Trying To Get Too Cute Can Get You Nowhere
Every tech job candidate wants their resume to stand out and get noticed by recruiters, but are fancy resumes the way to make that happen?
There may be a strong temptation to think outside the box when crafting your IT resume. You may think that something other than another bullet-point filled, Times New Roman, greyscale piece of paper will attract the attention of the person wading through a stack of curriculum vitaes.
But the reality is that most tech recruiters don’t care about bells and whistles. They want to know what you have done and what you can do for them. They want to know your relevant skills, not your entertainment value. And if your fancy resume distracts them from that mission, it can quickly make its way to the trash can or deleted items folder.
Why a Fancy Resume May Not Be The Best Idea For Tech Professionals
Fancy resumes come in many forms. Even in the tech industry, they may include motion graphics and visuals, non-traditional formatting, different media, illustrations, and other variations that veer far afield from a standard resume and the position being applied for.
Keep in mind that most tech recruiters and hiring managers spend mere seconds scanning resumes to find the one(s) they want to read in greater detail. If they can’t quickly identify an applicant’s strengths, qualifications, and experience, they will just as quickly move on to the next resume.
Additionally, there is a non-human element of resume reviewing that is increasingly prevalent in tech hiring, and may not be suited to reviewing an outside-the-box resume. Many tech companies now use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automatically screen resumes. In fact, according to Jobscan, 98.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies use ATS during their hiring process. These systems search resumes for keywords that indicate whether or not a candidate has the required skills and/or experience for the job. Because ATS needs text-based resumes, tech companies that use ATS will likely toss aside nontraditional resumes as being too much trouble.
Also, a fancy resume may not comply with what a tech recruiter or hiring manager specifically requests as a resume format. For instance, if you are asked to provide your resume in pdf or a Word document and you don’t give it to them, that will instantly take you out of the running.
Ways To Stand Out Other Than a Fancy Resume
There are several things you can do to make your resume pop without getting too weird:
Get a Good Start
A good resume will start with a powerful “hook” that will intrigue the hiring manager and persuade them to keep reading. Provide a short, well-written narrative statement that gives the recruiter a frame and context for all of the specifics that follow as well as a forward-looking statement about who you are and where you want to go.
Target Your Resume To The Job Description
If you have only one resume you send out for every job you apply for, you’re doing it wrong. It is critical that you modify, reorganize, and tailor your resume to match the specific requirements or desired skillsets for each and every position you apply for. This could mean deleting or adding certain bullet points, or moving more relevant experiences and skills to more prominent positions on your resume.
Related Reading: Why You Need A Skimmable Resume
Get Specific and Quantify Your Successes
Describing with words how great and well-suited you are for the position is important. But when you have an opportunity to quantify your awesomeness with specific accomplishments or statistics, you should do so. What is more impressive: “Met most project deadlines” or “Met 98 percent of all project deadlines”?
Be More Than Your Work
Your resume describes in great detail your work achievements, your work projects, and your work skills. But there is more to you than your job, and your experiences, accomplishments, and interests outside the office may paint a fuller picture of who you are and why the employer should consider hiring you.