What’s Wrong with my IT Resume

posted in: Blog Posts | 0
Tips on what to do and not do on your IT Resume
Jun 1, 2018
Written by John O'Brien, Regional Vice President for Solü Technology Partners
As an IT Consulting & Staffing Recruiter, we help Job Seekers find consulting jobs with our clients.  The IT Resume is your first impression. A resume is discarded if it doesn’t “stack up” against other Job Seekers, even if the candidate is qualified.  How do you move to the top of the stack?

First, realize you are NOT the only applicant, and there could be as many as ten to fifty other resumes reviewed.  Hiring companies generally do a cursory review spending only a few minutes per resume to select those for further review.  You want a resume that gets you into “the Game,” how do you do that?

Next, use a resume format that is clean, simple, focused and will grab the hiring company’s attention right away. General resumes spanning your IT career are fine, but you will want to tailor a version to that specific job. Although there are many opinions on the length of resume, section headers, and layout – I have found the following successful:

  • Length of resume will vary depending on total # of years of experience in the field. Generally, 1-3 pages; anything more than three pages will most likely not be read
  • Layout:
    • Name, Certification Designation, Contact information
    • Summary/Objective
    • Competencies/Technical Skills: Methodologies, Tools, Operating Systems, Databases, Programming Languages, etc.
    • Experience (Employment/Job History): Company Name, Dates Employment, Job Title, Job Description, and Job Responsibilities Bullets
    • Education
    • Certifications

Layout Breakdown

Name: At the top of the page or in a Header, Bold, Centered, Full Legal Name (middle initial is optional), Professional Certification Designation (only if relevant), Contact information on a second line.

For example:

John A. Smith, CSM

1000 West Main Street, Phoenix AZ  85000 | john.smith@email.com | (999) 999-9999

Objective: Write a 3-5 Sentence Objective/Summary that is tailored to the specific job. Begin the paragraph with your title (e.g., Senior Java Developer) and the title you are applying for, your total number of years of experience in that field and three to five sentences max.

For example:


“Mr. Smith is a Senior Full Stack Java Developer with over 10 years of experience…”

“Mr. Smith is a Senior Certified Scrum Master with over 10 years of experience…”

Competencies: Use a Competencies/Technical Skill summary section at the beginning of your resume and list the relevant skills of your trade.

For example:

Operating Systems: Linux, Windows

Languages: Java, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, LESS, AJAX, PL/SQL, XML (JAXB, XSLT, JAXP, DOM, SAX)

Databases: MySQL, Oracle

Tools / Related Skills: Eclipse Mars, IBM RAD, IntelliJ IDEA, JIRA, SOAP, RESTful, Tortoise SVN, Firebug, Git, Grunt, Apache Tomcat, WebLogic, IBM WAS, Ant

Methodologies:Agile / SCRUM, Waterfall, SDLC

Experience: Keep Work Experience/Job History to no more than half a page each including dates of employment, company name, most recent title, a functional description of your role and 3-6 bullets highlighting your primary day to day duties, responsibilities and accomplishments. I prefer to see as the last bullet for each employer, a Technical Environment Summary of the technologies and tools used, i.e., MS Windows 7, MS SQL Server, .NET, C#, SSIS, SSRS.  Don’t leave gaps in employment un-explained; you can add a narrative within the resume or include in a cover letter.

For example:


Company A                                                                                                                                2015 – Present

UI Developer

– Developed web application using AngularJS, Node.js, and Express.js for cutting-edge HTML5 and CSS3

– Built project on Single Page Application (SPA) criteria and its browser and device agnostic

– Containerized application using Docker

– Worked through cross-browser compatibility issues with layout and styles for all new CSS implemented

– Used Bootstrap front-end framework for faster and easier web development.

– Worked in an Agile environment with active scrum participation

– Environment: HTML5/HTML, CSS3/CSS, AngularJS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, Express.js, JSON, NGINX, WebStorm, Docker, Git, Node.js, Grunt, JIRA, Bamboo, Nolio

Education: State highest Education completed and if not completed, indicate “in progress” or “Anticipated graduation date,” if you have a Bachelor Degree, we don’t need your high school, if you have a Masters and Ph.D., you should include all college degrees.

Certifications: Add Certifications and Training to the end of your resume that is relevant to your future career. We do not need to know you are a licensed Realtor, CPA, etc.

General Layout:

  • Be consistent with grammar and formatting, if you end bulleted lists with a period (.), do it for all bullets, if you do not, then don’t add for some
  • If you use bold/italics/larger font sizes for section headers, be consistent
  • Resume text should all be the same font type, varying size is good
  • If you are going to use advanced style formatting such as backgrounds, columns, tables, etc., be sure it is viewable by all intended audiences as intended
  • If you highlight or use bold or italics for your job titles or employers, be consistent
  • If you spell out the full name of a month or rather abbreviate or use the numerical representation for employment dates, be consistent
  • Use headers or footers to show last name/page numbers; this ensures the reader has the complete version and isn’t missing pages

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Proof Read your Resume at least three times before submitting for grammatical errors, typographical errors, incorrect use of punctuation, etc. Make sure you use an editing tool such as MS Word that will highlight potential mistakes because the customers do.  You would be surprised how many resumes come across my desk with avoidable errors underscored by MS Word.  These mistakes send a message that you are either incompetent or didn’t take your time, both of which will get your resume discarded.
  • Don’t use redundant phrases or bullets that appear as merely copied and pasted from one employment history to another; this can be interpreted as lazy and not interested in fully explaining what you have done.
  • Don’t falsify or embellish your skills and experience. In the technology industry, you are going to be tested and waste everyone’s time.  Confidently state what you can do.
  • Don’t falsify education and certifications/training. They will most likely be verified.
  • Be careful with the use of the 1st person, can be viewed as arrogant.
  • When creating a skill summary, list the most relevant skills first, same with work history bullets. If customers have to read down to Page 2 before they see what they are looking for, they may move on.

Today’s blog is written by John O’Brien, Regional Vice President.


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