IT Resume Dos and Don’ts: Formatting for Readability | Developers

IT Resume Dos and Don’ts: Formatting for Readability | Developers

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By J.M. Auron

Nov 1, 2018 11:59 AM PT

In my profession as an IT resume author, I’ve seen plenty of IT resumes cross my desk, and I would prefer to share some frequent of the most typical formatting issues that I see commonly. In fact, an IT resume requires greater than nice formatting. It requires well-written, focused content material, and a transparent story of profession development. It wants to speak your distinctive model and worth proposition.

Nonetheless, if the formatting is off, that may derail the remainder of the doc and stop your story being learn by the hiring authority.

I am going to begin with just a few IT resume formatting “don’ts.”

1. Do not Use Headers

That is a straightforward repair. Headers and footers made plenty of sense when an IT resume was prone to be learn as a printed sheet of paper.

In 2018, how possible is it busy hiring authority goes to take the time or the trouble to print out the a whole bunch of resumes which are submitted for each place?

Not terribly.

Your IT resume goes to be learn on-line.

That is why utilizing a header to your contact data is a foul thought.

It takes just a few seconds to click on on the header, copy and paste your e mail and telephone quantity, after which click on once more within the physique of the resume to learn the textual content.

A couple of seconds would not look like a lot, however for somebody who’s trying by plenty of resumes, each second actually does depend. A hiring authority who’s REALLY busy may resolve it is an excessive amount of bother to get your contact data from the header.

Meaning your resume could properly find yourself within the “learn later” folder.

That is not a very good consequence.

There’s one other downside with utilizing the header, associated to the one I simply mentioned.

Headers simply look quaint. Old-fashioned.

Quaint shouldn’t be the model you wish to current for those who’re searching for a job in know-how — whether or not you are a CIO, an IT director, or a senior developer.

Once more, that is a straightforward repair. Simply put your identify and phone data within the physique of the resume. I counsel utilizing a bigger font in daring caps to your identify. You wish to be sure that your identify will stick within the reminiscence of the reader.

2. Do not Over-Bullet

That is most likely the most typical mistake I see within the IT resumes that cross my desk.

In my commerce, we name it “loss of life by bullets.” The job seeker has bulleted all the things.

All the things.

That is actually arduous to learn. Past the truth that it is simply not clear, there’s one other huge downside with over-bulleting.

To paraphrase The Incredibles, if all the things is bulleted, nothing is.

The aim of utilizing bullets — sparingly — is to attract the reader’s eye and a spotlight to your main accomplishments.

For those who’ve bulleted all the things, the reader would not know what’s essential and what’s not, which defeats the aim of utilizing bullets in your resume.

In my very own work as an IT resume author, I make a transparent distinction between duties and tasks and arduous, quantifiable accomplishments. I write the duties in paragraph format, and bullet solely the accomplishments that exhibit what my IT resume shoppers actually have delivered.

It is a clear, simple strategy that I like to recommend.

three. Do not Get Colourful

Fortunately, this specific downside would not appear as frequent because it was just a few years in the past, however each occasionally, I am going to nonetheless see a resume with plenty of colour.

The thought behind that, in fact, is to make the resume “eye-catching.”

Fairly than catching the reader’s eye, nonetheless, plenty of colour is simply complicated.

“Why is that this part blue? Is blue telling me it is actually vital? And yellow? Why is that this individual utilizing yellow? As a result of it is mighty arduous to learn…”

I am certain you see my level. The colours, moderately than giving the reader a map of what to take a look at first — what to prioritize — simply find yourself trying, properly, busy.

That makes your resume tougher to learn. And if it is tougher to learn?

Yeah. As I discussed above: It is possible to enter the “learn later” folder.

You actually don’t desire that to occur.

four. Do not Lead With Schooling

That is one other straightforward repair, but it surely’s vital.

The one time you wish to lead with schooling is whenever you’re a brand new grad. For those who’re an expert — whether or not senior, mid-career or junior — you wish to spotlight your expertise on web page one, and never take up that priceless house together with your levels or certifications.

In fact, levels, coaching and certifications are vital, however they belong on the finish of the resume, on the backside of web page two or three.

5. Do not Use Arial or Instances New Roman

I am going to finish the “don’ts” with one other easy one.

Arial and Instances New Roman are, properly, so 1990s. Sure, they’re good, clear, readable fonts, which is why they’ve turn into so in style.

Most likely 90 p.c of all IT resumes are written in these two fonts. There’s nothing unfavorable in that, but it surely’s somewhat boring.

Now, I am not suggesting you employ Comedian Sans or Magneto, however there are some nice, clear fonts that are not as frequent within the IT resume world.

Personally? I like Calibri for physique and Cambria for headings.

So, that provides you plenty of issues to keep away from in formatting your IT resume. I am going to now counsel just a few “dos” to focus on to make sure that your doc is as readable as potential.

1. Preserve Issues Easy

I am a robust believer that an IT resume wants to inform a narrative. The formatting of the doc ought to serve solely to make clear that story, and never get in the way in which.

When the doc is completed, have a look. Does the formatting lead your eye to an important factors? Is the formatting clear and clear? Or does it distract from the story you are attempting to inform?

2. Suppose Cell

This level will get extra vital with every passing yr. Today, the percentages are that the hiring authority can be studying your story on a telephone, pill, or different cellular machine.

That is modified the way in which I’ve formatted the IT resumes I write for my shoppers.

I’ve by no means gone past minimal design, however I’ve scaled issues again. For instance, I used to make use of shading to attract consideration to essential sections of the doc.

However now? I feel that may be arduous to learn on a cellular — and readability, to repeat a theme, is the one aim of resume formatting.

three. Use Daring and Italics Sparingly

This level follows immediately from the earlier one. We do not wish to daring or italicize all the things. Daring and italics, used constantly and sparingly, may help sign to the reader what’s most vital in your IT resume, and supply a framework for a fast read-through.

That permits the hiring authority to get the gist of your profession quick, with out distracting from a deeper second learn.

four. Use Laborious Web page Breaks

That is fairly easy, however it’s important. I at all times insert arduous web page breaks in each completed IT resume I write. That helps be sure that the doc goes to look constant throughout units and throughout platforms.

It isn’t 100 p.c foolproof — Phrase is a less-than-perfect instrument. With arduous web page breaks, although, the percentages are excellent that your resume will look the identical to every reader — and to the identical reader when reviewing the doc on completely different units. That consistency reinforces the sense of professionalism you are striving to convey.

5. Write First, Format Later

Skilled IT resume writers disagree on this, however I will counsel what I’ve discovered efficient in my observe.

I at all times write the resume first. I personally use a plain textual content editor, to make sure that Microsoft Phrase would not add something that I am going to need to battle to take away later.

It is solely once I’ve bought the textual content utterly completed that I copy and paste into Phrase, after which add the formatting that I feel greatest helps the consumer story I am attempting to inform.

If I attempt to format as I am writing, the formatting could take over. It is tempting to insist on conserving the formatting constant, even when it is not greatest supporting the story.

So give it some thought. I would strongly advocate writing first, and formatting later, whenever you’re utterly clear on the story you are attempting to inform.

I do know that many individuals wrestle with formatting their IT resume, so I hope that these easy concepts will assist make the method somewhat simpler and fewer painful.

Keep tuned for future articles that can dig a bit deeper into the IT resume course of, masking content material construction, writing model, and branding.


J.M. Auron is an expert resume author who focuses solely on crafting
the very best IT resume for shoppers from C-level leaders to hands-on IT professionals. When he isn’t working, he practices Fujian Shaolin Kung Fu and Solar Fashion Tai Chi. He additionally writes detective fiction and the occasional metrical poem.

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