The IT Skills or Technical Skills section is something that you may not see in non-IT resumes, but is almost absolutely necessary in the technical resume, with exception of executives or high level managers who may choose to leave this section out.
For hands-on IT professionals this is critical. For example lets look at a software engineer. There is a major difference between the type of jobs available for a software developer OOAD engineers, database developers and firmware developers are all very different jobs using different technologies. We need to make that clear to employers that you possess a knowledge of specific technologies.
The goal is to develop a detailed outline of your technical skills and break it down into subcategories. This will make it easier for the reader to pick up the specific skills they are looking for. You can look resumes that have been written by professional writers to get ideas of good formats, you find resumes in our samples section or this site.
A good general breakdown would include 5 categories of skills sets: Operating Systems, Hardware, Software, Networking and Programming Languages. A basic example of an IT Resume Technical Skills Section:
Systems: Windows (2000, 2003), UNIX, Linux
Hardware: Servers, Hubs, Routers, Switches, PC’s
Software: MS Office Suite, MS SQL Server, Visio
Networking: TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP, WINS, Ethernet, Token Ring
Of course the subheadings that you choose should reflect the key areas of your field. Often times, network engineers will not have a languages section and software engineers won’t have a networking section.
Also, its a good idea to break down the IT skills section into more than just 5 subsections. I have seen this done effectively with up to 10 subsections, although I think going above 10 is overdoing it. For example, a specialized software engineer could build an IT skills section using these subcategories: Programming Languages, Operating Environments, Hardware, API’s/Frameworks, Databases, Development Utilities and Applications.
Tips for building the IT Skills Section
1. Be reasonable about the subcategories and don’t build so many that you have only 1 or 2 skill sets listed in the subcategory. For one, it tends to make you look weak in that category. For two, it tends to take up too much space and may be forcing you to cut quality information from other portions of the resume.
2. Be reasonable about what you are listing. I have seen resumes with an entire page full of technical skills. This is counterproductive as it makes it extremely difficult for the reader to find what they are looking for. Stick the key technologies and eliminate skills sets that are either insignificant or so old that no one uses the technology anymore. That’s not to say that you should eliminate ALL legacy technologies as sometimes they may be beneficial if the company is planning to migrate to a newer technology. Use logic and your better judgment to decide. 25-30% of the page is an ideal length for the IT skills section.
3. There are multiple options for formatting the IT skills section. The style above is popular and takes up less room. You can also list the headings on top and the skills below. Use the style that you prefer.