So, you have the essential IT networking skills and certifications under your belt. You’re the star when it comes to your current networking job at your organization. But what’s next? Whether you want to become a lead or shift into a different area of IT, here’s what you need to bolster your resume for the move.
The key to making a career move is acquiring the skills for the position you desire, verifying those skills, and updating your resume. By evidence, we mean concrete accomplishments that can be added to your resume, such as certifications, blog posts, and projects.
1. Acquire New Skills
Fortunately, in this age of the internet, there are plenty of easily accessible resources for acquiring almost any skill you desire. You can find training materials that match your learning style and start diving into them immediately, most often for free. Google and YouTube are your friends.
Sometimes, to delve deeper into your learning, or to find materials that are especially well prepared for easy absorption, you can find online training that’s a good bang for your buck.
2. Get Certified
Training for certifications is an excellent way to advance your career because you are simultaneously acquiring skills and earning a certificate. Whether your aim is to move into management or move to a different area of IT, there is a certification that can help you.
For example, you could get a Project Management Professional (PMP) cert that demonstrates your mastery of five areas of project execution, or you could get an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate that demonstrates your ability to design distributed applications and systems on AWS.
Both of these can boost your networking credentials. There are also plenty of other certs that you can earn to boost your knowledge in a variety of directions. For instance, with cloud technology being the next “big thing,” it’s definitely something you should consider adding to your skill set!
3. Contribute to a Blog
Writing blog posts demonstrating your expertise in your new area is one way to develop a reputation. Find an industry blog or forum that runs regular posts from contributors. Then pick some topics and write about them. Here are a couple of ideas for topics:
- Explain something that you originally found confusing because you couldn’t find a clear explanation online, and for which you had to dig around before you understood it. Try to explain it clearly so the next person doesn’t have to replicate your effort.
- Write about a difficult challenge that you solved.
- If you figured out how to do something neat or that could benefit others, write about it.
- Try to explain a topic from a big picture point of view and show how the pieces fit together.
Need some inspiration? Check out this post a CBT Nuggets learner wrote about breaking into networking!
If you’re unsure about starting your own blog, there are plenty of other ways to contribute to the online community through different industry resources. You can post on industry forms, contribute to open source development and/or documentation, or you can update your own personal community on industry know-how through social media platforms. There are plenty of ways to contribute to the online communities that you’re already a part of, you just need to know how to ask.
You might be wondering, where does contributing online fit on a resume? Many people now include links to their LinkedIn profiles on their resume; consider adding your blog or profile links alongside.
4. Projects Show More Than Words
Get involved with projects that use your new skills. If you see a need at work that requires your knowledge and skills, volunteer to fill that void. You’ll not only be a go-getter, but you’ll be helping pad your IT resume.
Being able to list projects, describe your involvement, and explain the tangible results and outcomes of those projects is much more attention-grabbing than a list of words. So, seek out projects that put your networking skills to good use.
While waiting for an opportunity to present itself at work, you can discover opportunities to get a few projects under your belt outside of work. You could take on small projects for another cause. You might have to do the first one or two for free, but you’re proving your credibility to get paid for your skills. You could also take on side projects for your own benefit and display them on your GitHub page.
5. Keep Your Resume Updated
As you accumulate certifications, blog posts, and projects, add them to your resume. Having them on your resume will give you a leg up by triggering the automated keyword filters HR departments use to scan through applicants.
Find a way to put the items pertaining to your new skill at the top of the resume. If you completed tasks demonstrating your skills at work, then put the job at the top of the resume, and list those tasks prominently in the job description. Or consider using a skills-based resume.
If the items are mostly from volunteer projects, put a projects section at the top of the resume. Your resume could also begin with a description of your online contributions.
Consider beginning your resume with an objective statement. While objective statements are somewhat out of fashion, they are appropriate if your desired career move is very specific, which happens often in IT.
And good luck!
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