OVERVIEW:

Before you start writing or re-writing your IT resume, take the time to understand the job that you are applying for. If you are not writing for a particular IT role, then find a currently advertised role that is similar to the role you will be looking for in the future. This will ensure that your writing is clear, specific and targeted. If you don’t do this, your resume will likely be general and include points that aren’t relevant.  It will give the reader the subtle impression that something is off.

Below are some other points to keep in mind as you write.

Brainstorm: How did I contribute to the growth and success of your co-workers, projects and company?

Keep it Relevant: Why am I a good fit for this role? How can I demonstrate that I have done what the job demands successfully either in a previous role or by extrapolating similar experiences in different roles?

Stay focused: Keep the resume focused on a specific job that you are applying for and relate your experience to the requirements of the job.

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. If I were him/her, what would I be looking for?

Use consistent formatting to make the resume easy to read and the points easy to follow.

Prioritize your points from most important to least important in each section of the resume.

Always ask yourself: Is this important and relevant – will the hiring manager care?

The following are the main sections that you should have in your resume. We will look at formatting and then the sections of the IT resume in turn:

  • The Heading
  • The Summary
  • The Roles & Responsibilities section
  • The Education
  • Memberships, Affiliations & Other Interests

FORMATTING:

Given that most people simply scan your resume, have you ever wondered how they can make up their minds so quickly as to which resumes to dismiss? Often the hiring manager simply feels that something is wrong– such as the formatting – and tosses your resume.

Formatting your resume in a pleasing and easy to follow manner is the first step on the road to getting a call from a headhunter or prospective employer.

THE HEADING:

This is the most straightforward part of the IT resume and I’m often surprised by how many people get this wrong. The approach to take with this is to provide the key information that the recruiter or prospective employer needs.

Your Full Name, Address, Postal or Zip Code, Phone Number and E-mail:

John Q. Candidate, PMP

Suite 104 – 5452 Agile Lane

Inglewood, CA 47824

(508) 671-5879

The heading can be justified to the left, center or right. It is up to you. Ensure that the phone number that you provide is the number that will allow a prospective employer to most easily reach you – probably your mobile phone. A professional sounding e-mail is also imperative if you want to be taken seriously as a professional. E.g. john.smith@comcast.com or bob_paxton@gmail.com

THE SUMMARY OR SYNOPSIS:

The summary section should be one to two lines telling the reader what you are good at, and why you are applying for their role.  This could also be a summary of who you are and what you’ve done and perhaps the type of role that you are looking for.

e.g. A strong PM with extensive experience delivering software development projects in an Agile environment.

HIGHLIGHTS: (Optional)

This section is optional. I would suggest including it if you have some relevant highlights to point out. This will help to keep the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s interest and encourage them to read on. Here you would demonstrate that you have achievements that are of a similar nature to what you will be doing in the job being advertised. The highlights section can be:

  1. 1) a bulleted list of up to 6 key qualitative and quantitative accomplishments:
  • Implemented new trouble ticketing system which increased the help-desk’s response time by 18% and increased the number requests resolved on the first call by 34%
  1. 2) the list above could also be a short survey of your career including highlights and a skills or technology matrix:

For example it could be one highlight from each job, a list of industries that you’ve been active in, as well as a bullet for certifications or other relevant information.

A senior IT Director with a strong technical background coupled with an MBA focused on Information Technology Management from Cornell University. Extensive experience managing technology groups for multi-national mining companies, software development companies and major consulting firms. Instrumental in reducing overhead and leveraging technology to up-level efficiency and effectiveness of the organization as a whole.

Key expertise in the following areas:

Network Operations Centers Six Sigma Black Belt
Data Centers Service Level Agreements
Project Management Client Management
Disaster Recover Change Management
IT Security Vendor Management

 

For less managerial and more technical roles this could be a matrix of the key areas of technology and specific tools and software that you have used. This section can be placed at the beginning as part of your summary or at the end before the education section. The most comprehensive way to outline your skills is to include columns for the specific technologies and tools, the products that you have worked with, how long and how recently you’ve worked with them as well as a self-rating of your skill level as outlined below.

Technology/Tool Product Years of Experience Last Used Skill Level/ Self Rating

(Between 1-10) where 1 is low and 10 is high

Servers Microsoft Windows 2003 8 Current 9
Microsoft Windows 2008 3 Current 7
Linux Ubuntu 1 2009 2
Databases SQL Server 2005 4 2010 8
SQL Server 2008 r2 2 Current 5
Scripting VBScript 10 Current 9
Perl 5 2009 7
Security Trend Micro Enterprise Secuirty 2 Current 4
Back-up/ Recovery/Anti-Virus Lynx Total Data Storage Backup & Recovery 2 Current 5
McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 4 Current 8

THE ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES SECTION:

Roles

Each role should be clearly set apart. The formatting approach I like to take is the time frame during which you worked for the organization, the position, the company and finally a one or two line summary of the company. How you format it isn’t crucial as long as it is easy to follow. Do not use a functional resume format here. If you want to know why,click here.

This first part is straight-forward. Indicate your title and then the name of the company.  I strongly recommend adding a short 1-2 line summary of the company and/or your role. This provides crucial context to the reader.

For example:

July 2005 – Present

Sr. Java Developer – Archon Software Corp.

Archon 50-person start-up focused on revolutionizing the security space by providing robust single-sign-on solutions for enterprises. The company is funded by well-known Seattle angel investors.

Responsibilities

The bullet points that come after this overview should be written in the following manner:

A main bullet that speaks to a success, a character/personality trait or some skill or competency – preferably one that is required by the job description but not necessarily. If this is your most recent job then this bullet should be directly relevant to the most important skill/competency that you feel the company is looking followed by substantiating evidence of that ability. There could be one or more sub-bullets depending on what you have done how relevant each point is.

For example, the job description indicates that the successful candidate must have a minimum of 5 years developing LAMP solutions

The first main bullet might be something like:

Developed 5 complex, end-to-end web sites using the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl) stack

THE EDUCATION SECTION:

The education section should also be fairly straight-forward. In reverse chronological order, list your most recent degree or diploma or area of study along with the educational institution. If you don’t have a large number of recent certifications, then you could include these under the education section. If you have a significant number then you might put these under a heading called certifications and list the certification and the year in which you received it.

For example:

Education

Bachelor of Computer Science, University of Denver                       1996-1999

Certifications:

  • ITIL  V3 Foundation – 2009
  • VMware Certified Professional – VCP4 – 2008
  • MCITP – Enterprise Administrator Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) Windows 2003
  • Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MCSA) Windows 2003
  • Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) SQL 2000

MEMBERSHIPS, AFFILIATIONS & INVOLVEMENT SECTION:

As with all of the other sections of the resume, try to keep the memberships and affiliations relevant to the role that you are applying for. Put the ones that are directly relevant at the top, in declining order of importance. Unlike in other sections, there is more leeway here for involvement in areas outside of your profession which gives the impression that you are a well-rounded individual.

For example:

  • Member, Project Management Institute – Vancouver Chapter
  • Mentor, PMI Vancouver
  • Volunteer, PM/BA World Conference – 2011
  • Little League Baseball coach
  • Volunteer, United Way Annual Giving Campaign

Interests:

Most people put a section like this on their resume. If you put it on at all it should definitely be at the end. As mentioned in the section above, your interests do say something about you and so have some value from that perspective. They also make for good conversation starters at the beginning of an interview.

For example: Interests: Enjoy back-country skiing, hiking, tennis and water polo

At the end of your resume you should also let the reader know:

REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

It would also be useful to indicate that you have recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, and provide a link.

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