6 Ways To Make Your Computer Skills Stand Out On Your Resume


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How To Make Your Computer Skills Stand Out On Your Resume

Computer skills have become increasingly important in the modern job market. So why do we insist on dumping all of our considerable computer skills into a sprawling bulleted list hidden at the bottom of our resume? Why bury the gold when we can let it shine?

The trick to promoting your computer skills effectively on your resume is packaging them, moving past the "check the box" mentality of the job description to focus on the value they create. Stop talking about skills - talk about packages. Talk about what the skills can deliver.

What Types Of Computer Skills Are There?

The list is ever changing - but the larger question is how are they being used. Don't underestimate the value of outdated computer skills for that matter. The systems requiring them remain in service, with no new technicians being trained in the technology, which can represent substantial value for people who already know the technology. There are, however, a couple of major clusters of computer skills you should look to gather your skills into:

The intent by packaging your skills up into these categories is you can position yourself as being able to work on the total solution, a complete business-impacting project, rather than a single specific part. This will make you significantly more valuable and flexible than your competitors.

The individual skills can be easily taught (for example, this site on R programming) and easily tested during the course of the interview with a couple of questions or some time at a whiteboard.

Want to dig deeper into becoming competitive on pitching your computer skills? Read our article on hard skills. Many of the same techniques can be used for computer skills, weaving your computer expertise and your business knowledge together to create a compelling bundle for the hiring manager. We identify six ways to repackage your skills.

The Big Problem With Hard Skills

Ah, you learned to code - in Python, no less! And you earned a security certification. And an oracle merit badge. Fantastic. That list of bullets is certainly growing!

Unfortunately, your IT skill list now looks... every other candidate. When people attend similar schools, hold similar entry level jobs, and the entire industry keeps pushing for common certification programs.... oh, and everyone uses the same resume format for computer skills, the bulleted list without any real explaination of their true proficiency level (unlike languages, where most candidates will state their actual skill level). And more than a few of those lists have skills that are, shall we say, perhaps a bit optimistic? Or maybe aspirational is a better term.

You need to come up with a strategy to stand out.

Winning Strategies To Get Hired For Hard Skills

Every job interview comes down to a discussion at the white board, showing that you've got the ability to solve their problem. So if your resume looks like the typical candidates... or worse, they have a few educational credentials or certification that you lack, how can you stand out?

Simple. It's like the old joke - how do you beat Bobbie Fischer? Answer: Play Him in Any Game Except Chess. Competitive strategy for computer experts is the same way. Play a broader game, work to create compelling bundle of expertise rather than competing on the basis of a single skill.

Here are some winning strategies to set yourself apart for a technology job:

The most important thing here is to have a story, a consistent story that reflects what you have on your resume and say during the interview. How do you brand your expertise? That simplifies your message so a hiring manager understands it.

Focus is Key

A typical mid-career IT professional can easily fill half a page or more with systems, tools, and languages they have worked with. The reader is left bewildered. You are better off sharing only the skills relevant to the job and supporting them with a unique theme.

Still in love with all your skills and experience? No worries, you can summarize. Lead off by focusing on the hard skills that are most relevant to the job and close with a summary that groups the balance of your technical experience into a single high level statement. For example:Three years of web development and twenty years of broader development experience.

But wait, you've got experience in multiple areas? No worries, we can extend the bullet to mention those. Something like this. For example: Three years of web development on manufacturing e-commerce sites and twenty years of broader development experience, supporting production management, inventory tracking, forecasting, and general ledger systems for medium-sized manufacturers. Perfect - if you're applying for an e-commerce job with a manufacturer, I'd be silly not to speak with you. And we've skipped listing about thirty obsolete technologies that may not even be installed at that particular customer...

Want more examples of how to set yourself apart on your resume? Check out our guides on career strategy:

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