Creating a resume can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Our successes, talents and overall value are difficult to highlight in one document. Resumes for technology professions are even more difficult to compile due to the field’s complex programs, technical skills and certifications. When creating your resume for your next tech job, follow these tips to stand out from your competition and make a memorable first impression on your future employer.
1. Keep your history in reverse chronological order.
Like all resumes, it is important to begin your resume with your most recent employment history and end with your least recent experience. Following this practice will not only keep your most relevant work at the forefront of your resume but also showcase your most recent expertise in the latest and relevant software.
2. More is better.
Resume length has always been a highly debated topic. Unlike other industries, technology resumes generally do not adhere to the one to two-page rule. For technology professions, you have the liberty to include lengthier descriptions of your experience with certain software, operating systems and programming. Displaying your depth of knowledge can make a huge difference in standing out among candidates.
3. Highlight results and accomplishments.
It’s easy to create a list of tasks and responsibilities at a former position, but hiring managers want to see how your experience would ultimately benefit their company. For example, a statement that simply says, “In charge of IT risk management,” doesn’t say anything about how you can apply your skills to the new position. Instead, explain a significant task that contributed to the success of a project or a client, such as “Implemented an IT risk management plan to harden system security, including least privilege and password vaults using CyberArk, which cut security risks by 57 percent.”
You may not always be able to quantify a number, so find a way to explain the impact you made. Details are essential in helping a hiring manager understand your worth.
4. Keywords. Keywords. Keywords.
Keywords play a huge role in landing an interview, especially for tech jobs. Because resume screeners review hundreds of resumes a day, they’re quickly skimming for qualifications that catch their eye. Automated screeners are programmed to search for specific keywords, skills and programs that apply to the position. To get your resume noticed, include a “Technology and Skills” summary section that lists software, hardware, operating systems, platforms, databases, programming, scripting languages and methodologies in which you’re proficient. Also, take the time to match your keywords with the job description and requirements for which you’re applying. As a recruiter, I can tell you I spend an average of six seconds scanning a resume before deciding to look further. In technology, a list of outdated skills and omission of required skills will surely land you in the pile of dismissed resumes.
Only list the most recent skills and programs in the Technology & Skills section. You can reference older or obsolete programs and skills in your work experience descriptions. Listing your knowledge in the most up-to-date systems in a Technology & Skills section will stand out to the hiring manager and demonstrate your expertise in the most current trends and capabilities within your career field.
5. Briefly explain older certifications.
In your list of certifications, do not assume a hiring manager knows industry-related acronyms. Spell them out, and if necessary, give a brief description of the certification so your employer understands why it is beneficial to the position. For example, instead of listing “CSM,” write-out “Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) – Works within a framework where a team addresses complex adaptive problems, while protecting the team from both internal and external distractions.”
Also, if you have expired certifications that relate to the position, it is OK to list them. However, be sure to note the date when they expired.
6. Include your LinkedIn.
Research shows that 70 percent of recruiters screen candidates’ social media profiles. Sites like LinkedIn display a 360-degree view of who you are as an individual and professional. It is important to keep your LinkedIn updated because you never know when someone will discover your profile and provide an amazing opportunity based on your credentials.
LinkedIn will help you stay connected with your network, and if you find yourself looking for a new job, hiring managers will already be familiar with your experience and achievements. The best time to know a recruiter is before you need one.
7. Add interests or a membership section.
Hiring managers want to see how involved applicants are within their industry’s community. Listing participation in industry-related groups, conferences and technical volunteer work can make an individual stand out in a large stack of competitive resumes.
8. Clarify your titles.
Always make sure you clarify your previous job titles. Sometimes companies will give you a title that fits with their hierarchy structure but has little meaning outside of the company. For example, if your title is Software Engineer III, put Senior Android Developer in parentheses to clarify. This will help when hiring managers or recruiters quickly scan your resume.
9. Feature samples of your work.
Show hiring managers tangible samples of past work and projects. Include a portfolio URL, code repository links like GitHub or Bitbucket, links to your active mobile apps or a link to your blog to demonstrate your successes.
10. Make your resume a living document.
Think of your resume as a career journal. Keep it up to date, especially when you receive a promotion, make a career change, undertake new responsibilities or successfully complete an important project. Even if you’re not currently on the job hunt, updating your resume consistently will help you remember your accomplishments and prevent you from the headache of trying to remember details later down the road.
Diane is a technology recruiter for Vaco Memphis, where she uses her industry knowledge and more than 10 years of recruiting experience to help professionals find the next step in their career. Outside of the office, she is both a wife to the most supportive and tolerant husband, as well as the mother to four amazing children. She is also a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer for children currently in the foster care system and an Ambassador for the Monroe Chamber of Commerce.