It’s back to work now that everyone has returned from their “Summer” holidays. That means that more new jobs are coming on the market and I have been asked to share some of the résumé writing tips that we give our candidates to help them portray themselves to best effect.
6 Tips for Writing a Winning Résumé
There is plenty of advice on the Internet on how to write good résumés and what to put in it. Space does not allow me to go into great detail here, so this is my own view of of a few things that I have found to work well.
1) Proper English, accurate spelling and good grammar
We were all taught this at school yet it’s surprising how many people do not even bother to do a spell check before sending out their résumés. This portrays you as sloppy and uneducated, and you won’t get a second look from the HR department unless they know that you won’t be required to write any reports or documentation.
2) Good layout of information
Remember that most HR people have to skim through hundreds of résumés sometimes to pick out the good ones. They may take 10 seconds to decide if yours is worth considering. Make sure that they can quickly and easily pick out what YOU want them to read. So give them a brief outline of your skills and put your most recent jobs at the top of your list of companies worked. Clearly state what each job entailed and the skills used.
Education, courses taken, references, hobbies, etc., can be placed after this as they would only look for this detail if you have already caught their attention. CRS recommends the layout given on our website http://www.crsitjobs.com/resume.htm.
Always write in the ‘first person’ rather than the ‘third person’ as the latter style makes it look like someone else wrote the résumé for you.
3) Keep it short and concise
You may have had a busy career with a long list of jobs, each with interesting skills to high-light. If your résumé is more than 3 pages long, then cut it down! No one will find the time to read your accomplishments of 10 years ago and may skip your recent ones as well if they are faced with a volume of information.
Keep any job description over 8 years ago to 1 or 2 sentences. Any skills used then are probably irrelevant now in the fast-paced world of technology. You can leave out minor jobs altogether, so long as this doesn’t leave a significant time gap between jobs listed.
4) Put in dates
Always put in dates for your jobs and education. Otherwise it looks like you are trying to hide something.
5) Don’t be too fancy
As an agency, we hate when candidates put in fancy colours, complicated formatting, tables and graphics as we have to do a certain amount of style changing to conform to our own standards, put in our logo, etc. Avoid referring an employer to your online résumé as this takes time on their part and they may be unwilling to make the effort.
6) Skills Matrix
We encourage our technical candidates to put their skills with competency level, years experience and when last used, in a chart format at the back of their résumés (see http://www.crsitjobs.com/resume.htm#matrix). Our clients have found this extremely useful as they can then quickly assess whether someone has the skill profile that they are looking for.
Good luck with writing that killer profile of yourself!
Tell Us What You Think
(Referring to our last newsletter “Retaining I.T. Staff”)
What makes you want to work for a company? Usually it’s because you admire the challenges that the employees in that company face in terms of the solutions that they develop for their customers, you are eager to work with the technology that this company has available or quite simply the expertise that is available makes you want to just bask in the glow of brilliance (ok I’m laying it on a bit thick.. but you get my drift). Money issues are secondary concerns.
We all have our bills, but in my opinion many people would take a pay cut if they are able to go to work somewhere that challenges them to work creatively, productively and encourages communication of ideas… It just means they would have to come up with creative budgeting measures.
Companies need to do some re-evaluating. Are they willing to be looked at as a revolving door, knowing that people view you simply as a stepping stone, or do you want to be seen as a company where I.T. personnel aspire to work because they know that they would be able to grow as the company grows? … Shelly-Anne
We would love to hear what you think of this issue of CRS News. And of course, if you have any suggestions for upcoming issues that you would like to share with us, please send those too.