Is it a good idea to write your own I.T. resume?

If you’re like most technical professionals, resume writing is not the most enjoyable part of looking for a new job. Professional writers notwithstanding, most people are challenged more by the hunt and the interview and salary negotiation parts of the process. In any case, the time for writing the resume is now upon you and it’s time to take it seriously.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of writing a new I.T. resume yourself, regardless of whether or not you find the activity fun.

Of course, as a resume services professional I have a bias. I’m often surprised to learn how many people feel they must write their own resume and have never seriously considered the alternatives. But you may be surprised to learn that I don’t think everyone needs to have a professionally written resume.

“Pros” of a Do-It-Yourself Tech Resume

  • You may be forced into a position of greater self-awareness about your strengths and weakness, and this self-knowledge could help you to interview better.
  • If you’re a very good writer, you can demonstrate your skills with words. Be aware, however, that you are unlikely to be asked, “Did you write your own resume?” in a job interview, though you never know. It used to be the case that companies say the resume as a writing sample, but these days the much more common view is that it is a marketing document. If writing is an important skill for the job, a company can ask for a writing sample or give you a writing test.
  • You can be confident that you know every nook and cranny of the document so there’s no reason you should be surprised by questions about its contents.

“Cons” of a Do-It-Yourself Tech Resume

  • You will probably not be as good as a professional writer unless you have a good deal of writing talent plus a significant amount of time to invest in studying the state-of-the-art craft of resume writing including the latest technologies used by companies for screening resumes. The result is that a do-it-yourself IT resume may be inferior, resulting in missed opportunities and fewer interviews.
  • You may miss out on the opportunity of advancing your self-awareness through the interactions with the professional IT resume writer. A good writer will pose challenging questions and encourage you to think about your achievements in concrete, quantifiable terms.
  • The cost. Hiring an experienced (10 years+) professional resume writer is like hiring an advertising agency or PR firm for your career and should be regarded as a serious investment. Hiring an inexperienced and less expensive writer is easier on your budget, but there are risks.

The Decision

Good resume writers will do everything they can to make the benefits of their service outweigh the benefits of the do-it-yourself Information Technology resume. As a result, they will likely attract many clients who are good writers, even technical writers or technical marketing communications specialists. They are hired not merely because they know how to write, but because they are specialists in a particular domain (resume writing) and know how to get the best results in their specialty.

Nevertheless, it’s not necessary for everyone to hire a professional resume writer. IT pros who are talented writers and want to invest the time in creating a superb and professional resume themselves can probably do so, given enough time and effort. If you go this option, read multiple resume writing books that have been published just in the last few years (standards are quickly changing and books written even 5 years ago are out-of-date). There are also websites that provide resume tips that can steer you away from common mistakes.

Once you have given your best shot, go to one or two reputable resume writing firms for a critique. If the document is as great as you think it is, they should tell you that they don’t have a lot of value to add to what you’ve already done. You have created a good document, and you will have to rely upon your own judgment to say whether it is good enough.

As the Principal of a technical resume writing firm, I work with information technology professionals who have decided to go down the path of hiring a professional. I’m glad they’ve placed their confidence in me, and I strive to make sure their investment is rewarded with a state-of-the-art, well-crafted resume.

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