Resume writing for geeks

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As you know, my business provides 3rd party IT support services to clients. As a business owner, it’s my responsibility to hire staff when they’re required. I do have staff, and every so often someone moves on and I need to replace them.

So, I do what most businesses do, I place an ad and wait for resumes to come in. On average, I’ll get around 10 resumes for my entry-level technician position. Yes, I live in an area where the job market is hot and there aren’t a lot of people looking for work (so for those of you who might live in areas where it’s the opposite, feel free to relocate!). Anyways, so I’m left sorting through about a dozen resumes and choosing 3 or 4 that I would like to interview. This is very important to keep in mind, and everyone looking to get into IT jobs needs to pay attention here: Your resume is the ONLY thing I can evaluate you by before I call you for an interview. Also keep in mind, and I know I’m not the only business that does this, I only accept resumes via e-mail. So you can’t make the argument that you could make a ‘first impression’ on me when dropping your resume off.

Your resume needs to be clear, concise, detailed and needs to highlight your achievements and what makes you stand out above the rest. Here is an example of a resume I received a few months ago (with some things changed to protect the identity of the applicant):

Skills

– On my own experience troubleshooting and fixing personal computers.
– Build and maintaining personal desktop and laptop computers.
– Have ‘nuked and paved’ many computers.
– Worked wireless
– A+.

Education and Training

2013       Bachelor of Science
xxxx University. Vancouver, BC

Work Experience                                                                                                                                                             

xxxx – xxxx 2013                                                                                                              xxxx  Assistant
Company ABC
Whitehorse, YT

•             Made website
•             Researched other websites.
•             Measured flow analysis.
•             Compiled data for database.
•             Worked with people.

xxxx – xxxx 2011 & 2012                                                                                                xxxx Advisor

Company XYZ
Whitehorse YT.

•             Analyzed intelligent parking published report.
•             Created a dynamic Excel.
•             Used Word for trade show.

OK, so I’ve taken out company names and dates and job titles. I did NOT alter the skills section or the bullet points below each job. First of all, this resume doesn’t make any sense. For a university graduate to have a resume that grammatically makes no sense is just unacceptable. The other thing is, what does some of this stuff mean exactly ? “Created a dynamic Excel.” ????? What the hell is that ? “Worked wireless” ????? I’m a technology professional and this resume makes no sense to me. How do you think this resume will look to a non-technical HR person ?

We need to make sure our resumes make sense, no matter who is reading it. It has to be legible to technical, as well as non-technical people. For example, two sections from my own resume:

–              Design, deploy and maintain computer networks, anti-virus and e-mail anti-spam systems.
–              Design and install network racks, Ethernet patch panels, Ethernet jacks, cooling and power systems.

Whether you’re a technology professional or not, you can read that and you can understand it. Even if you don’t know what “Ethernet patch panels” are, you can still understand that I’m telling you that I have experience with them.

Remember, your resume is often the only thing that employers can use to decide whether to give you that golden interview or not. Ensure that your resume makes sense and reads sensibly.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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