Guest Author - Maria S. Cuasay
When it comes to applying for entry-level technical positions a simple approach is best. Skip flowery descriptions that use too many words and mean little. Avoid exaggeration at all costs. Do not add skills that you could not demonstrate on the first day on the job. A resume is the first thing that potential employers judge you on. Keep in mind that its purpose is to secure you an interview or a spot on the to-be-considered pile. Your resume or curriculum vitae should show three things - relevancy, clarity and professionalism.
Make Non-Technical Skills Relevant and Meaningful
The resume should be relevant to the job position. If the position is for a network analyst, the resume should not highlight an introduction to Java programming course. However, recruiters and hiring managers do look for more than technical competency.
Computer careers appeal to introverts but one rarely works in a vacuum. IT departments can be large and spread out in terms of location, time zones and cultures. Effective communication is both a personal and corporate asset whether you're meeting face to face or emailing each other. Other skills like good time management, attention to detail or a customer service mentality can be transferred into a computer career.
You may include non-technical skills if you feel that it could be advantageous for that position. If you are applying for a help desk position, it can be useful to list direct customer service experience as a cashier, call center agent or sales clerk, for example. The ability to deal with end users is much the same as dealing with customers.
Add Value With Learning Experiences
While deciding what goes into your resume, write down every job or volunteer positions you have ever had. Analyze how things you've learned from those opportunities could be used in a technical setting. The results may surprise you.
A recruiter or hiring manager will prefer to see how you applied the skills you've learned in solving a problem even if it's from a school assignment. In the technical field, demonstrable application of knowledge is an enormous plus whether it's coding a small web site, diagnosing a faulty network router or troubleshooting a misbehaving laptop remotely.
Organize For Clarity
Organize your resume for clarity and persuasion. For an entry-level developer opening, for example, list the programming languages, operating systems, databases, development tools and methodologies you have proficiency in. Support this knowledge in the experience section by detailing what languages or methods you used to successfully complete a project or assignment. Add further emphasis in the education section by listing any course work or certification in these specific knowledge areas. Below is an example.
Skills: HTML, CSS, PHP, Wordpress, SQL
Non-Profit Animal Shelter Web Site Project: Developed an appealing site highlighting shelter accomplishments, raising awareness through videos and collecting PayPal donations for the annual fundraising drive. Technologies used include Wordpress, HTML and SQL. Received recognition for usability, early completion and the highest level of on-line donations earned to date.
Associate Degree in Applied Science (or diploma or certificate)
Whether you have or don't have experience, your resume should reflect professionalism. Professionalism does not translate to complexity. You do not need a fancy resume for most non-design related positions. Your resume should be concise with no misspellings or sloppy language. If the job advertisement has specific requirements, then you should follow to the letter. For example, if the ad specifies that the subject line must contain a reference code, then don't forget to include that code. If the acceptable format is in .doc or .txt format use that format and do not submit a PDF.
A resume light on technical experience can be made useful if it is relevant and concise. It should be organized and presented professionally. A resume works best if it can communicate to the reader what makes you qualified for the job and a good fit for the company.