3 Skills to Include on Your Tech Resume (+4 to Get Rid of Permanently)
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Writing a resume is subjective.
Ask a group of 10 people how to write a great resume and you’ll get 10 different answers. The content and style will vary drastically depending on the type of role you’re looking for and your personal preferences.
Regardless of how you convey your work experience, there are some skills you should always have on your resume if you’re in the IT space. Are you including them and setting yourself up for a successful job search?
Do or don’t: The skills section
A separate section on your resume that lists out your skills can be pretty polarizing. Some people adamantly include a list of skills, while others prefer to weave their skills into their job descriptions. There’s something to be said for taking a little of each approach here, particularly when you work in technology.
A best practice is to include your hard skills, like programming languages, frameworks, and technical expertise, in a separate skills list.
But what about those much-coveted soft skills employers are desperately seeking in new hires? Incorporate those into your descriptions of recent roles to highlight your ability to problem solve, communicate well, and lead a team.
Three skills you should always include on a resume
When you’re in the tech industry, there aren’t hard and fast rules about special skills that absolutely need to be featured on your resume. It will depend on the role and your specialization. After all, an experienced project manager may not have the same skills as a junior Java developer.
However, there are a few skills you should always include, no matter what type of role you’re looking for.
1. Leadership or management responsibilities:
It’s not technically a hard skill to include in your skills list, but it’s valuable to mention any leadership or management duties. This is one of those soft skills that hiring managers are desperate to see.
Good leaders, whether they’re in formal management roles or not, are hard to come by. Even if you’ll be acting as an individual contributor, a hiring manager always wants someone who can step up to be a positive influence, get buy-in from the team, and help others develop.
2. Specialized technical skills specifically referenced in the job post:
We’ve all seen bad job descriptions.
Some are overly vague, leaving applicants with little sense of what the job actually entails. Others have so many detailed requirements that no candidate will ever fit the bill completely. Read through job postings carefully and note key technical skills that you think are actually relevant to the role.
Do you have them?
If so, make sure they’re on your resume. If you have a similar or related skill, note this too. Yes, this means your resume could theoretically be slightly different for each role you apply to - and that’s perfectly fine.
3. Problem solving and the ability to learn:
With technology advancing by leaps and bounds every year, it makes sense that jobs - and your prospective employer - will change drastically in the coming years. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 report estimates that 54 percent of employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2022.
This isn’t just important for entry-level or repetitive jobs - there’s increasing chatter about how advancements in technology and AI will significantly change the landscape for skilled tech employees as well.
If you can show off your problem-solving abilities and willingness to learn new things, you’re showing an employer that you’ll be a valuable asset in regard to the challenges they face both right now and in the future.
4 skills to banish from your resume
When it comes to skills you’re listing on a resume, more isn’t necessarily better. Review your resume for the following items - and get rid of them if they appear. They’ll be a red flag to IT recruiters, hiring managers, and project managers alike.
1. Web search:
The internet has been around for quite a while now - even most Baby Boomers who didn’t grow up with technology can complete a general web search. Unless you’re referring to specialized search capabilities within a specific software system, leave “web searching” off your resume.
2. Microsoft Office:
You work in the tech industry - it’s common sense that you should be able to use Word, Outlook, Excel, and the Google Suite alternatives. Most companies expect their applicants will know their way around basic business tools.
Mentioning your ability to use common software can make it look like you’re just trying to add content to your resume. More importantly, it also takes up space you could be using to convey skills that are more applicable to the job.
3. Social media:
Most people have used a social media platform at one point or another - but that doesn’t mean you’re actually skilled in it. Unless you’ve used corporate social channels specifically as part of a past role and you’re applying for a job in the marketing space, this isn’t a skill to include. Besides being irrelevant to most tech jobs, it’s also wasting valuable real estate you could be using to showcase a real skill.
4. Anything you’re not actually proficient in:
Don’t fall into the trap of including “skills” in which you’re not extremely well versed. For example, if you have only rudimentary knowledge of Python, either don’t include it as a skill or note that it’s something you’re still learning.
A skills list crammed with a hundred different things is a huge red flag.
Recruiters and hiring managers will assume your knowledge of all of them is shallow or that you’re lying about at least some of these skills. Amazingly, people do this all the time.
Seventy-five percent of companies have caught a lie on a resume, according to a 2018 survey from CareerBuilder. Don’t be one of these people!
With this in mind, is your resume due for a makeover? Chances are, there’s some room for improvement. Review your resume and get rid of the fluff and unnecessary skills - you may be catching an IT recruiter’s eye in no time.
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About the Company:
Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premiere I.T. staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 20+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland. Now based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have narrowed their focus to a single market (Chicago) and 4 core technical areas;
Application/mobile/web development and ecommerce
Data science/analytics/business intelligence/artificial intelligence
ERP SAP/Oracle and project management/BA/QA
PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.
Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunity employer.