Using Strong Action Words to Craft High-Impact IT Resumes

Most IT professionals don't have perfect writing skills on professional level.  It's just fine if you don't.  That doesn't mean you have to depend on professional resume writers to craft your resume.  No matter what level of writing skills you are, by following certain rules, you can craft high impact IT resumes to optimize your marketability. 

One of the important rules is to use action words.  Action words empower your resume by increasing your creditability.  When you describe your skills and experience as an past action, it sounds more like a true story, -- something really happened, thus your self-claimed experience gets transformed into proven experience, that makes your qualification more creditable and trustable.  Resumes packed with tons of actions words always deliver persuading power.

Resignation Letter for Quitting IT Jobs

No matter for what reason you leave your current company, you need to write a polite and warm resignation letter to the employer.  It's for your advantage to keep good relations with all of previous employers.  In many cases, you need to use them, i.e., for providing good reference, offering job leads, getting side projects, etc.  With good relations they even welcome you back during your raining days, how nice!

In IT the common practice is to resign in person and follow up with a letter.  A formal letter is useful for both employer and employee to have a written record of the resignation.  A good resignation letter contains the following parts:
  1. Review positive aspects of you position and express your satisfactions with the company you are leaving.
  2. Explain the reason of your resignation in an innocent tone.
  3. Mention your new job and new company but don't make it sounds so excited
  4. Give effective date of your resignation.
  5. Offer to help transferring responsibilities or train a replacement, if appropriate.  Provide your detailed contact information, -- email, home phone, cell phone, etc.
  6. End on a pleasant note, expressing appreciation for your career success and satisfaction with the company and people.  Wish them good fortune.
There can be many reasons for resignation, --  greater opportunities for advancement, more desirable location, wish to change careers, recent changes that have affected your position, poor health, age, family move, etc.  In most cases, you can give one of these reasons for resigning,

However, if you are leaving for higher salary, don't mention it in the letter, since that may make them look bad and that implies that you may have been under paid.

If you are leaving because of problems with management, co-workers, restrictive company policies, or other negative reasons, don't declare them.  You may just say "For personal reasons, I am resigning effective June 25th."  Don't use your letter as a dumping ground for complaints.  Don't express any negative emotions.  That wouldn't do anything good for you.  The purpose of your letter is to maintain relationship with them, not damage it.

Thank-You Letter after Interview

You've worked hard to get an interview.  A thank-you letter is just a little extra work to enhance the interview success.  If you want your thank-you letter make a real impact, you need to do more than copying a standard one for interview books. 

A good thanks-you letter is fairly simple to make.  You just have to send one and sound like a real human being and they will be overwhelmed.  The trick in a thank you, according to the experts and it does make sense, is to be sincere. You have to state the formal thank you part but include something specific to the person and company that came up in the conversation.

IT Cover Letter (T-Type)

An unconventional cover letter form is so called T-Type cover letter.  This cover letter lists job requirements and desired qualifications in one column and your skills and experience in the adjacent column.  This layout give a quick and easy to read presentation of the match of your qualifications to what the employer wants.  It is clean, straightforward, and very effective in many cases.

T-type cover letter is best used when the job opening give detailed requirements and qualifications, such as college degree, number of years experience on specific tools and languages, professional certifications.  If your background matches most of the requirements or even exceeds desired quantities, then T-type is perfect.

Don't use T-type cover letter if there is no detailed requirement list, or your qualification doesn't match well, or you are over qualified.

Cover Letter for IT Job Application

Cover letter is an important part for employment application.  It is usually sent with resume via either postal mail or email or fax.  Although its role is not as critical as resume, a good cover letter can certainly earn extra credits for you. 

In most cases a cover letter is not required.  Job postings usually don't mention cover letter as a requirement, they may just ask for sending resumes, sometimes along with application forms.  You can just submit your best resume and still get interview.  However, in today's highly competitive job market, you cannot ignore anything that makes your edge.  Whenever applicable, you should always send your resume with a well crafted cover letter.  Cover letter is a good tool to help your resume shine, therefore you should prepare it and use it wisely.  The following tips help you write an effective cover letter.

(1) Make it short and straightforward.  Half page to 3 quarter page long is good enough.

(2) Who to address - If you know the person's name, address your cover letter to him/her.  Otherwise address to "Dear Hiring Manager".

(3) Write with confidence.  Build your image with positive impressions: -- hard-working, self-motivated, highly skilled, a lot of experience, etc.

(4) Promote your skills and experience.  Repeat your core experience from your resume:  database, programming, systems administration, whatever they are, get them there.

(5) Reassure what you can do for potential employer and insist that you can make contributions: help them make more, help their client succeed, think what you can do for them and say so.

(6) Ending your cover letter by calling to action - ask for scheduling an interview.

Yes, you can deliver all the messages described above in a less than one page cover letter.  The following is a cover letter example for an IT consultant to look for opening positions within a consulting firm.

IT Consultant Resume Guideline and Example

IT consultants work on tasks on demand.  Skill requirements often shift from project to project.  Consulting firms expect employees having wide range of skills and the ability to keep clients satisfied.  To get a consulting job, your resume must fulfill these expectations.

The key to make your resume stand out from the crowd is to present multiple skills with confidence.  Don't feel hesitate to throw in the latest and hottest stuff.  If you know the technology requirements of the immediate project assignment of the position, make your resume have an emphasis on it.

Otherwise present the industry standard technologies as your core skill set.  For instance, it cannot go wrong by having J2EE and .NET as your core skills for developer positions; and present yourself as an Oracle or SQL Server expert can certainly help you get a database consulting job.

In general, IT consulting assignments are among the following areas:
  • Software application development
  • Software system architecture and design
  • OS/network/database software and server hardware upgrading and configuration
  • Network administration
  • Database administration
  • System integration
  • COTS implementation
  • Data center support
  • Telecommunication center support
The following IT consultant sample resume presents strong IT skills with emphasis of Oracle experience in database area and J2EE skills in software design/development field.

IT Manager Resume Guideline and Example

IT manager or IT director manages information systems operations within an organization.  For small or medium business, IT manager may be appointed to manage the entire IT division; in large organizations, IT manager is usually responsible for a branch of IT operations, i.e., data center operation, telecommunications, corporate network,  end user support and training, application development and integration, etc.
IT manager is an advanced position with no entry level opportunities.  IT manager positions are usually filled by promotions from business analyst, systems analyst, systems administrator, or other IT job with at least 3 years IT experience.
A wining IT manager resume should demonstrate the following qualifications:
  • Strategic IT and business planning
  • IT infrastructure design and implementation
  • IT System architecture
  • System/software/database life-cycle
  • Project management methodologies
  • Enterprise system deployments
  • Budget development and management
  • Contract negotiations and management
  • Cost/time/change management
  • System integration planning and implementation
  • Data center management  

The following resume example demonstrates a job seeker's pursuit in IT management field.

IT Project Manager Resume Guideline and Example

IT project managers manage IT project life cycle through phases commonly classified as:

(1) analysis,
(2) design,
(3) development,
(4) integration and test,
(5) implementation, and
(6) operations and maintenance.

Project oversight and IV&V (independent validation and verification) are also important IT project management task areas.

In the trend of IT outsourcing, many project managers work for consulting firms for providing IT project management service to various clients.  Currently there are more and more IT project manager opportunities with IT and technical consulting companies.

To make your IT project manager resume a big winner, you resume must demonstrate the following strengths:

(1) IT project life cycle experience.
(2) Ability to write proposals for bidding to win new contracts.
(3) Skills to develop and enhance customer and client relationship.

IT project manager position usually require some experience thus there is rarely entry level opportunity available.  However, IT professionals with 2 years experience could be promoted to project manager position. 

Two project management certification are very helpful:

- PMI Certified Project Management Professional
- IT Project+

Network Administrator Resume Guideline and Example

Network administrators install, configure, and manage computer network systems within an organization.  Common tasks include network system planning and design, network software and hardware upgrading, network performance tuning, network connection trouble shooting, file system backup and restore, mail server management, and end user support.  A good network administrator candidate should be able to demonstrate most of the skills described above.

To make your resume stand out, you need to present knowledge and experience with emphases on a specific system what is the job's network environment (Windows, Unix, NetWare, etc).  In general, you should try to present the following skills and experience in resume:
  1. Operating systems (Windows, Unix, Linux, NetWare, etc)
  2. Server hardware, network wiring and devices (switches, routers, hubs, etc)
  3. Network planning and design
  4. Network software setup, upgrade, configuration
  5. Network protocols (TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, etc)
  6. Network security
  7. Network integration with database and application systems
  8. Network monitoring and performance tuning
  9. Network troubleshooting (connection, authentication, etc.)
  10. Internet and email systems management
Sometimes network administrators are required to perform some system administrator duties such as storage management, file server backup and recovery, configuration of clusters and grid computing.  Some positions may expect skills in wireless network and mobile computing.

The following network administrator resume example presents expertise in Microsoft platform.

Database Administrator Resume Guideline and Example

To apply for database administrator (DBA) position, your resume must demonstrate skills and experience with at least one of the topnotch RDBMS servers, -- Oracle 8i/9i/10g, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, or Sybase ASE.   In current market, Oracle and SQL Server are the most wanted.  In addition, Teradata for very large database (VLDB) and ADABAS for legacy (mainframe) systems make for high demand niche skills.

Database administrator's main job functions include RDBMS software installation and configuration, database server administration, database performance tuning, backup and recovery, and database design and data modeling.  Advanced database skills include data replication, data warehousing and data mart, cluster and grid configurations.  Make sure you resume gets these areas covered.

In current DBA job market, many employers expect database administrators to be involved in application design, sometimes even programming works are required, that's what so called application DBA.  If the DBA position is for support of software development backend, application performance (SQL) tuning is the DBA's duty too.  It is a big plus if you can show some application design and programming skills in resume.

The following database administrator resume example presents strong database skills and experience with major RDBMS platforms such as Oracle.