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Four Things to Look for in a Top Tech Resume

Published date: 2018/12


One of the most daunting aspects of hiring IT professionals can be the job of sorting through the seemingly endless pile of resumes, trying to create a shortlist for the interview stage. With so many different resume styles and formats being utilised by today’s applicants, how can a hiring manager compare them all objectively and identify those with the right qualities for the role? Using our extensive IT recruitment experience, we’ve put together a list of four things to look out for in a great tech resume.

A Response to the Job Description

A major part of screening resumes is knowing how to pick out the ones that are actually responding to the advertisement and job description. By this, we mean knowing the difference between applicants who have gotten in touch because they want this specific role with your company, versus applicants who are likely to have sent out a hundred other identical resumes. You’re looking for CVs that have been created with the job in mind. Top candidates will tailor their resume to demonstrate that they have the qualities you’re looking for – highlighting the skills and experience that relate to the job description you have laid out for them.

To weed out the candidates that don’t meet the requirements, look out for the following characteristics of a good resume:

Relevant keywords – Narrow down your hiring plan to the key words and phrases that best fit the job title and description. By boiling the brief down to its key factors, you’ll  be able to scan each resume for those particular qualities, helping to pinpoint people with the right skills faster and more accurately than doing so without such a guide or reference to look back to.

Technical skills – It can be easy to let a charismatic cover letter dazzle you, but does the candidate have the real skills to back it up? Do they have a knowledge of the right systems, programming languages, software, etc., to meet the basic requirements of the job? Are these skills backed up with training and/or practical experience?

Industry experience – Experience is always desirable, and you’ll likely have certain expectations in place, but depending on the position, it can pay to be flexible. Sometimes the right candidate is one with plenty of potential to improve and grow into the role, as long as they have the base skills and a drive to succeed.

Achievements and Results

Top quality candidates are the ones that go above and beyond the requirements of their jobs, past or present. A resume that highlights growth, achievements and quantifiable results from past roles demonstrates the candidate’s track record of success, and strongly hints at an attitude of ambition and dedication.

Try to spot candidates with a proven ability to get the job done and a history of meeting objectives – particularly in the face of adversity. This kind of track record can be seen through details such as data, percentages, dollars, awards, extra authority, special projects, mentoring other team members, company recognition and bonuses.

On top of the above, a candidate’s love of technology should shine through. Whether it’s a personal project, or regular tech meetups, look out for signs that they are involved in the tech community outside of work. Any top candidate should demonstrate their enthusiasm and passion for tech through their resume – after all, the best employees are those who love their work and channel this commitment into their day-to day-efforts.

Attention to Detail

Whilst the content is the foundation of any resume, presentation can also reveal a lot about the candidate. It goes without saying, but an example of a good resume will be concise, clear and error-free.

Although it doesn’t have to be a work of art, does it at least have consistent formatting? Is it easy to read and logical? Does it have correct spelling and grammar? With everyone having access to spellcheck and a second set of eyes, there’s no excuse for a resume that is riddled with mistakes.

Potential Red Flags

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for anything that could be problematic for your business down the line – it’ll prevent you from wasting time on someone that isn’t a good fit.

Potential issues can include:

  • Big gaps in career history or inaccurate dates
  • Inconsistencies in experience, career history or other claims
  • A lack of qualifications or achievements

With all this said, however, do take care not to jump to conclusions too quickly; if the candidate checks some boxes but not others, it may pay to simply ask the candidate for clarification or talk to your recruiter for insight – this can prevent you from accidentally overlooking someone that could be a good fit.


Screening doesn’t have to be a chore if you know what to look for in a resume. Remember to narrow in on candidates who tailor their CVs to your job description, and who hit key words and criteria that best fit the role. In addition, look for applicants who excel beyond the scope of each position, and watch out for red flags that may signify less than ideal hires.

If you’d like to read more about IT recruitment and get some inside tips and tricks, check out our blog or give us a call – we’re here to help with all your hiring needs.

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