As someone who has been in a management position within the web hosting industry for close to 10 years, I have had the opportunity to see many resumes of potential employees. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of the applicants miss the mark on what a hosting company is looking for and often get passed over without the first consideration. I am in the process of conducting interviews for a new system’s administrator and thought this would be a good opportunity to relay my thoughts on what a company like Hivelocity is looking for in a potential employee.
The Resume- First and foremost, proficiencies in MS Word, MS Works, Lotus 123 and Windows 95 are not things that excite me. At one time, and perhaps for certain organizations and for certain job descriptions these items belong on a resume but in 2011 when applying for a Sys Admin position they are simply clutter to sort though. The fact of the matter is, my parents are more than capable of working on Windows 95 or firing up Word and they are 2 of the least technical people on this earth. If you have not freshened up your resume since Windows 95 was relevant then it might be time to give it a once over. In today’s market, there are a lot of people out there applying for jobs. I have had no less than 100 resumes sent to me since I posted our job opening a little over a week ago. With 100+ resumes to sort through it is to an applicant’s advantage to show me the good stuff front and center. Often a technicians resume will list anywhere from 20-90 different pieces of software and OS’s they are familiar with. I might miss important things like CentOS, Debian, cPanel, Plesk, Cisco, Windows Server Editions and Linux if I have to sort through things like Word Perfect, Window 95 and Power Point in order to find it.
Know your audience– I would recommend catering each resume you send out to the specific job you are applying for. If you are applying for a 2nd level sys admin job with a hosting company then you may want to put the server specific software you are proficient with in a prominent easy to find spot on your resume. You may want to list ONLY the server specific software and include something like “a longer list including non-server software is available upon request”. If you wish to list every piece of software you know then please just make sure you list the items relevant to the position you are applying for first. If you are applying for a job as a PC fix it guy then by all means, list things like Windows 7 and Word towards the top and move the server based software towards the end of the list.
Interview- You get one chance to make a first impression is not accurate; you actually get 2 chances. The first chance is your resume, the second is the interview. Make sure you spend a few minutes on the company’s website familiarizing yourself with what the company does, recent news they may have announced and what type of customer they probably deal with. If you are applying for a tech position and are too lazy to surf the web for a few minutes learning about who you are hoping to hire you then you are too lazy to work for me. If you are able to state a few facts about the company or mention something about a recent event within the company then you are proving you give a damn. Next, at some point during every interview you will be asked “tell me about yourself and tell me what characteristics make you the best choice for this job.” This is the part where you should give examples of previous work experience and knowledge of relevant information within the industry. This is not where you say something like, “I am really easy to get along with and everyone likes me”. If something like this comes out of your mouth you have announced to the interviewer you are not prepared, you do not think quickly on your feet, and you have no relevant experience to share. This question will be asked, so be prepared to have something to say. If you visit the company website the night before you should be able to come up with something that sounds decent.
Bottom Line- Before you apply for any job you need to spend a little time making sure your resume looks the best it can for the job you are applying for. A little common sense will go a long way here. Do a little research on the company you are applying for and prepare for the interview. In today’s job market every place you interview with will have 100 other people vying for the job. You have a short window of opportunity to separate yourself from the rest of the crowd, take an hour to polish your resume and know the company you are applying for and you might just find yourself getting job offers.