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Resume Advice for Techies: from SC Day of Civic Hacking

One of this biggest and most common mistakes made by IT professionals is trying to pack everything they have ever done onto one resume. It doesn’t work. If employers are spending less than 30 seconds looking at a resume, they do not have the time to weed through 3 pages of acronyms and jargon. As with all job seekers, you can’t be all things to all people!

Be Selective!

Don’t think of your resume as an exhaustive history of your skills; think of it as a marketing piece. What “brand stories” do you need to tell to make an impression and leave the employer wanting to know more? What are your greatest accomplishments? Where do you have intermediate to expert skill levels? What special recognitions or certifications do you have? List only the skills that are current and relevant to the job. Remember, the purpose of a Resume is to get an Interview! What would you want to read if you were the Hiring Manager?

RESUME TIP: Include a section called “Relevant Technical Expertise” or “Selected Technical Skills.” Using this language allows you to verbalize that you have more skills but are only including the ones that are relevant to the job at hand.

Tailor and Target!

There is no one-size fits all in resumes! Each resume needs to be specific and tailored to the job posting. Again, you cannot be all things to all people so be sure you are only including the skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the potential employer. And, yes, this means you may have multiple resumes but you will not be starting from scratch each time. Research the company to see what technologies they use or that might be important to the job and craft your resume accordingly. Companies appreciate the effort and initiative.

RESUME TIP: Create a “Grocery Store” of skills and accomplishments (brand stories.) If you are able, group these items into “Grocery Aisles” or headers that categorize the stories. Think of the job posting as your “Grocery List” and only put the items in your “Grocery Cart” (resume) that are on your list. If the item is not on the grocery list, it does not need to go in this cart. Go “shopping” in your resume grocery store every time you send out a resume.

Be Specific!

Think accomplishment over task. What was the result? When did you save time, money or talent? Always think about how this skill or task would benefit the company.

Toni Bowers,, says, “You should be able to take everything that starts with “responsibilities included” and replace with or add to the actual positive outcome you brought about.

Responsibility: Oversee installation of new anti-virus software and critical system updates.

Accomplishment: Substantially increased security and performance of systems by implementing new anti-virus software and critical system updates.”

Don’t Over-tech it!

Often times, someone other than the IT staff will see your resume first. Don’t just list letters and jargon; frame your skills. Here is an example from an article by Jennifer Gregory,, that describes the skills and then used parentheses for the technical information: Cisco Voice and Phone Skills (IP PBX, IP telephony) Just in case a non-techie gets your resume first, be sure you are clear about how the letters belong in a skill-set. This will also help if you are proficient in a similar technology not used by the potential employer because if you have the transferrable skill and can easily learn the nuances in technology on the job.