Many people understand the importance of keeping their resumes current in a world where employment is no longer assured. It’s no longer the norm to stay with the same company for 30 years; instead, we live in a world where we could be laid off at any time. As a business owner, I know how challenging it is to ensure the continued employment of one’s staff in a world where one’s client could suddenly go bankrupt and refuse to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even business owners might lose their jobs in this economy.
However, one of the most important things I stress to my staff is the need to seize every opportunity that comes your way. If your company provides you the chance to participate in training, even if it’s after hours, jump at it. You never know when such an opportunity will arise. It baffles me that in this day and age, some people still choose laziness over-exercise. It fascinates me that many former Australian troops offered the chance to retrain before leaving the service don’t use the training funds made available to them.
Then, exactly why does this matter…
Employers today have their pick of many qualified applicants, so standing out from the crowd can be challenging for job seekers and companies. As an employer, I find it challenging to gauge a candidate’s proficiency from their resume alone. Employment agencies typically only look at resumes between two and three pages long. Well, I’ve learned that while it’s OK for employment agencies to suggest merely 2 or 3 pages, I’ve found that this does little to assist me in differentiating among applicants.
Many places of employment may also advise you to merely include a summary of your education or computer skills on your resume. To be quite honest with you, I think this is a terrible idea. In the five years I’ve spent establishing my computer training business, I’ve learned, among other things, that not all training firms are the same and that not all training is the same. In addition, potential employers are interested in knowing your training history, including who trained you, when, and what credentials you earned as a result of that training.
This raises a significant problem right now. In today’s competitive job market, many people who want to learn new computer skills opt instead to take courses that only result in a Certificate of Attendance. If this sounds like you, perhaps your company has sent you on a one-day Microsoft Word 2003 Level 1 course. You will receive a certificate of attendance rather than a certification because this is a one-day session. So, when drafting your CV, clearly distinguish your diploma from your training courses.
As an IT professional, you can choose from a wide variety of credentials in the computer business, such as those listed below.
In other words, you have earned your MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) credential.
Certification as a Microsoft Certified System Administrator (or MCSA)
Certified Database Administrator (also MCDBA) from Microsoft.
Systems Engineer at CISCO
If you’re like most individuals, you probably aren’t interested in obtaining a Microsoft Office Specialist Certification or any other IT-related certification.
In that case, how do we highlight them on a CV…
It is essential to highlight your Certifications and prior computer training while writing your CV. Certifications and exercises should always be presented in that order. This is done because certificates are more important than training alone. When listing your credentials, include the dates you earned each qualification.
This is how I would record my experience and skills as an example:
Credentials for the Workforce –
30 July 2006 Expert, Certified Teacher, Microsoft Office 2003
15 June 2005 Expert in Desktop Support, Certified by Microsoft
Exams for Professional Accreditation –
7 July 2006 Fundamentals of Microsoft Outlook 2003 Test
Core Exam for Microsoft Access 2003 on July 6, 2006
5 July 2006 The Essentials of Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 Test
4 July 2006 The Mastering Excel 2003 Test
3 July 2006 Fundamentals of Microsoft Excel 2003 Test
2 July 2006 Word 2003 Certification Exam Proficient in
1 July 2006 Word 2003 Foundations Test
Exam 70-271: Administering and Repairing the Microsoft Windows XP Environment, Dated February 12, 2005
Exam 70-272, Administering and Troubleshooting Desktop Programs in Microsoft Windows XP were held on February 10, 2005.
Education for the Professions –
29 May 2005 Individualized Instruction in Microsoft Word 2003 (PC Training)
26 May 2005 Private Instruction in Microsoft Excel 2003 (Level 2)
22 – 25 May 2005 One-on-One Microsoft Certified Professional Desktop Support (Computer) Training
Make sure to include the logo for any professional qualifications you’ve earned if they have one. This is just one more item to consider while compiling your resume. The caveat will immediately stand out to the reader in this way. For instance, if you’re a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and your certification mark is the first thing an employer sees, they’re more likely to evaluate your application. From personal experience, I can say that prospective employers will be more interested in employing you if you make it as easy as possible for them to see your qualifications. Since an employer’s initial glance at a resume is usually at the top, I always tell my students to place their professional certification logos as close to their names as possible at the top of their resume.
Make sure that the information about your credentials and training comes before the information about your employment history while you are filling up your resume. Suppose a prerequisite for the position is knowledge of Microsoft Word, for example, and the employer sees your educational background first. In that case, they can check off the box indicating that you have received training in Microsoft Word.
There are two things that prospective employers care about:
First, most companies would hire candidates with college degrees or professional certifications instead.
Second, having prior knowledge of the software is always a plus when applying for jobs.
You will rise to the top of the heap far more quickly if you have formal training, and that training is immediately apparent. By listing your computer credentials first and then your activity, you show the company that you’re an expert in your field, thanks to your certifications and training.
Last but not least, when compiling your resume, you should highlight how you put your education and experience to work at each position you’ve held. If, for instance, you’re applying for a job that requires explicitly “Advanced Microsoft Word training,” you should be prepared to provide examples of how you’ve used that training in previous positions.
If a company advertises for someone with “Advanced Microsoft Word Training,” I would assume they seek someone with the following skills.
The ability to mail merge and filter records while doing so
2. Make a blank form that can be filled out with the help of form objects.
3. Have experience with fields and be familiar with field-related keyboard shortcuts
4. Be familiar with tables and table formatting
5. Can merge several versions of a document and track changes made to it.
As such, the work experience section of your resume should include examples of how you applied your skills in practical situations. Remember that employers are not expecting you to do this daily, but you still need to provide examples of when you have.
Your previous computer training should have emphasized the importance of knowing standard terms and shortcuts, which is another essential thing to remember. If you’re applying for a position requiring specific vocabulary, use that phrase in your resume. Employers will not know your genuine level of comprehension if you do not use this word in your CV.
This is the crux of the matter. When applying for a job, consider your CV an advertisement; if you don’t sell yourself and explain why the company should hire you, they won’t. Remember that any time a company decides to hire you, they make a financial investment in you. If the company hires you for the next ten years at a salary of $50,000 each year, that’s a total of $500,000 throughout that period. In other words, when an employer hires you, he makes a $500,000 bet on you. Do you think you’re genuinely $500,000? If so, you’ll need to show your employer proof.
People always seem to be moaning that they can’t find a job. Ninety percent of the time, the complainant is not selling themselves effectively to the employer. In many cases, especially in today’s marketplace, this is due to a lack of clear and practical demonstration of the computer skills they possess.
Chris Le Roy is the head honcho at Townsville, Australia’s One-on-One Personal Computer Training. On his website, you may get several of his Cheat Sheets for learning keyboard shortcuts. Visit our website at [http://www.1-on-1.biz/products/msword/default.asp] [http://www.1-on-1.biz/products/msexcel/default.asp] for assistance with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, respectively. Visit Microsoft Office Help if you need assistance with keyboard shortcuts.
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