It’s the start of a new year, which means that many tech pros are looking for a new job. And why not? Unemployment within the technology industry remains low, and those with the right mix of specialized skills and experience can command quite a bit of money from employers hungry for talent.
But just because there’s a ton of demand doesn’t mean tech pros can just walk into a new, better job. Open positions can receive hundreds—sometimes even thousands—of résumés. Given that competition, getting every aspect of a résumé right is vital. Here’s a quick refresher on how to revise yours:
Get a Second (or Third) Set of Eyes
Even the most diligent writers occasionally make spelling errors. Even worse, those typos can elude the author even on the second (or third, or fourth) re-reading. In light of that, it’s best to find a number of people who can proofread your résumé before you send it out; they’ll see things you can’t.
Consider Deleting the Objective Section
Many tech pros feel duty-bound to include an objective section in their résumé that describes their career aspirations. However, these sections can take up a lot of space without imparting that much useful information to the recruiter or hiring manager.
“Generally I advise against an objective section in your résumé, unless you are at a crossroads in your career,” recruiter Brayden Misiolek of Beacon Hill Technologies told Dice last year. If you leave the objective section off, you can use that free space to describe skills, or add a few more bullet-points to your experience.
Choose Your Skills (Wisely)
Most tech pros know to list their skills on a résumé. The problem is that, in a bid to get past the automated software that many recruiters use to sort résumés, they list pretty much everything they’ve ever learned. This is detrimental once your document ends up in front of a human being, who might think you’re either lying about your skillset, or throwing everything at the proverbial wall in a desperate bid to land an interview with any tech firm.
When selecting which skills to list, stick to the ones relevant to the position (it’s okay if you didn’t learn them in a formal setting, so long as you know them; for example, a lot of tech pros have been attempting to teach themselves machine learning and artificial intelligence without going back to school). Although it might sting to do so, delete any outdated ones, such as programming languages no longer in general use, unless they’re specifically necessary for the job.
No Graphics or Pictures
In a bid to make their résumés stand out, some tech pros integrate images or graphs. This is a bad idea; for starters, it takes away valuable space you could use to describe your actual skills and accomplishments. In addition, the software that many firms use to scan résumés won’t read graphical elements or specialized formatting, rendering all that effort moot.
Highlight Your Accomplishments
Confused about what to highlight about your tenure at previous companies? Instead of focusing solely on your responsibilities and duties, drill into your accomplishments. A hiring manager is much more likely to respond to a bullet-point along the lines of, “Developed an app that helped the company pivot to mobile within six months.” If something in your experience didn’t translate into a tangible end result, reconsider whether to include it at all.
And while you’re working on that document, don’t forget your cover letter.