According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in IT professions is expected to increase by 13% by 2030. The best jobs, however, attract hundreds of job-seekers, so you will need an impressive resume to beat the competition. A resume creates the first impression about you, and this initial impression is difficult to change. If you are not sure what resume format to use or what skills to list, follow the resume tips below to create a strong IT resume.
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Resume tips for IT professionals
Opt for a chronological format
Experienced IT professionals with steady work history should use a chronological resume that lists jobs starting from the most recent one. Hiring managers like this resume as they can easily see career progression, growth of responsibility and check employment dates. If you are switching to the tech industry and are looking for a first job, you may use a functional resume that focuses on skills and downplays work history.
Use the right document name
If you give your resume a title like “Resume.docx” or “my resume 2022”, it can easily get lost on the recruiter’s computer. Use your name and job title instead: “Resume Hannah McCarthy-Middle Java Developer”. In this case, the recruiter will easily locate your file.
Keep the resume up to 3 pages
If you send a 5-page resume, a busy hiring manager can get tired or miss some important information. The ideal resume length is up to 2 pages. However, IT professionals might need more space as they list projects and all technologies they’ve worked with, so up to 3 pages are acceptable. An entry-level engineer or programmer can submit a 1-1.5-page document. Remember that a resume needn’t list your entire work history, so focus on the most relevant experiences.
Write a focused career summary
In a summary of qualifications, you can emphasize your areas of expertise and most notable achievements briefly. This section is meant to present your biggest strengths to an employer and encourage them to read your resume from top to bottom. Keep this section to 3-4 sentences (or bullet points) and make sure that the strengths you emphasize are relevant to the target job posting.
Highlight relevant education
If you have a formal degree in computer science or a relevant area, include the school name and degree. However, many companies do not request a degree these days. If you gained coding skills by yourself or attended some online courses, list these courses or certifications. Some popular certifications for coders include AWS certified developer, Cloudera certified developer, Microsoft certified solutions developer, and more.
Focus on the skillset
Hard skills and competencies are a real asset of any IT professional. List all software, programming languages and frameworks you’ve worked with. However, do specify your level of proficiency and avoid listing technologies that you don’t know well. The employer might test your skills during an interview, and if the truth reveals, you might lose a chance for a job with this and other employers.
Experienced professionals with lots of skills should break down these skills by categories (for example, Programming languages, Design skills, Management skills, etc.). In this case, it will be easier for the hiring manager to look through them.
Some good examples of skills for a tech resume are:
- Front-end development
- Network security
- Operating systems
- Back-end development
- Systems analysis
- Technical support
- Artificial intelligence
Speak through examples
Listing skills is important, as they inform the recruiter about your competencies at a glance and help pass the ATS. However, simply stating that you have a certain skill is not enough. As you describe your jobs and projects, explain in what context you used these skills. Most importantly, add professional achievements that show your impact through specific figures and percentages. For example: “Increased code efficiency of the company’s software by 35% and helped reduce costs by 15%”. When describing projects you worked on, also describe the team, technologies and highlight your contribution.
Include a link to your portfolio
It is important for an IT professional to show some previous projects and examples of code. In this way, a potential employer can evaluate your skills. If you are a beginner, you can show some projects you’ve completed while learning. You can include a link to your personal website with samples of work, or a GitHub account.
Cluttered and sloppy format leaves a poor impression and a recruiter might think that you have poor skills in editing text. Use a readable font, for example, Arial or Calibri, 10 to 12 pts. When listing professional responsibilities, use bullets instead of paragraphs as they are easier to skim through. Align the text to the right and use bold font for the most important information (such as subheadings, company names, job titles, etc.). Avoid using resume builders – although they help you create a beautiful resume, such a resume might not open correctly with ATS.
Pay attention to grammar and spelling
After you’ve completed a resume, take some time to look through it and fix mistakes. Read the text aloud to make sure that every sentence makes sense and is easy to read. Fix mistakes using an online spell checker, and then go through the text line by line. Recruiters don’t like resumes full of typos and spelling issues, as they see it as a lack of attention to detail. Make sure that your resume is clear even for non-technical recruiters, spell out the abbreviations and explain the processes in simple words.
Mistakes to avoid in a tech resume
As you write and format the resume, avoid making these common mistakes:
- Applying for a job if you don’t meet the required criteria. If you don’t know the needed technology and programming languages, your resume will be rejected anyway;
- Not adapting the resume for a specific job posting. You need to adjust the resume for each job to pass the ATS and show how you can contribute to a specific company;
- Not updating your list of skills. As you update a resume, add the skills and software you’ve learned recently and remove the outdated skills (such as old programming languages and software).
With this simple advice, you can improve your old resume significantly and get a higher chance for an interview with a target company. If you have questions, you can show the resume to an expert to ensure that it’s free from any shortcomings and apply for jobs with confidence.