You’re ready to begin or advance your career in information technology, and you’re probably no stranger to the job hunt. You’ve probably already worked a few different jobs and applied for many more along the way. If you’ve done your homework, you already know about writing a stunning cover letter, how to ace your interview and the significance of a remarkable resume that sets you apart from the other applicants. Many of the general tips you learned about building a striking resume still apply, but an IT resume is a little different. Avoid the following five mistakes to improve your chances of getting the job you want.
- Listing obsolete technologies. You’re applying for a job in information technology, a field that is defined by being cutting edge, forward-thinking and innovative. Nothing will push away a potential employer faster than looking old-school. Only list your skills in current, not outdated, technologies, and update your resume frequently to make sure that it includes the latest technologies. In addition, don’t bother wasting precious space listing your skills in software that everyone knows how to use. It’ll look like you’re desperate because you have no better skills to display.
- Skipping the IT skills section. Yes, you need an entire section dedicated to listing your special IT skills. You’re applying for an IT job, and employers want to know that you’re qualified. Include skills such as computer languages, programming and other proficiencies that you picked up from your previous work experience or while pursuing your IT degree. Including skills from continuing education, even if you haven’t yet completed the program, is great for a focused, up-to-date IT professional. Continuing education shows your dedication to your career.
- Being too technical. Limit the jargon, the shorthand, the acronyms and the references to specialized equipment. The first four or five individuals who read your IT resume will probably be regular people from the human resources department. They need to be able to understand your resume if they’re going to fall in love with it. Save the tech-talk for your interview, if appropriate, or for when you are on the job with a bunch of tech-savvy colleagues.
- Skipping the keywords. When you submit a resume electronically, the first thing that happens is usually that it gets screened – electronically. If it doesn’t have the right keywords, your resume will never reach a human. Scour the job description and pick out essential keywords based on job requirements, experience and duties.
- Being generic. Your resume needs to be about you. It should include a unique career goal and any extra expertise that you have, such as computer science or computer engineering. You can include topics that you learned in your education. To you, it may be a fun elective that you took to complete your credits for your IT degree. To your potential employer, it may be a notification that you have the exact specialized skills to fulfill the company’s needs.
An IT resume is a little different than some of the other resumes that you may have submitted, but the idea is still the same. It needs to convince the hiring department that you’re the right person for the job and that they need to schedule an interview with you. If you’re highly qualified and competent, and already a pretty savvy job applicant, getting a great IT resume together shouldn’t be too difficult. Use your previous career knowledge and avoid a few pitfalls, and you may receive the phone call for the interview.