Getting Started: Resume Basics Getting Started: Resume Basics

 

Your resume is your chance to impress a potential employer. It is important that your resume is well written and formatted. And it should include the most significant information about your education and experience.

Every country has their own unique requirements, be sure to check the preferences before submitting your resume to job applications.

Check out our tips below on drafting your IT resume:

 

 

Overall Form

Each time you submit your resume for a job, you will need to customize it for each job application.  With that being said, you do not need to recreate a new resume each time—use a base resume that is altered for each application.

Keep in mind that when your resume is being read, the person reading it does not have a lot of time to sift through excess details to find the most important information. Therefore, your resume should display your most relevant technical skills while also being concise and clearly worded.

University Relations Tip:

To ensure your resume is kept updated, you should keep a separate document with an ongoing list of all your accomplishments related to experience and education. Take note of your accomplishments, goals met, rewards/praises, projects completed as well as include feedback you have received from colleagues and superiors.

Keep your resume simple and make sure it is easily uploadable for job applications.

 

Format and Length

The ideal length for a resume is one page. If you have many years of experience or education (that are relevant to the position), then it is acceptable to go beyond one page.

If you do exceed one page for your resume, keep the most important information on the first page.

Being able to keep your resume one page will also show potential employers that you are able to sift through excess details and pull out the most valuable information.

One way to shorten your resume is to not include references; instead add one line, “References available upon request.”

Another way to reduce details on your resume is by including a link by your name to your LinkedIn professional profile. Keep the most important and relevant details on your resume, but you can expand upon your experiences on LinkedIn. Learn more about managing your social networks.

University Relations Tips:

It is best advised to keep your resume one or two pages; focusing on the highlights of each category. It takes roughly 20 seconds for a recruiter to review a resume. Use bullet points rather than long wordy paragraphs to keep your message concise.

For resumes, there is a golden-zone which will attract the first and most of the sight of the reader. You should put the content which you are most proud of in that area. For example, if the page is A4 size, the golden zone would be what is shown in the image to the right.

 

Layout

Style and design, although not as important as the content of your resume, are still essential details that need to be considered. The first impression a hiring manager will have of your resume will be heavily influenced by the visual appeal of the document.

Your resume should always follow a uniform design and if need be, use a resume template to create your own.  When designing your resume, keep font changes to a minimum; it is best to use two fonts –one for the body and one for the headings. The same applies for colors, stick to a simple color scheme.

In regards to the order of sections, it depends on where you are in your career:

  • Entering the workforce: Header, Summary, Education, and Work Experience
  • Early in Career: Header, Summary, Work Experience, and Education
  • Career Changer: Header, Summary, Education, and Work Experience

 

Your resume should include these four sections:

Header

Include personal contact information:

  • First name and last name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn link
  • Twitter link/Personal website/Professional blog

This information should be aligned together and not take up too much space. Make sure your email address is appropriate and professional. Be sure to check your email and LinkedIn daily for inquiries from potential employers.

Objective or Summary

This should be an attention grabbing section. Summarize your most relevant skills, strengths, and accomplishments. This should be a short paragraph (1-2 sentences), which shares your professional goals as well as some insight to your personal values. The objective can convince employers that you know what you want to do and are familiar with the industry. This section should be customized for each job application.

Experience

Detail your experiences with responsibilities, achievements, and exclude empty words. List this section in reverse chronological order.

Whenever it is possible, quantify your experiences; adding numbers/rankings/time duration on your achievements and experiences will be more convincing than simply only using words.

For students who do not have work experience, this section can include your hands on experiences or experiences gained during competitions. Phrase your competencies like you would if it were job responsibilities and emphasize the skills (both technical and nontechnical) you used to accomplish goals.

Education

Depending on your experience level, this section will have more or less detail. The further along in your career you are, fewer details about your education will be needed.

Standard education items to include are: degree obtained, year of graduation, and name of the institution. If you are a current student, include your GPA and expected date of graduation.

Note accomplishments, technical skills, languages with proficiency level, and certifications as well in this section. And order it with the most experience at the top.

During your NetAcad courses you will have gained valuable experiences, be sure to mention any relevant projects that exemplify your use of technical skills and ability to collaborate with others in a team environment.

If you have leadership or volunteer experiences in non-academic activities, be sure to mention it in this section.

University Relations Tips:

Be clear about your employment goals. The more specific, the better chance you will have to be considered for the role.

If you are not sure how to describe your working experience or internship, use the STAR rule: Situation-Task-Action-Result.  It is vital that your descriptions of your experience are focused on highlights of achievements rather than detailed explanation of your job roles.

 

Language and Keywords

The overall language should be simple, clear, and to the point. Include honest details about yourself. Think about your personal brand—how you wish to be perceived; use adjectives that best describe you.

It is recommended that you apply in the language the job description was posted in. If you have an English language resume, mention it in the header of your resume that it is available upon request. Local companies might not require an English language resume, but for multinational companies it is good to have one to submit as well.

Tone: The tone of your resume should be professional, and use the same tense (past or present) throughout the document. Pick one tense and use it consistently.

Keywords: Include relevant keywords in your resume that are used in your field of study and that are mentioned in the job posting. Many companies use technology to filter resumes and search for keywords before sending resumes to hiring managers. Taking time to make sure you include keywords is worth the investment if it means your resume has higher chances of being noticed by a manager.

Simplicity: Write short and simple statements; make your points come across clearly. Read your resume out loud and correct any sentences that sound odd.

University Relations Tips

If the language used in your resume is not your native language, then have a native speaker review it before submitting it with your job application.

In some countries, you will need to submit your resume in two languages. Be sure to keep your content formatted the same way for both languages, as it will make it easier for the reader to find similar content between the two versions.

 

Editing and Proofreading

When editing your resume, follow five basic steps to make sure the final document is ready for employers.

  • Consider the big picture – overall does the resume make sense and is it complete?
  • Scrutinize the bullets and details –look at every sentence and determine if there is a better way to make your point?
  • Fact check your resume – make sure your details are all accurate.
  • Proofread – Proof read your resume one more time. Go over it, word by word, and make sure there are no typos or incorrect use of words.
  • Make sure it looks nice – ask yourself if the page looks visually appealing? If it does not, then consider using design elements to increase the overall appeal.

Professional editors will tell you that most all documents can be edited over and over again. Editing is an important step; learn more about each of these editing steps.

University Relations Tip:

Before sending out your resume to a potential employer, double check the accuracy of the: email address of the receiver, the company name, and the job title.

 

Items Not to Include

Although your resume contains your personal history, it is important to exclude excessive amounts of personal information.

Do not include your marital status, country ID number, personal hobbies, and false information about yourself. It is also important to not include minor details and empty words—the goal for your resume is to only have the most significant information included.

Read more about items that do not belong on your resume.

University Relations Tip:

If you are asked to have a personal photo submitted with the resume, make sure to include a professional image and not one taken at home in casual attire.

 


Read more: Cover Letter Basics and Polishing Your Resume