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October 11, 2014
Before you ever speak with a hiring manager, you're going to have to submit a resume. Working with an IT staffing and services firm can assist you during the recruiting process, but you're still going to have to interview, and you want to stand out in every way possible. A well-made resume can help you get noticed before you sit down to speak with the company and improve the chance you'll be remembered after you leave the office.
Get their attention...
Depending on your certifications and specialties, you may be competing against hundreds or even thousands of candidates. Even if you're in a highly focused, narrow field, a considerable number of unqualified applicants may have applied for the position. Your resume should easily help you win an interview when you're one of the few professionals to meet the company's needs, but that won't matter if no one reads it. A particularly eye-catching resume can help distinguish you from the otherwise solid block of black and white created by all the other applicants.
This doesn't mean you should use colored paper, images or other gimmicks to draw a recruiter's eye. In many cases, that alone may cause your resume to be ignored as unprofessional. However, an attractive font and the good use of white space can go a long way. The easier your resume is to read, the more likely it is that it won't be ignored or tossed aside. Assume that anyone reading your CV has already read through the same from 100 other applicants. Rather than submitting a solid block of text detailing your every achievement, select a few pertinent, important details and minimize the amount of reading the hiring manager has to do while maximizing the impact when he or she reviews your experience. Less is more in this case.
...and keep it
Additionally, if you can think of something unique about your achievements, consider including it. This should be pertinent to the job, but as important as it is for your resume to be read, it's also critical that the hiring manager remembers you specifically instead of the first or last person with otherwise similar qualifications.
Study the company, study the job
Because prioritizing the information you place on the resume is key, you're going to need to research the company and the job as much as possible. If you're working with an IT staffing firm, your recruiter can provide insight into how other candidates successfully applied for similar jobs at the business. Their advice can be critical to you receiving the interview. If you know anyone who already works for the organization, you can also ask them for assistance in going past the job description to determine what the job really entails. Otherwise, news articles, white papers and the LinkedIn profiles of current employees can all provide valuable insight into what's desired in a candidate.
Furthermore, depending on how much you can tailor your resume to the employer, you may also catch a hiring manager's eye because you clearly studied the company and what it values. This can be of immense importance during the hiring process. You'll also be a step up if you receive an interview.
Strengthen your wording
IT jobs rarely require you to write using strong, evocative language, but you should invest that effort when writing your resume. Apply strong, memorable wording to your resume rather than writing weak, generic sentences. Pour over your verbs with a thesaurus on hand to pluck out forgettable language. Don't go overboard—you don't want to come across as pretentious or confusing—but liven up your resume so that it's a more enjoyable read.
In many cases, your resume will be submitted online and be available as a Word document or PDF. If you're one among 1,000 candidates, the most efficient means for someone to scan your resume is to perform a keyword search. This may be the first step a hiring manager takes in eliminating candidates, so you want your resume to survive that first crucial round. So it's critical ensure that you have the necessary skills for a position and that they're written in the way a company might search for them. Similarly, make sure that your resume's formatted so that it can be searched.
There are a few other important details to account for. Remember to proofread the resume. Keep it under one page unless you have more than 20 years of experience applicable to the position. Do so and you should be in a better position to receive an interview and hopefully a job.