By Outside-In® Team Member Zach Werde
Are you applying for lots of IT jobs and not getting a lot of responses? Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe your resume is the reason why? After all, the fundamental purpose of a resume is to get you an interview — so if you are sending out a lot of resumes but not getting a lot of interviews, then maybe there’s a disconnect. Let’s look at 5 overarching themes that I see regularly when working with IT candidates.
1. You aren’t tailoring your resume for the specific job at hand. Just because you know you are qualified for a position, doesn’t mean the recruiter or hiring manager looking at your resume will. Especially in IT, when I’m looking for someone who has worked with a certain software or a certain tech stack, you better be sure to get the relevant info in your resume. If we don’t see it, then there’s no choice but to assume that you either A) don’t have the requisite experience or B) were too lazy to put it in your resume. Is that the impression you want hiring managers to have?
2. You have unrelated jobs in your resume. Your resume isn’t a list of employment. That’s something that goes on a job application. A resume is nothing more than a piece of paper that best illustrates your relevant experience for a specific opportunity. Unless you are applying for a retail job, remove that hourly job you took at the mall between jobs from your resume! Even if you have gaps in your resume, you can list the important jobs under a “Relevant Experience” category and note that a complete list of employment is available upon request. If you do this, you are clearly indicating to potential hiring managers that there is experience beyond what is in your resume, but that you have tailored your resume to only show relevant experience.
3. You have “too much” in your resume. You don’t need to go beyond the last 15-20 years. Hiring managers tend to focus more on recent positions. There is nothing wrong with including the “Please note a complete list of employment is available upon request” line that I suggested above.
4. You don’t have your strongest experience up top. You always want the best parts of your background featured at the top, because this is the first thing hiring managers see. So, if you are a recent college grad looking for work, your degree in Computer Science should be listed up top. If you are a Project Manager with 30 years of experience, then your education should be at the bottom of your resume (relevant certifications, such as PMP or Linux can still be included up top).
5. You don’t have a “skills” section featured in your resume. As I’m sure you are aware, it’s all about the keywords. A good recruiter will not judge your resume based on the buzz words you have or don’t have in your resume, but keywords will determine whether the recruiter can even find you. The problem is that if you don’t have those keywords in your resume, then even a good recruiter won’t be able to find your resume in the first place. So, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have a skills section that list every relevant software or program or platform that you have experience in.
Are any or all of these true about your resume? If so, consider making some upgrades to your IT resume to land some interviews.