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What does a Tech Resume Really Look Like?

Tech is the fastest-growing industry of all time, and it is hardly showing signs of slowing down. As a result, plenty of eager workers from outside tech are flooding tech employers hoping to earn a coveted position. Yet, the few who boast the requisite skills and experience are often submerged by the deluge because they do not have an appropriate resume to showcase their education and abilities.

The tech resume isn’t like other resumes. By submitting a typical resume for a tech job, you are guaranteed to be overlooked. If you want to make it big in tech, you need this guide for drafting the perfect tech resume.

The Professional Summary

The first thing a hiring manager should see on your resume is your name, large and clear, followed by some contact information, such as your email address and phone number. However, just below that, you should place a professional summary, which saves the hiring manager time reviewing your application documents and allows you to pitch yourself for the position. In fact, professional summaries are so useful that tech candidates who include them are nearly twice as likely to be contacted for interviews.

Your professional summary should reveal what you offer your prospective employer — not what you want out of employment. To that end, you should focus on explaining your skills and experience as well as how they will positively impact your job. If you aren’t a strong writer, you might consider utilizing resume writing services or transferring your summary into bullet points.

The Skills List

In tech, education is impressive, but it won’t inherently get you a job. More important than where you went to school is what you learned — inside the classroom or outside. That’s why a list of your tech skills is the next most important section of your resume and should be featured prominently on the page.

You should begin your skills list with your hard skills, including the programs, platforms, databases, and coding tools you are comfortable using. Because most people on tech are constantly working toward acquiring new skills, you might even make a tiered list of your skills, like this:

  • Expert: C#, C/C++, CSS, ASP.NET, HTML, SQL, REST, SOAP, TFS, VB.NET, Visual Studio
  • Intermediate: Java, J2EE, JDBC, Jenkins, Hudson, Spring, Hibernate, Eclipse
  • Learning: Python, Ruby on Rails

The Job Experience

Initially, the point of a resume was to detail previous work experience. Now, a resume is a marketing tool to convince hiring managers of your overall fitness for an open position, but including your past employment remains critical. As with any other resume, you don’t need to include descriptions of jobs that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying to. Instead, you can note the title and employer, to prevent employment gaps, and move on to a more pertinent job.

As with your professional summary, you don’t want to emphasize what you gained from your past employers; rather, you should stress how you benefitted them. This means most of your text in this section should be devoted to explaining your accomplishments, ideally using quantitative language. For example, you might note that you developed an e-commerce website that accelerated customer order fulfillment threefold and elevated sales by $400 thousand in two months. Those numbers jump off the page, attracting hiring manager attention, and they can be verified, which is a major plus.

The Education History

Though education isn’t of paramount importance in tech, it is important to include an education section if you have relevant credentials. If you have a degree from a prestigious school or a particularly high GPA from any program, you might as well add it to your resume. However, if your education history is not at all related to tech, it isn’t worthwhile to waste valuable space highlighting your schooling. You might also consider leaving off your graduation year; this could prevent passive ageism, which is rampant in the tech industry.

The Details

Finally, you should add a few finishing touches that dramatically enhance a tech resume. These include:

  • Keywords. Especially in tech, hiring managers might simply perform a keyword search and immediately rule out resumes that don’t contain critical phrases. Job postings usually contain these valuable keywords that you should sprinkle into your resume.
  • Links. Because you are likely submitting your resume online, you can include hyperlinks to important websites or resources related to your job hunt. For example, you might link to a professional Twitter account, completed web projects, or your own professional website.
  • Format. Before you submit your resume, you should perform a final proofread to catch any spelling and grammar mistakes. Additionally, you should ensure the format is correct, with prominent headers, consistent spacing, and a uniform font.

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