How to write a resume for technical roles
Many people ask me for tips and best practices when it comes to resumes. Here is a brief summary that I have imparted over the years from reviewing and submitting resumes for technical positions in the technology industry as a technical recruiter for software, firmware, mechanical, electrical, security, and system engineers.
A resume is reviewed 1-3 times during an interview process. Its first job is to get you an interview. The resume may be reviewed at later interviews. It may also be reviewed right before an offer if a company wishes you to join, specifically by an HR or Finance department. Therefore, clarity is important.
Write it twice, or once. You shouldn't write a professional summary that lists every software tool you’ve heard of. Just write what you did in the job descriptions of the previous roles you performed for each company. Your summary at the beginning of the resume should be short, 2-3 sentences and specific to you and only you. Use as little formatting as possible, make it chronological, and don't have multiple margins (UI designers and Front-End developers are the exceptions, kind of. If you want to make it pretty, great).
You shouldn't write a professional summary that lists every software tool you’ve heard of. Just write what you did in the job descriptions of the previous roles you performed for each company.
More detail is better than less for every other part of the resume other than the summary. It is rare that resumes are printed (even more rare that software engineering remains remote in 2021!) 2 pages is fine, more than 2 pages is fine. Most people reading a resume are looking for an absence of skill (This person hasn't done X) rather than reading it holistically. Get detailed. Include both the month and the year. If you are detailed about when/where you worked, you don't need to address gaps in the resume.
The templates I found most pleasing are as follows; the 2nd gets the most traction. You can include the tools in the job description OR after the job description. Including them in the summary gives zero context and doesn't really help.
“Company X – month/year to month/year
Company X creates software products for use by [list domain/industry here]
Designing and programming software products using tools A, B, C, and D
Used tools A & B to code features such as Z & V, C for deployment, and D for version control
Later, we used E for predictive analytics in cooperation with our clients who purchased our widget products.
Z&V features were used by clients for T purpose
What does the reader gain from this? I see the market/client, the technical tooling, and that you did design and programming. If you want to take this to the next level
“Company X – month/year to month/year
Company X creates software for [list domain/industries here]
Designing and programming software widget products using tools A, B, C, and D. Team was comprised of over 10 people, used Scrum methodology and I reported to the Title Z. Team was cross-functional and included 6 software, 1 system, and 3 DevOps engineers.
Used tools A & B to create features, C to deploy, and D for version control
Software built was used by [client or industry] to perform task R, task S, and task T. The tasks performed by the software led to savings of U and an increased performance of V.
Software was purchased by [notable clients]
Tools : A, B, C, D, E, R, S, T, V”
Don’t include career objectives, cover letters, the phrase “results oriented” or "as required", or any additional documentation unless it is absolutely necessary.
Don’t include career objectives, cover letters, the phrase “results oriented” or "as required", or any additional documentation unless it is absolutely necessary. Put it all in the resume with detailed job descriptions.
Do write a clear resume that outlines in great detail the work you did over the past 10 years, and sparing details before that. Don't include any details before 2007, it is less relevant according to Thomas Friedman.
Just list your city of residence and email address for contact information, not your physical address or phone number. And the address is only needed for an offer letter.
Leave a Reply