Building a Technology Resume

One of the biggest trials for many job-seekers is creating the perfect resume. You can find a professional to do it for you, or you can use a template, but if you are a proponent of the DIY attitude (like most of us in IT), then you need to know how to include your IT skills in a clean and readable format. You also need to make sure to utilize important keywords. Whether your resume is already online or still in paper form, it is likely to end up in a database at some point and you need to make sure it comes up in the right searches.

  • The first step to including your technology-related skills is to make a simple list. Write down the things you know enough about to be comfortable discussing in an interview. Keep the items with which you are most proficient near the top of the list.
  • Step two is to categorize your skills. Do any of them fall under a general heading such as "Network Security" or "Database Administration"? If you can list several of these category-level skills, they can be used on the resume in a separate section. They can also be used as descriptions in your summary or objective section. For example: "Skilled professional with over five years of experience as a Web Developer and Network Administrator."
  • List your certifications. If you have more than two, include them in your technology section. If you have two or less, move them to an "Education and Certification" section. Your education section can be placed at the bottom of the resume if your experience outweighs your education, or towards the top of the resume if you are a recent grad, new to IT, hold a graduate degree, or are currently working on furthering your education.
  • Make sure to format the information so that it is readable, and very easy to scan at a glance. Bullets are great for this, but don't get too carried away and bullet ad nauseam. Using tables and strategic shading are also good ways to organize your information.
  • Finally, take a look at some samples. They are relatively easy to find on the internet and I have provided a couple on a separate page.

    Show me the Samples

    Show me a list of words and phrases for resumes

    Show me some general resume-writing tips

     

    Create a Career Outline

    Think of your resume as the story of your career. As such, it needs to be organized to best highlight your strengths. How would you answer if you were to be asked, "what have you accomplished?" or "where would you start?"

    • If you are fresh out of school, use your education as your strong point. GPA, accolades, club participation, etc. will be your focus.
    • If you have 20 years of solid experience, start defining your accomplishments during each job role.
    • If you have five years of experience, divide your strengths between education/certification and experience.

    Introduce Yourself

    Always start with your name and contact information. From there, decide if you need an introduction or objective statement. This is a personal decision and should be worded carefully if used. If you use this section, do not get too personal and do not use "I" or the ever-popular "Seeking to . . .". Be simple and straightforward: "Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) with seven years of IT Consulting experience. Skilled at assessing project needs, training end users, and installing, managing, and configuring systems."

    Beef Up Your Vocabulary

    Throughout your resume use power words like maximize, dedicated, recognized, proficient, adept, capitalized, accomplished, motivated, decisive, strategic, etc. Show me more power words . . .

    Use Numbers

    Make sure to include numbers in the descriptions of your experience.

    Employers are notorious for wanting quantifiable achievements such as "Decreased costs by 20%" or "Exceeded expectations by completing 4 months prior to deadline and lowering project budget by 10%". Show me more phrases . . .

    Use the Internet

    Sites like Monster.com have some great free resources devoted to helping you create a great resume.

    Resume Example

    Things to Avoid

    • Do not use "I" or "My." Do not say, "references provided upon request." This is assumed and does not need to be stated.
    • Do not list any skills that you are not proficient with. You may include a section titled "Exposure To" and list items that you have touched but not mastered.
    • Do not let a single typo or misspelling get by you. Have someone else proof your resume before sending it out.
    • Do not, without excellent reasons, include a section on hobbies. This information is not pertinent to your qualifications.

     

    Power Words

    Use the following words to accurately describe your experience and accomplishments. Break out your thesaurus if you are still stuck for the right verb or adjective.

    Adept
    Administered
    Adroit
    Assessed
    Authored
    Capable
    Challenging
    Cohesive
    Collaborate
    Communication
    Competent
    Conceptualized
    Conducted
    Consistently
    Conveyed
    Demonstrated
    Designed
    Determined
    Developed
    Diligence
    Driven
    Dynamic
    Effective
    Enhanced
    Establish
    Exceptional
    Exceeded
    Expert
    Extensive
    Evaluated
    Facilitated
    Focus
    Implemented
    Inspired
    Instrumental
    Introduced
    Launched
    Liaison
    Managed
    Mastery
    Maximized
    Mentored
    Motivated
    Negotiated
    Outstanding
    Oversaw
    Performed
    Persistent
    Presented
    Proficient
    Promoted
    Rapid
    Recognized
    Recommend
    Recruited
    Skilled
    Succeeded
    Successful
    Superior
    Supervised
    Tenacious
    Trained
    Unique
    Utilized

    Phrases

    These are just a few examples of phrases that could be used in your resume. Use the power words above to create descriptive phrases such as . . .

    Solutions-oriented
    Results-driven
    Well organized
    Highly motivated
    Top-ranked

    Use phrases such as these to describe qualitative accomplishments . . .

    Increased revenue by 200%
    Exceeded Goals by 20%
    Decreased costs by $1 Million
    Impacted cost of . . . by $400,000
    Team ranked #1
    Exceeded quotas by . . .
    Exceeded expectations
    Improved productivity
    Substantially improved . . .by 40%
    Consistently ranked number one