Preparing Your Personal IT Skills Summary
Personal Summary on a Page
Most people understand the value of an education. Equally powerful is the concept of experience as it denotes less time an employer will have to spend molding an individual to excel in a workplace. In most cases for employment higher than entry-level, one of two documents are used to express your history and skills. Either a resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) is commonly used, depending on the level of expertise needed to make that attempt. This is a preferably one-page document that provides all the need-to-know information. At a glance, employers are looking to see things like what schools were attended, groups joined, activities completed, and what work history you have. Quite literally, this is the one-page selling point for any professional to put themselves in the best possible light. The catch is that it will be found among countless others doing the same thing. What a professional individual needs to consider is not only what items to put on that page, but also how best to present it. The resume or CV is designed to accent your best qualities while omitting things that are either mediocre or items you would rather not factor into a first impression. For instance, jobs like McDonalds cashier generally are not found on a CV. Neither are skills like being able to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. The CV is designed to let your best qualities sell your potential. That said, some tips are available to make that more likely.
Personal history on focus
When trying to optimize a CV or resume, many will try to tailor their document to the field they are applying for. While a worthy method, some tips are applicable to any work environment. For instance, write a document like this for the future, not a comprehensive history. Applications require a complete list of your time going back several years. Your CV is not an application. Instead, it is an opportunity to say what you are proud of and how you excelled in previous places. Talk about advancements within previous jobs, promotions, and pay raises. These denote you being worthwhile and somebody that can do more than just the minimum. Using the right terminology can be helpful as well. Instead of ‘Work History,’ consider using the title ‘Related Experience’ instead to highlight how these workplaces helped you improve, but are not the exact same. Other general ways to shine include the following:
Keywords and Jargon – Many workplaces and industries use very specific terminology. Words that those not included would have no way of effectively knowing or applying. Using these specific keywords accurately can go a long way to associating yourself with the field. Without having said a word to them, potential employers will gain a sense that you are educated and skilled in their work. For instance, in the IT field, you can use terms including programming languages or specific systems. Sometimes just the open understanding of the terms can get a foot in the proverbial door. In addition, recruiters search for these keywords when finding resumes online, which can go a long way in making sure your profile is found more often for those specific job related keywords.
Summary – Resumes and CVs have various templates available online for free. Many call for a summary or objective. This is a short paragraph setting forth a mission statement. One or two sentences putting your best foot forward and intention. This is dangerous however. On one hand, it can give a succinct section that stands out. On the other, it could become the ‘too long; didn’t read’ section. A quick glance at this section, and some potential employers will ignore the rest of the CV. This bypasses any work at attempting to draw attention to your highlights.
Length – Several times we have discussed that this should be a single page. Part of this logic is that an employer or human resources department will need to work through untold numbers of these documents. In order to effectively work through them, many will try to do so in the shortest time possible. Multiple pages in a single document will slow down the process. Some employers will immediately disregard a document if it is more than a single page for that reason. Fair or not, some corners are cut, and this can be a big one just because a person couldn’t condense it enough to a single page.
Social Media – The use of the internet is continuing to expand beyond all expectations. Because of this, be aware of your own social media presence. Many employers will either ask for a link to your Facebook account or other social media for the express purpose of learning more about you. Be aware that your behavior online can appear either positively or negatively online. Worse yet, with your information in their possession, regardless of if you present a link they can look you up. As such, do not shy away from presenting that link to them. Offering it shows confidence in what they will find as a person that will not speak negatively of the company or embarrass them.
Reorganize – Most applications for a job have a fairly familiar format. Personal information, followed by work history, and references. Professionals know that no such format exists for resumes or CVs. Instead, you are free to change up that format and put your skills first. Remember, they are being sifted through at an expedited pace. Putting your greatest values such as skills and expertise first means they are more likely to be paid attention to. Highlights and accomplishments listed only work if they are read, so be sure that happens by making them a priority.