Once upon a time, I worked as a recruiter for a telecommunications company.And I believe that while your interview skills are incredibly important, one’s resume is truly the ‘key to the kingdom’ of sorts. After all, if you can’t get through the door at a company, then your interview skills are essentially useless.
Trust me when I say having looked at countless resumes, there are a lot of pain points which prevented me from picking up the phone and giving that person the initial chance. To me, some resume mistakes seemed like common sense things, such as using good grammar and a readable font, but you would be surprised at the nightmarish documents I came across.According to research conducted by TheLadders, an online job-matching service for professionals, “recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision on candidates, meaning you have to win them over fast.”Considering all the skills you’ve been learning and certifications you’ve been earning, we want you to show them off. And, with any luck- land that dream job.As I talked about in my last post
, you don’t have time to do the heavy lifting when it comes to researching. But, a polished resume is a must. So I’ve put together a list of Resume Must Do’s tailored specifically for IT professionals, based not only on my experience as a recruiter, but also with some tid bits of knowledge from our friend, the Internet.This list is more extensive than my last post, so I will try my best to include visuals to make it an easier read.In the end, however, crafting the perfect resume is somewhat time confusing, so don’t think once you’ve been given the keys, your resume will be automatically application ready.Note:
Throughout this post, I will be using examples with gray background and white font for readability purposes, so please keep in mind that your own resume should be presented on white paper with a dark font. Likewise, I will be creating a sample resume for a made up person, David Cybrary
, just to illustrate a point and make things more interesting.1. First thing’s first. The Header.
Seems simple enough, but readability is key here. Your name should either be centered or left-aligned. Personally, I recommend centered. Be aware of your font size, ensuring that while your name is the largest, it is not disproportionate with the rest of the page. This rule applies to the font throughout. Use the print screen function constantly as you format.The header should have something to separate itself from the preceding information, such as a line or other type of break.Your contact information is also vital, so when selecting which email address and phone number to include, use those which you are likely to respond, rather than your first email address which still has unread messages from 1992.Most importantly, include the URL to your online professional profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, I suggest you start there.Business Insider tells us that 86% of recruiters admit to reviewing candidates' online profiles, and considering we are in the tech industry, not having an online presence could be seen as a red flag.Plus, if you’ve gotten a Cybrary certification
, you can post those directly to your LinkedIn profile, automatically upping your credibility.2. Your resume should be job/ industry specific.
Many people fail to recognize this, and their resumes contain worthless jobs they held way back when. The fact that you were a lifeguard is cool, but pretty irrelevant when you hope to work as a network administrator.
This is the tricky part, but having a tailored resume in cyber security is critical, especially because different jobs may require more specific skills than others. Your executive summary is the perfect opportunity to showcase relevant knowledge, and should be included just underneath your header.Explain who you are, what your skillset is, and how you can add value to a perspective employer. This is also a great place to include facts like “Top Secret Security Clearance,” “Willing to Relocate,” or “Fluent in Spanish” if those pertain to the role.Be warned, including a generic statement about yourself is both useless and distracts from the actual industry qualifications you have. Also, if you plan to adjust your summary, as well as the rest of your resume to a certain job, as you should, but sure you make those changes for each job you apply. You can immediately count yourself out if you use the wrong skillset or title.Including buzzwords directly underneath your summary can help recruiters when searching a database to find your profile over others. Choose those words wisely. I recommend browsing job postings for similar roles to yours, in order to pull the most common, but make sure they do actually describe your capabilities. Lying on a resume is never okay.3. Organize your resume in reverse chronological order.
If the recruiter only looks at the top half, they’re getting the most bang for their buck. And it helps provide context for what should follow.This means showing what you are doing at present, and should showcase the majority of your skills, assuming you have built upon previous roles.Because you are structuring your resume this way, it is important to include a sentence summary about the company your employment is/ was with or cover your specific role/project. This can be particularly helpful for developers, those doing project based roles or those on a contract.If you work for a smaller, virtually unknown company, this sentence gives the necessary context I mentioned. Or, for those working for Amazon, say, but on a specific project, you can state the goal of that project. 4. And now, listing out your responsibilities.
Don’t use dense blocks of text, but instead choose 4-5 carefully crafted bullet points to illustrate your essential duties. This is a nice place to refer back to some of those buzzwords, when applicable.This is also the place where you must prioritize your contributions. Rather than say ‘Attend daily meetings’ perhaps choose something that demonstrates more action, such as ‘Maintains Cyber Security Laboratory consisting of test servers, desktops, network components, and security software’Be as specific as possible, and try to include how your efforts produced a positive result. So for example, ‘Maintains Cyber Security Laboratory consisting of test servers, desktops, network components, and security software, resulting in $25,000 annual savings,’ or something along those lines.5. Wait something’s missing… Where to include education?
For those recently graduated from an accredited university, education may be best placed underneath your executive summary. But for those a few years in the work force, it should come underneath all employment.
This section should include not only where you attended, but the type of degree you earned, and what year you earned it. Recent grads should include a GPA above a 3.0.Following education, or if in place of a formal degree, should be your certifications
. These as you know, add credibility to your skills and help to beef up a resume.Although they are at the bottom of the page, more than likely the skills you certified match those buzzwords listed at the top and give a layer of validation.6. Seems like you’re almost done- just need to edit.
There is not greater pet peeve of mine than a spelling or grammar mistake on a resume. Be sure to have someone you know proofread and edit your first draft. Not only that, ask their opinion on the layout. Does it flow? How’s the spacing?7. Last thing, a minor checklist of things that SHOULD NOT be present on your resume:
- Headers/ footers
- Crazy, unreadable fonts or colors
- Pronouns, ie. third person, because you’re the one writing it
- The term ‘references upon request,’ that’s pretty obvious that upon the recruiter’s request, you’ll provide references
- Pages and pages and pages. If you’ve been in the industry for many years, mention that in your executive summary and stick to details on the past 15 or so years, with prior companies and titles bulleted
- White space- and if you have some, and don’t know what to fill it with, try a certification from Cybrary.
If you stuck with me through this post, I can tell already you’re on your way to resume and career greatness.Now, your next challenge is conducting the search itself. I can help with that, too! Once your resume is complete, click here
to started job searching.Olivia Lynch
is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.