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How To Write An Impressive Resume For An IT Job

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Your resume is the important key factor in determining whether or not you should be invited for an interview. Know the Dos and Don’ts.

There is a popular proverb – “First impression is the last impression”. And how do you make that first impression to prospective employer? – Impressive resume obviously. Your resume is the important key factor in determining whether or not you should be invited for an interview.

There is actually nothing like right or wrong way of writing a resume, but certainly something like an impressive resume and “general” resume. You need to write a resume that stands out and instill a desire in the employer to interview you. The resume is a sales tool. It advertises your accomplishments and demonstrates your potential to the prospective employer. Though the following guidelines can apply for almost any kind of job with a little bit of changes; the discussion however is more specific for an IT job. What follows, is the importance of the different sections of the resume and how should they be formatted. You would also find a link to a sample resume somewhere in the text below. Just read on -

Header -

Given that IT companies normally advertise/have vacancies for several categories of openings, the resume should carry the name of the position being applied for, preferably on the right hand top corner of the resume, for instance – Oracle DBA. The font may be around 14 point in bold. Vendor certification emblem, if any, should be just above the name of the position. Be advised that use the name of the position same as has been mentioned in the advertisement / notification inviting the resumes.

Let your name appear in left hand top corner in 12 point in bold, with your contact details just under it in 10 point normal font. Contact details should include your brief yet complete street address (avoid landmarks like “Behind HSBC Bank” etc.) with area code. Also include your email address and phone number (residence and cell; avoid giving works phone).

Focused Summary -

Employers want resume to show a clear match between the applicant’s profile and the job requirement. In a competitive world it is not uncommon that employers receive literally hundreds of resume for a single position. They have approximately 20-30 seconds to decide whether or not to invite the applicant for the interview. One way to sharpen the focus is to write a summary about yourself and your field of expertise. Preferably the summary should be a bulleted list and may not be longer than 8-9 points. Actually the summary section cant be a very powerful opener for the resume to catch the attention. you should never use “conservative” words like “also have the knowledge about…”. Instead use something like – “Excellent knowledge of backup and recovery …”. Observe that this section is replete with the words like – Excellent, Extensive hands-on, Expertise, Thorough, Solved, Innovated, etc. Remember that conservative words create apprehensions about your skill levels. Being conservative shows lack of confidence. By using “Expertise” you are not lying. On the contrary it shows the self confidence, that whatever you know is concrete and you can always upgrade yourself.

Mission Statement or Objective -

One of the other ways to sharpen the focus is to write a mission statement or objective. It is observed that most candidates tend to write a very philosophical statement here, without even a distant reference to what and how they can contribute to the organization they wish to join. The statement, maximum up to 5 lines in length can be as – “Armed with exceptional knowledge in backup & recovery procedures, extensive hands-on in database performance tuning and related tools; having solved critical requirements of implementation of database security and on the top having thoroughly studied the Oracle database system architecture and excellent analytical skills, I would like to contribute as a strong Oracle DBA to build and administer a mission critical database configuring it for high fault tolerance and access efficiency.”

Objective statement is however more suitable in resume for a more specific job requirement, but in general summary is recommended, which gives a wider spectrum of candidates capabilities.

Skills Set -

This is an important area in the resume which helps the employer to match his requirement with your technical profile. In most resumes, there is vast disparity in the requirement and skills in the sense that the order of the skills listed does not go well with the position applied for. For example, say the candidate applying for the position of Oracle DBA first lists language skills – C, C++, Java, SQL, PL/SQL … etc. This is ridiculous. An Oracle DBA is supposed to show expertise in SQL and PL/SQL and they should invariable appear first. Moreover the order of categories of skills is also important. For the database related position, all the categories having relevance to databases should appear first or, for a position of the system administration, Unix flavours, server configuration, shell scripting and / networking related skill categories should lead.

Professional Experience -

Professional experience includes the different projects you have successfully completed or currently working on. They should be in reverse chronology. The information should include the client name, the duration of the project, brief description of the project (not more than 5-6 lines), your contribution/responsibilities and then the details about the technologies deployed.

Your contributions should reflect your achievements to set you apart from the other candidates rather than just the description of activities you have performed. Include the accomplishments or the special things you did. For example – instead of just writing “created roles and granted privileges to the users” , write – “Implemented complex security model through combination of customized roles and privileges”. Look at how even a very simple activity has changed to a sort of achievement by just choosing different set of words. The details/list of the technologies used in the project building should follow the same rule as in the Skills Set – Use proper order so as to immediately relate it with the position you are applying for, and so catch the attention of the scrutineer.

Most candidates tend to mention the team size for the project. However it would be better if the issue of team size is handled in the interview rather than mentioned in the resume. The reason to avoid its mention is that, the scrutineers tend to relate it with the division of responsibilities if the team size is large or suspect the team spirit of the candidate if the team size is small. If not mentioned, it is ignored and even for a minor number of employers, for whom it is sacrosanct, you still get a chance to face the interview to make another impression and offer an explanation about the team size vis-a-vis your responsibilities.

Cetrifications -

All the major application/system vendors have set up their training channels and conduct the exams through centres in major cities. For example, Microsoft awards certifications like MCSE, MCSD or Oracle Corp. awards OCA, OCP or OCM, etc. Follow the proper order in mentioning the certifications. Remember here that just doing certification is no qualification; the employers are looking for thorough hands-on knowledge.

Major Achievements -

List the major achievements, like submission of paper, awards and honours in the current or previous companies, social honours, associations/memberships with the institutions of repute, awards and honours in university.

Education -

Education should be mentioned in the reverse chronology, starting with PG degree if any up to the last school exam qualifying for the entrance to the degree. Mention the name of the exam, authority (university / board) conducting the exam and percentage of marks scored. Avoid mentioning the year of passing unless specifically asked in the advertisement or notification. Use tabular format.

Personal Information -

Most candidates give the personal information like, father’s/husband’s name, date of birth, marital status etc. This should be avoided unless specifically asked in the advertisement / notification. However you may provide the information like, any other area of expertise than the IT for example, represented the university in some sport, or proficiency in a foreign language etc.

References -

Avoid giving references in the resume until it has been explicitly asked in the advertisement; say instead that it can be made available if required. Most organizations want the references to be given once they make job offer. It is always better to take approval from the person before using his/her reference. It is also a good idea to provide such person, whose reference has been given, with a copy of your resume.

Watch gaps on professional experience -

Generally the employers want the professional experience history to be given in the reverse chronology with period of projects clearly mentioned. It is possible that there can be a gap for some reasons. If the gap is in the range of 4-5 weeks, then it does not matter much but long gaps do glare at the hiring manager and chances are that the resume could be rejected, despite you being hard working, intelligent and diligent. It is always better to provide the explanation for the gap in the covering letter in not more than 3-4 sentences and avoid giving too many details.

It is also a good idea to indicate that though you had been out of work, you actually were never out of touch from the field. For example you may mention that the period was used for updating your skills or widening your skills base. However you may also avoid to mention the gap if it was long ago (say 2-3 years before). But you should be ready with a befitting explanation in not more than 2-3 sentences at the time of interview. There is no need to be offensive on the gap in the professional career, rather maintain a positive and optimistic attitude.

Misspellings and typos -

Realize that misspellings and typos are deadly on a resume. You should thoroughly proofread the resume before sending it. Also check for grammatical errors.

Conclusion -

You can download a copy of a sample resume from Here. In nutshell, resume is the reflection of you and your abilities and for that reason they are important. Keep it concise, written in simple language yet impressive. A well written resume is a great marketing tool that will let a potential employer know why you are the best person for the  job.

You may also be interested to read : 15 most difficult HR interview questions

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