5 Best Practices for Building Your Tech Resume

IT courses
Building your resume is a major step in your tech career.

Building a strong tech resume can help you land the IT job you want rather than having to settle for something less than fulfilling. Here are some best practices for building your tech resume quickly so you can have a successful (and short) job search.

1. Think outside the box.

As companies become more tech savvy, they are able to appreciate unique approaches to the resume submission process. Some tech professionals are beginning to use mediums like Facebook or Instagram to create their digital resumes and attract the attention of companies that want the best and most creative people on their payroll.

2. Get points for style. 

Business Insider showcased some creative thinkers who formatted their resumes to look like a Google search page, an Amazon product page, and other familiar (but not for resumes) formats. There’s always a chance that an employer will think a resume like this is over the top, but a little bit of creativity may also get you noticed.

3. For entry level positions, format your resume for applicant tracking software.

If you haven’t yet reached the ranks of top talent that can command attention by being different, it might be a good idea to keep your formatting simple and compatible with applicant tracking systems (ATS) that will reject your resume from the system altogether if you don’t set it up correctly. ATS look for keywords and accomplishments, and can even require your information to be in a particular order to be accepted, like date first or position first.

If you aren’t sure which keywords to use, check out job listings for the same position on Monster and incorporate the ones that pop up frequently.

IT courses
A tech professional needs a top notch resume to get the best possible job.

4. Focus on how you’ve made things work.

Having completed projects or led a team isn’t enough anymore. A resume screener, whether computer or human, is more likely to be impressed by how the results of your work impacted your organization. If you can quantify your impact — you increased profits 8 percent, or completed projects 15 percent faster — prospective employers will get a better picture of what you are capable of than through more vague descriptions.

5. Increase your demonstrated skills with certifications.

When it comes to building your resume, adding skills can be just the thing you need to make your resume stand out from others with similar work experience. Certifications show that you were able to pass an exam on the relevant subject matter, which indicates that you have mastered the knowledge base and skills covered in the exam. Certifications are difficult to achieve independently, so there are often courses available to teach the material that will be covered.

PC AGE offers courses that prepare students to pass certification exams and earn certifications that can help to show potential employers that they have the expertise to meet their tech needs. Contact us about all the programs and courses PC AGE has to offer.

7 Signs an IT Career is Right for You

IT career
An IT career requires several different skills and interests.

You may be interested in information technology and wonder if you’ve got what it takes to have a career in a tech-related field. If the following signs seem to describe you, then you might be well-suited to a career in IT.

1. You have a persistent fascination with technology and how it works.

Maybe you work on computer problems even when you don’t have to—you just can’t let it go. Maybe you learn about new technologies just for fun. If you have a job outside IT, but you find yourself doing more and more IT-related tasks, you may be just the thing a company’s IT department needs.

2. You get excited about solving problems.

Most people see problems as a negative aspect of the job, but good IT employees see problems as exciting opportunities to learn new things or practice skills. Being excited about—and good at—solving problems will be an important ingredient of success in your IT career.

3. Everyone asks you to help when they have computer problems. 

You may want to consider an IT career if your friends and family constantly ask you to help them when they have computer problems. If you think fixing people’s computers is more fun than having a social life, then you might want to start preparing for an IT career right away.

4. You love strategy and games.

Many IT-related tasks require strategizing and can, at times, have similarities and parallels to playing a game. Having a love of games, especially the strategy part, can be an indicator that you would be well-suited to an IT career where strategy is needed to keep networks safe or to figure out how to use technology to benefit a company in the best possible way.

IT career
Being passionate about tech-related tasks could be a sign you should pursue a career in IT.

5. You are creative.

The IT field requires creativity in many areas: cybersecurity specialists must find creative ways to keep networks safe from hackers, many jobs require the employee to create a network or software program before they can implement or maintain it, and creativity is also used in coding and making apps that others can use.

6. You can win an argument.

You don’t want to argue with your co-workers, but the logical part of you that could win an argument will get heavy use in many IT careers. The basis of all programming and coding is logic, and logic is needed for many other IT-related tasks as well.

7. You can work with a team.

Most IT positions now involve working with a team to accomplish goals and complete projects. It isn’t enough to have computer skills like coding or cybersecurity—you often need to have teamwork skills and show that you know how to participate in the give-and-take that teamwork requires.

PC AGE offers courses that can get you started in your IT career in just a few months. Contact us to find out more.

7 Tips for Growing Your Professional Network

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Networking can be vital to a professional career.

You know that having a strong professional network can be beneficial when you’re searching for a job. If you’re ready to build your network, here are some helpful tips to help improve your chances of finding a great job in IT.

1. Be present and visible. 

Professionals are often reluctant to draw attention to themselves, but part of networking is being noticed. While over-the-top tactics are likely to backfire, posting on social media and attending meetings are two ways to be visible, and it doesn’t hurt to let your network know when you achieve a new certification or accomplish something else significant.

2. Include online and offline events.

Conferences and organization meetings are prime networking events, but online opportunities can be more ongoing and flexible to build relationships with contacts between face-to-face events and meetings. LinkedIn groups and Twitter chats are two popular options that include a larger number of options for networkers rather than some others that are more one-on-one.

3. Frequent the right places.

Going to places where your networking targets hang out can lead to networking opportunities. Relationships often form when people are in close proximity, whether it’s a coffee shop, a happy hour event, or even a particular online group that will allow you to introduce yourself to the people you want to get to know.

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Networking over food can be fun and beneficial.

4. If you want to get—give.

Helping others is always the right thing to do, and it usually comes back to you even more than your initial efforts. Doing favors for people and being generous will build goodwill that you may need as you build your career. You never know when an opportunity might come up, and having existing connections can help you get your foot in the door.

5. Ask for what you want.

In many cases, you won’t get what you want unless you ask. No one likes to be told no, which keeps many from asking in the first place. But you are unlikely to hear no every time you ask, so asking means you will be ahead even if you hear no most of the time. Besides, people like to do favors and give advice in most cases, so you may hear yes more often than you think.

6. Follow up.

Follow up goes two ways—it’s important to follow up by making good on your promises and doing what you say you will do, and it’s also important to be persistent in following up when someone has promised to do something for you or when one of your emails gets ignored. Follow-up will directly impact your reputation as a professional and will impact the way your colleagues and peers view you.

7. Think long term.

You may be able to get what you want without long term thinking, but it’s always best to think long term anyway. When you think long term, it’s less likely that you will have one of your previous actions or choices come back to bite you. Integrity and reputation are both enhanced with long-term thinking, and the results will also be enhanced over time.

PC AGE can help professionals get IT jobs through coursework and certification preparation classes. Contact us  about our programs to find your path to an IT career.

The Top 5 Reasons to Pursue IT Certifications

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IT certifications can help you advance in the IT field.

IT certifications offer many benefits to those who earn them, from enhanced knowledge to higher earning potential. If you’re thinking about pursuing an IT certification, here are some of the best reasons to start.

1. To prove to potential employers that you possess needed skills.

It’s one thing to tell a potential employer that you have the skills to do a given job, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to prove that you have those skills. Students only earn certifications after they pass a rigorous exam, showing that they have the skills and knowledge they need to get that job done right. 96 percent of HR managers in larger companies use IT certifications as a screening tool when hiring.

2. To earn more money at a given job.

Those who have IT certifications are often paid more than those who don’t. Part of this is because they are more qualified and educated, and part of it is that employers know they will be getting someone with proven skills (see #1), and they are willing to pay a higher price for that peace of mind.

3. To move up to a higher level position.

Many times, certifications lead to promotions, so if you want to move up in your company or get a higher level position at another company, certifications will help you get there. Another great thing about certifications is that there are often several levels of certifications that teach more and more advanced skills, so you can start with the basics and move up to the next one without having to learn all new skills in a completely different area.

IT certifications
If you want to continue learning after your degree, certifications are helpful in keeping skills up to date.

4. To do a better job in your current position.

Maybe you feel like you need to fill some skill gaps before you can really be competent in your current position. If so, obtaining a certification can be a great way to fill those gaps, and may even lead to a raise or a promotion along the way. Certifications can also help you keep your current job if you’re struggling to do it well because you lack skills.

5. To continue learning after earning a degree.

Those who think they know everything they need to know after earning a degree would be wise to understand that, particularly in the IT field where technology grows exponentially and at a rapid rate, you start to go backward as soon as you stop learning. No matter how advanced your IT degree is, certifications can update stagnating skills and teach you what you need to know to thrive as new technologies are continually developed.

There are PC certifications for many different specialty areas of IT, including some of the fastest-growing specialties that are in the greatest demand right now: cyber security, networking, and Windows Server certifications. Most companies are in need of skilled personnel in all of these areas and more. Gaining new skills with certifications will show that you are ready for anything that comes your way.

PC AGE offers courses that prepare IT professionals for all kinds of certifications. Contact us about all of our programs and the certifications we support.