Listing Technology on Your Resume – An IT Manager’s Perspective


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I initially hesitated to  comment on Ed Cabellon’s blog post “Listing Technology on Your Student Affairs Resume” because I wasn’t quite sure how resumes for IT positions differ from student affairs positions.    I do think there are general considerations applicable to both and so this post is to offer an additional perspective. Purely from my perspective as a hiring manager in a student affairs IT department and limiting the conversation to the technology portion of a resume, here are what I look for:

* Context of how an applicant used the technology. This means numbers and scope. Designing an application used by 2 people is different from designing a system used by 1000 people.  A list of technologies are good, putting some context behind the experience is even better. It helps to see specific versions of software and/or programming language(s) used.

* Experience with technologies relevant to the position. Listing technologies used 20 years ago is irrelevant. For example, if we are looking for a SQL Server database developer and I see FoxPro as the only database experience listed, that’s probably not a good fit. In addition, I think it’s probably acceptable to list other technologies like web development software, social media, desktop publishing as secondary information and they do not take focus away from required technologies to the position.

When interviewing an applicant, here is what I expect:

* I expect an applicant to be able to describe what the task/problem the technology solved, how technology was used. I also would expect them to describe their role(s) and their use of the technologies including from the context of business perspective.

* Instead of asking questions like “describe how you would use this tech?” I ask “how have you used this tech?” What I’ve found is that even applicants who list certifications like MCP, MCSD, etc, when asked practical questions, sometimes cannot answer questions that I would assume are fundamental knowledge. In other words, I obviously want to know that an applicant has some foundational understanding of how/when/why to apply technology but I also want to know that they’ve had some experience working with them.

* Do not misrepresent your level of experience. After having reviewed hundreds of resumes and interviewing applicants, I have found it easier to determine whether an applicant’s resume matches his/her actual experience during their interview.

The required level of experience and skill set vary based on the classification of the position we are trying to fill. My general advice is to represent your experience to match the job description and requirements for the position. In my career, I have been a developer, project manager, department manager and now a director. When the position I am applying for is a software developer, I would highlight my software development experience. As a matter of fact, if an applicant is applying for a software developer position and all I see is management experience, I would question whether the applicant is actually a good fit or if they’re even competent for the position.

When determining an applicant’s level of competence, motivation and fit with an organization, there are other evaluation processes that could/should be used including reference checks, questions about soft skills and coding exercises.

What’s your perspective on my thoughts above? Any other considerations to add?

2 thoughts on “Listing Technology on Your Resume – An IT Manager’s Perspective

  1. Gary Honickel

    I actually agree alot. Having a computer science degree and working in Student Affairs as a Residential Life Coordinator, I get alot of oos and ah’s whenever I talk tech. I could put my technology language experience on my resume but to me, it comes off the wrong way and makes me sound like I am using big words (like SQL). I think its different how people look at technology on a resume depending on the job. If I am looking to work for you, I would rework my entire resume to be more technology friendly to be associated with going for that job.

    For student affairs (with our thousands of different systems), I might display it like how Ed Cabellon talked about in his article. However, I personally think it is overkill and alot of people put things on their resume and when I ask them “run a query for me” they might be lost because they used SQL a long time ago. I would look for how you use it. when I was job searching, I liked what my supervisor suggested to me: He told me to put me to get rid of that technology software and put in what I actually did with it.

    Just my thoughts.

    On a related note, I like your perspective Joe and I think this is a good blog post to remind everyone: tailor your resume for the job you want. It also reminded me I needed to update the resume on my blog.

    1. Joe Sabado

      Thanks Gary! I looked at your resume and with regards to your student affairs experience (which is the highlight of your resume), I love how you put context into your experience by providing numbers/scope as I mentioned.

      As you noted, regardless of what job to apply for, resumes should reflect a match and that it showed there were some preparation and thought behind them.


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