With increasing numbers of job seekers competing for the most desirable technical jobs, your resume needs to be better than the rest to get noticed.
Effective technical resumes clearly show the candidate's technical skills -- a hiring manager shouldn't have to go fishing for this information. An excellent way to include technical knowledge is to add a Technical Summary or Technical Expertise section to your resume. Break the section into subcategories so the reader can quickly scan through your knowledge of programs and applications. Possible categories include technical certifications, hardware, operating systems, networking/protocols, office productivity, programming/languages, Web applications and database applications. Only list programs/applications that you could confidently discuss in an interview.
Many hiring managers say they are searching for candidates who offer more than technical credentials. Soft skills such as interpersonal communications, ability to work collaboratively and commitment to achieving corporate goals are just as desirable. In other words, your resume needs a personality. The reader shouldn't only be impressed by your technical qualifications, but should find you to be likeable and well suited for the team. You can highlight some of these skills in a Career Summary section.
Focus on Technological Results
Technical candidates usually make one of two critical errors on their resumes -- either the document is excessively long with excruciating detail on every assignment ever completed, or too short with hardly any descriptions at all. There needs to be some middle ground -- the resume should be succinct yet effectively showcase your achievements.
What to Include
For each position held, give a brief synopsis of the scope of your responsibility. Then show how your performance benefited the company. Give examples of how past initiatives led to positive outcomes such as enhanced efficiency, faster time-to-market, monetary savings, etc. Accomplishments are most powerful when they are measurable, so include actual performance figures whenever possible. Focus on your most impressive technical projects/accomplishments. What types of challenges did you face? What did you do to overcome the challenges? How did your performance improve the organization's bottom line?
For contract work, provide a bulleted list of your top projects, indicating the company (or type of company if confidential), reason for hiring you, scope of your project, your specific approach to the project, challenges/obstacles faced, work performed and benefits to the company.
If you are new to the field and concerned about a lack of experience, consider offering free or low-cost technical services to charitable organizations, friends, family or local businesses. This allows you to hone your craft and show related work or volunteer experience on your resume. Also, pursue as much training as possible to get up to speed. Entry-level candidates should focus on their potential in the field, ability to quickly learn challenging concepts and motivation to succeed in the industry.
The best keywords for your resume depend on your job target and experience. Specific programs and applications are often used as keywords, which is another reason why a Technical Summary is a good idea. To determine the best keywords for your industry, examine job postings on Monster and see which credentials and skills are used frequently; these are potential keywords that should be incorporated into your resume.