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In today's crowded and competitive IT Job Market, it is more important than ever to make your CV stand out. Below is a list of ten tips that will help you kick-start your IT Career:
1. Make employers sit up and take notice. Given the short amount of time that employers spend screening resumes, you need a way to show the employer at a glance what you want to do, what you're good at and, importantly, what you can do for them. One way to sharpen your focus is through an objective statement. Another way is to add a "Profile" section to the top of your resume which summarises everything that you would want the recruiter to know about you in a short paragraph.
2. Your resume must list the important facts first. Employers will not bother reading your whole resume if you do not grab their attention straightaway. You should outline your key achievements at the start of your resume using short punchy sentences. Since a key part of a resume for a graduate is usually academic achievements, this should be on the first page, where it can be seen straightaway.
3. Clear, attractive presentation is important if you want your resume to stand out. Ensure that it's uncluttered, with key points easy to spot. Use a bulleted style to make your resume more reader-friendly. Given that employers screen resumes for between 2.5 and 20 seconds, they will find your resume a lot more readable if you use bullet points instead of a paragraph style. Plenty of 'white space' around the borders and between each section keeps the document easier on the eye. Use bold and underline to emphasize points if you wish, but do so sparingly. You may think that a whole paragraph in bold will help draw an employer's attention, but it can be very distracting and looks messy.
4. Applying for a job is like marketing and selling a product. The aim of your resume is effectively to sell "you" to prospective employers. Focus on the skills that would make you a valuable employee. The best way to do this is by using the same words and phrasing in your resume that you found in the job posting itself. It makes your resume stand out to the employer because it matches their requirements more closely.
5. Your resume should highlight your achievements, not job duties or descriptions. Write your resume to emphasize what you did well, not just list what your duties were. Talk about results - what difference did your presence make? Quantify your achievements wherever possible, e.g. "Increased sales by 15% in first year".
6. Put your employment history in chronological order. Include details of holiday or temporary work only if it's relevant to the job you're applying for.
7. Always check for errors. Run a spelling and grammar check and ask someone else to read it for you. The employer isn't going to believe you're a good communicator if your resume is full of mistakes and it is likely that your resume will end up in the shredder.
8. Size does matter. Recruiters will have a huge pile of resumes to read through and little time, so if they don't like the first page, they won't be turning to read the second. Keep your resume short and concise at 1-2 pages. Do use a readable font. Shrinking your letters down below 10 point makes your words unreadable.
9. Do use action verbs; these give your resume strength, power, and direction. Strong sentences are those in which a subject performs an action (active verb) as opposed to an action being performed on the subject (passive verb). For example, "I planned an event" creates a stronger impression than "An event was planned by me". Strong words like proposed, sold, managed, and designed show that you have initiative and increases your chance of being called for an interview. Describe each of your accomplishments using a simple, powerful, action statement and emphasize how this can benefit an employer.
10. Be truthful. Although you obviously want to present yourself well, don't go too far and embellish the truth. This can easily backfire on you.