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what should be there in covering letter So, what do you do if your current role belies the true scope of your talents? To move from a technology or IT role into that of a broader business professional, you need to get management to see you as someone equipped with a wider-ranging skill set than that associated with the cliched "techie." Extracurricular activities can help you bridge the gap. Many candidates feature interests and hobbies on their resumes for the sole purpose of demonstrating curiosity for life outside of work. But for the IT professional, extracurricular activities can also help debunk stereotypes by making senior management and potential employers aware of hidden facets of your competencies. Evidence of job skills One prevalent view impeding the mobility of IT professionals is that of an individual with a specific set of competencies concentrated exclusively in the technical realm. Extracurricular activities can broaden your image by providing an indicator of aptitudes and skills that aren't readily discernable from your professional experience. For example, coaching a sports team shows leadership and organizational skills; artistic pursuits suggest creativity; acting indicates traits such as poise and confidence, as well as public speaking skills; chairing an industry trade group evidences management and communication skills; and awards or competitions won generally suggest an appreciation for nuance, not to mention a desire to excel. Proof of broad functional knowledge Another common typecast of IT professionals is that of a person lacking in knowledge of functional areas beyond the technical arena. Volunteer activities -- whether for a not-for-profit, an alumni group or a trade association -- demonstrate experience in areas beyond the scope of your current vocation. For instance, serving as treasurer for a volunteer organization evidences knowledge of finance and accounting; positions as public relations chair or membership chair show experience in marketing; and general leadership positions such as president or vice president indicate managerial know- how. These roles allow you to experiment and experience new types of responsibilities and thereby acquire knowledge outside of your 9-to-5 domain. They are also indicators of the broadly defined "people skills" that are key to success in everything from marketing, to strategy, to general management. What not to include You never know who will be reading your resume, and what that person's personal convictions might be. It is therefore wise to avoid listing potentially controversial pursuits, such as political or religious activities. Certain activities may also imply a "point of view" such as a leadership for Greenpeace. Before including this type of information on your resume, consider the possibility that, by way of example, your interviewer might come from a ranch family that detests environmentalists! If you do find yourself in a sticky situation as a result of different opinions on controversial topics revealed through your resume, don't become combative in an effort to defend your perspective. Work to find the middle or common ground, such as shared experiences dealing with nonresponsive bureaucrats, and stress the broad leadership and management skills you have learned as a result of your extracurricular activities.
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