1. Tailor your resume to each job posting. "You want to make sure you're highlighting the skills that are important for that position," says Mark Relf, an instructor at Computer Systems Institute.
2. Keep it short. Although resume length will vary depending on how long you've worked and how senior you are, two pages is about right for most people, says Michael Crom, executive vice president at Dale Carnegie Training.
3. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a public resume. "It shouldn't be a duplicate of your resume, but it should match, because recruiters are checking LinkedIn profiles, how many people you're connected to, what groups you're in, what books you read. That tells them a lot about you that your resume doesn't," says Michael P. Brooks Sr., regional account executive at Kforce Professional Staffing.
4. Solicit recommendations for your LinkedIn profiles. Putting "references upon request" at the bottom of your resume is dated, says Rick Endres, president of The Washington Network.
-- Mary K. Pratt
Excellent Communication Skills
Although technical folks have a reputation for being introverted and prone to using techno-babble, you may have the communication skills hiring managers are seeking. In fact, many IT professionals have had to develop and employ communication skills as part of their everyday jobs. They just fail to recognize that and don't highlight it on their resumes.
"A lot of technical individuals have a tremendous amount of certifications. They showcase that they know how to perform those tasks, but they don't show how they're able to communicate with folks," says Mark Relf, a networking career program instructor at Computer Systems Institute (CSI), a post-secondary education provider in Illinois and Massachusetts.
Look at past jobs for proof: If you've worked on a help desk where you've coached users through troubleshooting exercises, recapped for your colleagues what you learned at a conference, written a request for proposals or briefed business partners on an IT project, then you have communication experience, says Robert Howden, also a networking career program instructor at CSI.
If that sounds like you, Relf recommends adding "communications" to your resume and briefly detailing such experiences.
Strong Interpersonal Skills, Peer Relationships
When HR manager Fran Peters is trying to fill an IT position, she looks for the ability to work well with others in addition to strong technical skills.