Resume Writing Tips

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What do you do when the company you used to work for changes its name?

Resume Tip – What To Do When the Company You Used to Work for Changes Its Name

It's an increasingly common scenario. You are drafting your IT resume, but aren't sure what to do because your former employer was bought out by another company and has changed its name. Or the company you used to work for is no longer in business. How do you correctly present this on your resume?

With a company name change situation, it is best to list both the new company name as well as its previous name on your IT resume. You can do this by listing the new name, and then in parenthesis after, note formerly XYZ Company. A similar tactic can be used to denote a company that has folded. Taking these small measures will help ensure that any hiring managers that review your resume will be able to verify your work history and will avoid any potential confusion.

And don't forget, if you are using any former colleagues from one of these companies as references, you want to be sure to have their updated contact information so that they can still be contacted.

What are the most common mistakes made on resumes?

Top Resume Mistakes

Today's IT job seekers can't afford to be sloppy or careless when drafting their resumes. The current economic situation has drastically increased the amount of competition in the job market and therefore human resource managers can afford to be choosier about who they are willing to hire. Simple mistakes can sabotage a candidate's IT job search efforts.

Consequently, candidates need to be extra careful not to make these common resume mistakes. Spelling errors are easily avoidable and therefore completely unacceptable gaffes that can cause immediate elimination of a resume from consideration. To avoid this costly mistake all you need to do is take the time to spell check your IT resume and/or enlist the help of a friend to review it before sending it out.

It is also important to be truthful about your experience and skills. Employers these days can't afford to make bad hiring decisions and are especially careful about checking out their potential new hires. Chances are if you lie about your work history, they will find out and that will eliminate your chances of signing on with that organization.

How many resumes do hiring managers generally receive for each job opening?

With Resumes You Don't Have a Lot of Time to Make a Great Impression

When drafting a resume for an IT job search, professionals will do well to keep in mind findings from a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder. Their research showed that human resource professionals receive an average of fifty to seventy-five resumes for every open position they post. For IT job seekers, that means that your resume has to be strong enough to garner attention in the midst of the masses.

Further complicating matters, because of the large number of resumes that come across their desks, hiring managers often spend just one to two minutes reviewing each new submission. To help simplify the process, over fifty percent of hiring managers utilize applicant-tracking systems to screen and manage the resumes they receive from potential candidates.

That means that you have very limited time to make a great impression. Therefore, it is essential to present your qualifications in a clear and concise manner. Including a career summary at the top of your resume can be a great way to do this. Also, be sure to include keywords from the job posting in your IT resume to ensure you make it on to the next level of the selection process.

Is it helpful to create customized versions of your resume for each job opportunity?

Customized Resumes

More and more IT job seekers are taking the extra step to customize their resume for each individual employment opportunity. Doing so allows them to tailor the way they present their work history to highlight specific skills and qualifications based on the need of the particular company. This can be quite effective as different positions have varying requirements. In one job, proficiency with a particular technology may be especially important whereas at another company the focus is more on a different skill.

Though time consuming, it can be well worth the extra effort involved in adjusting your IT resume. By customizing the content, candidates can ensure that the key words and precise methodologies that an organization is looking for are prominently displayed on the resume they submit for each job opportunity.

To pursue this tactic, create a standard version of your resume that includes all the basic information about your career. Then, for each version, simply tweak the data as needed for each job inquiry you submit to spotlight the particular experience that is most relevant for that position.

What is the ultimate goal of a resume?

When Drafting an IT Resume Remember to Keep the Goal in Mind

While many would think it is obvious that you would want to keep the goal in mind when drafting an IT resume, it is amazing how often this vital objective seems to be forgotten. Some people mistakenly think that the ultimate purpose of a resume is to get a job. The truth, however, is that a resume doesn't get you an IT job; your performance in an interview is the deciding factor as to whether a company will hire you. So in reality, the resume's goal is to get you an interview.

Therefore, it is essential that your resume captures the attention of your potential employer. As such, it is vital for it to be formatted in a clear and easy to read layout. Hiring managers review hundreds of resumes, so they will be primarily scanning the information and not reading in depth. To make it past the first cut, you must be sure you include the key words that the organization is looking for so that they know you have the skills they need. Then, and only then, will you have the opportunity to go to the next level and win them over in the interview.

How can thinking like a Hiring Manager help in drafting a successful resume?

Thinking Like a Hiring Manager Can Help You Create a Better IT Resume

Far too often IT job seekers think of their resumes only from a personal point of view. As such, they spend their time and energy simply listing all of the minute details of their job experience.

However, it can be very helpful to shift your perspective and put yourself in the shoes of the company's hiring manager. When drafting your resume, try to keep in mind how your potential employer will view it. In all likelihood, they will be shifting through a large number of resumes from other qualified candidates. Therefore, you want to think about how to make your credentials stand above the rest. This can be done by making the resume easy to read and by highlighting your technical skills and achievements. You don't want to make the reader have to search to find the information they need. You want your experience and expertise to pop so that the company can't help but notice that you are clearly the best candidate for the position.

Are achievement statements important to include in an IT resume?

Resumes Should Be More than Simple Laundry Lists

When putting together an IT resume, many job seekers focus their energies on compiling a laundry list of their employment history, trying to cram in as many bullet points about their job responsibilities as possible. While it is important to fully present your employment history, it often seems as though the true goal of a resume is forgotten. Potential employers want to know that you have not only the technical knowledge required for their IT job opening, but also the ability to use those skills adeptly to help advance the interests of the company. Therefore, it is vital to include achievement statements in your resume. These highlight past successes and reference quantifiable results that are a direct reflection of your work. By coupling your qualifications with your performance abilities, you provide employers with concrete examples of how they can benefit by hiring you.

So don't be shy. Go ahead and list those awards you have earned and record the relevant details about the money you were able to save your company, because how well you perform on the job is truly what potential employers are interested in.

What is the appropriate length for an IT resume?

How Long Should Your Resume Be

One of the most frequently asked questions and commonly debated issues when it comes to resumes is regarding the appropriate length. Is it essential to stick to a single page resume or is it acceptable to have something longer, say two or three pages? What it really comes down to is the amount of experience the individual has. Particularly when it comes to professionals looking to land an IT job, longer resumes are often needed to efficiently document the important technical details of their career. However, for novice technicians or for those just starting out in their IT career, a one-page resume is best. Individuals with a broader range of skill sets to portray will likely have to go beyond a single page, but it is important not to go overboard and create an unruly, extended IT resume. Listing too much information can be as detrimental as not providing enough. If a resume is too long or catalogs an excessive level of minute detail, there is a high likelihood that it will be passed over as hiring managers don't have the time or energy to hunt through to find the skills that are of interest to them.

What is a technical summary and should I include one in my resume?

The Importance of Including a Technical Summary on IT Resumes

While a Technical Summary is not a category included on all resumes, it is a vital section to incorporate for individuals looking to secure an IT job. Doing so provides a clear and concise way for potential employers to assess whether you have the technical expertise and capabilities they need.

The goal of this portion of your IT resume is to provide a detailed outline of your technical skills broken down into easy to decipher categories. This will make it simpler for the hiring manager to find the specific technologies they are interested in. It can be beneficial to include up to five subcategories and then list the various technologies you have worked with under each. For example, you would list operating systems and note the experience you have in that realm such as Windows Vista and XP, Mac OS X, Unix, etc. Then do the same for your hardware experience, software applications, networking and languages and so on. Of course, the subcategories you list will depend upon your particular field of expertise. Just be sure to stick to listing key technologies of interest and eliminate skills sets that are either insignificant or outdated.

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