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IT jobs seekers: Optimize your resume

March 11, 2014

If you are one of the thousands of professionals who will be looking for new career opportunities in IT this year, then you need to spend some time preparing for the application process. Considering how advantageous the job market is right now for IT professionals, you may be tempted to be somewhat lackadaisical on this front, presuming that your skills and experience will be enough to land an excellent position. While it's true that IT workers are in high demand, the fact remains that the most highly desired IT jobs are still very competitive, and you'll need to present yourself in the best light possible to have a chance of obtaining your dream job.

With that in mind, here are three key tips for making your resume as appealing and professional as possible.

1. Specificity
Writing for The Collegian, Vanessa Vlasic emphasized the importance of specificity when crafting a resume. She noted that many job applicants make the mistake of including a large number of general claims about their experiences and skill sets. The problem with such a strategy, the writer explained, is that this tactic will result in a vague summary, rather than demonstrating exactly why you are the best, most qualified candidate for the position in question. Detailing unique achievements is much more effective in this regard.

Additionally, specific examples and descriptions will help you to stand out from your fellow applicants. Considering the number of resumes that the average hiring manager will view for a given position, anything that helps you to differentiate yourself from the pack is a plus.

2. Format
Formatting is also incredibly important, as Vlasic highlighted. If your resume is poorly structured and presented, then it really does not matter how qualified for the position you are—the hiring manager will not even consider your candidacy. Formatting errors are seen by these decision-makers as "immediate red flag[s]," Vlasic explained. If you can't put together a legible resume, the reader will naturally assume you are not the ideal applicant for the position.

For starters, then, the resume must be structured so that it is easy to read. This means margins must be moderately wide and fonts must be reasonably large. Never sacrifice these and other formatting concerns simply so you can include more information.

Furthermore, job search expert Rick Gillis, speaking to ABC 13, explained that most resumes are put through filtering software by companies before being viewed by a hiring manager. Resumes must therefore meet this software's standards to reach the top of the decision-maker's pile, or even be read at all. Gillis emphasized formatting tips such as avoiding the use of headers, as many of these programs ignore this part of the resume.

3. Likability
Finally, Gillis told the news source that you must make sure that your resume makes readers like you and want to give you this job.

There are several ways to go about this, Gillis explained. For example, you should be willing to provide information that is relevant, even if it does not fit nicely into any particular section on your resume. If you are bilingual and this may be a valuable skill for this position, you should mention this fact at some point.

Gillis also recommended that you make a point of explaining precisely how you will deliver value to the organization. Hiring managers like to see applicants who are willing to stand up for themselves in an objective, restrained fashion.

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