What’s Wrong with my IT Resume
Tips on what to do or not do on your IT Resume
As an IT Consulting & Staffing Recruiter, we help Job Seekers find consulting jobs with our clients. The IT Resume is your first impression. A resume is generally discarded if it doesn’t “stack up” against other Job Seekers, even if the candidate is qualified. How do you move to the top of the stack?
First, realize you are NOT the only applicant and there could be as many as ten to fifty other resumes being reviewed. Hiring companies generally do a cursory review spending only a few minutes per resume to select those for further review. You want a resume that gets you into “the Game”, how do you do that?
Next, use a resume format that is clean, simple, focused and grabs the hiring company’s attention right away as qualified for the job you are applying for. General resumes spanning your IT career are fine, but you will want to tailor a version specific to the job you are applying for. Although there are many opinions on length of resume, section headers, and layout – I have found the following successful:
- Length of resume will vary depending on total # of years of experience in the field, generally 1-3 pages; anything more than 3 pages will most likely not be read
- Name, Certification Designation, Contact information
- Competencies/Technical Skills: Methodologies, Tools, Operating Systems, Databases, Programming Languages etc.
- Experience (Employment/Job History): Company Name, Dates Employment, Job Title, Job Description and Job Responsibilities Bullets
Name: At the top of the page or in a Header, Bold, Centered, Full Legal Name (middle initial only is fine), Professional Certification Designation (only if relevant), Contact information on a second line.
John A. Smith, CSM
1000 West Main Street, Phoenix AZ 85000 | firstname.lastname@example.org | (999) 999-9999
Objective: Write a 3-5 Sentence Objective/Summary that is tailored to the job you are applying for. Begin the paragraph with your title (e.g., Senior Java Developer) and/or the title you are applying for, your total number of years of experience in that field and three to five sentences max.
Mr. Smith is a Senior Full Stack Java Developer with over 10 years of experience…
Mr. Smith is a Senior Certified Scrum Master with over 10 years of experience…
Competencies: Use a Competencies/Technical Skill summary section at the beginning of your resume and list the relevant skills of your trade.
Operating Systems: Linux, Windows
Databases: MySQL, Oracle
Tools / Related Skills: Eclipse Mars, IBM RAD, IntelliJ IDEA, JIRA, SOAP, RESTful, Tortoise SVN, Firebug, Git, Grunt, Apache Tomcat, WebLogic, IBM WAS, Ant
Methodologies:Agile / SCRUM, Waterfall, SDLC
Experience: Keep Work Experience/Job History to no more than half a page each including dates of employment, company name, most recent title, functional description of your role and 3-6 bullets highlighting your main day to day duties, responsibilities and accomplishments. I personally prefer to see as a last bullet for each employer, a Technical Environment Summary of the technologies and/or tools used i.e., MS Windows 7, MS SQL Server, .NET, C#, SSIS, SSRS. Don’t leave gaps in employment un-explained, you can add a narrative within the resume or include in a cover letter.
Company A 2015 – Present
– Developed web application using AngularJS, Node.js, and Express.js for cutting edge HTML5 and CSS3
– Built project on Single Page Application (SPA) criteria and its browser and device agnostic
– Containerized application using Docker
– Worked through cross browser compatibility issues with layout and styles for all new CSS that was implemented
– Used Bootstrap front-end framework for faster and easier web development.
– Worked in Agile environment with active scrum participation
Education: State highest Education completed and if not completed, indicate “in progress” or “Anticipated graduation date”, if you have a Bachelor Degree, we don’t need your high school, if you have a Masters and/or PhD, you should include all college degrees.
Certifications: Add Certifications/ Training to the end of your resume that are relevant to your future career. We do not need to know you are a licensed Realtor, CPA etc.
- Be consistent with grammar and formatting, if you end bulleted lists with a period (.), do it for all bullets, if you do not, then don’t add for some
- If you use bold/italics/larger font sizes for section headers, be consistent
- Resume text should all be the same font type, varying size is good
- If you are going to use advanced style formatting such as backgrounds, columns, tables etc., be sure it is viewable by all intended audiences as intended
- If you highlight or use bold or italics for your job titles or employers, be consistent
- If you spell out the full name of a month or rather abbreviate or use the numerical representation for employment dates, be consistent
- Use headers or footers to show last name/page numbers, this ensures the reader has the complete version and isn’t missing pages
Avoid these mistakes:
- Proof Read your Resume at least 3 times before submitting for grammatical errors, typographical errors, incorrect use of punctuation etc. Make sure you use an editing tool such as MS Word that will highlight potential mistakes, because the customers do. You would be surprised how many resumes come across my desk with errors highlighted by MS Word that could have easily been avoided. These mistakes send a message that you are either incompetent, or just didn’t take your time, both of which will get your resume discarded.
- Don’t use redundant phrases or bullets that appear as simply copied and pasted from one employment history to another, this can be interpreted as lazy and not really interested in fully explaining what you have done.
- Don’t falsify or embellish your skills and experience. In our industry, you are going to be tested and waste everyone’s time. State confidently what you can do rather.
- Don’t falsify education and/or certifications/training, they will most likely be verified.
- Be careful with the use of 1st person, can be viewed as arrogant.
- When creating a skill summary, list the most relevant skills first, same with work history bullets. If customers have to read down to Page 2 before they see what they are looking for, many move on…
Today’s blog is written by John O’Brien, Regional Vice President.