Hunting for a job is a daunting task, but it typically is much easier when you understand how to call attention to your skills on a resume. In this guide, we’ll explore how having technology skills on your resume could increase your competitiveness against other candidates.
A Look at the U.S. Job Market and Unemployment Rates
It’s difficult to tune into a news broadcast without hearing something about the country’s economic outlook. And, if you’re searching for a job, the statistic that likely interests you most is unemployment. A forecast of the economic outlook for 2018 and beyond shows the unemployment rate should drop to 3.9 percent in 2021. It’s expected to get even lower in 2022 and 2023.
However, some of the people who have jobs and thereby don’t factor into the unemployment rate are only working part-time but would prefer full-time work. In other cases, the respective jobs generate such low wages that it’s perpetually challenging to pay bills and live without fear of financial struggles.
Plus, former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen cautions that unemployment rates can be misleading because they don’t include people who give up searching for jobs but remain unemployed.
Having a tech resume could make you exceptionally appealing to employers who are ready to hire. Plus, it could help you avoid jobs that don’t pay enough to meet your income needs or make it impossible to work full-time because the positions aren’t in demand.
Tech Skills Are In Demand
If you’ve ever doubted the value of having an IT resume, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics begs to differ. Statistics forecast employment in computer and information technology jobs to grow 13 percent within the period from 2016 to 2026, adding over 557,000 new jobs. That rate of increase is faster than average compared to other occupations.
Also, don’t forget that technology influences most of the tasks employees do daily during their jobs, whether it’s entering a client’s appointment into a spreadsheet or using an online time tracker to record hours worked.
Whether you actively pursue a tech job, being tech-savvy helps you hit the ground running during the onboarding process in a new role. Supervisors want to feel assured you understand technology enough to use it competently within your job and not find it so challenging that your lack of skills slows down the workflow.
Plus, a 2018 study of LinkedIn data shows the need for tech skills is here to stay. Year over year, that’s been the case, and the site’s research indicates a change isn’t in store for the foreseeable future.
Chapter 1: How a Strong Resume Helps You Get Hired
While surveying your skills for resume inclusion purposes, you may initially believe you don’t have any tech capabilities — or at least not the ones employers want. However, most people already possess tech skills but don’t realize it.
The key to a stronger resume isn’t misrepresenting yourself to make it seem like you have more tech skills than you actually do — it’s developing your existing skills for success. Here are four reasons why an outstanding resume is essential in today’s job market.
1. Highlights Valuable Skills
You may be in a seemingly tricky situation where you want to apply for a tech job but struggle to come up with sufficient technology skills for resume material. Research shows many employers place the highest value on the “Skills” section of the resume — even more so than the portion detailing a person’s experience.
That’s because even if someone doesn’t have the necessary experience yet, they may have skills that show their capacity for growth and the ability to learn things quickly.
2. Shows Diversity of Experience
Maybe you have several years of experience as a childcare specialist, but after teaching yourself the fundamentals of coding and web development over the past several years, you’ve decided to try and snag a tech job. Your experience applies to the technology field because many of the skills it develops are helpful for tech work.
After all, being around youngsters requires showing a tremendous amount of patience and problem-solving — both valuable traits that demonstrate why your child care background should be part of your tech resume.
3. Helps You Grab Employers’ Attention
Not long ago, your primary goal with an IT resume or any other kind of paperwork to help you land a job was to get noticed by the people doing the hiring. Now, you also have to contend with computers that use algorithms to screen candidates. According to Amanda Augustine, a career expert with TopResume, more than 75 percent of resumes don’t get seen by people.
You can improve the chances of passing the screening phase with a center-aligned resume since most algorithm scanners view content vertically. It’s also wise to include relevant keywords, such as some featured within the appropriate job ad.
It’s hard to stand out if you only list generic skills for resume reviewers to see. Instead, tailor the ones you have so they apply to the career you want, if possible.
4. Indicates Logical Thinking and Good Proofreading Skills
A resume significantly assists with the hiring process if it’s well-organized and shows you put thought into organizing the material. When focusing on the technical aspects, be specific. For example, you may want to list the years of experience you have working with the Mac operating system rather than merely saying “strong understanding of Mac OS” in a bulleted list.
Moreover, if you can submit a resume that’s free from spelling and grammar errors, that accomplishment tells employers you’re detail-oriented. Having even one mistake could make employers decide you’re not worth interviewing. They may conclude that if you can’t take the time to make your resume error-free, they shouldn’t take time to interview you.
Despite the kind of skills on the resume itself, there are things about it that could send a signal to employers that you’re worth getting to know.
What’s Ahead in This Guide?
You’ve just read an overview of the United States’ job market, how you could be more in demand by having an IT resume than one without tech skills and why a fantastic one could help you get shortlisted when applying for jobs. But, we’re just getting started with the ins and outs of why you should include tech skills on your resume, as well as how to do it.
In the upcoming articles, we will:
- Take a more in-depth look at why it’s worthwhile to call attention to your tech skills when appropriate
- Discover more about why employers think it’s so valuable to hire people with tech skills, even when filling non-technical positions
- Introduce several of the tech skills employers deem most valuable in the modern job market
- Explore ways to list technology skills on your resume in maximally advantageous ways
- Discuss how to actionably make your tech skills apparent to employers in hopes that those assets will get you hired
After reading this guide, it will be clear that you can and should highlight your technological capabilities regardless of the kind of career you want, as well as how you can do it.
Reading This Guide Gives You Pertinent Information
One of the good and bad things about the internet is that it’s chock-full of information. If you don’t have a plan for purposeful browsing during your job search, it’ll be easy to get overwhelmed with information and lose overall productivity by placing too much attention on content not related to your goals.
A 2015 survey published by the Pew Research Center found 79 percent of people used online resources while searching for their most recent jobs. If you want a better IT resume or are eager to showcase your tech skills, this guide ensures you’ll stay on track with finding new employment.
Get Ready to Learn and Grow
After diving into this guide, it’ll become apparent that you’ll get skills for resume improvement you can start using now. Also, expect the growth from the learning that takes place as you read this specialized content to help you succeed immediately, as well as in the future.
Chapter 2: Why Use Technology Skills for Your Resume?
In the first chapter of this guide on technology skills for your resume, you got a general overview of the state of the job market, how employers want tech skills and why it’s necessary to have a strong resume that reflects your skills — even if they don’t directly relate to technology.
Now, we’ll go through a closer examination of why tech skills for resume sections are so crucial to highlight when applicable. Also, you’ll learn why it’s useful to call attention to your tech skills, even when you want a job that’s not tech-centric.
You’ll Show You Know How to Use Tools to Boost Productivity
One constant of the tech industry is it’s always changing. So, when you’re tweaking your resume to get hiring managers’ attention, it’s ideal if you can indicate familiarity with a wide range of tech tools. For example, maybe you used Asana, a project management interface, while working for a real estate firm, and developed Photoshop skills thanks to your love of photography.
If you can show you know how to use several tech tools and focus on them while mentioning technology skills for resume enhancement purposes, you’ll show potential employers you’re comfortable using technology to get more done than you could without it.
Tech Boot Camps Could Help You Get Noticed
When reviewing their skills for resume additions and deciding how to describe them, many people who want tech jobs mistakenly think a four-year computer science degree is essential. On the contrary, research shows some companies prefer people to complete boot camps instead of earning degrees.
Some employers point out boot camp participants have to work in teams and persevere through challenging curriculums, and those abilities translate smoothly to the workforce.
Moreover, people who successfully finish tech-related boot camps demonstrate their ability to grasp new concepts in a short period — one that’s much briefer than the years it takes to receive a college degree.
Of course, you’ll still find some employers think tech degrees are prerequisites. But, if you’ve done something intensive such as a tech boot camp, it won’t hurt to mention it — and it could be a factor that sets you apart from other candidates.
Today’s Jobs Need Both Tech and Non-Tech Skills
People familiar with current job postings say it’s increasingly likely to find what are known as hybrid jobs, which require both technology-related capabilities and non-tech skills. That means it’s particularly worthwhile to think of your technology skills for resume inclusion, even if you’re not trying for a tech position.
One example of this reality is the career of Janie Clapp. She’s the founder of Janie’s Cakes, a Texas-based baking business that has served customers for more than three decades. Clapp cites e-commerce as the factor that helped her company survive with the changing times. She eventually brought on her tech-savvy daughter Katherine Crow as a business partner.
Together, Clapp and Crow educated themselves about the technological aspects of the business, including how to ship perishable cakes outside the state and scale up production practices. Now, more than half the company’s sales originate online.
At first, it may be difficult to understand why a professional baker needs computer skills. But, Clapp’s story emphasizes how discussing computer skills for resume sections could show employers you have the adaptability and willingness to keep up with societal changes.
Facebook has unveiled a plan to train 1 million people from the United States in digital skills by 2020, with a focus on equipping small business owners. The social media site recognizes the worth of digital knowledge, and it’s likely that’ll increasingly be true of employers at large. Now is the time to bring up tech skills for resume creation reasons.
Digital Skills Help You Earn More Than Other Abilities
International research also indicates individuals who have digital skills could earn more than people who don’t have those abilities. The study evaluated information and communication skills across people from 19 developed countries, using data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
According to one part of the study, a one-percentage-point increase concerning the PIAAC led to approximately a 0.6 percent increase in earnings.
To put that outcome another way, consider that if a person from the United States — a country with below-average IT skills within the study — brought their skills to the level of someone from Japan — the country with the most IT skills — their wages would increase by about 8 percent.
Tech Know-How Is a Growing Requirement
A survey from Burning Glass Technologies found 82 percent of middle-skill jobs require digital knowledge. Then, to tie in the above point about earnings, consider the average earnings potential for middle-skill jobs requiring digital skills is $20 per hour.
The research also concluded 38 percent of all job postings mention possessing digital skills as a prerequisite — and that total is even higher in specific markets. So, by failing to mention technology skills for resume sections wherever applicable, you’re selling yourself short.
Additionally, a different study by Capgemini UK polled 1,000 businesses in the United Kingdom and found 87 percent of respondents agreed using the Internet for work purposes was the most in-demand digital skill expected from young people seeking work.
That finding drives home the point that you shouldn’t shy away from mentioning tech skills for resume purposes, even if they’re not highly advanced — such as those related to Data Collection, Data Science or artificial intelligence.
The point is that technology factors into almost all roles, whether they involve fast-food employees using touchscreen devices to confirm orders or call center agents making customer notes in dedicated online interfaces.
An Understanding of Technology Helps You Take Advantage of Continuing Education
Even if you feel you lack adequate tech skills for resume enhancement, it’s still a good idea to list the ones you do have, especially if you learned them on your own and not to meet an employer’s requirement. The accessibility aspect of technology is drastically changing employee education by making it highly interactive and applicable to a learner’s existing skills.
Mentioning you acquired some of your tech skills through an online platform shows you’re willing to engage with non-traditional forms of education for personal improvement. If you get offered an interview by a company that includes online training as a perk in its benefits package, you could also mention how eager you are to grow your skills.
In any case, discussing instances of taking courses online implies you understand basic principles such as how to set up your browser to receive course content, the etiquette to use when giving your thoughts in an online forum and downloading or completing material to submit to the course instructor.
Internet Use Is on the Rise
If you’re still on the fence about listing technology skills for resume reasons, consider that an Internet usage survey of U.S. residents found 78 percent of people polled went online in November 2017, representing a 3 percent increase from the previous study in July 2015. This newer research discovered an uptick in lower-income demographics using the Internet, too.
Notably, this was the first edition of the study that showed tablets and mobile data plans were more popular than desktop computers and wired broadband access, respectively.
Depending on the job you want, it may not seem like technology is a significant part of your daily duties. However, you’ll almost certainly connect to the Internet during your time on the clock, and it’s in your best interests to use your resume to show you’re a tech-savvy person who’s ready to integrate technology into every workday.
Show You’re a Well-Rounded Employee
People who are ready to hire typically prioritize candidates who offer a broad range of skills to complement their work experience. Having a rich skillset helps you assert you can meet the needs of the modern workforce. And, because technology is so ingrained in our daily lives, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re not well-versed with it.
Chapter 3: Tech Skills Employers Look For – The Most in-Demand Tech Skills
So far in this guide, we’ve covered a brief overview of the job market and how tech skills could help you excel in it, plus examined why it’s so important to submit strong resumes to employers. Now, we’re going to look at the top skills employers look for and how you can put them on your resume.
Social Media Skills Are Crucial
Social media is such an important part of the promotional strategies companies use that you need to show a command of how to use the major platforms. Data about social media usage shows more than 80 percent of Americans engaged with it in 2021. Also, 2021 statistics indicated 92 percent of small businesses planned to increase social media use this year.
That means that no matter where you work, tech skills related to social media should help you get ahead and meet the company’s needs. When adding social media experience to your resume, don’t be afraid to look outside of employment.
Perhaps you’ve been involved in a community group for the past several years and served as the primary person who updated the organization’s social media feeds. Sometimes, connecting your social media skills to roles outside the workplace looks especially favorable because it shows initiative not sparked by an employer’s requirement.
You Need Knowledge of Internet Security Best Practices
Statistics indicate the cybersecurity skills shortage is at an industry crisis point, with the potential for millions of unfilled positions existing by 2021. If your background makes it feasible for you to comprehend and pass a cybersecurity course, consider taking one. It’s one of the skills employees look for now, and that reality is likely to persist over the coming years.
Alternatively, take a lower-level computer security course that emphasizes best practices and teaches you how risky it is when employees don’t follow them. A lack of security is not only problematic at huge companies. The ramifications of data breaches are exceptionally dangerous for small businesses and put them at risk for shutting down.
However, 35 percent of employees at small businesses who responded to a poll admitted they did not think their organizations were targets for cybercriminals. During the course of a day, they might use public Wi-Fi connections for work purposes or share their passwords with colleagues.
Showing you know the importance of adhering to best practices while using the internet for work could make you an asset to employers who are ready to hire, even if the role you want isn’t a tech-centric one. Think about taking a course on internet security and listing it in the qualifications or training section of your resume.
If the education doesn’t include a certificate or other verifiable proof of completion, list the course as a training activity rather than a qualification.
Expert-Level Proficiency With Well-Known Tech Tools Gives You an Advantage
In their desire to list a variety of good job skills on a resume, people often give the impression they know a little about a lot of tools but lack a high level of knowledge. For example, career experts warn against mentioning something vague like “proficiency in Microsoft Office” on a resume. That’s because the tools in that software suite are so widely used that the ability to do so is assumed.
However, if you often work with formulas in Excel or frequently received praise for the creative ways you added videos to PowerPoint slides while working in a previous position, it’s worth calling attention to those tech skills. Above all else, strive for specificity.
Giving examples of how you used common tools in advanced ways doesn’t only show familiarity with technology. It demonstrates problem-solving abilities you applied to situations by best utilizing the tools at your disposal.
The Need for Coders Is at a High Point
Companies are struggling with a growing need for people with programming knowledge. Businesses from various sectors are training from within to address the skills gap they face or recognize that degrees aren’t necessary for all or most of their positions.
On the tech side of things, GitHub has a longstanding practice of not making degrees prerequisites for candidates. Also, Intel has positions where people are recognized for other types of training besides degree programs, such as coding boot camps.
Coding is one of the top skills employers look for, and if you’re proficient in it, don’t neglect to mention that fact on your resume. The same goes for any tech skill you have under your belt. Listing tech skills on your resume helps you stand out in employers’ search results, and some experts even advocate for creating a dedicated tech skills section.
Wondering which programming languages translate into good job skills? Research conducted by Indeed.com that looked at the skills most often requested in job postings found Java came out on top, both for careers in Silicon Valley and across the country.
Describing Website Usability Experiences Could Put You Ahead
If you think about what it’s like to visit and interact with your favorite websites, it’s probably difficult to cite significant complaints. That’s because well-designed websites offer seamless and trouble-free experiences. If you can clearly state the positive and negative aspects of using websites, your insights could translate into a much-needed tech skill.
Research published in February 2018 about customer experience (CX) found that 90 percent of respondents from the marketing and product development sector felt CX was critical to the success of their businesses. They also said it helped them compete.
Interestingly, 90 percent of those polled also expressed a desire to empower other employees throughout their companies to conduct individualized CX research. They believed that would give them up-to-date human insights to drive business decisions.
If you understand the various factors that make websites simple or difficult to use and can discuss them in ways that make sense for web development professionals, that’s a desirable skill. Saying something like “I found that the drop-down menu was confusing and cumbersome because it didn’t contain the expected choices” offers more value than “The navigation wasn’t intuitive.”
Highlight your website usability or customer experience skills on a resume by bringing up any instances where you were asked to give relevant feedback. Then, go further by mentioning how your opinions helped the company. You could say, “The website I evaluated had 40 percent higher traffic levels after implementing the recommended improvements,” for example.
Content Marketing Capabilities Could Open up Your Job Prospects
Each year, the research team at Conductor, an SEO firm, carries out research to examine available jobs, average salaries and related characteristics about SEO and content marketing in the United States. One of the notable aspects of the 2021 findings is that there are more jobs in each of those fields than ever.
Between 2021 and 2022, the study showed a 43 percent and 33 percent year-over-year increase in SEO and content marketing openings, respectively. A different survey from Clutch.co investigated how companies rely on digital marketing, and it, too, revealed why content marketing skills are essential.
Specifically, 78 percent said their top digital marketing investment was their website, and 69 percent mentioned email marketing as the main priority. It’s worth noting that 44 percent of respondents in that survey cited SEO as their lowest priority.
Regardless of whether content is a primarily a part of the job you want to land, it’s helpful for you to understand what constitutes high-quality content and why it’s necessary to know how to use keywords effectively. That’s because content could help companies get ahead or fall behind, depending on how the organizations use it, and they might want your input as an employee.
Maybe you used content-related tech skills when formatting a newsletter for a past employer or creating a video clip to post on YouTube that showed a new product. Content marketing is a broadly applicable skill, and if you have experience with it, present it in a way that shows how your efforts made it possible to reach goals.
Showcase Yourself As a Well-Equipped Candidate
Now that you know some of the tech skills employers look for, it should be easier to incorporate them into your resume before applying for jobs. Before reading this, you may not even have thought some you had were worth mentioning, but they undoubtedly are.
Chapter 4: How to Use Tech Skills to Get a Job
We’ve come to the end of this guide about why and how to focus on technology skills for resume reasons. Now, it’s time to put everything together and remember why it’s so crucial to apply everything you’ve learned in these chapters when looking for a job.
In-Demand Tech Skills Could Help You Compensate for Lacking a Degree
As mentioned previously, some companies don’t require candidates with tech skills to have degrees. That means if you can get the attention of hiring personnel through your resume with the tech-savvy capabilities they want, you could stand out, even in a field filled with college graduates.
Such roles where skills are more desirable than degrees are called new-collar jobs. Moreover, Shopify, the e-commerce platform, is giving people chances to get real-world experience while still earning their degrees.
So far, the opportunities are only available in Canada at Ottawa’s Carleton University and York University in Toronto, with the latter university being the newest participant in what’s known as the Dev Degree program. Students do approximately half their university work at Shopify’s offices and receive compensation for it.
Traditionally, it could take a year or more for a person to ease into the workforce after graduating. However, this approach shortens the onboarding process.
So, if you don’t have a degree and feel lacking one puts you at a disadvantage, it’s imperative to bring up tech skills for resume sections.
Tech Know-How Could Help You Work From Home
Some tech jobs, such as those associated with coding, are particularly suitable for remote positions. So, your well-crafted IT resume could be your ticket to a remote career that allows you to work in your pajamas and perhaps pick your hours. However, employers aren’t likely to suggest that option to you if you can’t handle things like troubleshooting and computer setup.
After all, most remote positions require people to be extremely self-motivated to keep up their workflows, even when minor tech hiccups happen. If a company’s hiring manager mistakenly thinks you lack tech skills because your resume doesn’t mention any, you’re selling yourself short and could become out of the running for a position.
Strive for Relevance
When figuring out how to list your skills for resume reasons, resist the urge to mention all the tech-related ones you have. The previous chapters in this guide gave numerous examples of the categories you might include and the potential ways to discuss your abilities. It’s a good idea to refer to it as you write or edit your resume.
Make sure the skills you list are maximally relevant for the role you want. Take the hypothetical scenario of applying for a fundraising coordinator position at a local nonprofit. When bringing up your computer skills for resume sections, it’s probably best to focus on those related to social media and content management, if applicable.
If in doubt, look at the job advertisement and determine if it has keywords or duties you could translate to tech-related job skills. If it mentions that the person in that role will update the organization’s website as needed, that’s your cue to talk about how you know your way around WordPress.
Think About What Tech Skills Convey
Don’t forget that you don’t need to wait until applying for a tech position before mentioning computer skills for resume sections. Research indicates nearly all jobs in the U.S. require tech knowledge, even if they are low-skill occupations.
Beyond the fact you’ll likely depend on tech in your next job, it’s important to think about your capabilities in a different light. Imagine how they might make you well-suited for other work by implying you have certain traits.
If you recently passed a coding boot camp, mentioning that accomplishment on a tech resume would likely cause hiring professionals to make certain favorable assumptions about you. Namely, they might believe you’re detail-oriented, diligent and able to work well under pressure. That’s because it’d arguably be difficult for someone to get through the class without those traits.
Or, if you recently worked at a call center that required learning to use a specialized computer interface and making detailed notes about every telephone-based communication you received, that position indicates you can handle accurate data entry in fast-paced environments, and use the phone and computer simultaneously.
You can’t expect hiring managers to connect those dots themselves, though. It’s your job to highlight why your tech expertise makes you well-suited for an open position, even if it’s not tech-centric. Feel free to directly attribute your tech skills to a company or team’s goal achievement, provided that’s true.
Don’t Send out the Same IT Resume for Every Job
When you’re updating your resume for best results, it’s tempting to put forth your best effort, meticulously check the document for errors and submit it for every IT job posting — or any other role — that seems like a good fit. However, sending the same resume to every hiring manager prevents you from looking over the job ads and tailoring your content to what they require, as suggested above.
View your resume as a template, and update sections as necessary. You should be doing that no matter what, such as when you learn new technology skills for resume inclusion.
The things you could offer to each employer undoubtedly vary depending on the job postings. If you get lazy and do a massive resume distribution without making company-specific tweaks, you miss chances to call attention to how you’d excel if hired — concerning tech skills or otherwise.
Give Yourself a Refresher Before Mentioning Tech Skills
In earlier chapters, you’ve learned how it’s likely detrimental to mention the ability to use tech tools unless you have expert-level knowledge. If you plan to list some, it’s a good idea to sit down at a computer and refresh your memory about how to perform advanced functions.
You never know if a hiring manager might invite you in for an interview and want proof of your tech skills instead of merely taking you at your word. If you can’t meet expectations at that moment, it’ll appear you’re dishonest, even if the reality is that you once did have sharp skills, but they’re now rusty.
Additionally, some of the larger freelancing sites employers use to fill their needs for remote workers have skills tests freelancers can take to show their competencies. The tests may be optional, but you could be at a disadvantage for some ultra-competitive positions by deciding not to complete them.
Opinions vary about the worthiness of the tests, with detractors saying it’s easy to cheat and that the skills tests aren’t always genuine indicators of abilities. But, both within the world of freelancing and outside it, there’s a possibility an employer or freelancing client may ask you to show off your candidacy by displaying the skills you mentioned on your tech resume.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to get familiar with required programs before listing them on a resume. If you were a Photoshop pro five years ago, but have only opened the program once since, it’s not wise to mention the software on your resume without interacting with it more first.
Stay Abreast of Tech-Related Ways to Make Yourself More Marketable
Ideally, a resume always evolves because it represents ongoing personal growth and improvement. So, besides applying the tips above to improve your resume immediately, keep an eye out for ways you could pursue continuing education to make yourself as appealing as possible to employers later.
For example, cybersecurity and data science are two advanced skills outside the scope of this piece. But, they’re skills that are in demand and likely to remain so for years from now. If tech fascinates you and you’re interested in a career change, learn which tech jobs employers need to fill most, and think about eventually receiving training for those roles.
A Fulfilling Job Is Within Your Reach
After reading this chapter and the entire guide, you should feel well-equipped to effectively emphasize skills for resume portions and showcase your tech abilities. Doing that could set you apart from other job seekers.
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