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Resume and Cover Letter Tips

By Experience

Both your resume and cover letter have to be persuasive, articulate, and compelling enough to make a recruiter want to invite you in for an interview.

Don't exaggerate your capabilities.

Both your resume and cover letter have to be persuasive, articulate, and compelling enough to make a recruiter want to invite you in for an interview. Here are some important insider tips on how to break into this competitive field!


Tech recruiters are busy people, and with multiple positions to fill and a host of eager applicants, they like resumes to be as straightforward as possible. Avoid unnecessary details and stylistic flourishes, and concentrate on emphasizing your skills and experience in a concise yet detailed manner. Here are the things high tech recruiters will be looking for on your resume:


Technical Skills
Tech employers see your skills as your most important qualifications for any position, especially for technical positions. Hence, they want to read about those first. Techies should itemize their technical skills (languages, OS/platform experience, etc.) at the top of the page, as should non-techies with specific job-related skills. Listing relevant skills first tells your potential employer that you know what the job entails and have the skills to meet these requirements. Employers are also happy to see less common languages and programs that differentiate your experience--can you guess how many people have Windows on their resumes? (Hint: it's a large number.) Finally one caveat: honesty is a must in this field. Don't exaggerate your capabilities. The industry is still small enough that one fib can not only cost you a job but also haunt you in the future.


Internships and Work Experience
In the tech industry, what you've done is more important than where you've worked. Likewise, an internship that gave you extensive hands-on experience is just as valuable as a full-time job in the eyes of a high tech employer. Make sure your work experience section includes bulleted details about your duties and the projects you completed in each position. It's particularly good if these details relate to the skills you have listed above. Don't worry if your experience isn't directly relevant to the position you're applying for: While high tech companies want employees who have mastered specific technologies or skills, they are also willing to teach someone who shows a good track record for learning.


While a high GPA is always a plus, it will not play a significant role in your search for work in the tech industry. Accomplishments, not grades, carry the most weight with companies. However, a strong GPA establishes you as a serious candidate, both in your commitment to excellence and your desire to learn. Any description of your coursework should be confined to courses that teach specific, useful skills that are relevant to the job. Applicants who are short on experience can play up academic work that supports skills that are valued in the industry, such as courses in math and science, which show off your problem-solving skills.


Extracurricular Activities/Personal Interests
Your extracurricular activities and personal interests should indicate to recruiters that you have the less tangible qualifications that make such a difference in tech. Detailing a project or assignment in which you were called upon to wear many hats is an excellent way to display your flexibility, while including projects to which you displayed long-term dedication shows off your passion for the tasks you take on. Listing a broad range of activities shows your curiosity and your willingness to learn new and varied material.


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