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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Your Information Technology Resume Shouldn't Suck - Does It?


One of my first IT jobs was with a small company where I was the IT department (a fancy word for a desk in a small corner of a large room).

One day I had to step in when the HR person was away sick for a week. We were interviewing for my position as I had given in my notice to leave that company and spread my wings.

It was a fun experience looking at people's work history. Most resumes were pretty dull, to tell you the truth. The way they were written, nothing exciting jumped up to catch my attention. Most of them were like, blah, blah, blah.... I did this and I did that, type of thing.

But luckily some weren't like that at all. The way they were written, made the writing 'come alive'. Here are a few things that I noticed right away:


They were written in an active voice.
They didn't overuse 'I'.
They listed their accomplishments rather than their 'duties'.

Some people serve as a bad example.

Aghast I realized how boring my resume was as well! After comparing the good with the bad, I realized I wasn't so crash hot in my resume writing either. You see, most of us just throw an information technology resume together not realizing just how important it is. It's the way to the front door. Your resume can either make you or break you. To write a great resume that will make people read it throughout, you gotta know how to write one. But I couldn't be bothered with the task. So I paid to get one professionally done. It worked out great. I paid for it once and it kept on getting me jobs because after studying it, I realized the techniques professionals use to make resumes 'come alive'. So when I needed to change my resume, I just applied those same techniques.

Here is a checklist you can run your information technology resume through 1. Does it read like a 'brochure' selling your skills or does it read more like a catalogue? Solution: use action words to liven it up. You are the product and the resume is your brochure. Highlight what the 'benefits' of the product are.

2. Are you including the heading 'Responsibilities Included'? Solution: This is boring. Write your responsibilities in a way that show:

* The problem you were faced with, * The action that you took to fix it, * The result that came out of that action

3. Don't have the experience for your new position? Solution: Alot of people try to 'beef' their resume up with experience they don't have in order to land their dream job. This is a waste of your time. Consider volunteer work to conquer what is missing. Volunteer work is viewed very highly on a resume. It shows you are a 'giver' and an 'action' person. If you find that you want to reach a job that isn't at your reach yet, consider getting some experience first and applying for this type of job in the near future.

4. Are you using bulleted sentences? Solution: Give the employer an easy way to read your information technology resume, and they will. Rather than writing lengthily paragraphs, cut up the information that you want to stand out in bullet form.

5. Are your headings matching the words listed in the ads you are applying for? Solution: The employer knows what they want. And if they see those keywords in your headings, its makes them stop to read it in more depth. Use keywords in your content as well were applicable. .

6. Are you trying to cram is as much information as you can? Solution: Wrong move. Leave plenty of white space and space the words out for easier reading. Also take out irrelevant information that doesn't do anything for the job you are applying for.

7. Is your resume tweaked for each individual employer? Solution: Your information technology resume should feel 'personal' to the employer. Like it reflects what they are looking for. It's ok to have many types of resumes to apply for a variety of jobs. The mistake most people make is to have one standard information technology resume and apply for different types of jobs.

8. Are you describing your previous jobs as accomplishments? Solution: Whether you think it or not, you have accomplished many things in your previous jobs. Both for yourself and the employer. Really sit down and think what you have done. Don't be modest. Don't think you have accomplished nothing. You just being there has allowed the work to go forward.

9. Are you listing your personal interests? Solution: If you are, make some of those interests relevant to the work you are applying for. For instance, you can say that you love to build and spend time in your home lab. Actually, one guy wrote this on his resume and I did become impressed with it. But don't make dumb claims. Another resume I read listed in personal interests that he likes hacking in his spare time! Now you know this is a wanna be hacker don't you? A real hacker doesn't feel the need to be a smart ass.

10. Have you included an objective? Solution: An objective is what you want to accomplish. Write your objective at the start of your resume, above everything else. The objective should, of course, be relevant to the position you are applying for

11. Are you using numbers, percentages and currency? Solution: These stand out so if it's applicable to your information technology resume, include them in.

12. Is it focusing on the employers needs or yours? Solution: If your resume addressing what the employer is looking for? Are you the answer to their problem? Write it in a way that reflects you are the solution.

13. Are you leaving out anything negative? Solution: In all our jobs, not everything was positive. Don't include the negative. Anything that will harm your chances of an interview should be left out. If it's vital to include such information, reword it in a positive way.

14. Have you proofread? Solution: Spelling and grammatical mistakes can pass you by. Read it on screen and again when you print it out. If you can, give it to others to proofread as well.








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By Georgia Stath, author of Your Information Technology Resume shouldn't suck. Does it? and Find Information Technology Positions (Worldwide).


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