IT Resume Tips for Cisco Professionals
- select the contributor at the end of the page -
Here are a few tips and recommendations that you can use to beef up your Cisco resume and have prospective employers take a second look.
Make Your Cisco Resume Searchable
There are a number of things you can include on your Cisco resume to make it stand out. However, if your resume doesn't come up in a search in the first place than the content means very little. Keywords communicate your job skills and knowledge and they help employers find you online.
Many IT job sites provide the ability to input keywords that match your resume. The key is to focus on the keywords that are most relevant to the types of positions that you're applying for. You also have to make sure that you're not using too many keywords.
My advice is to write your resume without any keywords first and then go back and see if any relevant keywords would make sense to add. You want to strike a balance between great resume content and a good number of relevant keywords.
Some keywords that Cisco professionals can take into consideration include:
- Relevant IT certifications: CCNA, Cisco Certified Network Associate, CCNP, Cisco Certified Network Professional, and other certifications that you possess
- Your past and current job roles: network administrator, network engineer, network technician, help desk support, etc.
- Protocols that you're familiar with: OSPF, EIGRP, BGP, UDP, VTP, etc
- Other key concepts, software or technologies you're familiar with: IOS, ACL, VLAN, TCP/IP, WLAN, NAT, etc.
Hare are a few tips on how to incorporate keywords on your Cisco resume:
- Try to add your most important keywords at the top of your resume, like in your summary, objective statements, skills or experience sections
- Don't overdo it; be selective in your keywords and use only the ones that are relevant and accurate to you
- Remember that the goal of keywords on your IT resume is to communicate your skills and expertise
Now, what can you do if you don't have the experience that will allow you to add important keywords to your resume? If you're a career changer or a brand new CCNA with little or no experience in the IT field, try to incorporate relevant keywords in your objective statement and say that these are the skills you want to develop. This way you're able to remain honest and your resume will still come up in search results.
Beef Up Your Summary Section
Your summary section is most likely the first thing a hiring manager will read, so you want to make sure that it is the best part of your resume. Definitely include your Cisco certification and work achievements and a short list of your experience highlights.
You want to keep this section short and sweet; just enough to grab interest from a potential employer but not bore them with every minute detail of your life. Be very specific, brief and to the point.
As Alan pointed out in his IT Resume 101 series, you have about 20 seconds to grab to grab the attention of a hiring manager who is reviewing your IT resume. Make sure you're making it count.
Which Certifications to Include/Exclude?
One question that is commonly asked is whether to list all certifications on your IT resume even if they are redundant of each other; for example listing your CCNA when you also have a CCNP.
The answer to this is not clearcut as it depends greatly on the level of technical knowledge of the hiring manager. For example, if they are tasked with finding a CCNA and only a CCNP is listed, will they know that this is implied?
The general recommendation would be to list all of your certifications (in the least to most advanced order) on your resume, especially if you want to make your resume searchable. What I would recommend, would be to have a second, more technical IT resume on hand that you can use at an interview or when applying for Cisco jobs with specific certification requirements.
Take Advantage of Cisco's Certification Verification System
Another ability that every Cisco candidate should be familiar with is the certification verification system that is provided by Cisco. Many of the more experienced hiring managers are starting to require the verification of all stated certification as it is quite easy to just put this information on a resume without any proof.
To ensure that the information that has been given to them is accurate, hiring managers require a verification report; this report can be sent from within the Cisco verification tracking website located here: Cisco Certification Tracking System.
Once you're logged in simply go to the "Publish Credentials" page and enter the hiring manager's information. This will allow you to provide access to employers to verify your Cisco certifications.
The site is also quite handy when you need to request logos for the certifications that you've achieved, view your certification progress and exam history, update your demographics and more.
I hope that these tips will help you improve your Cisco resume and get the job you've been looking for. If you're starting from scratch, then check out our IT Resume 101 series of articles that includes tips on researching and writing your IT resume: