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|Resume Tips For Technical Grads
The hurdles facing today's new technology graduates are the same
as with other industries. One of the largest hurdles for new
grads in preparing a first IT resume is the "no-experience"
fence. A hi-tech grad may not have any formal experience working
with technology in a real-world situation. While this hurdle is
best handled long before you graduate by seeking part-time or
full-time employment in technology or an internship, the fact
remains that you may be coming out of college with literally no
hands-on experience in your major.
Preparing an IT resume for a target career field in which you
have no "real" experience can be a challenge. It's important
when outlining your IT resume to keep in mind what the hiring
managers will be seeking when reading your resume. In the
technical arena, Skills, Education, and Training are high on the
list of items for which hiring managers scan the IT resume.
Lisa Lowe sought professional assistance on her resume,
realizing that she faced a significant problem by not having an
internship in a technical field under her belt before
graduation. Additionally, she realized the skills she had gained
in college were slightly behind the fast-paced demand of today's
market and she needed to attain further training in some of the
more modern technologies. These training goals were mentioned in
both the lead Summary and in the accompanying cover letter.
By including a Skills category in the top half of the first page
of her IT resume, Lisa's resume becomes much more
"user-friendly" to hiring managers. Lisa was fairly sure she
didn't want to start her career as a programmer, but was
interested in working with database technology. To emphasize
this, her database-related skills were listed first and a
mention of her preference was made in the Summary. By focusing
on this direction with her career, she was also de-emphasizing
her lack of training in the more modern programming languages
such as Visual Basic and C.
Many times, resume books advise new grads to list coursework in
the major to illustrate what the job seeker did in school. While
this might give an idea of your academic record, it does not
help in making you or your IT resume stand out as someone whom
the company should interview. It also does not show how you have
assimilated and applied the formal education. A Project Synopsis
describing how you have applied the skills might better serve to
distinguish your IT resume from the resumes of other recent
grads. For example, in Lisa's resume, the Project Synopsis was
included in the Education section in the top half of the first
page and gives some "meat" to her experience.
The Employment History section of a new grad resume is often the
most difficult section to compose, especially if you do not have
an internship, cooperative, or related experience under your
belt. Rather than concentrating on what is not present in
experience, try to concentrate on what is present. Look for
skills that will be required by employers that may not have been
taught in college. More and more companies are looking for
well-rounded employees who not only can do the
but who can work with the public, work in a team, and generally
get along in a positive manner. Emphasize your team-spirit, your
communication skills, and your enthusiasm to work hard.
"We look for skills but we also look for someone who can get
along in the work environment," says Jeremy Hopwood, CEO of
Tsaba Networks (www.tsaba.com) in Franklin,
Tennessee. "If you have the right attitude to work in our team,
we will provide you with the specialized training we need."
Lisa had worked throughout her college career in a
high-public-contact position providing Customer Service on
technical sales of retail software and hardware. This experience
demonstrated that she possessed the ability to work well with
people who needed technical assistance or who were in a
contentious frame of mind. She had excellent communication
skills, good negotiation abilities, and a strong grasp of
business operations. By bringing into her IT resume past work
history that demonstrates positive skills and work habits, she
is shown to be someone who is accustomed to a high stress work
environment, who can work with people, and who is probably very
trainable for the company's specific needs.
If there is an internship or cooperative learning experience, be
sure to include that in the Experience category of your IT
resume. Detail project parameters, discuss skills exercised, and
outline context of the position in relation to the overall
organizational operation. Be sure to highlight what was achieved
and what significant contributions were made. When composing the
content of the resume, write descriptively to fully cover the
work done and the skills attained.
"My internships and cooperatives were my best selling point with
my education coming second," states Robert Higgins, a civil
engineer with Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon in Nashville,
Tennessee. "I had worked full-time as an Engineering Technician
throughout my entire college career and it led directly to
permanent employment. The experience was invaluable."
Other information that is helpful to have on a hi-tech grad
resume includes grade point average (if above 3.5), membership
in professional organizations, scholarships and honors,
volunteer work, and civic involvement. Information of this type
on an IT resume shows a well-rounded picture of what type of
employee the company would be gaining.
Developing an interview-winning IT resume can be a challenge.
Making the investment to market your college education
professionally might be a wise decision. We write IT resumes
every day for some of the fastest movers in the IT industries.
Give us a call if you feel you are ready to advance your high
About the author:
Published in 25 career books, Alesia has been cited by Jist
Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North
America" and quoted as a Career Expert in the Wall Street
Journal. Serving as the Resume Expert for over 50+
organizations, she has numerous media appearances to her credit
and is a frequent keynote speaker. http://www.rezamaze.com