Developing a Compelling IT Resume

As you probably already know, your resume is, above all else, a marketing document.  But you’re an information technology professional, not a marketer, right? Writing a resume can be complicated for any job seeker, but IT professionals have a unique set of obstacles in the complex high technology job market. Here we describe a few of those challenges and what you can do to make your technical resume stand out.

The Jargon

When you apply to a position, chances are good that the first pair of eyes to see your resume are going to belong to someone with a less technical background.  While one of your techie colleagues will understand what all those acronyms mean and why they are important, the HR manager, recruiter or non-tech exec who first sees your resume will most likely have less knowledge, and you must also take into account these audiences when preparing your resume. Consider spelling things out where possible, or using a general description of the competency or category, followed by the relevant acronyms or examples in parentheses.

The Technical Skills

If you’re an IT pro, then naturally specific technical capabilities are to be expected. But it may surprise you that they should not dominate your resume.

So, if your technical skills are not dominating your resume, then what does?  As in any other field, the hiring company is trying to determine what you will do to improve the business.  Therefore, you should demonstrate how you have added value to the prior organizations for which you have worked.  Take a solutions-based approach, succinctly describing the projects or programs you have worked on by identifying what the issue or task was, what the challenges were, and your role in resolving them.  If you can quantify how your work helped the business (i.e. saved time or money, increased sales or efficiency), even better.

Although the technical proficiencies do not dominate the resume, you certainly must include them. A great approach is to write a technical summary to highlight your abilities, taking care to customize it to include only those competencies which are current to the industry and relevant to the position to which you are applying. Generally speaking, the higher you are up the ranks in the field, the lower the summary should be positioned on your resume. If you’re at the entry level, placing your technical skills closer to the top of your resume makes more sense than if you’re an IT executive, where they would be listed at the bottom, if at all. When creating your technical summary, make it easier for the person scanning your resume by placing your skills into categories and subcategories, especially if your skill set is extensive.

The Soft Skills

Sure, your tech talents are rock solid. But an employer wants to know that you can play well in the sand box, too.  Soft skills like leadership, team work, communication, flexibility and creativity are valuable in all professional settings, and employers are always looking for them. As someone who will manage  projects, programs or people, it’s critical to demonstrate these interpersonal skills in addition to the technical ones.  Make sure the descriptions of your work experience demonstrate not only your IT expertise, but also your business acumen.

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