If your resume is just like everyone else’s, no one will see your genius.
The average IT recruiter or hiring manager looks at 100-200 resumes every day. So even though you may be an outstanding A-list performer, but if your resume reads like everyone else’s, how will the recruiter or hiring manager know that they should put you on the shortlist and call you for an interview ASAP?
Treat Your resume Like an Advertisement.
You have a limited time to capture their interest. Resumes (and I’m including LinkedIn profiles here, too, since these days recruiters are searching LinkedIn before they ever post a job publicly) are often the first interaction an IT recruiter or hiring manager has with you.
They’re your chance to sell yourself as the best possible candidate, the one who’s going to be a fantastic addition to their team, the potential hire who’s going to outshine all the rest.
The goal of a resume is to make the person reading it sufficiently interested in you to want to move you to the next step of an email, phone call and ultimately the interview.
A resume (or profile) which contains the same standard bullet points as everyone else’s, “Highly organized, detail-oriented self-starter, proficient in Microsoft Office” is just one example, just isn’t going to grab the attention of the reader. Especially if they’re screening 100+ resumes every day.
Be Original, but Not Unprofessional
This doesn’t mean you should submit your resume in the form of a cookie bouquet.
Unless you’re applying for an IT job in a highly creative field (and sometimes not even then), you should probably avoid resumes packaged as toothpaste tubes, faux newspaper articles, or infographics. At the very least you risk not being able to upload your resume to the potential employer’s ATS (Applicant Tracking System); at worst, you look kind of weird.
Use Interesting language, Remove the filler, and Add Some Personality
Yes, you want to include the standard items in your resume, such as bullet points about specific achievements and results you generated. However, a little creativity and editing can make a big difference.
- Write an interesting covering email that makes your application more personal and specific, such as “I was so excited to see that you were looking for a new [insert role] because I’ve been following your [recent business developments] and think that the next few years are going to be a very interesting time for your company…”
- A line like “I like managing big projects with lots of moving parts” is a simple, more interesting way to say you’re a “highly organized, detail-oriented self-starter”
- Try using slightly uncommon words like ‘spearheaded’ rather than ‘managed a team’ or ‘led a team’
- Use your profile section to highlight how your personal interests tie into your career goals: “How much do I love web development? Well, last year I made my girlfriend a java-based game for Christmas.”
- Get rid of redundant or boilerplate information. If you’ve already mentioned you spearheaded an organization-wide technology overhaul, you probably don’t need to include a bullet point about how you’re familiar with Microsoft Publisher
- Unless your blog is about porn or your gambling addiction, you should probably mention it. It’s a good way to communicate that you have strong writing and internet skills, without having to resort to a bullet point like “Excellent written communication skills, and have been using the internet since 1996”
Three People Who Love You are Better Than 10 People Who are Lukewarm
Some people are scared of getting creative with their resumes – they think if they make them as innocuous as possible, they’ll stand a better chance of being shortlisted.
Most of the time, however, it doesn’t work that way. An IT recruiter or hiring manager who really likes your resume because it’s different and stands out from the rest will work harder at selling you to their client – they know that people who stand out (in a good way) go on to be top performers who’ll make them look good in the long run.
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