5 Tips for an Outstanding IT Resume

With IT unemployment at an all-time high, it's more important than ever to have a strong resume. The following five tips will ensure that your resume stands out from the rest of the IT crowd.

By Tom Kaneshige
Mon, December 22, 2008

InfoWorld — Tech résumés are piling up faster than the local landfill. It's more important than ever to have a strong résumé that is sure to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, techies are notorious for producing résumés as dense and inaccessible as a secure coding manual, volume one.

In the hot job market of yesteryear, techies could get away with it: Poor résumés didn't matter much, only a pulse. In today's crappy environment, though, a well-written résumé can make all the difference between being able to pay that mortgage or not.

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The Five Essential Tips for a Good Tech Résumé

That's why InfoWorld has compiled a list of five essential tips for writing the perfect tech résumé:

1. Drop the Detail

"The No. 1 problem with most technical résumés is that they are way too long," says Martha Heller, managing director and recruiter at search firm ZRG, who sifts through more than a dozen résumés daily. Résumés often come in at six pages when they should be only two pages. (You can get away with three if you're covering a decade's worth of multiple job stints.) Remember, "résumé" is French for "summary"!

So why do techies tend to write résumé tomes? The reason is that good technical people understand the value of documentation and detail. After all, Heller says, "The mentality is, 'If you don't document your work, does it really exist?'" No doubt this kind of thinking has made its way on to the résumé.

There's also a fear that the technology important to a potential employer just might be a DEC PDP-11 minicomputer, which you worked on in the 1980s but failed to mention on your résumé. Driven by this unfounded fear, nervous techies fatten up their résumés with every technical detail since the dawn of computers.

Rest easy, advises Heller. "With the pace of technology change, there is no way that a piece of technology that you have not touched since 1985 is going to help you get a job right now," she says, "so just leave it off the résumé."

2. Abolish Your Objective

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