By Theresa Zandi
As a technology consulting firm, we are constantly being asked what the ideal technology resume should look like. There are many factors that go into a technology resume to make it stand out to employers. In this article, you will receive the necessary advice to greatly improve your resume so that you get interviews for your dream job.
What’s wrong with resumes?
There are many factors that make a resume good or bad. If you have a bad resume, it greatly affects your chances of getting a job. The truth is, even the smallest errors that are made in resumes are considered to be huge. These “little mistakes” include incorrect spelling, grammatical errors, and use of pronouns. These mistakes are considered small, but they are inexcusable and should not occur in your technology resume. Other larger mistakes include centering your resume on what your team has accomplished or your overall project rather than what you as an individual achieved, being overly verbose, lacking a qualification summary, and the list goes on.
When it comes to your resume, you want to home in on what’s really important and keep it concise. Your technology resume should not exceed four pages (five pages is the absolute max). Your ideal target should be around three or four pages. It also needs to be in reverse chronological order, having your most recent or current position at the top. Everything, except for the current position, needs to be written in past tense rather than present tense. This is a common mistake that throws off the entire resume. When listing your experience, you should also take out any position that was completed over 15 (or, at most, 20) years ago.
Another section that needs careful consideration is Education. If you went to a very prestigious school or have an advanced degree, it’s acceptable to put your education in the qualification summary. Otherwise, this section should be placed at the end of your technology resume. Most people in the technology industry have college degrees, so unless you have a very advanced degree, it should be placed at the end. If education is an important quality in the position you are applying for, then it is necessary to make it a bullet in your qualifications section. There are many factors that affect the placement of this, and it really depends on the role you are applying for.
The ideal resume
As a technology consulting firm, we have seen our fair share of resumes. The ideal resume begins with your name and contact information at the top. This may seem self-explanatory, but it’s very important and should not be overlooked. You’d be surprised how many resumes we’ve received where the contact information was incorrect or non-existent. You should include the city and state you live in, your cell phone number, and your email address.
Following your contact information, I want to see a four to five bullet qualification summary. It should state exactly who you are in a limited amount of space. I’m not talking about five-line bullets. Each point should be condensed to two to three lines stating who you are and what you do. This section is very important because it sums up your experience and really sells you as a technology candidate.
As mentioned earlier, education should follow this section depending on it’s importance and relevance to the role you are applying for. To save space, your education can be placed as a bullet in your qualification summary. Following this, IT consultants should have a technical skills category. This section should summarize what you have done and what technologies you are an expert in. However, this category should not exceed a half page.
Next on the ideal technology resume is your professional experience. This section should begin at the bottom of the first page. I don’t want to see experience starting on the second page. When your write your professional experience, it must be concise and action-oriented. Start each bullet with an action word such as led, participated, coordinated, developed, etc. It’s also highly recommended to use bullets because it is much easier to read than paragraphs. Utilize these bullets to explain exactly what you did, not what the team did, what the project was, or what the company does. This is strictly about you and your personal accomplishments. You are going to be evaluated on your experience, not anyone else’s.
One of the most important things you need to remember when writing your technology resume is that it needs to coincide with the role you are selling yourself for. If you have a slew of bullets that are not relevant to the Java Developer position you are applying for, they should be removed. There is no use in selling yourself for something you don’t want, not to mention it takes up space in your resume. This also applies to the qualification section, as it should reflect the job you are applying for. For example, if you have been in IT for 15 years, but the last seven of those years were concentrated in Java and Angular 4, you should lead with that as your first bullet. You want to clarify what you specialize in but also touch on your overall experience.
Tips and tricks
One of my biggest recommendations for improving your technology resume is to have someone review your resume before you apply to jobs. It’s always a good idea to have a second pair of eyes look over your resume and make sure it says exactly what you want it to say as well as making sure it pops to the reader. Your resume should remain concise and be very clear on what you are looking for. Your resume is your ticket to selling yourself to employers. Each section in your resume should target the role you want.
It’s important to keep in mind that employers disregard resumes if they lack quality. If you submit a ten-page resume that is filled with errors, it shows that you didn’t take the time to review it and cut it down. If you didn’t take the time to do that, why should an employer? Your technology resume needs to speak for you – it is what gets you an interview (aka the opportunity to speak for yourself verbally), so make sure it’s perfect before submitting. If you have any questions regarding your resume, feel free to reach out. Good luck out there.
About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com