In today’s hyper-competitive world, job-seeking requires more attention than usual on the resume, aka (curriculum vitae). Even when applying for an IT role, applicants need to make sure their resume is specific for the position.
The biggest challenge for IT professionals is how to condense their experience and skills into a resume of three pages.
IT professionals who can tell a cohesive narrative to their career, on top of the technical skills that are par for the course, are the persons who will stand out and land the roles they want.
So to stand out, how do you create the resume that wows?
IT professionals and executives have a uniquely positioned skillset in the job market. Few functions require an ability to seamlessly integrate technical faculties with strategic acumen and managerial experience.
Striking a sufficient balance to execute and ensure a technologically agile operation, while concurrently improving a team’s performance is a difficult place to reach.
The ability to walk the line between the two, to speak both languages, so to say, is not a talent learned overnight. Similarly, it is not easy to communicate that in a resume, the candidates who can achieve it significantly enhance their competitive positioning against others when applying for roles.
How you arrange the resume’s varying aspects to tell a straightforward story while making a compelling case for your candidacy is crucial.
The likelihood is that you will have several years of experience to illustrate, along with supplementary qualifications such as certifications, degrees, development, and technical skills.
All these elements need to tell a cohesive narrative that indicates sound decision-making and technical expertise. It’s the executive summary which most recruiters will read first that matters most for a great first impression.
IT Executive Summary
For many IT roles, the resume summary is not the initial ‘go-to’ for recruiters. However, for more senior IT roles, it is the starting point for recruiters. Why?
For an IT executive, their resume summary is an integral tool to telling a story of how they integrate and seamlessly employ both their technical profile with their leadership style.
At this level, i.e. IT management, strategic communications, both verbally and written, are essential. Coordinating with stakeholders internally and externally, ensuring mission alignment and fostering a cohesive operation can be articulated in the resume summary.
This is why the professional summary matters so much for IT executives and less so for techies. Essentially, you can express your ability to lead, and engage internally within the company and externally with suppliers, customers and key stakeholders.
While you can include quantitative information in summary, including role-specific qualification, and experience, this section is really more about establishing your professional brand, so it can often be more valuable to develop this from a more strategic perspective.
Additionally, good things to focus on in a professional summary and leadership style are opportunities to focus on culture-building and process-driven achievements. Remember, it is vital to capture the value you bring to an organization and how you would do so and what strategies you would use to meet or ideally exceed expectations, i.e. company and team targets.
Therefore highlighting the methodologies and approaches contributing to your success will make you stand out as a candidate.
How To Position Your Technical Skills
There are various meaningful ways to represent your technical profile and skills across different hardware and software. However, it is crucial that find a way to include this information, without taking up too much room on a page.
Less is more
Through fear of being overlooked for a role, IT professionals think it is imperative to include everything they have ever come into contact with, irrespective of the relevancy for the specific position.
Using a broad-stroke strategy can prove a detriment, especially where there are so many areas and systems mentioned in the resume that the information is not easy to glean for those reviewing the resume.
A good rule of thumb is to include the most notable skills, software, and hardware, or those most pertinent to the type of role you are looking for. You can always expound on these skills in an interview setting.
Evaluate the space you have on the resume, i.e. three pages, for the technical component. For example, if you’re a software engineer, your technical skills are a priority. In contrast, if you’re an IT project manager, your resume will be more balanced to show leadership and management skills and IT and project management qualifications and experience.
Positioning Leadership Abilities In An IT Resume
When articulating leadership skills in a resume, an IT director, for example, will need to show how they have juggled a lot of different responsibilities, challenges and achievements.
An impactful resume will clearly articulate not only the ability to do this, but reveal where you thrive in leadership roles.
Start with your achievements and big wins. What was the task, the process and the outcome? Use a table with three columns to present your achievements so recruiters can not miss vital information that can get you on the shortlist for interviews.
When presenting your achievements consider these areas and include examples that are relevant for the role:
- cross-functional collaborations and leadership
- process improvements
- quantitative support
- team development and oversight
- vendor management
- technical initiative execution
Remember it can often be challenging to foster these key relationships, especially with technical staff, but highlighting this and possessing the skills to drive mission alignment can be a major highlight on a resume in a technically-driven document.
Interpersonal skills also offer a respite from a rigid and strictly quantitative CV. Small flashes of personality and leadership style remind the reader they assess a candidate, not just a document.
Finally, these added supplements don’t just inject some life into the resume, but further, develop your professional brand.
First impressions count, and your resume is that first impression. IT professionals have it tough when they need to present technical and other skills. A rule of thumb is to rework your resume for every job application.
We thank Ryan Millar of Employment BOOST for his contribution. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). This article was edited by BusinessBlogs.