A professional resume is designed to get you noticed and show a potential employer that you are the right person for their company. It is a short piece of individual marketing that should tell the employer what you bring to the table and why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Unfortunately, the amount of time you have to explain this is very limited, and the average employer spends only six seconds scanning each resume.
For a position in the increasingly competitive IT field, your resume may have even less time to do the trick. Additionally, many major employers utilize resume scanning software that searches for relevant keywords, and you must also take the steps to ensure your resume will actually be seen by human eyes. Once selected, it must immediately grab the attention of the employer and quickly tell him or her what the company will gain by hiring you.
Choosing Your Format
Selecting the correct format is crucial to writing an effective professional resume in any field. Fortunately, you don’t have to wrack your brain over this, as there are only two main options: chronological and functional. There is also a format that combines the two, appropriately called a combination format.
- Chronological Resume: This is the most common type of resume format, and it is what most people think of as a traditional resume. With this format, your previous employers are listed in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. This style is good if you already have an extensive employment history in IT, as it highlights your experience more than your skills.
- Functional Resume: This format is designed to highlight your skills more than your experience, putting less emphasis on your work history and more focus on what talents and qualifications you bring to the table. A functional resume may be ideal if you have little to no experience in IT, or if you have a diverse work history that includes multiple fields.
- Combination Resume: This style combines elements of both chronological and functional formats, allowing you to highlight both your skills and your experience. The major downside to resumes in combination format is the length, considering the very limited amount of time are likely to spend reading it.
Creating Your Resume
Although the specific sections, contents and arrangement may vary, most professional resumes consist of two basic parts: assertions and evidence. Your assertions will include the qualifications, talents and skills that make you the right candidate, and the evidence will support them.
With the variation of specialties, subfields and focuses within the general field of information technology, assertions are generally the most critical aspect of IT resumes. This section consists of three subsections:
- Objective: This is a clear, short description of what you hope to bring to the position. A proper objective should clearly define why you are the right person for the job in one sentence.
- Summary: Here, you will list the skills, accomplishments and expertise that make you perfect for the position. This may be the only section of your resume that the employer fully reads, so you need to make it count.
- Skills and Accomplishments: This section provides you a platform to go into more detail about the characteristics and expertise that make you the ideal candidate. For example, this may include cSharp exception handling, advanced coding practices, data mining, etc. It will also include a list of awards and accomplishments that relate directly to the functions you would serve within the position.
The assertions section is the most important area of a functional or combination resume, and evidence section simply confirms these assertions by providing your relevant work history. In the case of a chronological resume, the evidence section will be much more extensive, as your employment history will include descriptions of each position, the dates you held the positions, achievements and awards you earned, and any other relevant information.
The Perfect IT Resume
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect resume. However, if you create an honest and thorough resume that focuses on the needs of the employer, you should be able to land your dream job in any IT field.