How to Write a Technical Resume That Makes You Look Like a Million Bucks
For most of the year, the job market heavily favored IT candidates, giving them greater bargaining power in the hiring equation. Though CompTIA documented an 18,300 dip in job openings between August and September, the outlook is optimistic for tech professionals searching for greener pastures.
Yet even though the odds are on your side, your next IT job will not be a total freebie. You still need to do the work to appease hiring algorithms and convince hiring managers you are a smart investment. This is where your resume does the heavy lifting early in the process.
The good news is that you don’t have to be some brilliant writer to captivate the attention of employers for your desired IT consultant jobs. You just need to employ a few tricks that distinguish your career and talents from the competition. Here’s how to write a technical resume that stands out to hiring managers and even sets the stage for a better job interview.
Tailor Your Resume
The one-size-fits-all approach to resume writing doesn’t give you any advantage. Yes, it’s speedier and allows you to throw your hat in the ring with the click of a button, but it’s less likely to win against resumes that are even slightly tailored to the specific role. Even so, you don’t need to write the entire document from scratch – just emphasize the right sections and technical skills.
Let’s start with keywords. A company or staffing firm’s applicant tracking system (ATS) is going to filter resumes for keywords populated throughout the original job advertisement. Though you’re not necessarily going to get cut if you’re not an identical clone of what they want, it helps to reiterate the terms where you’re aligned. And that doesn’t mean keyword stuffing (ATS tools are savvy about spotting and flagging a cluster of “Python,” “Agile,” or any other IT keywords).
Instead, you want to include relevant technologies and their real-world usage across your skills section, individual job experiences, and even any summary section you might include. While you’re doing that, it’s important to pay attention to your additional skills and persuade hiring managers how they set you apart. Sometimes, companies don’t know what they want until they see it on paper.
Cater to the ATS
Often, when people talk about trying to work with the ATS, it’s in terms of gaming the system. Most platforms are too sophisticated at this point to pass people through the filters who are employing simple tricks. However, it turns out that many can’t handle much beyond simple text, hurting candidates in the process of trying to make a compelling case for themselves.
An article from Computerworld outlined just a few of the ways in which good intentions can backfire. Bar charts, graphics, and other visual elements typically clog the typical ATS and prevent key information from reaching the intended audience. Columns, headers, and footers can import incorrectly and prompt less than patient hiring managers or recruiters to move onward to the next candidate.
Nowadays, it’s better to think of any resume as data that will be extracted and loaded from the original document into a company’s hiring dashboard. Your technical resume doesn’t need to look flashy, but it does need to have all the relevant information you’d want them to consider.
Affirm Your Technical Expertise
Keywords need context. Although AI programs are in the early stages of parsing for deeper syntactical relevance, the humans reviewing your resume want more than a regurgitation of keyword phrases. In fact, if you don’t provide enough context, you may harm your chances for the job.
The reason has to do with a few bad apples. Most organizations encounter a fair number of candidates who embellish experience and oversell technical skills in their resume. There’s an easy way to separate yourself from that crowd.
Anyone can list technical skillsets, but can they explain how each skill is used within past roles and how they contributed to tangible or even quantifiable results? That’s a little harder to pull off. For example, if you want to make your experience with Apache Cassandra databases more convincing, write a brief rundown in one of the bullet points under each applicable role. This best practice applies to any IT skill.
If you want to really captivate hiring managers, showing how your work with that skill increased productivity, users, or revenue tends to suggest you know how to capture lightning in a bottle. Frankly, this is the type of information you should convey throughout the hiring process, whether you’re thinking about what to tell recruiters or preparing for the job interview itself.
Highlight Your Team Experience
Now that the workforce is increasingly remote, companies want to hire tech professionals they know will reach out to others, collaborate to overcome issues, and lend their knowledge to other people. Though you’re more likely to highlight this during the interview, there are a few ways to draw attention to the fact that you’re a team player in your technical resume.
For example, if you are a DevOps professional, this is a time to really call attention to that expertise – even if you’re not necessarily applying for a DevOps shop. The ability to integrate your work with those of others is indispensable in a world that is increasingly remote. Play up these keywords and write about how this expertise delivered greater results.
Even if you’re not DevOps experienced, make sure to show how you have collaborated with other departments (especially outside of IT) and how you are willing to support members of leadership team and senior technical experts to achieve big picture goals.
In fact, the more you can do the heavy mental lifting for the hiring manager, implying that you’re the right fit, the better your chances of persuading them on all accounts.
Now that you’ve learned how to write a technical resume that will impress employers, let’s get you a new job. Check out our current open positions to find the right fit for you.
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