Multiple times in my career, especially as a manager, I had the opportunity to review resumes during a pre-screening process. Initial impressions are EVERYTHING!
The purpose of this article is to share some advice as well as talk about a proper technical resume outline. I am by no way an expert, but I have helped many people craft a resume based on my recommendations. Hopefully, you can use this information as maybe not a sole source technique, but rather to help guide you through the journey. After all, it is your resume and your spin is encouraged. Think of resume building like a fancy meal recipe - go on Youtube and watch a handful of tutorials and march out to the kitchen to make it your own!
De Facto Standard Outline:
1. Large Bold Text highlighting your name! I hate looking at a resume if I don't know who it belongs to right away. Your name needs to pop, so make sure it is front and center at the top of your resume.
2. Header/Footers. It is a good to have a page number at the very least on your resume. Sure, an ideal resume should be a single page, but a technical resume is a different animal and in my experience, multiple pages are OK. My personal resume is currently sitting at NINE (9) pages.
3. First section: Objective. Tell the recruiter or interviewer what your purpose is. Usually a sentence or two is all it needs. Are you looking to get into a leadership position? Perhaps an entry level position in a new industry or role? Even getting a job with the same type of job you do now, you need to open up and let them know!
4. Second section: Experience. Important things to incorporate here are simple: tell us your job title, when you started and stopped (if applicable), who you worked for, and where it was located. After this information is recorded, go into detail as to what it was you did, were responsible for, and projects that you worked on. I don't care if you know C++, tell me what you did with that language that was an accomplishment. Also, be mindful of buzzwords here. Once you upload this resume to a job site (ie LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Dice, Monster), every recruiter who types in a search engine will see your resume and with technical candidates, there is a high probability that you will be approached about a job that has nothing to do with your skillset. But, since your resume had, for example, the word Excel in it, now you're being recruited to be an Office 365 integration specialist.
5. Third section: Education. List any degrees and certifications. I could write an article just on technical certs and expectations versus experience, but I'll refrain for a later date. Keep this section easy to read, use bullets, and things to consider are what school you attended, degree/cert name and type, and when it was obtained.
6. Fourth section: References. As a professional reference for many individuals, I strongly advise you to leave this section blank with a caption or wording of "References available upon request." Listing people's names, phone numbers, and addresses here are absolutely ridiculous and should not be freely posted for the world to see. This applies if your references are entry level techs, to your buddy's grandmother, to a C-Level executive.
Other things to note:
- You will likely apply for a job that asks you to upload your resume so it'll auto-populate everything into their system. Without a clean format, this upload process usually breaks and you have a lot of busy work ahead of you to clean it up. Keep it simple.
- Buzz words, buzz words, buzz words!
- DO NOT sell yourself short. You will quickly be overlooked if your resume is too basic.
- Jumping around from job to job every year or two looks terrible on your resume. No one wants to hire someone who notoriously job hops throughout their career. Unless of course it is for a contract role or they are desperate. If they are desperate, there is a problem there that you need to identify before you accept the offer.
Hopefully, this information is helpful to you. Sorry for any spelling or grammatical errors. Go build your resume and have fun applying for the next milestone in your career!