As the IT job market becomes increasingly competitive, landing the right job has become almost an art form. Which is why a standard resume template will no longer put you at the top of the pile.

Although there is no set way to create the perfect resume or cover letter, there are a few key commonalities that are absolutely necessary to include and/or avoid. According to Chris Ward and Shawn Powell, TheLadders contributors, here are some expert tips to crafting a great IT resume.

Include in Your Resume:
• Contact information:
Surprisingly enough oftentimes well-qualified candidates never get a call about the job because they forgot to provide a phone number and a professional email address on their resume.

• Appropriate skill set: Identify and highlight the skills you have that relate specifically to the position you are applying for. Also, make sure you incorporate attributes from the job posting in your resume and cover letter to better connect yourself with the job.

• Work experience: Provide details about where you have worked previously and what skills you gained from those experiences. In your explanation, include how it is relevant to the specific job position you are applying for.

• Certification(s): Certifications are proof of your skills and education and are your key credibility factors. These can increase your chances of getting hired and set you apart from your competition.

• Education: Highlight any educational background relevant to the position, and if applicable include your college major and GPA.

Avoid in Your Resume:
• Information overload: Don’t overwhelm prospective employers with too many details. Instead give them just enough information to let them know you’re qualified for the position, while catching their attention to secure an interview.

• Irrelevant personal information: Employers need to spend time getting to know you professionally. Save any personal details for the interview, when personality fit becomes more important in the hiring process.

• Fancy graphics or clip-art: Don’t waste space on your resume on anything doesn’t help an employer better understand your qualifications. Instead keep it looking professional and clean with a simple layout.

• Lengthy documentation: Be concise on your resume so prospective employers can quickly evaluate your qualifications.

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