While a well-structured resume goes a long way for many in building a first impression, many employers look to select technical professionals with the right skills and abilities. This is particularly true for engineers, analysts, project managers, and other IT professionals, whose capabilities must shine through to ensure they function well in their roles.
A well-structured resume can also help recession-proof your career. Some positions require a person to have a technical background, even if their role will not require applying hard skills. For example, if you wish to be a project manager for an electronics business, you need to highlight project management and electronics skills to build a good resume.
In this article, we will delve into how you can perfect your technical resume to ensure it stands out from other candidates and increase your chances of getting an interview and, ultimately, an offer.
What Does a Technical Resume Look Like?
Technical resumes highlight your technical abilities and qualifications, including programming languages, software, and tools you are proficient in, specific accomplishments, relevant education and training, and any relevant professional licenses, affiliations, or extracurricular activities.
If your career depends on a mastery of specific skills, don’t just follow random resume writing tips or generic resume templates. Instead, build a technical resume that makes your skills shine while introducing you to prospective employers as a viable candidate.
Professionals in technology, such as those in engineering, computer science, programming, DevOps, and more, will benefit from the technical resume template. Here is a step-by-step guide to building a technical resume that will help you ace your job search!
Step 1: Choose Your Format
The format you choose for your technical resume is crucial because it can affect how the information appears and feels on the page and how simple it is for a potential employer to read and understand. Your resume format should depend on the specific role you are applying for, your industry, and your experience level.
Consider the employer’s ATS (Applicant Tracking System), which many organizations use to scan resumes. Some systems are not very good with visuals, so avoid excessive formatting or graphics on your technical resume.
The chronological format is an excellent choice for technical professions because it emphasizes work history and experience in reverse chronological order, with the most recent position listed first. This allows recruiters and hiring managers to see relevant work experience and career progression quickly and easily.
It’s also important to note that the chronological format is the most common. Thus, it is most likely to be understood and accepted by hiring managers, recruiters, and ATS.
Step 2: Add in Personal Information
Keep the personal information section concise and straightforward. Ensure that your contact information is updated. Include your name, professional email address, phone number, present location, preference for relocation, and LinkedIn profile. You can also include an online portfolio in your resume to supplement your qualifications and experiences.
Don’t include personal information, such as your age, religion, or marital status. This information is irrelevant to the role, and including it on your resume could lead to unconscious biases.
Many organizations conduct background checks and verify the information provided on resumes and applications. If they find discrepancies, it can lead to rejection or termination after being hired. Also, remember that your social media profiles might get viewed by potential employers.
Step 3: Compose a Summary
Now that you’ve caught the recruiter’s attention, pique their interest more with a well-composed summary.
A technical resume summary briefly summarizes your qualifications, highlighting your relevant skills and experiences. It’s best to tailor it to the position you are applying for, and it should be placed at the top of your resume immediately after the personal information section.
A summary should articulate the most important qualifications that attract the employer’s attention. It’s also important to note that a summary is vital if you have a lot of experience, as it allows employers to quickly understand your most relevant skills and qualifications, even if they don’t read the whole resume.
Step 4: List your Experiences
Starting with your most recent role, elaborate on your various roles as a skilled technical professional. Aside from putting your work experience in reverse chronological order, giving more details about your previous roles is beneficial.
This is where the STAR method comes in. After mentioning the role, the organization you were part of, and the dates you worked in that role, use the STAR method to give insight into each role. Thanks to this method, you can add short narrations that are direct and can efficiently present an applicant’s skills. STAR stands for:
Situation: Responsibilities or dilemmas your role involves
Example: Responsible for internet connectivity within the organization.
Task: Specific tasks you needed to fulfill
Example: Monitored internet and intranet consistency and troubleshot connection problems through hardware and software management.
Action: Steps you took in fulfilling your tasks
Example: Liaised with internet providers and inspected office hardware for malfunctions.
Result: Outcomes of your efforts in past roles
Example: Maintained office connectivity and experienced no internet failures during my tenure as an IT Technician.
Step 5: Include Your Educational Background
Like with your work experience, use reverse chronological order to list your educational background.
Here is an excellent format to follow:
- Degree obtained (major and minor if applicable)
- School name and location
- Graduation date or dates attended (if less than ten years)
- Honors received
- Extracurricular work (like volunteering, competitions, and many more.)
It’s important to note that if you have a solid educational background and relevant education for the position you are applying for, you can place it higher on your resume. If you have more relevant work experience, you can prioritize these instead.
Step 6: Talk about Your Licenses, Certifications, and Additional Training
Technical professionals have similar qualifications, so licenses, certifications, and training can make you stand out from other applicants. When listing certifications in a technical resume, it’s essential to use a consistent format to make it easy for employers to understand and quickly identify relevant certifications. Don’t forget to include the full title of the certification, the issuing organization, and the date you earned it.
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
- Scrum Alliance – January 2020
It’s also important to list them in reverse chronological order and tailor the certifications to the job you’re applying for.
Step 7: Showcase your Skills
Including skills is essential in showcasing your qualifications and expertise to potential employers. Your skills can be divided into two categories.
Hard skills are specific technical abilities that are quantifiable and directly related to the role, such as programming languages, software, and tools. When listing your hard skills, it’s essential to be specific and use the correct terminology. For example, instead of “familiar with programming,” you could list “proficient in Python, Java, and C++.”
Remember to tailor your technical skills section to the specific role you are applying for. Highlight the most relevant skills for the position and demonstrate how you have used them in previous roles. Be honest and accurate with your strengths and qualifications. This will help you find a position that best fits you and help build a positive reputation for yourself in the industry.
On the other hand, soft skills are general skills not specific to a particular position but are essential for success in any role, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. When listing your soft skills, it’s important to use action verbs to describe your abilities, such as “communicated effectively,” “collaborated with team members,” and “analyzed and solved complex problems.”
Step 8: Plan Out Your References List
Putting references in resumes is frowned upon as it exposes people’s contact information, so only include them if the application requires you to do so. Reach out to your potential professional references, like previous supervisors, and ask for their permission before you use them as a reference. This ensures you’re prepared to provide a list of professional references when recruiters ask them during the hiring process.
Bonus Tip: Consider Using Online Resume Builders
Online resume builders have emerged as valuable tools for crafting compelling resumes for job seekers. These tools, sometimes with AI built-in, offer user-friendly interfaces, guiding you through the resume-building process and giving modern resume templates you can choose from. Here’s why incorporating a resume builder into your strategy can be advantageous:
Ease of Use
Online resume writers are intuitive and don’t require technical expertise. With drag-and-drop functionalities and pre-designed sections, creating a polished resume becomes effortless. Some even offer tips and formats for both resumes and cover letters.
Accessibility and Updates
Cloud-based builders allow you to access and update your resume anytime, anywhere. You can swiftly tailor your resume for different job applications, ensuring it aligns perfectly with each position.
Some builders allow incorporating multimedia elements like images, charts, or links to portfolios and projects, adding depth to your resume and showcasing your skills in your resume design.
ADVANCE YOUR TECHNICAL CAREER THROUGH ACS PROFESSIONAL STAFFING
As a full-service staffing partner, ACS Professional Staffing can provide job seekers with an exceptional candidate experience. We can get your technical resume into shape to help you secure the career you want and find the right employer where you can showcase and develop your unique capabilities.
We have the know-how to assist IT, engineering, and administrative professionals who are just starting or venturing into a new career path. Our recruiters will help you find the perfect fit, especially in today’s competitive job market.