Get Your Resume Out of the 'No' Pile

If you don’t want your resume ending up in the ‘no’ pile, follow these 5 tips to improve your odds of landing an interview.

Most standard rules for resume formatting don’t apply in the information technology industry, particularly if you’re a consultant with a lot of projects under your belt. While length is still a factor (see tip 4), organization and including right details are the most important things for you to pay attention to when tailoring your resume.

Having your resume be approved
  • Start with a summary of your skills and work history.
  • Follow it with a list of your technical skills.
  • Then go into describing your work history in detail. Your goal is for your most relevant qualifications to be easy to find and jump out at the hiring manager or recruiter looking at your resume.
  • Use your bullet points to demonstrate how you used your technical skills on a project.
  • Don’t misrepresent your work history by listing skills you don’t have or team accomplishments in which you did not play an active part.

Yes, this takes time. But you want a job, right?

  • Highlight your most relevant skills and experience
  • Cater your resume to the job you want without misrepresenting your technical skill.
  • It’s a myth that you need to keep your resume to one page. Resumes for IT professionals with several years of experience, should usually be 2-3 pages long.
  • To keep it to this length, summarize your last 2-3 years in detail.
  • Then, unless your accomplishments from an older job are directly related to the job you are applying for, only list your job title, the company you worked for, and the technical environment.

You don’t want to be eliminated from consideration simply because your resume is 8 pages long. Keep it down to the appropriate length for your relevant experience.

A resume with spelling, grammar, punctuation, or capitalization errors should never get into the hands of a recruiter, HR person, or hiring manager. Here are a few specific things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use informal language, symbols (&) or ‘etc.’ (IT acronyms are OK.)
  • Use present tense for your current role and use past tense for everything else.
  • Don’t capitalize words that shouldn’t be capitalized. Note: spellcheck probably won’t catch this. Absolutely no spelling mistakes.
  • Use consistent punctuation. Either always include the period at the end of the bullet point, or never do.

There’s never a guarantee when you send out a resume that someone is going to take the time to look through it and see what a great fit you are for the job. But you optimize your chances when you submit a resume that is easy to follow, tailored to the job you want, and free of errors. Take the extra time to get it right. It might just be what gets you the job you want.