This month Resume Writer expert J.M. Auron, CPRW shares with us 5 Technical Resume Do’s and Don’ts.
In addition to being a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), J.M. is the President and Senior Technical Resume Writer at QuantumTechResumes.com.
J.M. brings a unique breath of experience to the resume writing process and we look forward to his monthly contributions.
As a professional technical resume writer, owner of quantumtechresumes.com, and a former recruiter, I’ve written or read thousands of resumes. I’d like to take a few minutes to distill a few of the primary do’s – and don’ts – to help you make writing your technical resume (relatively) painless process. Of course, every resume – and every career – is unique, so these are broad ideas that can help a wide range of job seekers focus and clarify the technical resume.
1) Focus on Business Value
Hiring authorities – both in-house HR professionals or recruiters – are looking for one thing in a candidate. They need to determine whether that candidate can solve their problem – whatever that problem may be.
Technology is great. But – unless you’re in a pure R&D role – it’s the business value of technology that’s important.
Bottom line is, well, the bottom line. So take the time to demonstrate how your technical solutions directly support strategic business goals.
2) Numbers matter!
One critical component of a strong IT or Project Management resume is the effective use of numbers to quantify job scope and achievements.
Always try to quantify your achievements! That can be percentage or dollar cost savings, increased business resulting from new technologies or products, or time saved or efficiencies created through enhanced tools or processes.
And here’s a quick tip – always use the bigger number. If the percentage is big, and the dollar value small, use the percentage. If you’ve saved millions of dollars for a Fortune 100 company, of course, the percentage may be smaller – so stick with the dollar value. If both the percentage and the dollar value are big – then by all means use both!
3) Tell your story!
We don’t often think of a technical resume as a story – but it is. A strong IT resume is the story of your career, ultimately demonstrating that that you’re the best fit for the opportunity you’re applying for.
So keep the chronology and formatting clean, to help support your overarching goals.
4) Don’t overwhelm the reader!
I believe in writing a fairly detailed technical resume. I think it’s important to demonstrate specific skills, tools, and competencies. But it is important that you don’t overwhelm the reader with a white paper on a new solution.
So include technologies – judiciously – both to make the resume keyword-rich, and to show specific skill sets. But don’t go into so much detail that the reader’s eyes may glaze over.
The same is true for resume length. Technical resumes can certainly reach 3 pages, if there’s enough information to warrant the length. But more than 3 pages, or about 1600-1700 words may be imposing on the reader’s patience. Not a good idea.
5) Streamline early career!
This is particularly critical for job seekers with 20 or more years under their belts. The greatest amount of detail should be – whenever possible – your most recent positions. I generally include experience 10-15 years in the past – but I do streamline that experience. Early career experience can best be mentioned in a quick sentence like, “Previous professional experience includes…” with no dates. While it’s certainly understandable to proud of early achievements, hiring authorities are really most interested in what you’ve accomplished recently.
I hope these 5 tips are helpful in streamlining your technical resume writing process. The process may be challenging – but the ROI – potentially shortening a long, stressful, and expensive job search – is more than worth the effort.