I’ve been scanning a lot of profiles and resumes for my opening for a SharePoint industry analyst. Unfortunately, I often have to read between the lines to figure out exactly what someone’s experience is. So I thought I’d provide my view on how SharePoint practitioners can improve their profiles to help with whatever professional experiences they may seek in the future.
There is a wide spectrum of SharePoint experience, so it pays to be clear about exactly which facets of SharePoint you touched on. Otherwise a good opportunity for a job, speaking opportunity, or community connection could pass you by. Here are some tips on how to state your type experience on your resume or profile in order to target the right kind of opportunities:
- 50,000 foot or ground level: Be specific about where on the technical to business spectrum your SharePoint experience has been and where you’d like to go. There is a range of valuable SharePoint work from deeply technical (coding, complex administration, deep levels of security knowledge) to high level (strategy, planning, governance, evangelism, financial management). Sometimes an altitude metaphor is used informally, such as “he was at the 50,000 foot level (business case, people-related governance)”, “5,000 foot level (supervisory, tactical direction, technical governance)”, or “ground level” (worker bee doing all the work). Or a college class metaphor (100-level, 300-level). I see many resumes that blur the lines and leave the reader wondering exactly what altitude each job listed was at. I’ve seen this a lot with project managers, architects, and “lead”s – depending on the situation these people may be at 1,000 feet or 50,000 feet. Hiring managers will prioritize candidates that have specified their experience over ones where we have to guess.
- Speaking and writing: Speaking and writing experience is important even for technical jobs since it shows deep interest, an ability to organize and convey thoughts, and openness. SharePoint has a vibrant community with plenty of opportunities to get involved. Writers can do their own blogging, contribute to other blogs or magazines, or contribute chapters to books. Speakers can speak at users’ groups, SharePoint conferences, or as case studies at events like our Catalyst conference. These activities show an interest in helping others in the community and hint at some deeper experience as well. If possible, I’d like to see a speaker or writer provide evidence of doing a high quality job, such as “rated in the top 10% at SPC12” or “the best selling book in Wrox’s SharePoint 2013 lineup”. If you have evidence like that, provide it.
- Versions: While I certainly want to know the type of work you did, I also need to know if most of the work was on 2007, 2010, 2013 Servers or SharePoint Online. And if you helped migrate from one version to the other, that’s worth noting as well.
- What type of architect? The word “architect” has been watered down over the past decade. Sometimes it is even awarded to denote “senior” status. Architecture has so many flavors you need to be specific: logical, physical, enterprise, information, etc. Were you in Word writing architectural principles or Visio laying out the topology? Or did you do information architecture?
Resume vs. profile: Mostly I’ve been looking at LinkedIn profiles, although I’ve seen resumes too. I expect a resume to be someone who is more actively looking for opportunities, where a profile has to also serve the purpose of forming social connections, perhaps to help answer questions or speak at an event. Profiles are more likely to fall out of date. That’s too bad, since SharePoint moves so quickly that it’s important to set aside time each year to update it.
I hope these tips help you freshen your SharePoint resume or profile and enable you to lend a hand in whatever direction you’d like to go.