As I thought about what I wanted to write for my first LITA post, I really wasn’t sure until inspiration struck as I procrastinated by scrolling down my Facebook feed. I had been tagged in a status written by a library student who felt unsure of how she was displaying her tech skills on her CV. She asked for opinions. Was it even relevant to put a tech section on her CV if she wasn’t applying for a digital library job? If she already mentioned tech skills in a cover letter, did they need to be put on a CV, too?
The thread got a lot of different responses, some aligning with my thoughts on the subject and others that befuddled me. Why, for instance, was someone suggesting that you should only list tech skills you got in the classroom and not those you picked up on the job? Why did people seem to think that if you were writing a cover letter you should list your tech skills there and not on a CV?
Today, I thought I would share a few brief thoughts on how I list tech skills on my professional documents and how that connects to how I talk about them in a cover letter. Keep in mind that I am an academic librarian with a job in digital libraries, so the usefulness of my perspective beyond this specific area may be limited. And just to clarify, I recognize that everyone has different opinions on content, formatting, and length of professional documents. Just check out one of the myriad library resources for job hunters. It’s a good thing to have varying perspectives, actually, and I welcome all the opinions out there, whether they agree or disagree with my take on the subject.
What I Do
Why would I write a paragraph about it when I can just show you? This is how the tech section of my resume and CV looks now (very similar to when I applied for jobs in late 2013/early 2014).
- Coding – HTML5, CSS
- Digital Collection/Content Management – Drupal, Omeka
- Digitization Software – Epson Scan, Silverfast
- Document Design – Adobe Creative Suite 5, Microsoft Office 2010 suite
- Markup Languages & Standards – EAD, MODS, RDF, TEI, XML
- Operating Systems – Mac OS X, Windows, UNIX
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, podcasting, wikis
- Repository Software – DSpace, Fedora
- Other – ArcGIS, Neatline
This section is listed under the header “Technology” and does not include bullet points (used in this post for formatting reasons). Check out my entire CV to see how this section fits in with the rest of my content.
Conveying my tech skills in this way provides a quick way for a potential employer to understand the different software I know. It doesn’t provide a lot of usable information since there’s no indication of my skill level or familiarity with these tools. I consider this section of my CV a catch-all for my tech knowledge, but it’s up to my cover letter to educate the reader about my depth of understanding on specific tools relevant to the job description. I don’t include any tools here that I wouldn’t be able to easily answer, “So tell me how you have used ___ in the past?”
I have tinkered around with this section more times than I can count over the past few years. Even now, writing this blog post, I’m looking at it and thinking, “Is that really relevant to me anymore?” I haven’t looked at other people’s CVs in a long time, and though those might be good to reference in this post, let’s be real: it’s a gloomy Friday afternoon as I type this and I just can’t bring myself to do a quick search.
My laziness aside, I’m particularly interested in how different types of info professionals, from archivists to public, academic, and special librarians, convey their tech skills in professional documents. So many jobs in libraries involve working with technology. I would think you’d be hard-pressed to find a new job that doesn’t involve tech in some way. So is there a way to standardize how we convey this type of information, or are our jobs so diverse that there’s really no way to do so?
I’m curious: How do you highlight your technology skills on professional documents like a resume or CV? Tell me in the comments!