Hiring managers look at a whole lot of resumes when they're filling IT positions--and after a while, they all start to look the same. If you have a boring IT resume, it will simply fade into the background with all the rest of the cookie-cutter candidates, costing you the chance for an interview.
Fortunately, a few simple changes can spice up your resume and help you stand out from the pile. Here are some suggestions on how to take the boring out of your IT resume and get hiring managers excited about interviewing you.
For a long time, many traditional resumes have started with an objective statement--a sentence or two that's supposed to explain why you want this particular position. But this style is no longer in fashion, and does in fact bore most hiring managers who already know that your objective is to get a job.
A couple of alternatives to the objective statement:
Placing your skills right up front is a good way to generate excitement. Hiring managers are more interested in your skills and abilities than just about anything else--they need to know if you can do the job first, and then they'll find out if you're right for the job. A skills-first format saves them time.
Many IT candidates make the mistake of playing with non-traditional fonts and sizes to make a standout resume. While this may seem like a good way to spice up a resume, it actually has the opposite effect of annoying hiring managers, or boring them because they've seen it done before. Stick to simple, tried-and-true fonts and avoid huge or tiny font sizes--don't go any lower than 10-point typeface (especially if you're trying to use a smaller font to cram more info into your resume).
Another traditional resume formatting staple is to place the dates of your experience first in each entry. But hiring managers care less about dates (unless there's a huge gap in your experience) and more about positions held and companies worked for. Since people tend to skim down the left-hand side of a page first, this format is boring and doesn't tell hiring managers what they want to know.
If your dates are right up front, move them to the end of your experience sections. Instead, start each of your experience entries with a dynamic, descriptive job title that explains what you did at that company in a few words.
Replace weak verbs and sentence beginnings with strong verbs and phrases to make a more exciting impact with your resume. For example, a sentence that begins with "duties included writing software programs to handle specific tasks," you might instead say "Wrote and maintained custom software programs for inventory tracking, data storage and retrieval, and equipment operation."
A resume that appears balanced and readable on the page--one with sufficient white space that doesn't have huge, dense-looking blocks of text--is one that stands out as dynamic and exciting to hiring managers. To check the balance of your resume, print out a copy and turn it upside-down, then look at it from a distance.
If it bulks up in certain places, or if the top is heavier than the bottom, fine-tune your formatting to spread things out a bit more and achieve a balanced, even look. Clean, great-looking formatting can catch a hiring manager's eye quickly and move you to the interview pile.
Clearpoint is a staffing agency for jobs in information technology, marketing, creative, and other professionals. We do business by building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our employees and clients.