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Career Transition Companies - are they the right solution for IT Specialists?

The following post is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap:

From: Laura Vezer is an IT recruiter and creator of the blog, IT Matters Canada!  The blog contains resources and advice for IT Professionals looking for work in Canada.

The title of this blog is indeed the question I want to raise today. Are career transition companies (the outplacement firms that companies who are downsizing will sometimes engage to help those employees who have been, or are about to, get laid off) really offering the right solutions to IT professionals looking for work?

I had the honor of meeting with a very senior candidate recently, who is going through the career transition process. In fact, the candidate had their workshop curriculum with them, a folder that had all the course information and work sheets within it. Being the curious recruiter that I am, I asked my candidate if I could take a peek at some of the workshops they were about to attend. I automatically found the resume section and started to scan through what these Career Transition Specialists were about to teach my candidate.

The information I found was not a surprise. It was however, disappointing. Why are Career Transition Specialists telling candidates (in our case, IT professionals) to limit their resume to a maximum of two pages?

This is an issue I find extremely outdated in the IT Recruitment world. To tell someone with over twenty years experience that the best way they are going to get noticed by a recruiter, HR consultant, or hiring manager, is to reduce your professional life story to two pages. It is ludicrous!

A hiring manager invests a good amount of their time into a detailed job description. Sure, it might have some generic HRisms, like "impeccable attention to detail," or "must be a team player" but the nuts and bolts of a job description was provided by a person who probably has negative time to invest in such a document. Do you think when that hiring manager starts to see resumes, they want to see a two page document full of resume cliches and irrelevant information?

Now, I must preface what I am about to say with this: Any advice you receive from a recruiter about a resume is always subjective. We all have our own little preferences. I for one, will not read a resume in any other font than Arial, 10font, and I will ALWAYS change the font of a persons resume to reflect that. I find it easy to read and cleaner. Others may find it annoying, like Comic Sans or Courier... but I digress.

Here is a great truth for you. EVERY time someone reads your resume, it takes, on average, between 7 and 10 seconds for them to SCAN it, and judge who you are and where you can add value to THEIR JOB REQUIREMENT. So, what can you do to make a resume succinctly demonstrate your career history, while keeping it simple?

Here are some tips that I like to see in resumes:

  • Formatting. 1.5 spaces between your lines will extend the length of your resume, but make it much easier to read
  • Bullet points give you an excellent opportunity to detail your responsibilities while keeping it short and sweet.
  • Tables! Recruiters LOVE tables. 

My concern with the "two page rule" with specific regards to the IT industry, is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Its a format that doesn't suit EVERY job seeker, and needs to be portrayed as such. Too often candidates tell me they were told to limit their career to a two page snapshot. and consequently are not selling their abilities effectively enough to be considered for job openings.

In conclusion, my advice to you IT job seekers out there, is to start with your first resume. This resume should tell the reader where you have been, and what you have done. From there, you can tailor it to the requirements of each and every job that you apply to. Since that hiring manager invested his time in providing you with the specifications he is looking for, why not repay the gesture, and give him a resume that is a mirror image of his requirement, providing a solution to every criteria, and therefore, proclaiming YOUR value add for his organization.

I'd love to hear your feedback and questions relating to this. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to our next blog!



Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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