Resume Writing for the IT/IS/Security Professional

Monday, May 11, 2009

I am a very active member of FIU's MIS Club and often receive resume's and cover letter's from students, alumni, grad students, and anyone else that is on the job search. I see myself writing the same advise over and over so I have decided to compile all that advice and share it with the world.

I am not a career services adviser by any means but have completed seminars on the subject. The main issue we face is that IT/IS/Security Resume's do NOT look like other resumes. I believe FIU and any University should provide at least one class on writing a resume for the specific major as the traditional cookie cutter resume's are not as affective in our field.

Before we begin please note:
  • The main point of the resume is to get you an interview, nothing else!
  • It should be 1-2 pages no more no less
  • The average resume is looked at between 7-15 seconds!
  • Do not lie
Okay so the first thing I want to see on a resume is your name and contact information. Obviously use your personal email! Do not put any other personal information on the resume other than this (at the top). The next thing I want to see is the best information you can provide. If you do not have a Bachelor's or Master's, put your Experience first. If you do not have much experience put your highest academic information. If you graduated from college remove anything from high school, no one cares (sorry). Also do NOT put an objective unless it is a specific position you are looking for. Putting "seeking a challenging position where I can grow and blah blah blah" says nothing about you at all!


Provide the name of your major, when you graduated (if you haven't, expected date), university, and city, state. You can put a few of the classes taken ONLY if they are related to the job you are applying for. Do not put GPA if it's under 3.5. Put any real accomplishments that stand out. I do not care that you were part of Panther Rage!


Provide your position, month and year you started and finished, name of the company and the location. For details put quantitative information. For instance, support 700 employees and 84 servers with a team of 5 IT Administrators. As opposed to, monitored the help desk and solved employee issues. Tweak this part to reflect the position you are attempting to get.

Now for the IT stuff: Skills and Certifications

If you do not have certifications get them! In reality, certifications and actual skills are as important as experience and education. I have seen some people put this on the right of the resume. Again depending on what position and what certifications you have you want to put this towards the top of your resume if you have them. Skills should be under certifications or all the way at the end. These skills should represent the position you are going for. If you are applying for a System Admin position, I don't care that you are good with Photoshop.

Finally, remember that the resume's ONLY purpose is to get you an interview. Show your resume to others in the industry and get feedback. Career services is a free service to anyone that has ever attended a class in FIU. Most universities also offer this free service. Use it!

Till next time,
Jorge Orchilles


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