Your NFL Preseason:
IT job and gig seekers in need of inspiration for a winning resume, look no further than ESP…N? NFL preseason has officially begun, and believe it or not these exhibition games have more pointers to offer IT professionals than meets the eye. Perhaps influenced by the awesome tech features of the new U.S. Bank Stadium, which boasts “an exceptional fan experience,” we’re definitely seeing a connection between IT and pro ball. In particular, we’ve noticed that preseason football for new players is a lot like the technical summary of a resume for IT pros: its purpose is to catch the attention of important viewers to successfully advance one’s career.
A technical summary is a vital component to include for IT job seekers. It provides a succinct “snapshot” for hiring employers to assess whether a candidate has the expertise necessary to fill a team’s tech talent needs. So consider the following when honing your resume — and craft that technical summary like it’s your NFL preseason!
It’s Not About the Number of Points, but the Quality of Play:
The results of preseason games have no impact on the actual competitive season; they are, rather, opportunities for new players to prove they’ve got what it takes to make the team. For IT pros, making an impression with your technical summary does not mean creating an exhaustive laundry list of every technology you’ve ever learned how to use. List only those proficiencies that you could confidently discuss and demonstrate in an interview. Do not include outdated or insignificant skill sets.
They’re Narrowing Down the Roster — So Showcase Your Skills in the Best Way:
Just as players have only a month of preseason to showcase their skills and make the regular-season team, resumes have a very limited time to impress before being placed in the “yes” or “no” pile. In fact, a 2012 study found that recruiters spend an average of only 6 seconds initially reviewing an individual resume.
With only seconds to impress, formatting and concise language are key. To make sure nothing gets overlooked, break your technical summary into five or so subcategories. They may include (depending on your qualifications and the position to which you’re applying):
- Technical Certifications
- Operating Systems
- Office Productivity
- Web Applications
Remember: This is not the time to be wordy. The technical summary is meant to be skimmed, and therefore lengthy explanations will likely be overlooked, or may take away from other key information that you want a recruiter to instantly glean. Save elaboration on your experiences and accomplishments for the employment history section of your resume. A standout technical summary should pique recruiter’s interests and leave them wanting more.
Identify Your Coaches, and Don’t Stray From Your Audience:
Not only do preseason games give players the opportunity to showcase their abilities to coaches, but the exhibitions are also a chance to adjust to playing in front of a large audience. Likewise, IT pros must consider their audience when crafting their technical summary and make adjustments accordingly. By this stage, you’ve ensured that your content is quality (reflective of your strongest assets) and easy-to-read, but now is the time to ask yourself “who’s reading?” This step is especially key for IT consultants who may have many proficiencies and accreditations that they could include in a technical summary, but may not need to include due to the unique demands of the specific role to which they are applying.
Focus on including only qualifications that appeal to your audience. Don’t bog down your technical summary with so many skills (even if they’re all “quality”) that recruiters wonder whether you’re an expert in any of them. Use certifications sparingly, and only list those that are most important for the tech role you are applying to. Focusing on fewer, more strategic details ensures that recruiters notice your most important technical proficiencies and gives them a clearer understanding why you’re their best fit for a particular role.
Crafting your technical summary to include quality, easy-to-access, and relevant information is key to making your resume as attention-grabbing as our new stadium. By ensuring you include only honest, expert-level skills, organize your summary in a readable manner, and remove any details that don’t appeal to the specific role which you are applying for, you make it easy for even non-technical hiring managers to pick up on keywords and understand your fit. Just as an NFL player’s preseason performance can get him to the competitive big leagues, your IT resume can get you one step closer to advancing your tech career!
Ready to take the next step?
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in 2013, and has been updated to reflect current best practices in the tech industry for IT consultant and job seeker resumes.