How to Write a Resume That Stands Out for Tech Jobs

31 Dec 2018 Posted in ⟨For Learners⟩

According to the Straits Times, there are over 15,000 jobs currently available in the tech sector. But even so, competition is fierce and to win over one of these positions, you need to stand out.

Patrick Tay, assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), cited the main reason why so many tech jobs have remained vacant is because of a “mismatch in skills.”

Given that a resume is the first thing that a hiring manager looks at to judge the suitability of a candidate, it is imperative that you fine-tune yours. Do the skills in your resume align with what the job description is looking for? Is your resume illustrating why you should be hired above all other candidates?

Whether you are new to the industry or not, increase your chances of getting your foot in the door with these five tips on how to write a resume that stands out for IT jobs.

1. Learn the language

Tech recruiters are on the lookout for people who are proficient in very specific programming languages to fulfil their company’s needs, so learning the right languages should be the first thing that you do before applying for a job.

For example, if you want to get into web development, then you must, at a minimum, know HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery. But just because you don’t know them right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t know them in future. There are plenty of courses like this SkillsFuture-accredited Software Developer Package that will get you acquainted with the programming languages you need to know. Just sign up and start learning!

2. Show, don’t tell

One of the cardinal rules of resume writing is “show, don’t tell” to give tangible evidence on what you are capable of doing. For example, rather than saying that you are proficient in Java and PHP, show a project that demonstrates your skills and programming knowledge.

So how can you “show” a recruiter what you are capable of without being there in person? Make your latest work accessible online.

This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised to know that there are still IT professionals who do not do this or only showcase outdated work. Upload your front-end work to sites like Behance and your code to sites like GitHub.

Creating a blog that represents who you are as an IT professional will also enable you to stand out from the crowd by communicating your unique perspectives on coding and the tech industry. Alternatively, being an active contributor on popular coding forums like Stackoverflow is also a good indication of your coding skills and should not be left out off your resume!

Also, if you land an interview, bring your laptop/iPad along so that you can walk the interviewer through your work in finer detail. Focus on how you helped your client/employer reach their objective and how you overcame the challenges that you faced along the way.

3. Highlight accomplishments, not tasks

Most resumes read like a list of tasks. For example: “used problem solving skills to update company software” and “built a website using HTML5 and CSS.” While this describes what you did, it does not explain the value that your work brought to the business – and this is what hiring managers are looking for.

Instead of highlighting the tasks that you have completed, convey the impact that you had on your employer or client’s business. Did your work help them gain more customers and increase sales by $X? Did your work help them streamline their work processes and make them more efficient by Y%?

4. Outline your project management approach

If you are applying for a project manager position, then your suitability and the amount of value that you can contribute will largely depend on your knowledge of and track record in implementing project methodologies.

Are you an agile practitioner? If so, for how many years and what kind of impact were you able to cultivate by taking this approach?

5. Simplify and prioritise

Hiring managers face a paradoxical challenge – they have to sift through hundreds or even thousands of applications, yet they have a limited amount of time on their hands to find the perfect person for the job. Adrian Tan, the founder of The Resource Group, actually estimates that he on average sifts through 40 resumes per day!

Make it easy for recruiters to understand your value by simplifying and prioritising your resume. Restrict the skills and work achievements that you include to those that resonate with the job at hand. Use short and snappy sentences as well as bullet points where appropriate. And finally, limit your resume to one page, two at most.

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of vacant tech jobs out there – you just need to make sure that what you offer matches what employers are looking for. By following these five resume writing tips, you will be well on your way to standing out from the IT job-hunting crowd and enticing hiring managers to pick up the phone!

If you are serious about advancing your career in the IT industry, check out our SkillsFuture-accredited course, Develop a Fulfilling Career.

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