You have 6 to 10 seconds. That’s the amount of time an employer looks at a CV or resume before deciding whether the applicant should be considered for a technology staffing, job, or any position. That isn’t much time, and may seem unfair. However, snap decisions need to be made when you have hundreds of people applying for the same job. Harsh, but very true.
There are some keys to making sure that your resume gets you to the next step in the interview process.
1) Adjust your resume to target the job:
There was a time when you would write one resume and send it out to every position that vaguely looked interesting. Those days are gone. With the volume of positions open and the amount of applicants coming through, it’s important to look at the technology staffing description and target your talents and skills to meet the employer’s expectations. Use the same keywords in your resume that they’ve used in their job posting. Reorganize your project work with the most relevant being at the top of the list.
CV’s tend to be longer than resumes, but that doesn’t mean they should be a short novel. After reading all of these resumes, the recruiter or Human Resources person will get bored after only a few pages. The traditional rule still applies – resumes should be no more than 2 pages (1 is better) and CV’s should be more than 4 pages (3 is better). And again, target the important information towards the beginning.
2) Put those IT Skills at the top:
List out your IT skills and specialties, keeping your strengths first, and progressing down. Remember, you’re targeting the posted job so start with your most relevant and strongest technical skills. Leave off things like Microsoft Office, or Excel. These day’s you’re expected to have a good knowledge of standard office software, regardless of the type of work you do.
If you are applying for specific type of job, HTML specialist, for example, don’t just mention HTML expert in your skills and then never mention HTML again. Make sure you have utilized it in other projects and jobs and mention what you did. This is something that will catch the resume reviewers’ eye and corroborate your statement that you are an expert.
3) Focus on Accomplishments, Leave off the Objectives:
There may be some fields where it’s still appropriate to list out objectives, if you’re just out of school or looking for a different line of work for example. For the most part it’s unnecessary for IT professionals. Your objective, by submitting your resume, is to get the job. Don’t waste the CV real estate on that and put the focus on your accomplishments. Include details about your software solutions and specific projects.
Emphasize the accomplishments of your positions over mere duties. Don’t be vague by saying things like “reduced down time”. Include quantifiable details such as “reduced down time by 20% which increased customer satisfaction by 30%.” Add some detail on how you accomplished this and what tools you used.
4) Don’t be overly Technical:
It’s important to be clear and concise in your presentation. As counter intuitive as is sounds, don’t be too techy or use too many technical words. The person doing the resume review may not have a strong IT background so they may not be able to follow along.
Also, try not to use too many acronyms or buzz words. Each company has its own way for referring to certain procedures or things, so it might not translate well for another company. At least once lay out what the acronym means (Sealed Air Container) and from there you can use the abbreviation (SAC).
5) Be neat, clear and concise:
Keep your CV or resume neatly organized with a logical progression. Make sure to double and triple check all spelling and grammar. Spell Check catches certain obvious misspellings, but it can also miss certain phrases and words, especially for fairly technical documents. Have several people review your resume, or use some of the online tools, to make sure your grammar contains no glaring mistakes.
It’s also important to have a professional email address. Daydreamer2121 doesn’t match the professional and security requirements for a high level position at a pharmaceutical company. When attaching your resume, you should make sure it has your name instead of something vague like myresume.doc. BobSmithHTMLResume.pdf makes it easier for the technology staffing team and recruiters to find again when they need it.
Overall, details matter when putting together a CV. It shows your professionalism as well as your skill level. It lets the recruiter know that you are the one they want to hire and gives you the best chance to get that job you want.
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