IT Resume Dos and Don’ts: Formatting for Readability | Developers

By J.M. Auron

Nov 1, 2018 11:59 AM PT

In my profession as an IT resume author, I’ve seen quite a lot of IT resumes cross my desk, and I might wish to share some frequent of the most typical formatting issues that I see often. Of course, an IT resume requires greater than nice formatting. It requires well-written, focused content material, and a transparent story of profession development. It wants to speak your distinctive model and worth proposition.

Still, if the formatting is off, that may derail the remainder of the doc and forestall your story being learn by the hiring authority.

I will begin with a couple of IT resume formatting “don’ts.”

1. Don’t Use Headers

This is a straightforward repair. Headers and footers made quite a lot of sense when an IT resume was more likely to be learn as a printed sheet of paper.

In 2018, how seemingly is it busy hiring authority goes to take the time or the trouble to print out the a whole bunch of resumes which can be submitted for each place?

Not terribly.

Your IT resume goes to be learn on-line.

That’s why utilizing a header in your contact info is a nasty thought.

It takes a couple of seconds to click on on the header, copy and paste your e-mail and cellphone quantity, after which click on once more within the physique of the resume to learn the textual content.

A couple of seconds does not look like a lot, however for somebody who is trying by means of quite a lot of resumes, each second actually does depend. A hiring authority who is REALLY busy may resolve it is an excessive amount of bother to get your contact info from the header.

That means your resume could properly find yourself within the “read later” folder.

That’s not an excellent consequence.

There’s one other downside with utilizing the header, associated to the one I simply mentioned.

Headers simply look quaint. Out of date.

Old common shouldn’t be the model you wish to current if you happen to’re on the lookout for a job in expertise — whether or not you are a CIO, an IT director, or a senior developer.

Again, that is a straightforward repair. Just put your identify and call info within the physique of the resume. I recommend utilizing a bigger font in daring caps in your identify. You wish to make certain that your identify will stick within the reminiscence of the reader.

2. Don’t Over-Bullet

This might be the most typical mistake I see within the IT resumes that cross my desk.

In my commerce, we name it “death by bullets.” The job seeker has bulleted all the pieces.


That’s actually arduous to learn. Beyond the truth that it is simply not clear, there’s one other massive downside with over-bulleting.

To paraphrase The Incredibles, if all the pieces is bulleted, nothing is.

The objective of utilizing bullets — sparingly — is to attract the reader’s eye and a focus to your main accomplishments.

If you’ve got bulleted all the pieces, the reader does not know what’s important and what’s not, which defeats the aim of utilizing bullets in your resume.

In my very own work as an IT resume author, I make a transparent distinction between duties and duties and arduous, quantifiable accomplishments. I write the duties in paragraph format, and bullet solely the accomplishments that exhibit what my IT resume shoppers actually have delivered.

It’s a transparent, easy strategy that I like to recommend.

three. Don’t Get Colorful

Happily, this specific downside does not appear as frequent because it was a couple of years in the past, however each on occasion, I will nonetheless see a resume with plenty of coloration.

The thought behind that, in fact, is to make the resume “eye-catching.”

Rather than catching the reader’s eye, nonetheless, quite a lot of coloration is simply complicated.

“Why is this section blue? Is blue telling me it’s really important? And yellow? Why is this person using yellow? Because it’s mighty hard to read…”

I am certain you see my level. The colours, moderately than giving the reader a map of what to have a look at first — what to prioritize — simply find yourself trying, properly, busy.

That makes your resume tougher to learn. And if it is tougher to learn?

Yeah. As I discussed above: It’s seemingly to enter the “read later” folder.

You actually don’t need that to occur.

four. Don’t Lead With Education

This is one other straightforward repair, however it’s essential.

The solely time you wish to lead with training is once you’re a brand new grad. If you are knowledgeable — whether or not senior, mid-career or junior — you wish to spotlight your expertise on web page one, and never take up that helpful house together with your levels or certifications.

Of course, levels, coaching and certifications are essential, however they belong on the finish of the resume, on the backside of web page two or three.

5. Don’t Use Arial or Times New Roman

I will finish the “don’ts” with one other easy one.

Arial and Times New Roman are, properly, so 1990s. Yes, they’re good, clear, readable fonts, which is why they’ve grow to be so in style.

Probably 90 p.c of all IT resumes are written in these two fonts. There’s nothing unfavorable in that, however it’s slightly boring.

Now, I am not suggesting you employ Comic Sans or Magneto, however there are some nice, clear fonts that are not as frequent within the IT resume world.

Personally? I like Calibri for physique and Cambria for headings.

So, that provides you quite a lot of issues to keep away from in formatting your IT resume. I will now recommend a couple of “dos” to focus on to make sure that your doc is as readable as potential.

1. Keep Things Simple

I am a robust believer that an IT resume wants to inform a narrative. The formatting of the doc ought to serve solely to make clear that story, and never get in the way in which.

When the doc is completed, have a look. Does the formatting lead your eye to crucial factors? Is the formatting clear and clear? Or does it distract from the story you are making an attempt to inform?

2. Think Mobile

This level will get extra essential with every passing yr. These days, the chances are that the hiring authority might be studying your story on a cellphone, pill, or different cell system.

That’s modified the way in which I’ve formatted the IT resumes I write for my shoppers.

I’ve by no means gone past minimal design, however I’ve scaled issues again. For instance, I used to make use of shading to attract consideration to important sections of the doc.

But now? I believe that may be arduous to learn on a cell — and readability, to repeat a theme, is the one objective of resume formatting.

three. Use Bold and Italics Sparingly

This level follows immediately from the earlier one. We do not wish to daring or italicize all the pieces. Bold and italics, used persistently and sparingly, may help sign to the reader what’s most essential in your IT resume, and supply a framework for a fast read-through.

That allows the hiring authority to get the gist of your profession quick, with out distracting from a deeper second learn.

four. Use Hard Page Breaks

This is fairly easy, however it is necessary. I at all times insert arduous web page breaks in each completed IT resume I write. That helps make sure that the doc goes to look constant throughout gadgets and throughout platforms.

It’s not 100 p.c foolproof — Word is a less-than-perfect software. With arduous web page breaks, although, the chances are excellent that your resume will look the identical to every reader — and to the identical reader when reviewing the doc on totally different gadgets. That consistency reinforces the sense of professionalism you are striving to convey.

5. Write First, Format Later

Professional IT resume writers disagree on this, however I will recommend what I’ve found efficient in my follow.

I at all times write the resume first. I personally use a plain textual content editor, to make sure that Microsoft Word does not add something that I will have to battle to take away later.

It’s solely after I’ve obtained the textual content utterly completed that I copy and paste into Word, after which add the formatting that I believe greatest helps the shopper story I am making an attempt to inform.

If I attempt to format as I am writing, the formatting could take over. It’s tempting to insist on protecting the formatting constant, even when it is not greatest supporting the story.

So give it some thought. I might strongly advocate writing first, and formatting later, once you’re utterly clear on the story you are making an attempt to inform.

I do know that many individuals battle with formatting their IT resume, so I hope that these easy concepts will assist make the method slightly simpler and fewer painful.

Stay tuned for future articles that may dig a bit deeper into the IT resume course of, protecting content material construction, writing type, and branding.

J.M. Auron is knowledgeable resume author who focuses completely on crafting
the absolute best IT resume for shoppers from C-level leaders to hands-on IT professionals. When he isn’t working, he practices Fujian Shaolin Kung Fu and Sun Style Tai Chi. He additionally writes detective fiction and the occasional metrical poem.

(window, doc,’script’,
fbq(‘init’, ‘535191343593734’);
fbq(‘observe’, ‘PageView’);

Tech News


Show More

Related Articles