Happy New Year! In this post I’d like to share my thoughts on how to create the perfect resume & resume building to get noticed in a job market that is flooded with quality talent. I review several hundred resumes a week so I’d like to share what stands out when I look at a resume of an IT professional. Again, these are only my opinions. Feel free to share your thoughts or concerns anytime!
First, the Cover Letter. Unless you plan on customizing a cover letter to the specific position that you apply for, I almost never look at them. Instead of attaching a cover letter, think about putting the cover letter into the body of the email that you are sending your resume with. Especially if the recruiter or hiring manager is receiving a lot of resumes for the position, that’s a great way to get noticed.
Second, the length of the resume. In my opinion, if you have under 3 years of experience, your resume should only be 1 page. If you are a mid level IT Professional with 4-8 years of experience, 2 – 2.5 pages are perfectly acceptable. If you are a senior IT Professional with 10+ years of experience, that maximum length of your resume should not exceed 5 pages. People just wont read it all & sometimes will even be turned off by a resume that is too long. I know if I receive a resume of someone that is 10 pages long, it makes me wonder does the person really move around so much or can they just not get to the point….I hear from many IT professionals that their resume has to be 1page. That is a myth! If you have a wealth of experience, it’s good to show what you have done, as long as it’s not long winded. The reason they tell you to have only a 1 page resume in college, is that you dont have any “real word” experience yet. Why should you have more than 1 page?
Next, the format of the resume….I always tend to prefer resumes that are nicely formatted, have the company name & the candidates title in bold, with exact dates of employment in italics. Bullet points under each company the candidate worked for stating in order of importance, exactly what they did at their last few employers are essential. I see many resumes that have technical skills & then a list of companies that the candidate worked for separately. Those dont tell me much, as I dont know when the candidate used particular technologies that I am looking for. This is an important one.
Finally just a list of a few things to think about while putting together your resume
ALWAYS Spell Check your resume several times before posting it anywhere or sending it to anyone. Spelling errors are one of the biggest reasons resumes end up in the recycle bin.
NEVER copy & paste your previous experience onto your current experience. Even though the roles could have been similar, take the time to think of another way to say it. Copy & Pasting on a resume shows laziness & that is not a quality employers are looking for.
ALWAYS be accurate with dates on your resume. Even if there are gaps, that is OK, as long as they can be explained. Employers do background checks these days & if something doesnt accurately come up, you may lose your offer
Make sure you have a cell phone # & an email address you can be contacted at. There have been many times that I’ve been in a hurry to find a good candidate & I was unable to reach them until it was too late.
There is NEVER a good reason to put your photo on a resume….ever
If there is a specific position that you are applying for & you honestly feel that you are the PERFECT fit for this position, tailor your resume to that posting. Of course be 100% honest about your skill set, however if the title of the position is “Systems Engineer”, there is nothing wrong with putting the words “System Engineer” in your Objective. Also, if there are specific skills that the client is looking for & you have them, make sure that they are the first bullet points that are on your resume. Remember, whatever is written first gets noticed most & you want to get noticed.
I hope that these tips are helpful. As always, please feel free to post any other ideas or concerns that you have. I want to make this forum as interactive as possible & the more productive ideas, the better. Thank you for taking the time to read this & have a great & Succesful New Year!