Archive for August 27, 2009

Writing A Successful Technical Resume

With so many people out there looking for a job right now, I thought it would be nice to compile some tips on writing resumes in the technical field.  Individual results may vary, but these are a few things I have learned:

1.  Always include a Skills section if you are going to post your resume to a form.  The reason why you are doing this is to provide a list of searchable skills.  If your resume is vague, it will never show up in any queries the company may conduct in the future.

2.  Do not under any circumstances whatsoever use a template for your cover letter.  Take the time to specifically type out how you qualify for the position, what skills you consider critical to the company’s success, address any gaps between the desired skills and what you know, and make sure it feels like a letter addressed to the company.  This brief effort, as simple as writing an email, will get you the attention you deserve.  If you apply at the same company twice, using a template twice may make the potential employer question your sincerity.

3.  Take notes while on the phone discussing your resume.  This will expose any areas you can improve and shore up potential problems.  Recruiters and hiring managers are scrutinizing every detail now.  If more than one interviewer expresses concern regarding information or you find yourself discussing skills not on your resume often, it is probably time for some editing.

4.  Keep multiple file formats on hand.  I have a Word, PDF, and text version at all times.  There is no data standard for on line job board systems and formatting can take away your dream job in a heartbeat.  I upload the Word version, print the PDF version, and copy and paste the Text file.  This system seems to fit 99% of the time.

5. Pay very close attention to the job details.  The days of blasting out your resume to 200 employers until someone gives you a chance are long gone.  There are specific hardware, software, and years of experience requirements that will disqualify you immediately.  It is better to assume a quality over quantity position in a finicky job market.  You will get more responses and interviewers will be less stressed with everyone.  They have very difficult decisions to make and their performance is also being scrutinized.

This is just a brief transfer of my own personal experiences.  If you have any others, please feel free to comment.