Some of this knowledge may or may not apply to you depending on where you’re applying to and your own skillset, so take all of this for what it’s worth.
The strategy I’m teaching here is aimed on getting your reader, the IT manager to figure out what skills you have, and get them to understand how they can be an asset to your team. To make that happen, I’ve engineered my resume to be easy to read so that these things happen more quickly, with less effort required on the reader.
What this strategy is not
It is not designed to help you with:
- Your resume SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- There are a lot of games you can play here, but there’s a constant evolving game of cat and mouse between recruiters and applicants. I just rely on the good ‘ol strategy of doing a good job and letting my resume speak for itself.
- Getting past HR.
- I do my own hiring at my company. I’m not even going to pretend I understand what HR is looking for when they’re hiring.
- Same as HR. Main difference here to keep in mind is that these people are purely motivated to put someone in to fill a role. They’re on your side and they’re rooting for you. They get paid to help clients fill roles. Ask for their help and they will be more than happy to give it.
Why Make a Resume Easier to Read?
Before we go into the how of doing this, let’s first understand the why. I think some of the reasons are obvious, but you may not be aware of the depth of how important this can be.
To start, let’s put ourselves in the hiring manager’s shoes. Most IT teams I’ve been on are overcommitted and under budget. This hiring manager looking at your resume is probably in a similar situation. He’s really busy and is hurting to just be done with these interviews. He has a pile of resumes to review and needs to schedule interviews with the ones that seems interesting.
Chances are, he’s not going to be able to spend all the time he needs to be able to read your resume from top to bottom. It can easily take 20 minutes per resume to do that.
How to Make a Resume Easier to Read
Now that we’ve established why we do this, lets dig into the how.
Use Functional Job Titles
Use your functional job title instead of an official one. A lot of times, the official job title doesn’t make sense outside of the organization anyways.
Were you the go-to when it came to technical decisions for your team even though you were just the engineer? Maybe you want to put down that you were the tech lead for your team. I don’t consider this a lie, it’s just helping people understand more quickly what you did in your role.
Group Together Similar Responsibilities
It’s good if you have a lot of responsibilities and projects to talk about at a single job. As a reader of your resume, it can be really intimidating to start reading a solid wall of text though.
I group them and separate them under a title so that it allows the reader to read the title, read as many bullet points as they feel like, then move onto another section when they get bored or they get the idea.
If they really don’t have any time, they can just read the titles to get a general idea of what I did in that role in less than a minute.
Without responsibility groupings:
With responsibility groupings:
Use Formatting as Context Clues
I actually learned this from NetworkDiagrams101 here: Tip 2 – Enhance Type
I assign different types of formatting for each type of data type in my resume. This allows the reader to find certain parts of my resume more quickly without even realizing it.
Feel free to do whatever works for you, but what I’ve ended up with is this.
I hope this helps you on your job search. Keep in mind, this is just one strategy to help solve one problem: getting the hiring manager to understand your strengths and that you can be a great fit for their team.
If you’re still not getting interviews, you may want to stop and think about how far your resume is getting and why it’s not moving past that stage. For example, if it’s not making it past HR, you may be missing certain certifications. If you’re not getting messages from recruiters, it could be you don’t have enough keywords in your resume.
Thank you for checking this out. I hope you learned something new or enjoyed reading this. If you had any comments, questions, or just wanted to share your thoughts on this article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
e-Mayhem helps companies successfully deliver business projects. We also help companies avoid losses associated with IT disruptions and security threats. You can learn more about our services at e-mayhem.com or by emailing email@example.com