tips for crafting the perfect IT resume
1. Utilize the hierarchy of information
The layout of your resume is going to help recruiters and interviewers understand who you are, where you’ve come from, where you want to head, and why they should be interested in you.
How you visually convey information of varying importance should not be an afterthought in your resume creation. Let’s imagine you’ve got:
Your personal details (name, number, email, etc.)
Your summary (a bit about you as an IT professional — and a person!)
Your skills (soft and hard)
Your education (and where did you learned those skills)
Your experience (what you’ve done and who you’ve done it for)
Most of the time, the order you present your information in will resemble the order we've created above; personal info first, summary next, etc. — this a nice, logical flow to it.
However, how much time you spend in each section is where you'll get to exercise a bit of creativity.
For example, if you've worked for a major company handling a range of responsibilities, you'll probably spend more time in the "experience" section than someone who just graduated from college. If you’re looking for an IT job in a company that’s a great cultural match to your values as an individual, then you’ll want to take time to explain who you are in a personal summary.
Look at the scope of your career, determine which points are the most interesting, and use the structure of your resume to bring attention to these assets.
2. Keep it short and sweet
We know it’s hard, but try to keep your resume to one page and one page only.
While it might seem counterintuitive to condense your years of experience into only a few lines, you need to view your resume as an elevator pitch for your profile and skills. Let’s imagine you’ve got 60 seconds to impress — how will you do it?
Rather than thinking, "I can't talk about anything interesting with just one page," reframe it as, "Okay, I have one page. How can I guarantee this recruiter wants to meet me and learn more?".
If you've worked on a really exciting project, touch on what makes it impressive without diving into the detail. Pique their interest with the resume, and win them over them during the interview.
3. Focus on your skills, not your roles
The IT sector has a lot of flashy titles, but recruiters will want to see through your job description and find out what value you can add to their organization.
So, when creating an IT job resume, try to frame each of your previous roles in the context of the skills you acquired at these positions. Rather than saying, "I worked for the ABC Factory for five years," say, "In my five years at the ABC Factory, I learned how to do X, Y, and Z with efficiency and precision."
Bonus points for subtly relating that back to the job you’re applying for, too.
4. Keep it simple
It’s a perfectly normal impulse to over-prove yourself in an IT resume, typically by using an excess of terminology and industry jargon. While this can prove that you know what you're talking about, it doesn’t allow much of you — as a person — to shine through.
Showing off that you have industry expertise is perfectly fine and even important. However, if your entire resume exists to show off just how much of an expert that you are, then you risk leaving a bad impression.
Be professional and humble, focus on your accomplishments and skills, and don't turn your resume into a thesaurus. Remember: companies hire people, not employment histories.
5. Beat the bots
Last but not least, don't forget that your resume may make its way through an automated scanner before it lands in a recruiter’s lap. And if you want the algorithm to highlight your resume as ‘one to meet’, you need to use the right keywords and phrases.
The first step is to read and reread the job description and advert you’re applying to. Mirror the language used there, even if it’s not necessarily the way you’d talk about your skills and experience. Avoid acronyms and initialisms; chances are the bots are scanning through for the full phrase.
Of course, there’s a delicate balance to be met here. You want to pass through this first stage with flying color, while still putting a big tick against the four other tips we’ve gone through in this guide.
Hopefully these insights have you feeling more ready than ever to write your new and improved IT resume.
Top comments (2)
Giving Examples of good and bad ideas would have been a great way to provide an object lesson.
Great point. I might revise with some visualizations