Even though almost every organization is hiring IT professionals, getting a job is never easy. Many individuals share your skill sets, and some might have more experience, charm or industry expertise. But you're still going to try to get hired, regardless of the competition you're up against. Even better, it's a new year, and you probably want to bring some new tricks to the table to guarantee that you get noticed. So, what better place to start than at the beginning, with your resume?
Here are eight steps to bring your resume into 2016:
Step 1: Identify what you want to convey
As you know, every year, hiring gets more automated. HR departments can cut through the noise by searching for keywords. We'll get to this more later, but consider what happens when your resume makes it through searches: A person is going to read it. Therefore, your resume must have something to say.
"A resume must tell a story."
CIO cited Andrew Ysasi, president of Admovio, who argued that a resume must tell a story about where someone is in his profession, how he got there and what he learned that can be applied to other industries or roles.
In that regard, you should sit down and think about your career as a whole before you start writing your resume. That way, when you rewrite or revise it, you'll know what you want to convey to a hiring manager.
Step 2: Improve your contact information
In 2016, your resume cannot have the standard header. For one, author Wendy Enelow told Time that you're risking your data privacy when you put your mailing address on a resume nowadays. Enelow suggested just putting your city, state and zip code. But that's not the only way to update your contact info. Time recommended turning your email into a hyperlink and putting your professional-facing social accounts – LinkedIn, Twitter if relevant – in the header.
In fact, Forbes contributor Erica Breuer said those small changes will increase the chance of a hiring manager opening those accounts, and when they see your social pages, they'll remember you.
Step 3: Write a summary or a tagline
This one tip could save you more than you think. Hiring managers look at resumes very quickly before putting them down – an average of around six seconds, according to Joe Flanagan of Business 2 Community. Flanagan suggested writing a tagline that is "short and punchy" right near your contact info. Make sure it aligns with what you're trying to tell this hiring manager.
Think about it: While a hyperlink will get someone to remember you, a tagline or short summary will get them to even consider clicking that link in the first place.
Step 4: Make experience relevant
Hiring managers are typically just told to look for a certain list of qualities and talents. So, when they read a resume, they just want to make sure that you meet that set of predefined criteria. That is how you get called for an interview.
Therefore, you need to carve out what is relevant in your experiences as compared to a job listing. Essentially, you must do your best to match your previous work titles with current requirements, and to make all past projects as industry-agnostic as possible.
Step 5: List your skills using keywords
In the same vein as the previous step, you should always include keywords from job listings in your resume. Whether hiring managers or software are reading over your documents, they probably don't understand uncommon tech terms. And, most likely, they are really just making sure that you used the same language as the original job posting.
As another note, make sure to list skills that don't necessarily apply to past jobs, but that you've picked up over the years.
Step 6: Create an achievements section
To keep the theme of a story going, it's important to separate what you think are career achievements from the standard fare. That way, your best work and projects will stand out from your everyday duties and demonstrate that you're reliable when it comes to assignments.
Also, an achievements section shows hiring managers that you take pride in your work, and understand the importance of what you do.
"Replace Times New Roman with Georgia or Calibri."
Step 7: Optimize
You've come this far. Don't ruin a good resume with a poor diction or Comic Sans font. At this point, you need to optimize it.
To start, clean up the structure by adding bullet points, resizing headers and putting in line breaks. Enelow told Time that professionals should forgo Times New Roman and replace it with Georgia or Calibri, while author Louise Kursmark recommended that people appeal to how hiring managers read quickly nowadays by bolding important information.
Step 8: Proof read
The last step could be the most important. Boston.com's Pattie Hunt-Sinacole stressed how spelling errors are a huge "red flag" for hiring managers. This is particularly challenging when tech jargon could always have a line under it. To fix that, try copying and pasting your resume into a Google Drive document since it recognizes some of those terms.
Hunt-Sinacole suggested going beyond using a spell-checker since it won't catch words that are still words when spelled wrong. She said you should put your resume away and read it hours later, have a colleague review it and read it aloud.
Just follow those eight steps and getting more callbacks will seem easy.