How to write a technical resume that will get you interviewed?
My name is Tom Ryan and I’m the founder of WorkBeast. I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of resumes since I started in the staffing industry 25 years ago. Most of them are lousy. There is a formula to writing a technical resume. I want to make sure that you know that formula so you get selected for the best interviews. A great resume won’t get you the job, but it will get you an interview. Here is how to get in the door.
1. Add your title
Are you a:
Python software engineer
Ruby on Rails Core engineer
UX Researcher for SaaS
SAP FICO S/3 Functional SME
Analog IC design lead
mRNA Single Cell Research Scientist
That title goes under your name. It should be your primary specialty, and it should be very specific. You should never write engineer or scientist. Take the guesswork out for all the people who are going to see your resume. It allows anyone using keyword search to find you. It tells non-technical people, any recruiter, and anyone in HR, exactly what you do. It tells the technical hiring executive exactly what you do. This is probably the single most important thing you can do. You will get more interviews immediately, and you will have less wasted time speaking to people about the wrong jobs.
2. Add any degrees, certifications, and methodologies
A lot of companies and universities prefer an advanced degree. Make sure you write the name of your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees on your resume. Assure you write PhD and Ph.D. somewhere in your resume if you have a Doctor of Philosophy, to get picked up in keyword searches. Lots of employers request certain certifications as well. They are critically important for certain jobs. These should be written and bolded on your resume. Many companies specify these in the job search. Below are all examples of certifications I have been asked to find over the years.
Epic Hospital Billing Build
Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant
The company literally says find me someone with this certification. It should be on your resume so it is picked up in a keywords search. Put this information at the top of your resume.
3. List your jobs in reverse chronological order
This is so important. People need to know the following:
Exact dates you worked at a company
Your title when you were at that company
The specific details of what your team was doing
Your specific role on that team
List each job on your resume in reverse chronological order. Put the information above on each job in 1-2 paragraphs. You can use bullets. You can list specific technical skills versions and equipment at the end of each job. I can’t stress this enough, PEOPLE NEED TO SEE WHAT YOU DID AT EACH SPECIFIC JOB. Add the exact title of each job. This is the only thing some recruiters and HR personnel look at. Most managers have gatekeepers to save them time. This gets your resume out of the stack and to the top.
You know the industry of the companies on your resume. Does the VP who is interviewing you? Does the HR employee? The administrator who screens the resume first? Does the recruiter? What if someone was told to search for people who do SaaS. What percentage of admins and recruiters will know salesforce is a SaaS? How many will know that the series A/B startup you worked at was SaaS? What if someone is told to screen for people in the automotive industry. People are going to search for the keyword automotive. You can write Ford but if the computer is searching for automotive you won’t show up on the search, and believe me, everyone uses search these days. Do yourself a favor and write the industry of each job.
You should explain what the overall project was and what you did on that project. This will help the manager. There are so many times where people write one or the other. You need to write both. One paragraph for each job is fine. Don’t write more than two paragraphs. Bullets are fine. It’s a resume, not the great American novel. People want details fast. I worked at Ford on the new concept design team. I led the design of new engine components.
4. Break down the exact tech stack and equipment you used.
You need to list the following under each and every job.
Tech stack and/or technical equipment you used
Any modules and sub-modules you worked on.
Versions of ALL software and equipment you used
There is a learning curve for everything so all else being equal a company prefers to hire someone who already knows their tech stack or equipment. They want to know if you have 10 years of Ruby on Rails or if you used Ruby on Rails once 10 years ago. So many developers just list every skill they ever looked at on their resumes and don’t break down how much experience they have with each of them. This makes it difficult for anyone to tell how strong you are with a certain technology. If you just jumble all your skills together the person reviewing the resume can’t tell if you have the right skill set.
Many search engines count the number of times a word is on a resume. They score the resume by the number of times that word shows up. If I worked with ruby on rails as my primary skill on a job a want that phrase to be written multiple times on every job where I used it. Next say the version you used as well as any additional tools that were being used on the project. Sometimes a company gives a recruiter or HR person very specific terms. Odds are the recruiter works on a bunch of positions and knows little about these skills. They are searching for keywords.
I want AutoCAD 2021 version 24.0 Windows 10 64.
I want VueX, Vue.js, Vue Loader, Vue SSR, Vue Server-Side Rendering
I want SAP S/4 Hana 1909 Cloud Central Finance Project Costing
I want single-cell RNA-seq methods Smartseq2
The person who writes all the right keywords on their resume gets found first and is at the top of the list for the RIGHT opportunities.
5. LinkedIn is your new resume.
Do you want passive job offers that are perfect for your background?
Put all the information above on your LinkedIn profile. If you visit LinkedIn every 30 days you will show up as more likely to respond even if you don’t click open to work. All the recruiters are trained to target people in open to working or are more likely to respond since inmails are so expensive. Update your LinkedIn and get a better-paying job.