The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Tech Resume

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Looking for a tech job means having an effective resume.

In order to get a tech job, you will need to have a resume. While many types of tech jobs are plentiful, it still pays to write the best possible resume. After all, you want to get the best possible job with the best possible compensation and benefits — the right job for you.

Writing an Effective Tech Resume: The Dos

Keep It Short

Although many resumes are now screened with ATS software, which doesn’t consider length, your resume will eventually be looked at by the hiring team if you make it that far into the process. Nobody wants to read about every single job you’ve ever had and overly detailed descriptions of those jobs.

Tailor Resume to Each Job

You can keep your tech resume shorter if you tailor it to each job, including the most relevant jobs, education, and technical or soft skills for the exact job to which you are applying.

Concentrate on Accomplishments

Instead of just describing what your job duties were for each job listed on your resume, focus on what you were able to accomplish at each job. Use numbers like “decreased server downtime 55 percent” or “trained 25 new employees in Excel.” Using action verbs to describe these accomplishments will also make them sound stronger.

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Your resume needs the right formatting to clear the ATS software.

Hit the Right Keywords

Applicant tracking software scans resumes for keywords the hiring team considers relevant. If your resume doesn’t include these keywords, it may be passed over, and you won’t move forward in the process. You can use keywords from the job description in your resume to ensure that an ATS will see your tech resume as compatible with the job.

Format Attractively

Using bulleted lists rather than paragraphs will make your resume easier to read, and important information will pop out at the reader easily. The less hard you make the hiring team work, the better impression your tech resume will make.

Writing an Effective Tech Resume: The Don’ts

Skip the Objectives

Employers want to know how your tech skills can benefit them, not how their job will further your career goals (at least not primarily). Today’s tech resumes generally skip the objectives section and use that space to write a two-three sentence summary of why you would fit well in the position.

Nix Personal Information

You don’t need to put any personal information on your tech resume other than a contact phone number and email address (which can even be professional if you have them). Marital status, birth date, and social security number — even your street address are unnecessary on a modern resume. If you want the hiring team to know that you are local to the area, you can indicate that without giving your address.

Don’t Rush In

Finding the right tech job takes time. It can be exciting when a company shows interest in your resume, but take your time and evaluate the company as stringently as they are evaluating you. That way you will have confidence that the job is one that will help build your career.

Before you build your resume, you’ve got to build your skills. PC AGE provides job search training with each course students take. Contact us to learn about our programs and how you can gain the skills you need for a tech career.

How to Succeed with Your IT Job Search

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Your resume is an important first step to finding an IT job.

When you have developed some IT skills that will be useful to employers, it’s time to look for a job in the IT field. IT jobs are plentiful, and lots of employers are looking for skilled employees to help them develop or maintain their company infrastructure.

While it shouldn’t be especially difficult to find an IT job, it’s still important to follow best practices in conducting your job search so that you find the best possible fit for you. Here are some things you should know about conducting a successful IT job search.

Resume Tips

It’s essential to have a resume, since many employers screen resumes, sometimes with software programs. If you don’t submit a resume for most jobs, you won’t be able to move on to the next step in the process. Your resume should be concise; it should use numbers where possible to show results (“reduced network down time 75 percent,” for example), and should include keywords from the job posting.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become an essential job search tool for several important reasons. Employers use LinkedIn to post jobs, connect with potential employees, and research applicants. Participating in groups related to your skills and interests on LinkedIn can generate leads on positions and give you a leg up on the competition, since employers may look to their network as they’re making hiring decisions.

Other social media sites may also be helpful in developing professional relationships that can lead to jobs. Make sure your social media pages reflect a professional image before trying to use them for networking, though. You don’t want to turn a possible employer off by posting inappropriate personal information.

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LinkedIn has become an important part of many people’s IT job searches.

Use Job Boards Sparingly

Job boards have their place in an IT job search, but that place is limited. Forbes advises applying for a job posted through a job board only if your resume is an 80 to 85 percent match or better to the job posting. Direct networking is likely to be a much more effective avenue for finding jobs than a job board where hundreds of applicants can respond to the same job posting.

The best job boards to use are smaller ones that are more targeted to your industry or location, and aggregator sites that combine postings from many job boards, like Indeed.com.

Getting Help

If your interview skills are rusty or you’re applying for lots of jobs but not getting any response, you may want to get help to make your job search more effective. Professional coaches can provide feedback and help you improve interview skills for in-person and video interviews, which are becoming more common for time-strapped employers.

PC AGE offers training for students to assist in their IT job search and a career services department that has ongoing relationships with many major employers looking to fill positions. Contact us for more information about finding a job in the IT field.

A Day in the Life of a Computer Support Specialist

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Computer support specialists help others use computer systems and software effectively.

Computer support specialists help professionals and organizations use computer software and hardware in the course of their work. These IT professionals might respond to requests for help from users, help them resolve malfunctions, or train them on how to use necessary programs.

Computer support specialists might work in a call center to support a particular type of software or hardware, or they might work for a particular (larger) company or organization to support the particular hardware, software and networks they use. CSS jobs are growing at a faster rate than average; in fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing fields right now.

Some computer support specialists may work a 9-5 weekday daytime schedule, while others may work nights and weekends so that all hours are covered for a call center or organization that uses system resources around the clock. Salaries for CSS positions can vary from about $50,000 for an entry level position to upwards of $90,000 for a team leader or supervisor position.

A typical day in the life of a computer support specialist who works for a large company might look something like this.

9:00 a.m.

The day starts with checking on some scans run the night before to make sure there are no viruses or malfunctions in the network and server. Everything looks good, so you move on to the next task.

10:00 a.m.

A team meeting briefs your entire team on a new software program that will be installed next week. You get a large packet of information to study and learn so that you know all the ins and outs of how the program works as well as a maintenance schedule for updates and checks.

11:00 a.m.

A possible security breach attempt is detected. You assist the team in checking it out, but the attempt was unsuccessful and the server and network are fine. You spend some more time trying to trace the attempt but it was disguised and run through multiple IP addresses overseas.

1:00 p.m.

You grab a quick lunch at your desk, check your email, and make small talk with your cubicle-mate for a few minutes.

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Listening and communicating well are useful skills for a computer support specialist.

1:30 p.m.

You train a group of new hires on how to use the company’s email, interoffice communications systems, and relevant software programs needed for their jobs. You tell them to contact your team if they have questions or need help using the system.

3:00 p.m.

You participate in a video interview session to hire new staff in your department and write up an evaluation giving your thoughts on the candidates interviewed. The hiring team has launched an initiative to get input from members of the department to improve hiring decisions, which you think is a good idea, even though it’s hard to take time from your work when your department is short-staffed.

4:00 p.m.

The day ends with preparation for an update that will take place at 2 a.m. when no one is using the system. The CSS team that works the second shift will be working some overtime to run the update, but asked for some help getting ready and running tests that needed redundancy to be effective.

4:45 p.m.

You get a last-minute request for help from a member of your company’s upper management. Even though you know it will prevent you from leaving at 5 p.m., you answer the request because you know it’s important and you want to help.

It’s about 5:30 p.m. when you finally leave, but you know that tomorrow it might be 6:30, or even longer if a problem with the network or server happens right at the end of the day.

Interested in pursuing a career as a computer support specialist? PC AGE offers courses that could lead to your dream job. Contact us for more information about our programs.

The 7 Most Valuable Soft Skills for IT Professionals

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Being able to communicate, work with a team, and mentor others are all valuable soft skills for IT professionals.

A successful career in IT isn’t just about possessing the hard skills needed to do the job well; you also need certain soft skills, which can be just as significant as hard skills. In fact, when employers are faced with multiple candidates with similar IT skills, it may very well be soft skills that will get a candidate hired.

Here are some of the most valuable soft skills for IT professionals.

1. A Good Communicator.

An IT professional needs to communicate with team members, customers, and management about tasks, projects, and the place of IT within the overall strategy. Although many IT professionals may not be strong natural communicators, it is a skill worth developing for any career, including IT.

2. Self-Motivated.

IT often involves complicated problems, and the best way of doing something is not usually the easiest. Furthermore, IT departments are usually understaffed, so leadership has its hands full and can’t always supervise staff as closely as it might intend. Being able to learn new things and complete tasks without being micromanaged will make an IT professional a valuable asset to any company.

3. Effective Collaborator.

Communicating with others is one step toward success, but working with a team requires skills like compromising, evaluating ideas, and showing mutual respect. Being able to work with a team to maintain IT infrastructure and solve problems that arise is a skill valued by many employers.

4. Flexible.

IT is a fast-paced field, and it is not predictable from day to day. You may have certain tasks scheduled at certain times, but if a problem comes up, you will often have to drop everything and take care of it before it impedes the functioning of the company or crashes your systems.

5. Mentoring and Leadership.

These soft skills are useful in many jobs, including IT. Even those not in leadership can influence the functioning of the team positively and serve as a mentor once they get some experience. Mentoring and leadership skills, along with superior IT skills, will also lead to promotions.

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Leadership and presentation skills help IT professionals stand out from the crowd and build a reputation.

6. Able to Present.

Not everyone is comfortable making a presentation to company executives, colleagues at a conference, or even just to your supervisor and team. If you can make presentations, it will help you stand out from the crowd, and it could even help you improve your interview skills.

7. Determined.

Between stubborn IT problems like viruses and malfunctioning equipment, budgetary pressure from leadership that doesn’t understand the company’s IT needs, and a constantly changing IT landscape, professionals in this field will need a lot of determination to be successful in their roles.

PC AGE offers IT training courses to help professionals get the technical skills they need to pair with these valuable soft skills for a successful IT career. Job placement is a part of the curriculum so that you will be able to put your newfound skills to work right away. Contact us to request information about PC AGE’s programs to get your career on track.