When you're applying for a job in the tech industry, it is important that your resume accurately reflects your skills and experience in the field. Technical resumes differ slightly from standard resumes in several ways so individuals can properly display their technical skills in a highly readable, informative way.
What is a technical resume?
A technical resume is a list of experience, skills and job history that outlines an individual's ability to succeed in a technical role. When writing a technical resume, your priority is to relate your background to the positions for which you’re applying.
1. Name and contact information
2. Summary or objective
3. Professional history
a. Company name
b. Dates of tenure
c. Description of role and achievement
6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)
Some technical jobs will have hundreds of applicants, so standing out is important in this field. You will need a technical resume when applying for a job in engineering, IT, computer science, programming, software engineering, web development or design, DevOps or network or system administration. Each field and position may have its own unique requirements, so customizing your tech resume based on those needs can help you stand out.
How to write a technical resume
While your resume should be tailored to the specific jobs you’re considering, there are a few key elements you should include. Here are several steps to consider when creating your technical resume:
Include your personal information
Start by including an informative header with details about yourself. These details should include your full name, phone number, physical location and email address. You don't have to include your home address, but the city and state in which you reside should be listed on the resume.
Write a personal summary
When your resume includes a personal summary, you're twice as likely to hear back from the hiring manager. Use this space to summarize your progression in a professional capacity and highlight any of your notable skills and achievements.
Include hobbies and interests
Some people also include their hobbies and interests on their resumes. If you have hobbies or interests that are relevant to the position for which you're applying, these are certainly helpful to include. For example, if you coded a chess program that you use to play with friends online, this would be an interesting tidbit to a manager responsible for hiring a coder or developer.
Customize your resume
Whether you're applying for a handful of jobs or a single dream position, it's smart to customize your resume for each company to which you're applying. You may want to change the skills you list depending on the responsibilities of the job. Some applicants will also include details that would particularly interest the hiring manager, such as their experience with the company or specific programs that the company uses.
List your relevant work experience
The work experience section of a resume is also important when you're applying for a technical role. However, you don't need to outline details about the companies for which you've previously worked. Instead, use this section to discuss what you achieved in each of your previous roles. Using data and numbers can help a hiring manager get a better sense of how you performed, especially because this information is verifiable.
Tips for writing a technical resume
In the work experience section, list your most impressive accomplishments instead of tasks and responsibilities. Examples include:
- Spearheaded the development of a new user interface that increased customer satisfaction by 20%
- Mentored a team of 15 web developers
- Developed and implemented a feedback system for customers to report bugs and concerns
- Re-engineered account software systems for customers that reduced bugs by 15%
- Collaborated on the development of new software interfaces for banks
You should also remove any irrelevant or out-of-date work history, like your first job in retail or food service, for example. Only include your most recent 10 years of employment history (or your previous three to five jobs) to offer the hiring manager more relevant, recent information.
If you did take a job that doesn't relate to your desired field in the middle of a series of recent jobs, it's better to include that instead of showing a gap in employment history.
Social media is a great tool in many respects, including your professional pursuits. However, if you've used your social media pages strictly for personal posts and information, it's best to leave links to these off your technical resume.
Most technical positions will require some type of degree, so you'll need to include your education on the resume. If you attended a school that is well-known for its development, computer programming or other related programs, highlight this information on your resume.
Certifications and awards
Awards, accolades, special skills and certifications can show your professional abilities, as well as your willingness to work hard and progress in your career. Including these details can help your resume to stand out among a crowd of applicants.
Computer skills for resumes
Your resume should also include your technical skills related to the position that make you a competitive candidate. These skills include all computer programs, databases, coding tools and platforms with which you are comfortable working. It's helpful to the hiring manager if you include your skill level on each tool. For example, you might include a list:
- Expert: TFS, HTML, JDBC, C/C++, Hudson, CSS, SOAP, J2EE, Eclipse
- Intermediate: C#, ASP.NET, SQL, Visual Studio, Java, Ruby on Rails, VB.NET, Hibernate
- Learning: Jenkins, Python, REST, Spring
Some companies receive such high volumes of applications and resumes that they use keyword scanning tools to pare down and eliminate those that don't include their required skills. To make sure your resume makes it through the first round, be sure your technical resume outlines your skill level with each of the required skills listed in the posting.
Technical resume example
East Lansing, Michigan
(555) 555-5555 | email@example.com
Dedicated IT professional with 10 years of experience, seeking a position in the legal industry to support legal professionals in their technical needs
IT Project Manager | Feb ’15–Current
- Supports Corporate Oracle ERP and OBIEE data warehouse initiatives utilizing both Waterfall and Agile methodologies
- Plans, executes and finalizes projects according to strict deadlines, delivering projects on time and within budget
- Coach, guide and mentor teams on Agile / Scrum practices and techniques
- Responsible for providing written and verbal project communications, including weekly status, dashboards and project updates
IT Support Desk
Cloud Clearwater | 2010–2015
- Managed and distributed all incoming technical support requests
- Implemented an electronic support request system for improved tracking and faster response times
- Initiated successful company-wide move to Mac
Certificates and skills
MS Service Certification
Expert: C++, Java, MySQL, PHP
Hawaii Western | Aug ’98–Aug ’02
Bachelor of Science/Trade Technology
Jobs in the technology sector are expected to continue to grow over the next few years, so it is certainly possible to earn a job in this field. Crafting a technical resume that clearly outlines your skills, experience and pertinent details will help you stand out from other applicants and improve your chances of getting hired.