Information technology is a growing sector, with thousands of jobs available in the field at any given time. With IT being a lucrative field, that also makes it very competitive. Many young professionals are joining the field for future income and job security.
So if you’re an IT professional searching for a new position or jump-starting your career, your resume needs to make a strong first impression that will get you in the door for an interview. Here are five mistakes every IT professional should avoid when building his resume.
Listing Obsolete Technologies
Employers don’t care if you know how to use obsolete software; they want to know what current and relevant technical skills you have. When you list the technology you are comfortable with, skip anything that has since been replaced by a different kind of technology. You should also skip software that everyone uses, such as Microsoft Office, because employers will assume that everyone applying for IT jobs knows how to use basic tools.
Although IT jobs focus more on your skills than your education, showing that you have a recent IT degree can give you an edge above other applicants. Instead of hiding your education at the bottom of your resume, list any recent certifications at the top of your resume. On the other hand, a degree that’s five to ten years old might be outdated. In this case, list it at the bottom unless you have completed continuing education courses since getting your degree to stay up to date.
Using little-known acronyms
When describing duties at your past jobs, remember that the people reading your resume didn’t work at your company, may not even be IT specialists, and probably won’t know what DKRP stands for. So go light on the acronyms and technical jargon. Using some technical language is important to showcase your industry knowledge, but when you use it ensure it is clear what you mean to anyone who might review your resume. Instead of inserting industry jargon, focus on the results you achieved at the company and why you would be an asset.
Many employers use software to screen resumes for specific keywords before having a real person look over them. Therefore, you resume needs to have relevant keywords for the IT field to get into the hands of a person with decision-making power. To find which keywords to use, read the job description and pay special attention to the skills and experience they are looking for. If you have the skills listed in the job description, make sure to include them using similar language to what’s listed in the job description. If you don’t have the skills, you shouldn’t apply for the position. Never lie or misrepresent your skills on a resume because the employer has plenty of ways to find out that you aren’t telling the truth—and you’ll take yourself out of the running immediately.
Using text only
With your technical skills, you should aim to create a resume that’s more interesting than a normal, boring, text-only sheet of paper. Display your creative skills when building your resume, and make something that is visually appealing and easy to scan and follow. Don’t go overboard and put too many visual elements in, though. Hiring companies are looking for an IT pro, not a graphic designer, so you don’t need to show artistic skill. A few well-placed horizontal lines and smart formatting in the header can be enough to make you look great.
Job searching in the IT field can be a tricky prospect, especially when there’s so much competition for so many jobs. But with a few extra additions and attention to detail, your resume—and your skills—could become sought after.