One of the most important steps you can take towards launching your new career in IT is, without a doubt, drafting an effective resume and cover letter. With so many candidates all vying for the same position, it is becoming increasingly important to make sure that your resume stands out from the rest. But how do you go about doing that? What makes one resume more effective than another? These are important questions to consider. So, let’s find out!
The first part of the process is discerning what information is relevant to your job experience and what can be excluded. You want to make sure that the version of yourself that you are presenting to your prospective employer reflects the experience and values that they are looking for in their new IT support specialist. Knowledge of hardware, software, and PC repair is very important to include. You will also want to make reference to any certifications you may hold. You also want to make sure that your resume isn’t too long. Three page resumes, while not completely gone, are increasingly rare. Try to keep it to, at most, two pages.
The internet aside, something I’ve found to be very helpful in writing resumes is the help of a good book. There are, of course, many books available on the topic but the book that I have gone back to time and time again has been The Elements of Resume Style by Scott Bennett. It’s a quick read and Bennett’s style is as comprehensive as you’re going to find. Given, this book doesn’t give tips specific to a career in IT but the information contained in the book is universal. If you are looking for something different, I can also recommend The Resume Handbook by Arthur Rosenburg, which is also very comprehensive.
Starting a job hunt knowing how many other candidates are all vying for the same position can be daunting. It’s important that you do everything you can to make your resume stand out. Here are some tips that you can use to do just that:
- Don’t only make sure that the content of your resume reflects that is required of the potential employer but also includes key words and phrases that will jump out at the person reading the resume. Someone in charge of hiring may look at hundreds of resumes for one open position, only a fraction of those will be from people who are qualified for the position. Using keywords will help to solidify you as a strong potential candidate.
- Focus on your accomplishments. It’s all well and good to list your experience but if you can quantify that experience as being something positive for your employer, that is even better.
- Formatting can be very helpful in stressing certain sections of the resume over others. Using bolded or italicized words, or bulleted lists, will help emphasize the key pieces of information that you want the employer to note. It can also grab the eye and make your resume stand out.
- Edit, edit, edit. I cannot stress this enough. I can’t tell you how many resumes I have watched my boss pitch into the recycling bin because they were littered with misspelled words and grammatical errors. The spell check in Microsoft Word is helpful but it can’t catch everything so it’s very important to proof read.
Of course, knowing that employers are looking for in their new employee is critical. There is no more helpful source for this than the job postings themselves. Reviewing the local job postings for IT Computer Support Specialists, the following requirements seem to pop out and reoccur on several different postings:
- The ability to configure, set up, and deploy PCs
- Knowledge of networking
- Customer service experience
- Ability to review, monitor, and resolve support and work tickets
- Enable and maintain databases that include information regarding new and existing employees
This is only a part of the skills and experience that employers are looking for but this is a good way to measure and be aware of your skills and how they compare to the typical job opening.
The final piece to consider is the cover letter. There are some people who believe the cover letter to no longer be necessary. Some employment web sites don’t even give you the option to submit one when you’re applying for an open position. However, the cover letter does remain an effective way to communicate your intentions to your potential new employer and try to “sell” yourself before the person in charge of hiring even reads your resume.
In the cover letter, you should first introduce yourself, and then give a brief explanation as to why you would be a good candidate for the position they are hiring for. You will also want to give a brief summary of your skills and experience. This can help to pique the interest of the reader. In my typical cover letter, I will usually include the highlights of the skills section along with the most recent experience relevant to the position.
I hope that this information has been helpful. For reference, I have attached examples below of what I believe to be an effective cover letter and resume. Please keep in mind that everyone is unique and your resume should reflect not only your accomplishments and skills but also who you are as a person. Be confident, be honest, and be yourself. Good luck in your job search!IT.Computer.Support.resume.Sample.coverletter