After recently hosting a webinar for about 300 SQL Server users including BI analysts, database developers and software engineers, I noticed one clear common denominator among these technical professionals: they are overwhelmingly concerned with showing hard skills and responsibilities with relatively little attention to their counter-skills (i.e. soft skills and accomplishments).
While hard skills and duties are central to any technical resume, employers are looking for much more.
Why? Because employers want to know you can do more than just complete an assigned task. They want to know you can recognize areas for improvements, tackle issues head-on, easily adapt to changes or unusual situations, work with challenging teams and individuals, and take charge when a manager needs you. You can bet there are other technical professionals out there who boast all of these skills and can prove it effectively in their resume.
So, how can you make your resume more marketable to the best positions in your field? Here are some tips:
Make Sure to Create a Balanced Introduction / Summary
About half of the content should explain your skills and experience in various programs and the other half should discuss your softer skills – or essentially your ability to lead people, manage a project, guide a process, approach situations, make a decision – you get the idea.
Confine Your SQL Server and Other Tech Skills to One Portion of Your Resume
Create a separate section to list your expertise in languages, platforms, hardware, software, etc. Limit this section to no more than a third of the first page, but be specific and comprehensive in your listings. For example, list SQL Server as well as T-SQL or ANSI SQL so that applicant tracking systems looking for these specific skills will pick up on your document.
Balance Your Work History Between Responsibilities and Achievements
Start each job entry by explaining what you did and follow that with bulleted examples of how well you did it. Use this outlet to go beyond your use of programs, languages, tools, etc. and focus on explaining how you leveraged them to execute a project or endeavor.
Avoid Overly Wordy Explanations About Your Previous Positions
Most professionals who use SQL are not writers and tend to get heavy and in-depth with their explanations. A great way to avoid creating a three-page life history is to have someone proofread your resume and tell you areas where you lose focus or have clunky text.
Avoid Including Your Microsoft Certification Logos
Many applicant tracking systems do not pick up and convert these images properly or at all. Instead, simply list the certification name and awarding organization (if applicable).
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It is easy for SQL users to focus on their technical skills and forget about their softer, more people-focused abilities. By exploring the full spectrum of your value proposition – or what you have to offer an employer – you can infuse your resume with a balanced display of your leading edge tech skills and your more people-focused soft skills, and take your resume to the next level.