Technology: Telling Your Story

Determining how you want to position yourself in your resume is the first step toward deciding what technology to include. As an IT professional, you may be hesitant to remove lagging tools and technologies for fear of losing an opportunity but it is this indecision that can impact your chances of finding just the right position. The “I want it all” attitude can be confusing and leads the reader to make certain assumptions about the role and responsibilities that are a best fit for you. This may not be a good match for what you really want to do.

I have a friend who tells a story that does such an excellent job of illustrating this point. Working for a consultancy a number of years ago, he admitted to knowing an archaic programming language and ended up on an undesirable project. As a result, years later, he recalls the consequences and now says, “I should have lied.”

The technologies you include in your resume need to directly align with your career goals. The desired next steps in your career will govern what you include, what categories you use, and the order in which the technology appears. Also, the direction of your career will determine whether your technology profile is situated on the first page of your resume or on the last page. Moving into leadership and management positions will drive this information to the bottom of your resume.

Consider the type of job that interests you. Do you want to work primarily with current and emerging technology? Both current and legacy systems? Only legacy systems?

The number of mergers and acquisitions over the last 5 years combined along with restricted spending due to the economic downturn means that many organizations have become a hodge-podge of tools, techniques, and practices. Most companies settle for some midpoint that combines legacy and current technology, and perhaps some emerging tools.

If your background mirrors this environment, then you need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the technologies you include. Many organizations have large legacy systems that must be maintained and supported. Would you be satisfied in a maintenance position, with only a slight chance of learning new technologies? For many, this may be a safe haven during the current career storm of layoffs, downsizing, and outsourcing.

Others might want to position themselves as bridging the gap between legacy and current systems. Organizations need IT professionals who can work in multiple environments. Being able to maintain older systems while also upgrading and enhancing systems, processes, and technology could be a powerful combination for the right individual.

With clearly defined goals, your resume can be a carefully crafted document that tells the story you want your reader to hear. Your technology profile plays a vital role in describing the type of job and responsibilities that interest you. It is up to you to decide what story to tell.

Jennifer Hay is a highly credentialed resume writer and LinkedIn writer for IT professionals. Her clients include data engineers, data scientists, software engineers, systems analysts, project managers, program managers, product managers, IT managers, and IT directors.