How to write a resume for an IT job?
How to write a resume to increase your chances of getting employed? It may seem that there is no clear or completely true answer to such a question. After all, the job market, even in the technology sector, is very capacious and wide, so the requirements of companies are necessarily not homogenous. But does this diversity mean that nothing can be done? Absolutely not, and precisely for this reason today we will consider how to "cheat the system" and make it a little easier to get your dream occupation.
What makes a good resume?
Over the past two years that I've spent at itMatch, I've reviewed hundreds, even thousands, of candidate profiles. While I don't feel I can create a "recipe for the perfect curriculum vitae," I can confidently say that:
- Focusing on making the resume more creative or customized may not be appropriate. Some candidates think that this is a good way to attract the attention of recruiters or the Hiring Manager, and, consequently, to increase the chance of getting hired. The reality, unfortunately, is somewhat different - an illegible layout of the document or its unusual appearance can cause decision-makers to overlook important information and, consequently, not invite you to participate in the next stage of the recruitment process. An interview is way better time to make a good impression;
- Your resume may not necessarily contain all the information about you. Neither the recruiter nor the manager should be interested in details such as your date of birth, marital status or the city where you were born. What will be necessary is contact information, such as your email address and phone number. If someone asks you if you have or plan to start a family, such behavior should be taken as a violation of best recruitment practices and you should seriously consider whether you really want to apply to such a company;
- I also do not recommend putting a photo on a CV. International organizations have long since abandoned this practice, which, fortunately, has also moved to Poland. No one has the right to require you to put your photograph on such a document, and anyway it is not important - after all, what matters are your qualifications and how well you fit into the company's culture, not your appearance. What's more, by refraining from including a photo, you save space on the first page of your resume, and that can be quite useful;
- A non-chronological or vague mention of dates related to previous work experience is not advantageous for you. It is advisable to include not only the year, but also the month in which work began and ended. Concise justification of career breaks and periods of brief employment is also prudent - a "three-month contract" or "Travel Career Break" explains a lot of vagueness that could make a recruiter decide not to contact you further.
Well, but how long should my resume be?
Many candidates reduce their chances of getting hired by artificially limiting the length of their resume. No one said it has to fit on one A4 page! If you are applying for a senior position, such as Senior Database Engineer, it is obvious that you have a lot of work experience and can boast a wide range of skills. If you have the opportunity to fill two or even three pages, do it.
So can we say that the more, the better? Not necessarily. While no one will reject your application due to an overload of information (which happens the other way around), from personal experience I can admit that an elaborate list of competencies and experiences is an easy way to hide the points that are really important.
A resume for a junior vs. a resume for a senior. What are the differences?
Notice that the list of professional experience and competencies grows as the candidate grows. While a DevOps Engineer with several years of experience can easily fill two or even three A4 pages, an intern or junior developer will most likely have a much more difficult task.
By its nature, creating a junior resume requires a little more creativity. For example:
- If you can't boast about the wide range of courses and training you've completed, you might consider listing the school you attended. If you graduated from a reputable high school or technical school, such an entry can be very valuable;
- The education section will also benefit if you enhance it with some free courses you can take on popular platforms. An additional certification certainly won't hurt, especially if it's related to the technology you work with;
- If you have worked in non-tech companies, such experiences may also interest the recruitment team. Of course, an internship in an accounting firm or chemistry tutoring are unlikely to translate into your IT competence, but they are evidence of your commitment, responsibility and willingness to grow. Mentions of work that requires contact with people and teamwork are especially valuable. It is definitely worth mentioning the skills you have acquired so far, even if they are not directly related to the tech industry.
How to increase the chances of getting a job in a tech company?
First and foremost, take care to create a well-written personal description. This is an excellent way to gain the attention of the recruitment team, so try to make 3-4 concise, succinct and also correctly constructed sentences that will convince everyone that you are the best fit for this position. Be sure to describe your plan for professional development and mention the roles that interest you.
Take pride in your successes! It's always a good idea to mention interesting projects, unusual skills and your other strengths in your resume. Every candidate tries to show himself in the best possible way, and this is natural. Remember, too, that the recruitment team may not ask you about the details that can determine your success - the conversation will focus primarily on more mundane aspects.
If you feel that the part devoted to your education is not extensive enough, it is worth investing some time and money in acquiring new skills and certifications. Even a few hundred dollars spent on expanding your knowledge will pay off very quickly, as usually, after all, a job change is often associated with a salary increase. Actively improving your competencies also sends a signal to recruiters - you make a certain effort and show above-average commitment to your development, and these are traits of a good employee.
Also take a look at the list of technologies you are familiar with. Just because you're recruiting for a Java-related position doesn't mean that previous exposure to the front-end won't be an asset to you. On the other hand, a brief exposure to a particular programming language shouldn't necessarily appear on your resume unless you feel confident with it. After all, what if the topic of a particular technology comes up at an interview, and you know far too little about it to break out of the situation? A broad knowledge of fields related to your specialty is an indicator of interest in IT in the broadest sense, but more doesn't always mean better. When it comes to technology, I would also avoid stating your level of sophistication in a particular field - if it is relevant, the manager will surely verify it during the interview.
The Polish tech-labor market is largely captured by companies coming from abroad. This necessarily means that foreign languages are essential for comfortable and effective work. It is definitely worth listing the languages you know (even at A2 or B1 level) and specifying your level of proficiency in them. Certificates are also appreciated, although you need to keep in mind their expiration dates!
How to prepare a Linkedin profile for a job change?
It's easy to realize that a profile on Linkedin is also of considerable importance when you're preparing to change jobs. According to a survey I conducted of people working at itMatch, a candidate's chances of getting hired increase the most when:
- The profile contains current information about the technologies with which the person works;
- The profile contains information about the position currently held;
- The profile contains a lot of information related to acquired skills.
Note also that it is Linkedin that is the main channel of contact between candidates and recruiters. It is through this service that you can receive very interesting offers, and as a rule, the more extensive and informative your profile is, the greater the chance that this will happen.
Finally, I'd also add that it's a good idea to look at your profile regularly so you don't miss any new messages. Unfortunately, this happens to many candidates very often.
As you can see, it definitely pays to spend some time polishing up your resume. After all, it could prove to be the key to your further success. If you want to know more about the recruitment process, observe our profile on Linkedin! 😉