Career Watch: IT pros looking for the best job

Q&A: Rob McGovern

The CEO of Jobfox explains why job seekers should avoid cliches on their resumes.

What are some of the cliched terms that are overused on resumes? Here are four: "responsible for" (as in "responsible for managing X"); "dedicated professional" (as in "dedicated professional looking for a challenging new position"); "team player" (as in "I'm a team player ready to devote myself to a new position"); and "entrepreneurial" (as in "entrepreneurial professional looking for an exciting new opportunity").

Why should such phrasing be avoided? These cliches will make you look like everyone else and put the recruiter to sleep. Instead, you should focus on specific accomplishments, so the employer sees you as a potential game-changer. For example: "Sales manager who drove 150% increase in sales by upgrading the staff and eliminating poor performers."

Passive phrasing like "assisted with," "responsible for" and "organized" are task-based descriptions. Dynamic, active verbs like "drive," "achieve," "contribute" and "accomplish" produce more results-oriented descriptions. The goal is to come across as less of a doer and as more of an achiever.

Generic words and content will be overlooked because they could apply to anyone. Specific achievements, measurable success, and honors and awards make you unique. You need to come across as passionate about work. Your resume needs to be high-energy.

Likewise, terms like "dedicated professional," "team player" and "entrepreneurial" say nothing about who you actually are. To get noticed, your resume must communicate your contributions and how you've made a difference in the places you've worked. Employers want to know how you will go on to make significant contributions in their company. You need to show recruiters who you are and what you've accomplished. Illustrate your successes with active phrases and descriptions -- don't simply list your duties. Show the employer how you have had successful experiences doing exactly what they are currently looking to hire for.

How can someone who doesn't have a great facility for language learn to express things originally on his resume? Speak to the problem the employer is trying to solve by filling this position. Are they trying to increase software quality, more quickly resolve customer service calls or speed the delivery of new products? Employers hire people to solve problems. Highlight what you have to offer that will specifically meet their needs.

Do your research. Every industry, company and job description has a specific vocabulary. Your resume should reflect how hiring you will contribute to and improve their work environment. Incorporating key words demonstrates that your resume and skill set are specifically tailored for the job. Your resume must be completely customized. It is also important to note that many recruiters use automated search systems to either target or filter applications. The inclusion of key words is essential to landing at the top of the pile.

— Jamie Eckle

Dice Survey: IT Pros Looking for the Best Job,

Not Just Any Job

A couple of years ago, the big worry among IT professionals was the possibility that their position would be eliminated. That was the No. 1 career concern in 2009, when 24.7% of the respondents to Dice's salary survey said it was the thing that preoccupied them the most. By 2011, that worry had dropped to No. 3, according to the 2012 edition of the survey. For the second year in a row, the top concern is finding an appropriate new position for one's skill set.

What's the biggest career concern you have?

2009 2010 2011

Finding an appropriate new position

for my skill set
n/a 18.5% 18.6%

Keeping skills up to date /

being valuable to employer
16.8% 14.3% 14.9%
Position elimination 24.7% 15.6% 14.3%
Increased workload 11% 11.4% 12.8%
No concerns at this time 9.9% 11.1% 11.5%

Lower salary increases /

lower billing rates
14.7% 11.2% 10.5%

Canceled projects /

fewer projects
14.7% 8% 7.9%
Increased outsourcing 5.4% 5.4% 4.9%
Other n/a 2.5% 2.8%
Position relocation 1.8% 2.9% 2% 1.8%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 because of rounding.

Source: 2012 Dice Tech Salary Survey, conducted online with 18,325 employed technology professionals in the fall of 2011
Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2017 results
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