Q. I have a lot of technical skills, with certifications in several software programs, but employers always want more. How can I convince them that I am fully capable of learning those skills quickly and becoming the expert they want?
A. Many companies are guilty of asking for an impossible set of technical skills in their ads, job postings, or directions to recruiters. At Robin’s Resumes®, we can align technical resumes with those unrealistic expectations by including a section dedicated to potential skills that you are capable of learning. In describing achievements, we also emphasize how, in previous jobs, you were able to quickly get up to speed on new technology, software, processes, and projects. One or both of these methods should work for your technical resume.
Q. Most resume advice tells you to place the education section at the end of your resume. But I recently received my MBA in project management so that I can change to project management after many years of working in technical positions. Is it okay to put the education section first?
A. Usually, only recent college graduates place their education before their work experience. In your case, there are several ways of presenting this new degree that is so important to your career transition. For example: (1) Your degree could follow your name in the heading: John Jones, MBA. (2) Your MBA in project management could become a major bullet point in your summary, as well as an item under Education at the end of your resume. (3) Your achievements can be worded to show that, even in a technical role, you were a team and project leader.
Q. I want to work with a professional resume writer but I am astounded at how little most of them know about technology and the field I am in. They keep asking me to spell out acronyms and dumb down language. How can I get them to appreciate my level of expertise?
A. Two problems are interacting here. The first problem is that resume writers deal with people working in a wide variety of industries and cannot be expected to have expertise in all of them. I am somewhat unique in that I have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—so I am definitely comfortable with technical resumes. The second problem is that your resume has to be readable by people who may not be experts in your field, including recruiters and hiring managers in Human Resources. When it comes to acronyms and technical terms, you should be careful about assuming that “everyone knows that.” Often, an acronym is so specific to the company or industry where you currently work that even hiring managers are unfamiliar with it. You do not want to limit your potential job offers by refusing to clarify acronyms and technical terms.