By now, most job seekers know that a general resume is not a one size fits all solution to their job search. Each role requires a tailored resume, with specific resume keywords, accomplishments and other small customizations.
It helps to start with a solid industry-specific resume to act as a strong baseline in your job search. Start here if you want to write or improve upon your tech resume.
Keywords, Wording and Expanding Phrases
Believe it or not, the type of words and phrases you use in your resume can determine whether or not you get a job. When tailoring a resume, you should make sure skills and keywords correlate to the job posting exactly. This step appeals to both applicant tracking systems and hiring managers. In tech, these keywords will often be software and other skills like:
On a tech resume, it is especially important to explain how you came to learn each skill. For example, through a certain project, accomplishment or certification. Hiring managers want to know where your expertise comes from and in which ways each skill has been utilized.
If you find you are lacking important skills, certifications through online courses are a great way to gain beginner or intermediate-level skills without spending much money. Side projects, or contributing to open source projects, are other great ways to gain technical experience. Certifications and side projects help set you apart from other candidates.
Another way to make improvements on your tech resume to update your job titles. First, take a closer look at the responsibilities of the job for which you are applying. Are these responsibilities very similar to a job you’ve had in the past? If so, it is appropriate to edit the job title of a previous position to match the title of the job being advertised.
For example, if your previous official job title was “Big Data Developer” but your role included many similarities to the “Big Data Architect” role to which you’re applying, it’s acceptable to change the job title on your resume to match.
Parentheses can also be used. For instance, if your previous, “fun” company called you the “Manager of All Things Data,” you might want to put “Senior Data Scientist” in parentheses so there’s no confusion.
This is a great way to make sure the hiring manager sees your value even if just quickly scanning your resume.
Eliminate the “Fluff”
A tech resume should never have “fluff,” or extraneous information. This might include your interests, irrelevant coursework and weak soft skills. After all, if you’re applying for a job in the tech industry, your resume should be technical.
The first place to look for fluff is in your summary statement. If your resume currently has a summary statement, ask yourself whether or not it is completely necessary. Summary statements can be useful when shifting careers, because they point out quantifiable accomplishments that may relate to the new career path, but in most cases don’t add much value.
So which sections are completely necessary? As a rule of thumb when writing a tech resume, it’s best to use the space you have to detail your relevant employment history and skills. Focus on your accomplishments, contributions to specific projects, results and other quantifiable information like stats and percentages.
The best tech resumes are clear, to the point and highly specialized to the industry. Show your accomplishments in the best light. Highlight the top skills needed for each job. Use side projects and certifications to set you apart from the crowd.
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