The Secret Art of Writing Highly Effective Killer Resumes for Computer Programming Jobs

Your resume drives your compensation, your marketability and the effectiveness of your job search. Without much ado, here are the rules of engagement for writing highly effective killer resumes for Information Technology jobs that gets you on the fast track to career nirvana.

One page resumes are out!

The rule of cramming your skills, experience and accomplishment on one page is dead. Include as much detail as necessary to secure an interview or a job offer. Your personal information is irrelevant!

Skip the section on your hobbies including the references to martial arts, chess, marathon, etc. Nobody really cares. Just answer the question, can you do the job?

Keywords are relevant!

Keywords are the buzzwords that describe the current skills, technologies and processes that are popular in your industry. Your resume is dead without the right keywords or buzzwords. Some hiring managers use scanners that count how often desired keywords are mentioned, so your resume is dead if you don’t employ them effectively.

Also, other recruiters who don’t use scanners look out for the jobs where you mention those keywords. Either way, your career is headed for the slow track if your resume does not use industry keywords effectively.

Beware of Cover letters

It is really a good resume that sells you if you are in contract programming. The cover letter is one more document that delays access to your resume. If you have a good relationship with your recruiter, make their jobs easier by skipping the cover letter. If you do not have a good relationship with a technical recruiter and you need a cover letter to sell you in addition to your resume, you had better not be in contract programming.

Cover letters are traditional and are necessary if you are applying for full time positions or applying directly to hiring managers, otherwise, use a a few sentences to introduce your attached resume.

Socialize your desired compensation

Have you seen those jobs where you are advised not to apply without including your desired pay? Apply without your desired pay anyway. Yes, I know you would really want a six figure income but it is much better to discuss this with the recruiter than to add it to your resume, where it really adds no value.

Besides, including your desired pay marks you as a newbie and from Negotiation 101 class we learn it puts you at a disadvantage when you finally negotiate your pay. The time to introduce your desired pay is after the recruiter or hiring manager has reviewed your resume and is all excited about interviewing or hiring you.

Keep your references to yourself

Don’t bother including your references or the ridiculous references available on demand line on your resume. Your references will be checked before or after an offer is extended to you. So, get on with your business of securing the job offer.

Include multiple ways of contacting you

The purpose of your resume is to market you, so, include as many ways of contacting you as possible. Include your email, mailing address, mobile phone, work phone, home phone and website address (tech or professional sites only) in the contact section of your resume and years from now, you will be getting calls from people who need your services.

By including multiple ways of reaching you, you increase the chance that you will be discovered by recruiters or headhunters even when one or more of your contact details become obsolete.

One resume does not fit all

Your resume is a marketing document. So, customize it for each job or position you are interested in, especially if it differs significantly from what you are doing now. Hiring managers and recruiters are only interested in exact matches or near fits between the jobs they advertise and the resumes they receive.

They literally want to see your resume mention the same skills and technologies they are advertising. So, if you want to get that interview, make sure you customize your resume for the position you are applying for.

Prove your relevance with your resume

If you are looking for a technical writing position, don’t just create a resume, showcase how relevant you are to the position you are applying for. See, recruiters and hiring managers want to hire the right person for each job, so make their jobs easier by beginning with this end in mind.

If you are applying for a business analysis position, you should know within yourself if your resume makes a good case for you or not. Your resume must prove beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt that you can get the job done!

It’s all about your experience

Recruiters and hiring managers believe that your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance. They are only interested in you, if you have successfully solved problems similar to theirs. They want to see in your resume a trail of successes, not a trial of failures or an absence of both.

So, describe not just the technology you use, but also the overall business processes, the problems you solved and the value you provided. Whatever you do, make sure you have relevant industry experience and showcase it on your resume.

Focus your resume on where you are going

Your resume should describe who you are now and who you want to be. It should make the connection between the positions you have had and the new position you want. If the credibility gap between what you have been doing and what you want is big, you will most likely be passed over.

For example, if you have been a HTML developer and you are applying for a Java or C# job, the skills gap between HTML development and Java or C# development may kill your job search, however, if you position yourself as a web developer, you stand a better chance of getting hired. Likewise if your resume only highlights HTML web development and you show up at the interview talking about C# .NET development, your interviewing managers will ask you why you don’t already have C# .NET on your resume.

Focus on your accomplishments not your responsibilities

Your accomplishments describe what you do with you’re given. Accomplishments present you as results and goal oriented. Your responsibilities describe you as a passive player who only responds by chance. Responsibilities describe you as being task or process oriented.

Hiring managers perceive the performance of responsibilities oriented candidates as being unpredictable and that of results oriented individuals as being a sure bet. So, do yourself a favor, become result oriented both on your resume and in real life.

Do not include irrelevant past jobs

You used to be a musician, a poet or a gunslinger in a past life, so what? Remove from your resume past jobs that you had to pass time or jobs you had when you were growing up or jobs that are not relevant to your job search! Let me spell it out, remove past jobs that have no skill and experience relevance to the position you are interested in.

By leaving irrelevant past jobs on your resume, you prove that you still have a lot of baggage and that you are still clinging to your past. Remember, that your resume is primarily a marketing document and not a monument to your ego.

Disclose your past employers

Include the locations (city and state only) and the company names of the past employers listed on your resume. If you do not disclose your employers, recruiters or hiring managers may start wondering about what you are hiding and then start digging into your garbage. If you have nothing to hide, make their lives easier and disclose your past employers on your resume. If you have something to hide, keep your own counsel.

List your past jobs in chronological order

Recruiters and hiring managers expect to scan your job history in a chronological order from the most recent job to the last. Present the past jobs on your resume in that order.

Is This Career Nirvana Or What?

These are some of the secrets of writing highly effective killer resumes for Information Technology careers and jobs. Use them to fast track to career nirvana, ignore them at your own peril! Either way, you have been warned 🙂

To learn more about fast tracking your computer programmer career, visit this resource.

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