I caught up with Trent Devers - IT Manager at Dynamiq, to find out which aspect of an IT resume are the most important to him. Like most IT businesses, they get a huge response when hiring and have to scan through an abundance of applicants, where many of them don't even make it passed the initial scan.
Here are the top five tips from the interview to help you stand out from the crowd and land an interview in IT:
1. Spelling and grammar
Not surprisingly, spelling and grammar was the number one most important part of a professional resume and will be the difference between making the 'read' pile and the 'bin' pile. You might ask "why does it matter so much as my code should speak louder than words?". Unfortunately, this is not the case according to Trent. "Not bothering to perform a spell check AND then re-read your work, especially for grammar, reflects poorly on the application as it tells me that you may be lacking in certain skills such as attention to detail and communication."
Solution: Make sure you check, and then double check your spelling and grammar. You can even get someone else to read it to make sure nothing is missed.
Tip: If the position is in another country that doesn't speak your first language, it might be worthwhile investing in a professional resume writer to help you craft your resume. Enlisting in a professional resume writer is often a small investment (generally less than 1% of your annual wage) with a huge return when the result is landing the perfect job.
2. Easy to read and clear Resumes
As mentioned, IT managers and recruiters alike have to scan through a plethora of resumes every day, which means you have to keep your resume concise, easy to read, professional and not boring. This sounds like a hard task when you're trying to show off your all your amazing skills. "If I can't quickly scan the resume or have to decipher it, the chances are that I won't have time to read it" explains Trent.
- Only use a maximum of 3 different heading sizes and keep them consistent throughout the resume.
- Only use 1 font style for all the body copy and make it easy to read with a minimum size of 11pt.
- Use bullet points to display key skills as bullet points are easy to scan.
- Keep your resume under 4 pages.
Tip: If design is not your strong point, try using a Resume Template that is already layed out for you and also stands out from the hundreds of other applicants applying for the same job.
3. Layout of information in your Resume
The layout of information in your resume is very important as this is your chance to give them your contact details, tell them a bit about your wonderful self, display all of your amazing work and talk about your education. It really is a sales document where you want to stand out from the competition. "I want to quickly know a bit about you, your skills, where you have worked and what you have done. The last thing I want to look at is your education" is the layout IT Manager, Trent Devers prefers. Unless you are a recent graduate with little to no experience, you will want to display your information in the following order:
- Contact details (only once, don't add this to every page as it's not a letter head)
- Personal statement
- Overview of skills and strengths
- Relevant experience
- Education and training (plus awards if you have them)
- References are optional, but it's a general rule that you will supply them when asked
Tip: Make sure you have a professional email address and a link to linkedIn
4. Don't add your photo or disclose your age
A big debate is whether to insert a photo or not. The biggest reason you are better off not adding your photo is due to legalities in recruitment where not hiring someone based off their nationality or appearance is a real issue. To steer clear of any legal issues, recruiters usually chuck any resume with a photo in the 'bin', this is also the same case with adding your age. Chances are, they will view your linkedIn profile where they will be able to see your profile picture.
5. Forgetting to attach a cover letter
As previously mentioned, hiring Managers and recruiters are time poor and sometimes don't even have time to read your resume, which is why it's important to attach a cover letter along with your resume. This is, and always will be, a hot topic with recruiters. However, recent data (social-hire.com) shows that some recruiters love them and some hate them, so to be sure it's always advisable to attach a professional cover letter.