In conversation with Martin Buckland

The Technology Revolution of the past two decades has made an impact on the employment market that equals the impact of the Industrial Revolution. There are thousands of new careers that have come into being because of technology and there are new professions that are continually being created as our lives and societies become increasingly wired. Perhaps most significantly every industry has been affected by technology and hence most workers today have some direct or indirect relationship to technology in their career field.I thought it would be interesting to see what advice a book focused on writing resumés for the IT industry would have. I found that the book was packed with strong examples of resumés that would be very helpful to IT workers but I would have liked the authors to include more industry-specific pointers with some career strategy advice in the mix.
I spoke with Martin Buckland, president of Elite Resumes. Buckland’s resumés stood out and since he was one of the Canadian contributors, I asked him what advice he had for IT professionals when it comes to the resumé.

What are the defining traits of a powerful resumé?
A resumé is basically a brag document. It has to make you stand out from the competition. The wow factor has to be present both in the format and of course the text. It’s very important to portray what you can bring to ABC Company in soft and hard skills as well as displaying to the reader that you are an outstanding performer.

What mistakes do most IT professionals make when it comes to thinking about their resumés?
Most IT professionals downplay themselves — this is not a time to be shy. All IT professionals have a unique skill set, primarily with their software and hardware knowledge. If you consider yourself an expert in a certain software, tell the world you are an expert. It works. Don’t hide anything or be humble, portray all your expertise.

When applying for a mid-level position in the technology industry in an area such as marketing or sales, what should the worker with industry experience highlight and what should the worker with no industry experience play up?
Industry experience: Show accomplishments, did you devise, initiate, create, develop, build or increase anything and, if so, what? Base the sentence around the STAR technique: Situation, Task, Action, Result.
No experience? Show the drive, ambition and determination to be successful, emphasize education and continuing education. Display to the reader a great potential.

What is the benefit of having someone else review your resumé and give you critical feedback?
We all have certain talents, we go to a professional for our tax returns, we visit a lawyer for legal opinions. A career is a huge part of life, so why not invest in someone who can assist in reaching your goals and teach you how to optimize the chances of secure employment and promotion? My philosophy is the more you invest in your career management, the more potential employers will be likely to invest in you. A resumé is a critical component of the investment, it’s your window to the world.

Referrals are the best way to get a hotly sought after job. but what about the importance of networking? What are your thoughts on online networking?
There is no substitute for networking, it’s a critical element in your job search.
Actively involve yourself in industry-related organizations, use your social network and attend the various networking groups for the unemployed. You never know who you might meet.
Online networking is becoming huge, however, it can also be very time-consuming when time is at a premium. Great online sites for IT professionals looking for a new career and to link up with potential decision makers are, as well as

How important are the extras noted at the end of a resumé?
Education, presentations at industry-related conventions and volunteer work are very important to round off a highly effective two-page combination-style resumé.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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