Chapter 5: 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.

Research published in 2017 indicates the technical services sector is among those with the highest percentage of telecommuting workers relative to their share of the workforce.

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.

Want a complete list of all the different tech skills you could include on your resume? Download our bonus pack for free below!

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Kayla Matthews is a technology writer and the editor of Productivity Bytes. Her work has been featured on Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, VICE, VentureBeat, The Daily Dot and WIRED, among others. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.
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