How to Craft the Perfect IT Resume
David Noble, author of Gallery of Best Résumés, offers numerous tips for writing a résumé that will stand out.
Thu, May 07, 2009
Jamie Eckle: What are effective ways to make a résumé stand out?
Ensure that you present the most important information about you just below your contact information. Susan Whitcomb, a professional résumé writer in Fresno, Calif., describes in her book Résumé Magic an imaginary rectangle approximately 2-5/8 inches from the top of the first page down to about 4-5/8 inches from the top of the page. In this hot zone you will want to put the most important information about you that will make you irresistible beyond any other candidate in the eyes of readers. If you discovered before Einstein that E=mc 2, you should put that kind of information here. That is an overstatement, of course, but spend some time determining the most important information about you as a future employee and then express that information in this key zone in an exciting, readable way.
Things to consider for this box are what you do best, your strongest IT strengths that set you apart from your peers, your IT skills that outshine those of others, the most notable IT resources you bring to a company. This part of the résumé is your best shot at being noticed and chosen for an interview, so in this area make yourself look unquestionably the best possible candidate. There is no room for modesty here.
When you indicate areas of expertise, don't just list them—cluster them. Put protocols, operating systems, hardware, software and programming languages in separate groups, with a small heading labeling the clusters.
Explain achievement results in a way that nontechnical readers can understand. Strive for a balance between language that IT readers will expect and information that non-IT readers will appreciate.
If you think that your résumé is weak in any way, such as a gap in your work experience, many short-term jobs, limited achievements or the absence of a degree, consider including one or more testimonials that attest to the quality of your work and to you as a valued employee. If you can't cull them from letters of reference, ask former employers and peers for a brief statement about you as a worker and for permission to include that statement in your résumé. Sample résumés in books that you can find in bookstores and libraries will show you how to present testimonials in your résumé. A professional résumé-writer can also be of help here.