To achieve success, the job seeker in the IT field must prepare to go up against competition of Olympic-size proportions. Yes, with so many highly talented people competing for the most coveted “gold medal” positions, you need to bring your A-game to every potential employer. And, the first crucial step is building a stellar resume.
Think of your resume as your “qualifying run”–your one chance to dazzle your employers with your talents, skills, and most noteworthy accomplishments. With so much riding on a simple piece of paper, you need to make sure you get it right.
Include a Cover Letter
Always include a cover letter with your resume. And, rather than viewing it as extra work, look at it as a valuable opportunity to captivate your audience. After all, your cover letter provides you with the perfect opportunity to sell yourself and create an impressive first impression. Plus, as Business Insider warns, “about half of all HR reps say they won’t even read a resume if the candidate hasn’t submitted a cover letter–making your entire effort a waste.
Make It Reader-Friendly
Stiff competition means that job recruiters are inundated with resumes, and no one wants to have to read a mountain of pages containing walls of margin-to-margin text in a migraine-inducing font. When it comes to choosing your format and design, always put the reader’s needs first.
Use headers to divide the text into manageable chunks and bullets to highlight items of importance. Stick with an eye-friendly font like Ariel or Helvetica. And, while you’re at it, Monster.com recommends that you leave off your home address and use your e-mail address instead, opting for a professional username at a current provider.
Providing a prospective employer with qualitative–and highly subjective–adjectives is unhelpful. They need quantifiable information that indicates what kind of return they can expect from investing in you. Always deal in dollar amounts and percentages when showcasing accomplishments.
“Top Tips for Updating Your Resume” also recommends “relating how your work contributed to a project’s success, and how that project contributed to business success.” This shows that you realize how your role and your performance of your role impacts your company’s ability to meet its goals.
When it comes to penning a resume, succinctness is salient. You want to entice the job recruiter to want to meet you and learn more about you. If you bore them with a bout of verbal diarrhea, the last thing they will feel compelled to do is to endure a full-length job interview.Forbes sums it up by saying to “avoid copy vomit”–discussing experience not relevant to the job you are seeking, using irrelevant industry jargon, or anything else that makes them have to sift through a heap of excess information to find what’s critical. Instead, highlight the best stuff, briefly discuss the second-best, and omit the rest.
While it is crucial to include skills specifically aimed at the job for which you are applying, it is also important to include transferable skills that are valuable in any position. If you possess excellent people skills, an eye for detail, an ability to work as part of a team, or are self-motivating, to name just a few, you will want to provide evidence of this on your resume.
The odds are that your resume will wind up in a stack others–each competing for the recruiter’s attention. By following a few easy tips, your resume can outshine all the rest and win you that coveted IT position. So grab that outdated “curriculum vitae,” crumple it up, and fling it in the trash. And get started on a resume that will sell you and all that you have to offer.
What is your favorite font? Why?