Before you even begin reading these tips, think to yourself: what is it I want to do? Do you want to be a Web Developer, Software Engineer, or a Support Role? It is rare that companies want someone who can do it all, so decide right up front which direction you are taking. Then, improve the effectiveness of your resume by following these simple tips:
Objectives like "to grow my skills in a forward-thinking company" are out. The objective statement is now replaced with nothing more than a headline with the job title you are seeking. So, just put "Entry-Level Programmer," "Junior Network Administrator," or "Help Desk / Technical Support" at the top of your resume depending on your goal.
You need to have a Technical Skills section that shows what you know and supports keyword searches. Organize these by topic such as: Languages, Operating Systems, Protocols, Tools, RDBMS, and Methodologies.
At the beginning of your career, it is okay to put in things that you do not have that much experience in... but don't overstuff it with things you really don’t know.
Important: Only put the competencies relevant to your position. For example, if you are seeking a network support role, do not put Java and programming languages here as it is confusing.
At the beginning of your career, it is okay to put in things that you do not have that much experience in
Since most of your IT experience is through your training, you need to really showcase your learning. A good tip is to detail your education on your resume in the same way as you would list a job. Here you can detail the courses you took, how many hours of training you had, and the technologies you learned. Refer to your detailed curriculum (but don’t just repeat it) to refresh your mind regarding subjects and technologies covered.
Key Tip: Go into detail about the hands-on projects you completed as part of your training.
LaunchCode LC101, 2008 - 2009, IT Student
Inventory Control Project: Developed engaging user interface to capture physical inventory counts, update inventory database, and produce discrepancy reports. Technologies used include Oracle 11g, SQL, Java, and Perl.
Doing this lets you really detail the IT experience you gained as part of your education.
If you have held non-IT jobs, then these need to be highlighted on the resume. Don’t just list your roles here, use this to highlight the core skills you demonstrated that would be relevant to an entry-level IT position. Remember that the most important skill an employer looks for is good communication skills. Other important traits to stress are:
• Ability to work independently
• Customer-service mentality
• Track record of getting things done on time
• Attention to quality and accuracy
• Ability to juggle multiple tasks and priorities
So, if you were a bartender or waitress, stress your ability to build rapport with a variety of personalities, perform in a fast-paced environment, and build customer loyalty through exceptional service.
Remember that the most important skill an employer looks for is good communication skills.
Most companies today use software to scan and sort applicants' resumes before a human ever sets eyes on them. Make sure you're making it through this initial screen by using the job listing to help beat the system. Start by reviewing job descriptions that match your desired position and make sure you have their keywords in your resume. This can be a bit tricky. For example, here is a recent posting for an entry-level programmer:
• Any previous experience with C++, Java or any other OO based language (even with school projects)
• A strong desire to learn new tools and techniques
• Strong computer science theory and fundamentals knowledge
• Open to work in different technology environments and platforms
To ensure the employer sees you are a good match for this particular job, you should incorporate the phrases above. For more tips on beating Applicant Tracking Systems, read up on 8 Applicant Tracking System Secrets You Need to Know.
By Lisa Hare
Candidate Engagement Manager