After launching a platform for IT career development, as part of my job, I have reviewed hundreds of resumes posted on it by specialists from various fields and levels of expertise.
Despite the abundance of articles online providing recommendations for creating quality resumes, many candidates continue to “step on the same rakes.” Understandably, junior candidates make the most typical mistakes, but even seniors sometimes neglect the need to effectively present their strengths, presumably relying on their extensive knowledge and experience.
In an attempt to help IT professionals avoid common mistakes, I decided to approach the issue from a different angle and compiled a small collection of “Harmful Advice for Formatting IT Specialist Resumes.”
“He who seeks is bound to wander.”
The “3 Pillars” that Good Resumes Stand On
- Grammar: There's no need to follow spelling rules. After all, you're aiming to become an “IT specialist” and not a Russian language teacher. Moreover, even at the legislative level, many rules have been abolished, allowing people to speak however they want.
- Punctuation: Different programming languages have their own syntax, so you can use commas, periods, spaces, and other punctuation marks as you find more familiar or comfortable. Any recruiter who dislikes the lack of spaces around punctuation marks or their absence altogether would be in the wrong.
- Honesty: If you feel like embellishing reality a bit (or a lot) in some sections (or all) of your resume, it is entirely acceptable. Firstly, it is unlikely that a recruiter will be able to expose you, and secondly, your main task when writing a resume is to present yourself in the best light and attract attention. You can always make an effort to catch up on missing knowledge before the interview or refer to nervousness/misunderstanding/overpowering forces as an excuse.
Tips for Resume Content
Before delving into detailed advice on filling in individual sections of your resume, I would like to remind you that HR professionals and recruiters belong to one of the most boring professions, and they have plenty of free time. Therefore, in order to bring some variety to their lives, every professional must craft their resume in a way that requires recruiters to spend as much time as possible deciphering the meaning embedded in your masterpiece.
Only by creating a convoluted and intricate narrative between the main sections of your resume can you truly melt the icy hearts of hiring personnel and secure that coveted interview invitation.
Of course, a long novel dedicated to your personal qualities and lack of harmful habits is not the only strategy for preparing a good resume. There is an equally effective but contrasting approach—minimalism. As you may have already guessed, it is based on critically concise completion of standard fields, which will be discussed further. Sometimes, completely ignoring the main sections is welcomed. Does the form allow for spaces or hyphens? Feel free to take advantage of this unique opportunity! In this case, the recruiter will need even more time to independently comprehend all your strengths.
The final approach represents the highest level of the art of resume creation, mastered by only a few individuals, mostly professionals at the middle+ and senior levels. If you already possess such a technique, further reading is unlikely to benefit you. Otherwise, I suggest moving on to the detailed advice on filling in the components of your resume.
Header (Desired Position)
This is a very straightforward field where no one ever makes mistakes. Nevertheless, I'll allow myself to give a few recommendations:
- Make a mistake in the name of your specialization. For example, “3D-modeler,” “Pithon developer,” or “Prodact manager” will immediately indicate to the hiring party that they are dealing with a candidate who possesses almost limitless powers, allowing them to change the name of an entire industry. If this approach is too radical as a demonstration of your independence, at the very least, write the position in lowercase, add a period at the end, or include one space before or after the hyphen.
- Considering multiple directions? Include them all in one resume! There's no point in creating multiple resumes for different job openings. Just list all the positions of interest, separated by commas (or without them), for example, “Data Engineer, UX Designer, Java Developer.” In the resume itself (preferably mixed together), elaborate on the skills, education, and work experience related to all the directions.
- Generic position. Can't decide if you're more of an iOS or Frontend developer? Simply write: “Programmer.” Let the recruiter open the resume, review its content, and independently decide who you really are.
- Don't mention your competency level. Today you're a Junior, tomorrow a Middle, and the day after tomorrow a Senior. Should you change the header every time? That's beneath you. Don't mention it in the header or in the content.
Who needs a photograph when it comes to a top IT professional like yourself? Nevertheless, it is a standard field that needs to be filled in on most job search platforms, so let's consider the 5 best photo styles for resumes.
- “Incognito.” A fake image from the internet, a black square, or a photo of your beloved pet will add a sense of mystery to your profile, enticing the recruiter to open your resume.
- “Ambiance.” Retro-style photos taken with a film camera in the 90s particularly increase the click-through rate of resume cards.
- “Hobbies.” A photo taken while fishing, at a club, or during a house party will showcase your interests and demonstrate your sociable qualities.
- “Quest.” By including a group photo in your resume, you'll give the recruiter a small, interesting quest to determine which person in the photo is you based on the description.
- “Microscope.” If you use a full-body photo, the recruiter can examine you from head to toe in the thumbnail. Well, with the help of a magnifying glass.
There are two main strategies that significantly increase your chances of getting hired.
- “Go for the maximum.” Specify the highest salary range you can find for another specialist with similar skills and level of competence, or even better, multiply that number by 1.5 or 2.
- “Wide range.” Want to meet the criteria for all job openings? Write a broad salary range, for example, from 10K to 500K. Obviously, this will increase your chances.
The more smart-sounding words, phrases, program names, and technologies you list here, regardless of your actual knowledge, the better. Pay attention to the list of examples from the “About Me” section below. Feel free to duplicate them in this section. While they may not be actual skills, everyone includes them, so you should too.
- Be sure to talk about the school you attended. It's also worth mentioning any subsequent educational institutions. So what if you studied customs at the institute? You don't even need to mention your major.
- If you're a junior, the skills you acquired during your education aren't of interest to anyone. On the contrary, if you're at a higher level, provide more details about the projects you completed in university or during courses.
- At the top of the list, place your earliest positions, and at the bottom, your most recent ones.
- Everyone can recall and talk about the projects they worked on at their last job, so it's better to provide more details about where you worked 10 or more years ago. This will demonstrate your excellent memory. For the most recent positions, a single line is sufficient.
- Don't forget to include all the part-time jobs you worked during your student years, as well as before and after. Bartender, cashier, gardener… “All work is good, all professions are needed.” Don't deprive the recruiter of the opportunity to know about all the stages of your professional development.
What other information about you do you think would be most useful to the recruiter? Of course, template phrases will help them make a choice in favor of one candidate or another. Here's a list that all applicants must include in this section. Just copy and don't mention it:
- Quick learning
- Communication skills
- Stress tolerance
- Desire to work in a team
This list is perfect for all specialists without exception, from a tractor driver to an astronaut. There's no need to talk about specific strengths in your work, provide practical examples of how you apply your personal qualities, or discuss the motivations that drive you to achieve your goals.
In some sources, it is often mentioned that a cover letter should be attached to the resume. Don't be fooled! If you have prepared your resume strictly following our recommendations outlined above, it guarantees that you don't need to prepare this additional attachment.
However, if you are unsure whether you have met all the requirements, familiarize yourself with our tips for composing a cover letter.
- Use one cover letter for all job openings.
- Reiterate in the cover letter everything you wrote in your resume.
- Abstractness is the key to success. Use template phrases that are suitable for all situations.
- Under no circumstances should you mention why you want to join this specific company. This contradicts the first rule of composing a universal cover letter.
- Try to conceal the conditions that are important to you in the job. The best time to mention them is after the probationary period!
What to Do After Creating Your Resume?
- Use only one job platform for your job search. Send your resume to all found job openings without paying attention to requirements and content.
- Do you think the second point isn't entirely correct? There is another strategy!
- Respond to only one job opening and wait for a prompt (or not so prompt) response.
I am confident that certain points from this material will become rules that even experienced IT professionals will not disregard.
“Through theology I gained mastery,
I toiled over philosophy,
I hammered away at jurisprudence,
And studied medicine with diligence.
However, through all of this endeavor,
I remained and will remain a fool.”
This epigraph from Goethe's “Faust” reminds us that despite our pursuit of knowledge and expertise in various fields, we should always remain humble and acknowledge the limits of our understanding. It serves as a reflection on the constant quest for wisdom and the realization that true wisdom often comes from recognizing our own limitations.
And with that, we conclude this article on harmful advice for formatting IT specialist resumes. By highlighting some common pitfalls, we hope to provide a fresh perspective and guide IT professionals toward creating effective and compelling resumes.
Remember, while the article presented humorous and exaggerated suggestions, it is essential to approach resume writing with professionalism and accuracy. Tailoring your resume to showcase your skills, experiences, and accomplishments truthfully and effectively will significantly improve your chances of landing the desired job.
Good luck with your resume and future endeavors in the IT field!