Top 5 Resume Tips From a Government Tech Professional

Career Advice

Not everyone is great at writing a resume; it can prove to be pretty challenging for even the best writers among us. However, a resume isn’t a novel and it isn’t a short story.  n fact, I’m not even sure where the resume falls in literature of any language. It’s a beast in its own category altogether. You don’t have to be a great writer to write a great resume. If you follow a few simple tips, you can put together a great resume that will stand out among the rest. Here are five tips for a great resume (in no particular order):

1. Avoid Generalizations

When you write your resume, you need to highlight the accomplishments and responsibilities you’ve had in your work history. When you write “managed servers for a financial firm” that really doesn’t paint a good picture of what you did for your company. Instead you could write “Lead engineer in charge of the oversight of operations and architecture of 100+ servers ranging from Windows 2016 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for a fortune 500 global financial management firm of over 9,000 employees.” Which line is better?  Obviously the second line is more impressive. You’ve let the recruiter know how many servers you manage, the operating systems you have experience with, the importance of your company and the effect it has on the world. As you can see, that’s a big difference.

2. Humility Has No Place on Your Resume

A resume is your opportunity to shine, so shine bright! You can’t afford to be humble when it comes to your resume, it’s about the only place you can brag about yourself and not feel narcissistic. If you did something good, brag about it, just do it in a professional way. If you received an award, spotlight it on your resume. You should have a section specifically dedicated to Awards and Recognitions. Your prospective company should want to meet you based on your resume – this is your chance to impress them.

3. Focus on the first page

If you can keep your resume to one page, do it, it’s the best case scenario. Many of you can’t, simply because you have years of experience, and that’s ok. If your resume has multiple pages, put an emphasis on the first page. It’s a known fact that recruiters generally spend around 6-7 seconds glancing at your resume. You want them to see who you are in a snapshot: name, address, qualifications, skills and clearance status. Beyond the first page you can focus on job history and education.

4. Edit, Proofread, Rinse, Repeat

Proofreading your resume is of the utmost importance. If you submit your resume for a job and you have misspellings and poor grammar, your resume goes in the trash. We all make mistakes when writing, that’s fine, but proofread your resume and then have a friend proofread it before submitting it. Getting a second pair of eyes on your resume will help you understand what your first impression would be like with a recruiter, it’s basically a dry run. An even better approach is to have someone proofread your resume who has no idea what you do, that will give you a good idea of the kinds of questions a non-technical recruiter might have about your resume. You can never proofread enough.

5.Less is More

When it comes to a resume, less is definitely more. That might sound strange, but the first person to look at your resume is likely going to be a non-technical recruiter who is looking for the basics – who you are and what you know. Above and beyond the length of your resume, the formatting and style play a major role as well.  Avoid colors completely, stick with black font. Avoid multiple font styles, sizes and NO COLORS!  Formatting should be simple, you want a recruiter to continue reading. Bad formatting can turn a recruiter off of your resume quickly.

If you have a resume already written, or if you are going to sit down for the first time and write an amazing resume after reading this (I think too highly of my writing), utilize these five tips to help you build the best resume that will keep the attention of the recruiter and make the hiring manager want to interview you asap. Did I leave out some tips?  Please leave a comment and let me know.

Greg Stuart is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He has 20 years of IT experience and currently works as an IT Consultant both in the private and public sector. Greg holds a BS in Information Technology and an MBA degree. He currently resides in Southeast Idaho. You can follow him on Twitter @vDestination, read his blog (vDestination.com) and listen to his podcast (vDestination.com/feed/podcast).

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