The dreaded resume. Everyone's been there: a new job just opened up, and you want to apply, but your resume still needs to be updated. Or maybe you’ve been applying to open positions, but you're not getting selected for interviews and continue to receive the "We'll keep your resume on file for future opportunities," emails.
Or maybe you're staring at your screen, mumbling to yourself that you're a tech professional, not a writer, and you're at a loss as to how you can shine your best through your technical skills.
Luckily, you have me, a seasoned CTO, to map out some guidelines to help you showcase the best of your technical skills and experience so you land your next opportunity.
1. Start with a Strong One Line Profile Summary
Who doesn't love a one-liner? When done well, it should grab the reader's attention and provide a snapshot of your tech background and career goals. Include your years of experience and the industries that you've served in.
- "Results-driven software engineer with over 8 years of experience in the finance and healthcare sectors, adept at developing secure and scalable solutions using Java and Python."
- "Experienced IT professional with 6+ years of expertise in e-commerce and telecommunications, specializing in Angular and React development to drive customer-centric digital experiences.
You want to provide the main points right up front. Years of experience, check. Industries served, check. Technical background, check. This section provides a quick way for any recruiter to know if your profile matches the position you're applying for and will prompt them to continue reading.
2. Include Relevant Certifications
If you have certifications or have completed relevant training programs, make sure to include them on your resume. Certifications from reputable organizations can boost your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to professional development. Include the ones that are relevant to the positions you are applying for.
- "AEM Certified Architect"
- "AWS Certified Developer – Associate"
3. Use Action-Oriented Language in Your Experience Section
This section is often where people get tripped up. What should I say? How do I say it? But the key to this section is to describe your previous roles using action-oriented language. Highlight specific accomplishments and projects you've worked on. Use bullet points to make your resume easy to scan and read.
- "Developed microservices-based applications with Java and Python, employing relational and non-relational databases"
- "Used AngularJS, and then Angular 4 and 7, in projects such as Geo-localization services and a wholesale fuel distribution."
- "Developed web and desktop solutions, focusing on integrations – identity provisioning, point-of-sales integrations, transaction modules, revenue calculators."
This section should be carefully crafted with the proper keywords and actions associated with the role you are applying for. Why does it matter?
Many large companies have implemented the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), an automation system that sorts through hundreds or even thousands of applicants to pinpoint the candidates with the best potential.
To avoid your resume being passed over, spend a little time describing what you have done using keywords that are popular in your industry as they apply to you to increase your chances of being selected.
4. Quantify Your Achievements
Numbers speak volumes, but I don't have to tell you that. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements to provide concrete evidence of your impact. Whether it's the number of lines of code you've written, reduced time to completion of a deliverable, or the cost savings your work provided, using numbers adds credibility to your accomplishments and can display your value.
- "Led a cross-functional team of 5 engineers to develop and launch a mobile app, resulting in a 30% increase in user engagement within the first quarter."
- "Implemented automated testing procedures, reducing software defects by 20% and saving 15 hours of manual testing per week."
Sounds a lot better, doesn't it?
5. Create a Skills Section
A dedicated skills section is an excellent way to showcase your technical abilities up front. List hard and soft skills relevant to the job, such as programming languages, software tools, and collaboration and problem-solving skills.
Example skills section:
- Programming Languages: Python, Java, C++
- Frameworks and Libraries: React, Angular, Django
- Database Management: SQL, MongoDB
- Version Control: Git
- Agile Development: Scrum, Kanban
6. Tailor Your Resume for Each Job Application
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to resumes. Customize your resume for each job application by emphasizing the skills and experiences most relevant to the specific position. Review the job description and keywords used in the posting and incorporate them into your resume where appropriate.
7. Proofread and Format Carefully
A well-organized and error-free resume is essential. Typos and formatting issues can detract from the impression you're trying to make. Proofread your resume carefully and ensure formatting, font, and spacing consistency. Consider using professional resume templates to make your document visually appealing.
Remember the ATS we mentioned earlier? Well, it also has its own set of formatting requirements that resumes must meet in order to land in the hands of a recruiter. Things such as the date, font size and style, resume length, and even the file type are all factors that determine where the automated robot will send your resume. Review what types of formatting will pass through the system and make the proper adjustments.
Tailor Your Resume to Land Your Next Tech Opportunity!
I hope these tips and tricks help you highlight what makes you an exceptional tech professional. Crafting your resume is a strategic endeavor that requires some effort to get the results you are looking for.
By following these tips, you can present your technical expertise in the best possible light and increase your chances of landing your desired tech job.