Having a hard time landing an interview? Check out your resume. If your tech skills and soft skills are hard to identify, it’s time to rework. These skills are what sell you as the best candidate for the job before you’re ever able to come in for an interview. Here are a few tips for dispersing both technical and soft skills throughout your resume in an effective way:
1) Emphasize: For an IT professional, technical skills are the bread and butter of a resume. Simply listing the technologies you use at the beginning of your resume works, but if you take the time to emphasize your specialties throughout your resume, hiring managers will take notice. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the technical skills you’d rate yourself an expert on is listed several times and a technical skill you’d rate yourself a novice on is only mentioned once or twice. This will prevent you from exaggerating your knowledge of certain technologies, and instead, emphasize your true strengths so your resume authentically represents your skill set.
2) How and when you used it: The technical skills you emphasized will have more weight on your resume if you list how you used them. Giving specific examples of projects and listing the technologies you used to complete them is a great idea. If you only list projects like “created an internal database” without saying which technologies you used to get the job done, you’re doing yourself a disservice. If you only list your technical skills with a plethora of other, less relevant ones, it will be easier for hiring managers to glaze over your resume. Plus, it’s hard to tell which technical skills are your focuses at each specific job when you hide them in a dense paragraph. Maybe you’re currently in a C#.Net role, but you’ve previously been in a VB.Net role. Without adding bullet points under each job that list the projects you worked on and technical skills you worked with, the hiring manager is left wondering if it’s been a few weeks or ten years since you’ve used the technology they’re looking for. Bullet points with projects and the technologies you used are your friend!
1) Communication: More often than not, communication is an essential skill for IT professionals as they work in collaborative or even client facing roles. But how do you convey those on your resume? With examples, of course! Anything from “gathered requirements from clients and interfaced with them to evaluate the product” to “participated in weekly meetings with a collaborative technical team” will display an array of communication skills.
2) Follow the ad: Chances are you’ve had ample experience at work and numerous soft skills you’re proud to have developed. If you add them all onto your resume, though, it would probably be 18 pages long, or more! Instead, focus on divulging the soft skills that are emphasized in the ad as a jumping off point. Then, if you feel you have other soft skills worth mentioning that will help to create a well-rounded representation of yourself, add those in too! Remember, it’s more important to accurately represent your skillset than it is to match a job ad. Only follow the job ad’s lead if you need help narrowing down your soft skills, otherwise you could find yourself in an interview for a job that doesn’t mesh well with your personal experience. Does the ad ask for a developer with a keen eye for detail? Does it mention a fast-paced, deadline oriented workplace? Job ads are a great resource for finding soft skills that each company is looking for. If you can think of relevant examples like never missing a deadline or never turning in a project with a code error (good for you!), add them onto your resume!
3) Read before you send: If you like to customize your resume for each job you apply to, that’s fine, just remember to read over it and make adjustments before you send it out again. Nothing is worse than having an objective that says you’re looking for a Lead WordPress Developer role at one company when you’re applying for a Senior PHP Developer role at another organization! Even small font mismatches or grammatical errors could dissuade hiring managers from giving you a call. Errors like these reflect poorly on your ability to catch mistakes and pay attention to detail, two soft skills that most organizations value.
Your interviews are what get you the job, but your resume is what gets you an interview in the first place! Optimizing your resume for individual jobs, emphasizing technical and soft skills throughout, will help your resume stand out. Try it and tell us how it goes!