Thursday, January 7, 2010

IT Resume Advice

Another recruiting blog swap article. This is pretty sound resume advice and a good addition to the mix of resume information here on the Chelsea Recruiter Blog (see here, here, and here).

Article Title: Resume do's and don'ts for the IT Job Seeker
Author Byline: Laura Vezer is an IT recruiter and creator of the blog, IT Matters Canada! The blog contains resources and advice for IT Professionals looking for work in Canada.
Author Website:

Today I would like to offer you a few valuable tips on your resume. Over the past couple of weeks I have seen some resumes that have had really effective formatting, and some resumes that... well, could use some work.

In this post I will share with you some top tips that I like to see in a resume.

(Please remember that all resume readers have their own preferences, and I am no exception. I will try to remain as objective as possible. Please add your own favourites in the comment section below!)

Remember your target audience.

Your resume may travel through several sets of hands before reaching a technical hiring manger. Often a HR intern with little to no technical experience may be screening potential applicants. Can you imagine how confusing a generic technical resume could be to a fresh HR intern? If you feel that your resume could use clear keywords to help it get to a hiring manger, consult your recruiter. Recruiters are familiar with their clients internal hiring processes and can offer a wealth of information on how to effectively market your resume.

The easier your resume is to read, the more effective it will be.

Resumes are more often scanned rather than read. On average a client may take seven to twelve seconds before deciding to move onto the next resume. Having a resume that is detailed, easily readable, and truly sells your capabilities is the key to capturing their attention during that critical twelve seconds. Here are a few effective techniques to really give your resume an edge:

  • Keeping your resume to one font,
  • Formatting a 1.5 spacing between bullet points
  • Keeping your bullet points succinct, yet detailed enough to really highlight your abilities
  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile to supplement your resume – the reader is likely to search for you anyway, why not make it easier for them
  • Creating a skills matrix in a table that highlights all your technical capabilities, from Networking through to coding languages, and rating your own ability. (example below)

Software Development
Java6 YearsExpert
.NET4 Years Intermediate
C#4 YearsIntermediate
Agile1 YearBeginner

Include a one to two sentence synopsis at the top of every job you have worked. This is a great introduction to the reader of who the company was that you worked for, and what you did there.

If anyone tells you that you must restrict your resume to two pages, don’t listen to them! Putting a two page limit on YOUR career will hinder you from selling your true abilities to the reader, and will put undue pressure on telling your story. I’m not saying to make a 20 page resume, but don’t be afraid if it goes to five or six pages. If it still reads simply and easily, go for it!

Don't be an job seeker wall flower! By submitting generic resumes, you will become invisible!

A generic resume to a specific job description will not maximize your chances of being picked out from the crowd of applicants a company might receive. By spending an extra ten minutes on tailoring your resume to the job description, you will be received by the reader as a great breath of fresh air amongst the stale boring generic resumes that were clicked over without a second thought.

To Whom it may concern? No thanks.

Don’t EVER send a cover letter addressed to “HR Director,” or “Dear Manager,” If there is not a name on the job ad, pick up your phone, call the company, and ask the receptionist who you should address your cover letter to. It will take 30 seconds, and will give you a leading edge by personalizing your application.

Location, Location, Location!

Don’t leave your location a mystery. If you don’t want to include your address, fine: but include your city of residence, and appropriate contact details so the reader can connect with you straight away.

What's your word count?

Don’t write an ‘essay resume.’ If your paragraphs are turning your resume into a memoir, I invite you to give your draft to a parent, relative or friend who is NOT in your field of expertise, and ask them to read and judge your resume in 10 seconds. If they struggle getting through the first page, you know you have written the beginning of your life story, and not your resume.

Finally, my last recommendation would be to ask for help. You will be amazed at the amount of knowledge your recruitment consultant has. Recruiters look at resumes every day, and see what works and what really doesn’t.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you would like me to read through your resume, and offer some tips to help make your resume more effective, please email me at

Thanks and enjoy your week!


Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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At January 24, 2010 2:20 AM , Blogger Anjoli said...

Great post.

I think that it's fairly obvious that with the internet we are still in the 'wild west' phase, where no one quite knows what is going on. And it is 'cooler' to say things like 'ditch the resume' than to give solid advice like you give here. Especially because it can be easier and more fun to add some fancy graphics to your resume rather than do the harder, and more useful, work of tailoring your resume to the specific situation (which I think means not only industry, but company and position).
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