Whether you’re looking to change jobs, are concerned about mass tech layoffs, or just want to be prepared for future opportunities, updating your resume is crucial in securing your place in the ever-changing IT industry.
Here are four tips and tricks to help you freshen up your IT resume.
1. Keep it concise
Many IT specialists go overboard with their resume length, making it two or three pages or even longer.
In the IT industry, this isn’t always a deal-breaker. Since IT professionals are so in-demand and under-supplied, some hiring managers might spend extra time reading a resume, even if it is too long and packed with unnecessary information.
But to maximize your chances of landing your Plan A job, your best bet is to keep your resume as concise as possible.
While an overly long resume might slide in a small company with fewer job applicants, it won’t at a more competitive organization.
[ Also read 4 key IT skills to grow in 2023. ]
To make your resume more concise and to the point:
- Leave out any jobs or experiences unrelated to your field
- Don’t mention skills unrelated to the job you’re applying for or skills you have little experience with (e.g., junior skills if you’re a senior)
- Leave out your high school degree and even your bachelor’s degree if you have a master’s in computer science and/or a specialty in the tech field
A good rule of thumb: Whether you’re a junior or senior professional in the IT field, it will always be to your advantage to have a concise, straightforward one-page resume.
2. Tailor your resume
Most IT professionals have one catch-all resume that they use to apply for all jobs.
Want to stand out from the crowd? Practice resume tailoring.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you need to create a new resume from scratch every time you apply for a different job. Most of your resume’s content, such as your contact information, educational history, languages, and certifications, will remain the same.
However, the sections that should be tailored to each job you apply for are skills, work experience, projects, and resume summary. Here’s how you can do that:
- Read the job ad closely and make sure to list all the required skills that you possess. If you have any skills that are not mentioned but you have significant experience with them, mention these too.
- List work experiences that support the tech skills you include. If you mentioned Angular as a skill, for example, explain where you used it and how.
- Include as much detail as possible when describing the tech skills required for the job. Don’t just say you have experience with Angular; specify that you’ve worked with Angular 12, 13, or 14. There’s often a considerable difference between versions of a certain tool. Also, most companies prefer candidates who have already dabbled in the newest tech, so keep up to date with your tech and showcase that in your resume.
- Don’t include all your tech projects in your resume, even if you’re super proud. Relevance is key when it comes to the projects you list. Include only the ones that showcase your skills and interest in the specific part of the IT field to which you’re applying.
3. Include a resume summary
Whether you’re an experienced IT professional or are just starting, a strong summary can be a big boost for your resume.
A resume summary is a two- or three-sentence paragraph at the top of your resume that summarizes your career, including your most notable achievements and top skills.
A well-written resume summary should catch the hiring manager’s attention by explaining how you’re a good fit for the job, prompting them to review your resume more in-depth.
Here’s how to make your resume summary stand out:
- When mentioning your job title, use wording similar to that used in the job ad.
- Mention the three key skills required for the job in the summary. This is a powerful way to get the hiring manager’s attention quickly.
- Include one or two of your key achievements. Put your best foot forward and show the hiring manager you’re an A player!
4. Include personal projects and independent work
Every IT hiring manager looks for professionals who are passionate about their work. And what better way to show this than by discussing your passion projects?
In your resume’s contact information section, add a link to any outside projects you’ve worked on over the years, casual or professional. Remember that these don’t need to be overly complex or high-tech – the point is to show you’re passionate about technology outside of work. Even if your contributions involve small edits or suggestions to other people’s code, include them on your resume.
That said, your profiles must be up to date. If you haven’t updated it in years, don’t include it.
Keeping your IT resume updated and relevant in 2023 is crucial for job seekers in the competitive technology industry. And while many IT professionals get job offers without an optimized resume, an exceptional resume might just be what stands between you and your top-choice company.
[ Want more expert insights on leadership, strategy, career development, and more? Download the Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]