Once again, Esther Shein at IT Career Planet has struck gold in a recent story on the IT job front, as she did in April with her Social Networking story (about which I blogged on April 13 right here). This time, it’s a June 8 story entitled “Searching for an IT Job: The Do’s and Don’ts.” I stumbled across this story in response to an e-mail from a friend asking for good sources for resume rewrite tips, thanks to a lucky search engine hit on this lode of good advice.
Shein’s observations don’t necessarily introduce anything new or especially startling, but do include some excellent advice to consider as you re-read your resume with a gimlet eye, and think about how resume, cover letter and interview should all work together while you’re on the hunt for a new position. Here, I distill some of the most useful points from the story but also encourage you to follow the link in the preceding paragraph to read it in its entirety:
- Focus on results, not just skills and knowledge. Tell prospective employers how you put skills and knowledge to work, what wins they led to, and how they helped the bottom line. Much more compelling than a list of stuff you know or have learned, or certifications earned.
- Don’t sacrifice important detail to keep your resume short. It you have to leave important stuff out of your resume just to cram it into a page or two, you may short yourself in the candidate selection process. Provide more detail on your most recent positions, and only list jobs ten or more years old, with a proviso such as “Additional information on older positions supplied upon request” to help keep the length manageable, if necessary.
- Go into specifics. While this notion gains importance for cover letters and interviews, tailoring your resume to meet specific employer needs or situations is smart, if you have the time and energy to craft your materials for specific opportunities. Use what you can learn or already know about the outfit and the open position to present yourself in the most appropriate and positive light. Here again, remember that technical info is good, but explaining how what you know and can do can help the bottom line is much, much better.
If you keep these ideas in mind as you prepare your materials, and go through the interview process, you’ll be much more likely to put yourself in a situation where you can pick and choose among multiple opportunities, rather than having to take the first offer that comes along. Good advice to remember, even when the economy picks back up and offers become more predictable and normal, rather than rare and unobtainable.