Your IT resume is boring to read!
I’ve worked with dozens of IT professionals who are incredibly smart and talented with technology. Most of them struggle to present their background and strengths in a way that recruiters and HR professionals respond the best to. In fact, most IT resumes that I see look the same.
Your IT resume doesn’t have to be so boring to read.
Most IT resumes that I see are basic documents with lists of technical skills, company names, and certifications. Unfortunately, it’ll take more than that to stand out from every other IT resume listing technical skills, company names, and certifications.
Stop boring your ideal employer (and his or her HR/hiring manager!). Start catching them off guard and piquing their interest. This guide covers how to write an IT resume that attracts technical job offers by engaging non-technical readers first.
1 | Start With Your Perspective
Even if you haven’t been in the IT profession for very long, you know that your line of work often revolves around a list of specifications and requirements. Your resume cannot look like a specs list!
If every IT resume looked like a specs list, it would be impossible for a recruiter or HR professional to determine whom would be the best fit for their job opening. Many of the candidates applying for the same jobs as you are will also have similar skills and experience. Your resume needs to tell your unique story.
2 | Give Your Technical Skills Some Context
One way to tell your unique story in your IT resume is to give your technical skills some context. Sure, you used Software A and Hardware B but why? What was the goal? What were the results? Make your resume engaging to read by telling your unique story with context.
The best formula for storytelling is to present a challenge or situation, the actions taken, and the results that were produced (C-A-R or S-A-R). I always encourage my clients to start with the results since employers love to see results-driven candidates.
3 | Don’t Forget Your Transferable Skills
Transferable skills, or soft skills, are often overlooked or overused in resume writing. It can be easy to forget them entirely if your career is largely technical. Transferable skills are still listed in IT job postings because they are vital to determining whether or not you will be a great fit for the company and job.
Some of the transferable skills to include in your IT resume are your communication and presentation skills, critical thinking, and teamwork. Make sure that you provide solid examples in your resume that support these skills.
4 | Showcase Your Projects + Major Contributions
Your IT resume will be far more interesting to read if you focus less on your technical skills and showcase your projects or major contributions to organizational goals instead. Show employers that you can see the big picture and are eager to contribute to the success of the company.
You can follow the C-A-R (S-A-R) storytelling model explained above. Even if the project is in progress, you can summarize the goal of the project to keep your resume results-oriented. The goals or results shouldn’t be technical in nature but address the client or customer needs such as improving the user experience, streamlining business processes, etc.
5 | Focus On Results + Achievements
Employers LOVE measurable results. Measurable results or achievements can be dollars earned, percentages saved, staff trained, customers retained, etc. If you can put a number on your contributions, do it! Your IT resume may be boring for your readers if your resume is riddled with task-based statements.
The person reading your resume will need to see quickly and easily what differentiates you from your competition (or the other candidates). Too many IT resumes focus on technical skills and responsibilities. Instead, focus on telling your ideal employer that you generate results.
6 | Streamline Your Certifications
One common pitfall for IT resume writing is turning the Education section into a long list of certifications. Yes, your certifications are important; no, they should not overshadow your experience or the unique value you offer to employers.
Streamline your certifications by only listing the ones you have most recently earned. You can also streamline your certifications by listing the ones most relevant to your job target or indicated on the job posting. Another strategy is listing all of your certifications on your LinkedIn profile and concluding your resume with this statement: “See LinkedIn profile for additional experience, projects, and certifications.”
7 | Integrate Your Goals In Your Branding Statement
Every resume, even an IT resume, needs a Branding Statement. Your resume is likely boring your reader if your resume starts with a list of skills. Since you have less than 15 seconds to capture the attention and interest of your ideal employer, use your Branding Statement to identify your top strengths and career goals. Both should align with the specific needs and goals of your ideal employer.
Your Branding Statement should be no more than 4-6 lines and can be followed by a Technical Skills section that is easy to scan. To keep the Technical Skills section easy to scan, I try to categorize the skills. Some of the categories may be Hardware, Software/Technologies, and Programming Languages.
Not sure how to get started? This Branding Statement Cheat Sheet should help!
8 | Check For Repetitiveness + Passive Words
Another typical pitfall for IT resume writing is starting the same statement with “Responsible for.” Actually, this is a common pitfall for job seekers in all fields. Replacing repetitive, passive statements with action phrases is an easy way to make your IT resume less boring to read.
Alternating action words at the beginning of each statement isn’t easy in technical fields. Some action words to consider include interpreted, persuaded, recommended, presented, built, conceptualized, created, designed, developed, enhanced, expedited, generated, implemented, improved, initiated, introduced, modified, planned, streamlined, assessed, evaluated, monitored, tested, installed, programmed, utilized, monitored, compiled, coordinated, and tracked.
Add results-oriented projects, achievements, or major contributions to your IT resume.