Will a certification boost my resume?
When you are trying to break into the IT field, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. Some of the most common have to do with your resume: What should it look like? What should it include? Will having a certification help?
We want to focus on that last question. The short answer is that the right certification can help a lot.
But there is a fair amount we need to explain here. To provide you with some entry-level IT resume help, we’ll first describe the best positions and opportunities for those just starting out in the field. Then we’ll explore what employers are looking for and how a certification can help your resume stand out from the crowd.
The help desk is a strategic place to start your IT career.
If you are just getting started in tech, you are probably planning to pursue an entry-level position. But what is an “entry-level” job, anyway?
Technically, it’s the typical starting position for a particular career path. If you were to pursue a career in cybersecurity, for instance, you might begin as a cybersecurity specialist. From there you could work your way up to a cybersecurity analyst or a cybersecurity manager.
An entry-level position, however, can still require a lot of preparation. For example, most people hired as cybersecurity specialists will need four years of college study.
If you are switching careers or already have a degree in a different field, you need a different kind of entry-level job — one that doesn’t require an extensive background in IT.
The good news is that one of the positions in IT that consistently has among the highest job openings fits that description: technical support.
Positions in this area can be called IT support specialists, help desk technicians, or IT technicians (plus others). These are the professionals who provide support for end users of software, hardware, and peripherals.
There is quite a bit of variety in what the roles look like. Some might help employees of a company get the most out of their computing and networking resources, for instance, while others might assist customers remotely by troubleshooting technical problems.
Because information technology is such a big part of every business’s operations, the need for this kind of support isn’t going away any time soon. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in this field to see steady growth in the years ahead.
You can build your experience, knowledge, and credentials to step into more specialized roles in the future.
In short, a role in technical support is a strategic place to begin in IT for those without an extensive background in the field. But what will you need to have on your resume? In other words, what will potential employers want to see? We’ll cover that in the next section.
Entry-Level IT Resume Help: What are employers looking for?
Help desk jobs require you to be strong in three areas:
Customer service is important because these positions tend to involve a lot of interaction with others, whether they be employees within the organization or a business’s customers. You’ll need to be friendly, patient, and a good communicator.
IT support professionals also need technical knowledge in many areas. When someone is having computer problems, it may be an issue with the operating system, the particular software application, the hardware, networking, a security problem, or some combination of these. You’ll need to understand all of these areas and how they work together.
Finally, you need to be able to accurately identify and creatively solve the problems others are having.
So, how can you demonstrate these traits on your resume? Even with a non-tech background, you may have previous work and life experiences you can point to as evidence of your customer service or problem-solving skills. These and other soft skills are highly valued by employers in tech.
However, showing that you have the needed technical knowledge is the most challenging area for those new to the IT field. This is where certifications come in.
What is an IT certification and how will it help my resume?
A certification is a credential earned after successfully passing an exam that tests for competence in a narrowly focused area. Having an IT certification on your resume is a powerful way to show a potential employer that you possess a certain set of skills and knowledge.
Unlike a college degree, you can earn a certification relatively quickly. It is simply a matter of how long it takes you to master the material the exam will cover.
We use the word “master” intentionally. Cramming for a certification exam isn’t wise. You probably remember doing this in high school along with the predictable results: You forget all the information once the exam is over.
If you’re earning an IT certification, it’s because you want to use these skills on the job. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure you are thoroughly prepared.
Which IT certification should I get?
The logical next question is this: Which IT certification will be most helpful on your resume?
That depends upon the kinds of positions you’ll be pursuing. There are several entry-level certifications that can be helpful to earn. If you would like to be competitive for technical support roles, however, the CompTIA A+ certification is your best bet. It is listed as a qualification in more tech support job posts than any other certification.
It is easy to see why. The A+ exam tests for knowledge and abilities in all the foundational areas of IT, including hardware, software, operating systems, networking, cloud computing, mobile devices, and security.
The exam also includes performance-based questions that test your ability to apply what you know in realistic scenarios.
Listing the CompTIA A+ certification on your resume can increase your chances of landing an entry-level position in IT.
Get a lot more than resume help with CompTIA Tech Career Academy.
That brings us to one last question: What’s the best way to earn your CompTIA A+ certification?
CompTIA Tech Career Academy offers an online program designed to help people just like you who are entering the IT field and need help getting prepared to apply for jobs. We talked about the strategic importance of the A+ certification. Our program will provide you with live, comprehensive, online instruction that will thoroughly prepare you for the exam.
However, we know that your ultimate goal isn’t just to earn a certification but to land a job. That’s why we also provide professional help in preparing your entry-level IT resume, formulating a strategy for your job search, and helping you get ready for your interviews.
We even help you with networking, providing opportunities for you to make connections with potential employers who have experienced firsthand the quality of our graduates.
A certification can boost your resume. Preparing with CompTIA Tech Career Academy can boost your career. Find out more about our program to see if it’s right for you.