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IT Resume Revamp: Spotlight On IT Consultants

Job hopping means that IT consultants often struggle to keep resume length manageable. Our expert helps make over one job candidate's IT resume.

IT resume revamp: The bad
Lespoir's six-page resume was far too long. He focused too much on listing every responsibility at every job, which contributed to the resume's length.

Too many technical skills: The technical skills section, listed under the overview, is important to many hiring managers in order to gauge a candidate's skillset, Fermin said. Lespoir lists many, but you should include only the ones in which you're an expert and those that are pertinent to the job you're seeking next. "You need to feel confident about each one in case a hiring manager picks one to grill you on. If you're not confident, don't list it."

It's too long: Put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes. "Do you think they're going to take the time to read a six-page resume? They're not going to read it." Contrary to what job candidates may think, contractors shouldn't list every project in they've ever participated. Instead, leave out short-term contracts to cut length.

Too much detail: Lespoir was guilty of what Fermin said many contract workers and consultants do: listing every detail of every job. "Contractor resumes tend to be way too long because they feel like they need to list every single job and every single thing they've done on that job." Instead, focus on your accomplishments, leaving out a majority of the day-to-day tasks.

IT resume revamp: The better
Fermin and Lespoir worked together to trim his resume to two-and-a-half pages to make it more readable for hiring managers. They also added Lespoir's contact information and made sure they weren't repeating the verbs used in the bullet points.

[View the revamped resume.]

Added contact information up high: Lespoir's contact information was missing from his original resume. Fermin placed Lespoir's phone number and email address directly at the top and included a link to his LinkedIn profile. "LinkedIn is becoming the go-to tool for recruiting; we're using it more than regular job boards because you can quickly get a snapshot of who your candidate is." After making the changes, Fermin had Lespoir update his LinkedIn profile to reflect his new information.

Cut resume length: The biggest change to Lespoir's resume was whittling it from six to two-and-a-half pages. He and Fermin did this by cutting one job from the resume and significantly paring down the bullet points under each remaining job. Fermin recommends that most IT resumes be fewer than three pages long. A good way to moderate the length is through the cause-and-effect method: "Performed X, which resulted in Y." This is a more effective use of space and helps you focus on the achievements of the job.

Punched up the bullet points: Lespoir's original resume did a decent job of using strong action words, but Fermin said the word "use" was overused. "You want to try to avoid using the same word over and over. The reason he leaned on that one was because he was listing every single task."

Lespoir said he's happy with the changes and is confident his new resume will help him land his next opportunity. "It was a great experience. It helped me consider the psychology of the reader by creating a resume that's simple, easy-to-read, and full of information."

Do you have an IT resume you want reviewed by a professional? Email senior editor Kristin Burnham at

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User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2013 | 4:44:56 PM
Re: Your personal IT resume pet peeve?
I review a lot of resumes. Some things that drive me crazy are:


- Buzzword bingo: The listing of every technology or piece of hardware you have ever laid a finger on, in the hopes that when your resume is searched by agencies, it hits more keywords than others and floats to the top of the pile. If it's on the resume, be prepared to answer questions about it, and "I racked it once" doesn't count as "experience".


- Anything over 3 pages: How long, exactly, do you think we have to spend on each resume? On a more helpful note, if you don't get my (positive) attention on the first page, how likely am I to look at the following pages?


- Hobbies: It's a personal thing perhaps, but I really don't care if you are into brewing beer, origami and reading in your spare time. Most people, I would guess, lie about this stuff anyway to try and sound more impressive.


- Bad speling and grammer: If you cant be bothered to speel chek you're resume - the thign your hoping wil gte you this job - and can't make sure that what written you've sense makes, then it doesn't lead me to have much hoep about the qualty of your potential work in my organization.

User Rank: Strategist
11/16/2013 | 5:06:07 PM
@virsingh211: It's undersstandable that a job applicant would want to maximize their potential value. I think the biggest mistake we make in applying for jobs is to think about our resume as a static thing that, once written, never changes.

In my experience, the best thing to do is to tailor the resume to the specific job you are applying for. So if that job ad mentions specific skills, focus on those, and what you accomplished in previous positions using those skills. Leave the rest as a "mention" at the end.

The chronological-list resume is less important to me as a hiring manager than a resume that sums up your skills and accomplishments on the first page, reltative to the position you're applying for. Chronological list can go on second page for me to scan as I need it.
User Rank: Strategist
11/16/2013 | 4:51:35 PM
I agree, we do tend to mention each and every technology we have ever touched or worked just to double sure the best opputunity with highest salary in industry and i guess this is trend and required today, employers seek for employees with one experianced skill and overview of related/ parented tech.
User Rank: Strategist
11/15/2013 | 2:37:34 PM
The thing that drives me crazy is the long resume in which the person lists every single tiny thing they've ever done.

I want to know basic job description and then highlights of what the person accomplished in previous roles. Did they just do the job, or did they actually accomplish or change something in their time there. That's what I look for in hiring.
User Rank: Author
11/15/2013 | 10:12:32 AM
Your personal IT resume pet peeve?
Length is a controversial topic with IT resumes. What really sets you off on IT candidate resumes, hiring managers?
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