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What to Include in An IT Resume

As you review the many IT resume samples available, identify the ones that apply to your sector so you can use them to write a targeted resume that a potential employer will be able to relate to. It's important to refer to the employer's job description to know which skills are most desired, and if you can claim them, state them.

There are two basic resume styles, and each serves job seekers differently.

The chronological resume is best suited for the individual who has no employment gaps and who is continuing in their current sector of IT. This is also the most commonly used format, and is most familiar to hiring managers. The sections for a chronological resume are:

  • Contact info (name/phone/email)
  • Resume summary
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education
A functional resume works best for IT professionals who are ready for a career change, or those who may have perceived gaps in employment. This perception comes from the fact that many individuals in the industry do contract work through IT consulting firms, and many of those contracts are short-term. Communicating this in a list of previous employment, it would appear at first glance that you may be job-hopping and that you have lots of career intermissions. To avoid that misconception, a functional resume allows you to describe achievements and abilities under an additional section named モAccomplishments.ヤ With so much detail in the accomplishments section, the work experience will be more like a simple list of previous jobs. For contract work, the consulting firm could be shown as the employer, and the clients where you were placed could be identified under that heading.

The sections for a functional resume are:

  • Contact info (name/phone/email)
  • Resume summary
  • Accomplishments (new section)
  • Work Experience
  • Skills
  • Education
You can examine both styles as you review IT resume samples to determine which will best represent your qualifications.

How to Write the IT Resume Summary Statement

Potential employers often receive an overwhelming number of resumes from job seekers and will commonly disregard a resume if it doesn't catch their interest from the start. Since your resume summary is the first thing a hiring manager will read, make it count. Describe your successes with action verbs and try to quantify the results. Indicate how you impacted the bottom line of a project, or how you we able to meet difficult timetables. Success measured in percentages or dollar amounts impress.

Refer to the job description, and use the employer's desired skills as a key to know which of yours to highlight, but be honest. It does no good to get the interview if you can't substantiate your claims.

The whole idea of the resume summary is to let the hiring manager see you as a potential employee so they'll continue reading. Below are two resume summary samples of IT professionals in different sectors of the industry:

Network systems administrator with 15 years experience. Determined organizational needs and made recommendations within budget restrictions, installed network hardware and software, and upgraded where necessary. Continually evaluated system for better performance and ensured computer system security. Researched and advised organization on future hardware and software upgrades. Ensured email and data storage networks worked properly so the business could continue to function at full potential.

Experienced information security analyst heavily involved in heading-off cyber attacks by staying up to date on methods of infiltration. Monitored network for security breaches, recommended software such as firewalls and data encryption programs, and conducted simulated attacks to identify vulnerabilities before they could be exploited. While it's difficult to prove a negative, there were no security breaches.

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How to Write the IT Education Section

When you write your education section, it should be formatted simply, with the name of the school attended, its location, and the degree obtained. Most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree, but some start in the profession with an associate's. For management positions in IT, a minimum of a bachelor's is required with a graduate degree preferred. Be sure to check the job description for any educational requirements to make sure you meet them.

As you list your education, your highest level of education should be listed first.

You may want to create two sub-headings following your formal education. The first, if it applies, would be certifications. Many programming languages offer certification programs, and if the job opportunity you're applying for lists C/C++ as a requirement and you're certified, make sure it's on your resume.

The second sub-heading, if it applies, would be memberships. There are national organizations, like the Association of Information Technology Professionals, that will not only look good on your resume, but could help your career as well. In addition, depending on the software or programming language you use, there are usually local user groups you could join that would expand your networking capabilities as well as your skills.

For ideas on the format that suits your style, review the IT resume samples you've already identified.

How to Write the IT Work Experience Section

Your work experience section will differ depending on the resume style you've decided to use. As was discussed earlier, the two most frequently used style options are chronological and functional. Examples of both are readily available in IT resume samples online.

No matter which style you choose, it's important to identify the employer's requirements and match your accomplishments and skills to their needs. Match the skills they've identified with the skills you have to offer, as long as you're honest.

In the chronological style, you'll list each job heading with the name and location of the company, period of employment, and your job title. Under each job, list 3-6 bullet points that quantify your contribution to the department or the company. If you created a system that saved time and reduced errors, that's great, but if you can measure the savings in dollars, even better.

If you've done more contract work that direct employment, it's probably best to choose the functional style. The actual work experience section will be a simple list of positions held, and the bulk of your experience detail will be included in the accomplishments section. By creating 6-8 bullet points describing your achievements that happen to mirror the potential employer's required skills, you'll be perceived as an ideal candidate. In both resume styles, it's important to point to measurable results.

Action Verbs to Include in Your IT Work Experience Section

As the hiring manager reads your resume, you want them to be able to picture you as part of their team, and the best way to do that is to use action verbs that bring you to life on the page. Following is a list of applicable action verbs to consider:

  • Plan
  • Design
  • Implement
  • Analyze
  • Develop
  • Document
  • Administer
  • Maintain
  • Test
  • Customize
  • Configure
  • Evaluate
  • Enhance
  • Diagnose
  • Troubleshoot
  • Refine
  • Define
  • Debug
A quick scan of the IT resume samples you've identified will reveal additional industry-related action verbs you may not have considered.

How to Write the IT Skills Section

Perhaps more than almost any other profession, a list of IT skills can take up an entire page of your resume if you don't give the formatting some thought first. It's perhaps best to categorize your skills. For example, depending on you experience, you might include:

  • Computer Systems Analyst Skills
  • Database Administrator Skills
  • Digital Media Skills
  • Information Security Analyst Skills
  • Software Developer Skills
If there are additional details you want to add to a given category, to save space on the page, you could format it like this:

Software Developer Skills:
C#, .NET, and C++ programming; write and analyze SQL queries; estimate project cost; execute test; and troubleshoot.

It's critical that you use the same wording in your skills section as the employer used in the job description. Since many companies use applicant tracking systems that are programmed to recognize keywords, you'll increase your chances of making it through to a human being if you use the same words, as long as you actually have those skills.

You may think your technical skills are the most important, but technical proficiency alone won't get the interview. Soft skills, especially if you're applying for a management position, are critical. These skills include communication, listening, mentoring, flexibility, creativity, and negotiation. For more ideas on both technical and management skills, and how best to format them, take a look at your IT resume samples.
TIP: Need a cover letter? Click here to view our It cover letters.

Should I Include References in my IT Resume

References should be ready to go, but not included as part of your resume. You won't see them on any of the IT resume samples you've found. A simple statement that they're available upon request will provide you with certain advantages:

  • When an employer requests your references, you'll know they're interested.
  • You can tell your references to be prepared to receive a call.
  • You can ask them to confirm when they've received the call and what questions were asked.
References should be one or two former supervisors or managers, and if you performed contract work through a consulting firm, your contact there would be a good addition to your list as well. <b

IT Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don't focus on your technical skills to the detriment of your written communication skills. Reserve the first-person pronouns like we, and me for your cover letter. Your resume is a more formal document. Refer to IT resume samples for the proper voice.
  • Because of the complex nature of many IT projects and the potentially long list of skills and software languages, it might be tempting to let your resume go to three or even four pages, but don't do it. By using formatting techniques and editing, you should be able to keep it to a maximum of two pages. You can expand on your qualifications during the interview.
  • Proofread your resume. Then proofread again. Then have a friend proofread. Typos and mistakes jump off the page when a potential employer is reading your resume.
  • Don't talk about what you're looking for in an employer. At this point, it all about what the employer is looking for in a candidate.

Job Prospects in the IT Industry

Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate growth for all occupations from 2012 to 2022 will be 11 percent. Following are projections for a sampling of four different IT sectors for the same period.
Information security analyst jobs are projected to grow 37 percent, the highest rate of the four listed here and a number that is considerably above the growth expected for all occupations. The demand has increased as cyber attacks have grown, and many organizations are playing catch-up in defending against and detecting these attacks. Potential higher employment in both the government sector and the healthcare industry is responsible for the anticipated high rate of growth.
Employment of computer and information systems managersis projected to grow at a rate of 15 percent as companies continue the expansion of wireless and mobile networks. There is some overlap with information security analyst jobs because of concerns of cyber threats, and the increase in cloud computing could result in outsourcing of IT departments.
While they could be sent off-shore, there is a recent trend of moving jobs to lower cost regions of the U.S. rather than to other countries.Network and computer systems administrator jobs are projected to grow at 12 percent. As the use of information technology increases in healthcare there will be more job opportunities, and those who are up to date with cloud computing will have the best job prospects.
Computer programmer employment is projected to be slightly slower than the average, with growth expected at a rate of 8 percent. While the industry is expected to grow because of an increasing demand for new computer software, the downside is that computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world, which will limit the growth in the United States.