Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Professional Touch: Maximizing Computer Skills with Specifics

by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW

All too often data in resumes is presented quite vaguely, leaving the hiring manager to wonder what the candidate really knows, and what skills they actually have. This is especially true in regards to Computer Skills, whether the applicant is an office worker or an IT professional.

For example, an office worker may feel it’s enough to list skills in this manner:

Technically proficient in Microsoft Office and other software.

After reading the above, the hiring manager may very well wonder what other software? What part of Microsoft Office – all or only Word & Excel? And what version?

When your data raises more questions than it answers, it’s no longer effective. To maximize your information, include specifics. For example, the previous statement should read like this:

Technically proficient in Microsoft Office (Premium 2000), including Word, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, Access, PowerPoint, Front Page, and Photo Draw. Additional expertise in Word Perfect, Quicken, Peachtree Accounting, Lexis-Nexus, and Westlaw.

At a glance, the above provides instant and specific data to a hiring manager.

However, a candidate – especially in the IT field – should go one step further and provide years or months of experience.

A Word About Including Years (or Months) of Experience for Technical Skills

In today’s competitive job market, hiring managers demand that information on resumes be well-prioritized and specific. It’s not enough to state that you have proficiency in Microsoft Word. You must state how many months or years of experience you have or your level of expertise, whether it’s beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Hiring managers will not call you in for an interview, nor will they test your skills unless they are first provided this essential data.

Presenting Technical Skills for IT Professionals

The nature of IT is ever-evolving. Therefore, an IT professional should showcase relevant skills as specifically and completely as possible.

This includes organizing technical data into subheadings, which include:

1. Software
2. Hardware
3. Operating Systems
4. Programming Languages
5. Software Packages
6. Databases
7. Any other technical proficiencies

One way to present this data would be a simple listing. For example:

Computer Skills

- LAN Administration: Windows 2000 Server, Windows NT 3.51/4.0, Novell 3.12/4.1.
- Operating Systems: Windows 2000/NT/XP, Windows 98/95, Macintosh OS.
- Software: Microsoft SQL, SNA, SMS , Site Server & IIS, CA XCOM, SAS, Microsoft Visual Studio, Source Safe, Cognos Enterprise Server, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, AS/400-Windows Connectivity Applications, cc:Mail , Multiple Windows Communications Applications.
- Productivity Software: Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Project.
- Hardware: PCs, Compaq Servers, HP NetServers, IBM NetFinity Servers, AS400 20, SCO Unix OpenServer, Macintosh.

- Certifications: Candidate for MCDBA, Candidate for CCNA/CCDA, Candidate for MCSE, Microsoft Certified System Administrator, Novell Certified Administrator, Novell Certified Engineer.

A more effective way to maximize technical data is to provide specific information in an easy-to-read format. For example:

Technical Skills


Oracle 8/8i/9i, 4 years
SQL Server 6.5/7.0/2000, 6 years
Microsoft Access, 6 years
MySQL, 6 months

Operating Systems:

UNIX , 4 years
LINUX, 4 years
Windows Operating Systems, 12 years
DOS, 12 years
Macintosh, 4 years

Programming Languages:

ShellScript, 3 years
PL/SQL, 4 years
ASP, 5 years
JAVA/JSP, 1 year
JavaScript, 5 years
DHTML, 3 years

Oracle Utilities:

SQL Navigator, 4 years
TOAD, 2 years
Oracle *Net, 4 years
Import/Export, 3 years
SQL *Loader, 3 years
Enterprise Manager, 3 years
Performance Manager, 2 years

The above example has easily obtainable and understood data that is specific and enhances an applicant’s candidacy.

Another way to maximize technical information is to include projects in which expertise was applied. For example, a Senior Infrastructure Consultant had this experience:

Representative Projects:

Multi-protocol LAN. Designed and launched $2 million, multi-protocol, multi-domain LAN for 5000 employees, focusing on speed, fault-tolerance, and redundancy. Implemented array of Cisco 6509 switches, Cisco 3600 and 7000 routers, and Cisco PIX firewalls. Configured WAN protocols (FrameRelay, ISDN), routing and encapsulation protocols (STP, HSRP, EtherChanneling, EIGRP, OSPF, IGRP, BGP), and routed protocols (IP, IPX, Vines, and DLSw).

Upgrade from legacy LAN. Developed and implemented a layer-3 switched LAN to upgrade existing network for 1200 employees, targeting improved performance and security. Installed/configured collapsed backbone, using Cisco 6509 Catalyst core switches and Cisco Catalyst 4006 edge switches (multi-homed to core). Re-designed IP schema to optimize communication and routing. Created per-floor VLANs. Implemented Cisco PIX 520 Firewalls (including fail-over) to segment public, private, and DMZ networks and provide VPN access. Installed/configured Cisco 3600 routers, using FrameRelay (ISDN as backup). Configured WAN protocols (FrameRelay, ISDN), routing protocols (HSRP, EIGRP, OSFP), and routed protocols (IP, IPX, DLSw).

Co-Lo High-Availability. Engineered fully redundant, fault-tolerant, high-availability network. Researched and advised on co location site and T-3-leasing (two T-3 connections from separate ISPs). Installed/configured Cisco 6509 switches to segment VLANs and provide gigabit throughput to dual-homed server farms. Provisioned A/19 address space and AS number. Implemented Cisco 7000 routers, providing full BGP routing tables and peering with ISP routers. Installed Cisco PIX 525 firewalls (load-balanced and fail-over) to control ingress/egress traffic and provide VPN access for technical staff.

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