IT Resumes: Are They Still The “Thing” To Have?
It can be difficult to stand out to prospective employers as an IT professional. There was once a time where coding was a skill known by a select few, but now it is a common part of the curriculum for school children. The vast numbers of applicants and the range of positions mean that everyone with an IT background needs a new way to stand out from the crowd.
There was a time when the resume was the leading approach when selling ourselves to companies. The basic idea still has its merits, as it is still the leading method for companies across many disciplines. However, many feel that these IT resumes have had their day.
The concept seems outdated in a digital age where more beneficial methods are now available. This raises two important questions that we will discuss here. First of all, what options are available to IT professional that can replace the standard resume? Secondly, should we really give up on IT resumes completely?
What is so wrong with the typical resume?
Before we look at the benefits of modern approaches, we need to understand the limitations of these IT resumes. A resume is an easy approach for anyone looking for a job. It is the one that we all know and, whether we are good at it or not, we can all throw something together to present to a potential employer.
The problem here is that we don’t always make a good first impression with a resume. Also, it ‘s hard to stand out from the crowd when we all start following the same templates. This is a problem in any line of work, but it can be even worse for anyone in the IT game. There is a big gap between writing down qualifications and achievements and showcasing skills. IT professionals need different outlets where their qualifications, skills and potential shine through.
What are the alternatives for all those looking for a better way to get noticed online?
There are three main approaches to take here. You can create something impressive, place it online and hope that the best headhunters find it. You can work via alternative professional labor market. Or, you can rethink the resume with new approaches to social media. Ideally, you will want to try all three.
Using social media as an alternative to IT resumes
The resume is an old fashioned approach that has clung on from the pre-digital age. There was a time when a well-written CV and covering letter was the only way to summarize who you were to a potential employer. It was the perfect condensed life story of education, interests, professional achievements and more. It was also much easier to fabricate a few references and exaggerate some stories back then, because how were companies going to know any different.
The digital age changed all of that. We plaster our life stories, education, professional achievements and interests across the internet. This is simply because we post so much about our lives and opinions on social media. Prospective employers don’t need to read a resume to get the gist of who we are and what we do. They can look us up on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms and learn a lot.
Facebook may not seem like the best place for a first impression when trying to land a dream job. It all depends on the content and privacy settings. Twitter can work wonders if you have a professional handle because it immediately highlights your work and connections.
Companies can see examples of your work and the number of followers you have. They can explore a timeline of interactions between you and your clients or coworkers.
If you are serious about becoming noticed on Twitter, as a platform for better job prospects, be careful with your profiles. Make sure to keep your professional and personal interactions split between different handles. Keep all the opinions, politics and family stuff on the personal side and all the business, community interactions and other positive posts on the professional side. The same is true for any Instagram accounts that may link up to your other social media profiles.
Creating a modern version of the IT resume on LinkedIn
Of course, the most important social networking site for IT Professional has to be LinkedIn. This is the modern day equivalent of the resume as it allows you to upload similar information in a more modern format. Companies can browse profiles and qualifications and explore further if they like the look of a candidate. Still, many people don’t take full advantage of this site.
There are tools available that separate a LinkedIn profile from a typical blank page document of a resume. Customization is vital for standing out from the crowd. It is all about selling yourself to the right buyer.
Some talk about LinkedIn as that perfect place to add all the fluff and interesting details that you normally have to cut out of a resume. This means more achievements, projects, interests and other elements to highlight some personality and skill. The unlimited word count and less restrictive language also allow for fluid prose and personalization. It becomes nicer to read – not clipped and formal like a resume. Once applicants realize they are no longer restricted, their LinkedIn profile acts as a positive tool. It is the ideal gateway from a typical resume to other online examples of their work.
Posting examples of your work online
This leads us to the next tip for anyone fed up with typical IT Resumes – posting work online. Why explain what you have achieved and your projects in a dry Word document when you can show people? The problem with a list of qualifications and training on a resume is that it doesn’t showcase any skill.
Companies are less interested in the courses you completed, but prefer the applied knowledge and the work produced as a result of those courses. You need to be able to prove that you can handle the work of the position or, even better, bring something new and exciting to the role. This is where it helps to post your work online where companies and employers can access it. This provides clear access to precisely what you can do. They don’t have to make assumptions or take gambles based on a printed document that has nothing to do with IT skill.
A great example is GitHub. This is a community-led site where users can upload code and other projects. It helps to build confidence and connections when working on projects, but it is also a platform for further attention. This is not some small scale operation.
Major startups and IT leaders, such as MailChimp, now use Github as customers. Users that highlight their presence on the site to potential employers can showcase precisely what they can do, their ability to work with others and some personality. Neither is possible with a standard resume.
Slack is another site that provides an online portal for employers and professionals. There is a clear focus on both sides of the table here. IT professionals have the chance to upload code and work on projects to improve their online presence and skill.
Employers have the opportunity to locate these professionals and hire the best candidates for their projects. They claim that their main aims are to create alignment between users, increase productivity and reduce stress. This fluid connectivity should be a positive step forward away from typical IT resumes.
Professional labor markets for IT professional
The third option here is to take advantage of labor markets like Upwork. Sites like GitHub are great for small projects and creating a presence online. These professional labor markets take things further by offering work to freelancers. They provide a chance to earn, showcase skills and add something new to the resume – or LinkedIn profile.
The basic principle of these sites essentially takes the profiles of sites like LinkedIn and pushes users forward towards employment prospects. You can upload a profile that explains your skills and abilities and sees what is available.
In many cases, there is both a manual search function and a job matching function. Members can browse available work or wait for the site to match them with clients. The result is work experience at a potentially decent rate, and the chance for career progression. Some IT professionals stuck between jobs will see this is the ideal solution for income, experience, and exposure.
Should we give up on IT resumes completely?
The second important question to consider here is whether it is a little rash to ditch these IT resumes completely. There are clear benefits with all of the methods above, but does that mean that we should get rid of the resume entirely? Some would say yes. The outdated approach and ability to present skills and personality is a big problem. The combination of a LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle and portfolio on Github could solve the issues. Others would argue that the best approach here is actually to cover both sides – to have both a resume and an online presence via the tools mentioned above.
There are some reasons for this. First of all, each element creates a broader range of outlets for companies to notice and piece together. Secondly, the secondary outlets, like social media and online portfolios, will complement the resume. Thirdly, some companies are just used to the old fashioned approach of the standard resume.
(Source: I.T. Career Questions)
IT professionals need to market themselves to employers as best they can
Some experts like to express this issue with the IT resume in marketing terms. This may not be something that IT professionals are familiar with. Still, it all helps when presenting yourself to potential employers on the internet.
Every brand has a message that they want to present to a target audience. The more frequent the message, and the wider the reach, the better the chance of hitting this goal. Therefore, you want the message of your work and employment objectives to have a wide reach that will hit plenty of companies at a high frequency.
A basic resume and cover letter won’t be enough unless you repeatedly send it out to lots of companies, and it is good enough that they pay attention. Social media sites have a high impact with more frequent messages, but may not be sufficient alone. Therefore, one solution is to attract keen employers to your profiles and portfolios via a convincing resume. The resume is, therefore, the first step on a long journey of discovery. The further they go, the more frequently they hear your message and see your potential.
You may dislike IT resumes, but they are familiar with established companies.
Those that are aware of the potential of social media and other platforms will gladly look at information and work if they feel you have the potential skills for the job. However, some companies aren’t quite so up-to-date with these options – even in the IT world. It all depends on the post and company.
You may suspect that most IT companies will prefer to see a modern, online presence when dealing with new employees. However, some are keen to stick with the tried and tested recruitment methods. A well-constructed resume and cover letter should, in their eyes at least, convey everything they need to make an immediate decision. An assessment of further skills and qualifications comes later on.
A combination of well-crafted, diverse tools could be the answer to the problem of standing out to an employer.
This is why all IT professionals need to be cautious about leaving the IT resume behind completely. There are occasions where it does seem to be completely out of date, of little worth in the modern market. But, what happens when a company with a dream job expects to see it?
Take the time to make the most of all opportunities in front of you. Keep hold of your IT resumes as a basic starting point, but expand upon it elsewhere and highlight your skills online. Create a fun, personal version of your LinkedIn profile, manage your social media accounts carefully, look at professional labor markets and upload code and projects online.