Having a resume is the bare minimum needed in securing any job. Resumes should be clean, concise, and updated with the most relevant information to the job you’re applying for. If you’re just starting out in the workforce, include academic qualifications and projects you’ve contributed to. If you have a few years of experience, focus on transferable skills from past roles. For this article, we’ll focus on how to craft a resume for tech specific roles. Most of the structure and content will be the same for other industries but there are specifics like technical skills and tools that you should include.
Technical Resume Definition
A technical resume presents the skills, expertise, and experience of previous jobs and projects that will help land your next prospective role. The first thing to consider when sending out a job application is to ensure your resume is tailored to the role you’re applying for. Each company and position has slightly different requirements and values so take the extra five minutes to double check everything is aligned. We recommend using tools that scan job postings against your resume to match up keywords.
There are likely many other candidates vying for the same position so you should make your resume stand out as much as possible. Within tech, some of the most popular fields include system administration, software development, web design, and product management. Do your research in what baseline skills and tools are needed for the career path you’re pursuing so that you’ve checked off the foundational boxes.
Let’s get further into the details on what you need for a technical resume. At the least, you should have these sections below.
Firstly, include your basic personal information in your resume. Recruiters will double check your current location in case you need to relocate for the new role. If something urgent comes up, they’ll want to have your phone number on file to give you an update. You can also include your current title if you want to emphasize it but since that will be listed under your job history, StackCache recommends leaving that out of your personal information.
One thing to note about mailing addresses is that there may be some cases where your favorability is lower if you’re far from the job location. In those cases, if you’re willing to move or have plans on going to where the job is in the near future, it’s worth noting in your application or cover letter.
Unless you are new to the workforce, your work experience should be the meatiest section in your resume. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the longest but it should have the most impact. Include your most relevant work experience first and if you don’t have any directly related experience, start with the most recent. Although it may seem like you should leave off irrelevant roles like when you worked part time while learning how to code, it’s okay to include it and add more context in your cover letter or the interview. Companies and hiring managers are much more understanding now of gaps in work experience when you pursued another ambition or had to care for a family member for example.
Include company names, titles you held, and dates of employment. You can also include positions you held at organizations related to school or passions outside of work. For example, if community service is important to you, mention that you’ve volunteered your time. If you were an active member of a student club, add details that could be related to your intended role.
Once you’ve introduced the role and organization, take time to carefully craft the information you share to the hiring manager. Focus on outcomes that you helped with or skills you picked up that will help your new employer.
EXAMPLE for if you’re applying to be a UI designer
Greater Boston Food Bank
Weekend Warehouse Volunteer | 2017-2020
- Redesigned and maintained Boston Food Bank’s website to reduce bounce rate by 20%
- Conducted visitor surveys for website and isolated top 10 areas to improve for better user experience
- Leveraged Figma to develop three website redesign options
Although the above example was not tied to a paid position, it shows initiative and expertise in UI design. Also, it conveys personal values that can be further explored during an in-person interview.
Skills and Tools
Job descriptions for technical roles usually include a lot of specific software or coding languages that are needed to be successful in the role. You can include some of these in your work history information but you may have picked up additional languages outside of work. In this case, match up what you know with what the employer is looking for and list them in your skills section. You can also include software that isn’t specifically requested as it may give you an advantage to be able to cover more responsibilities over another candidate in consideration. For example, tools leveraged by product managers are quite different from coding languages used by software engineers. However, if you know a language used by the company’s development team, you could communicate more easily with the engineers you’ll be working with.
As mentioned previously, it’s helpful to use job description scanning software to help you maximize the match between you and a potential role. Some companies that get hundreds or thousands of applicants for a single opening may not review your resume with a real person unless their automated system detects the right keywords for the role. If you miss out on key criteria in the skills section, you may lose the opportunity to learn more about the company and job altogether.
Hobbies and interests
If a company shares a mission and core values on their site, it’s useful to see if any of your personal interests overlap. This is a great starting point or memorable nugget for recruiters to have a conversation with you. Technical expertise matters a lot in getting the right role but so does cultural fit. In your interests and hobbies section, include anything that shows what makes you a well-rounded person outside of work. For example, if you’re applying for a developer position and you spent your free time working on a game with your friends, it’s a sign that creativity and self-guidance are strong suits of yours.
Staying true to yourself is also important when it comes to what information you include in your resume. You don’t want to force a fit and pretend to be passionate about something you’re not really into. If you do get past the phone screen, disingenuity will come off quickly when you speak with a company’s team. Include what really drives and motivates you or interests that may be unique to you. Anything here that could stand out for the recruiter will be beneficial.
Awards and Certifications
If you earned certifications through bootcamps or online courses, include these in the awards and certifications section. You may have gotten recognition in school for being a top GPA student or outstanding project award for a competition. Add these as they help the employer see that you have distinguished yourself among peers in some way. It’s totally okay if you have not gotten any awards before since you can always work on self-learning through free or paid certifications instead.
Once you have landed the job, keep an eye out for employer-sponsored education budgets. Many times, companies have budgets available for their employees to further their learning whether through online certifications or accredited degrees. If your awards and certifications section was looking light before, consider investing in yourself so that the next round of job applications has more substance!
Technical fields continue to grow as more and more industries are getting further automated and digitized. The exciting thing is that the world of software and internet is still very young and has much more to explore. Whether it was cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, or something that has been around longer that got you interested in a technical career, brush up your resume and skills to get started on the journey.
Remember to self reflect on what you’ve gained through education and work experience and match that up with a lot of research on the company you want to join.