We asked the leader of our technical recruiting group, Matthias Leitzmann, Vice President of Recruiting and Talent Solutions, for his advice on how to best structure a technical resume.
First things first: Objective. At the top of your resume, right below your personal contact information should be your objective. It should be short and right to the point, like “Java Development Position”. The objective should be in line with the information describing the job(s) you are applying for. Don’t add any unnecessary “fluff”, such as that you are seeking a “challenging and rewarding positon that allows you to grow”...
The next step in the resume set up should be adding your technical skillset or a Skills Summary. This portion should be a summary of the skills you possess that are relevant (!) to the job you will be applying for. For example, if you plan on applying for a software engineering position, list programming languages, platforms and any relevant frameworks/tools you have used. Leave out any skills or technologies you feel distract from the role you are aiming for – even if you know them well. You can always bring this information up during an interview. For the resume, your “attention grabber”, only list your skills that are most germane to the role you are going for – not “everything that you have every done”.
Right underneath your technical skillset section should be your Education, but only if your degree lines up well with the job you are applying for. If you didn’t finish your degree, or possess a college degree in i.e. Electrical Engineering, but are applying for a Computer Science role, save this portion of your resume for the part underneath the Professional Experience section (which brings us to our next point).
Your Professional Experience shouldn’t be viewed as an inventory of every single thing you have ever done for your current or prior employer(s). You want to list and write about everything that you have done in the past that you feel would add value to the job you are aiming to land. Deemphasize, shrink down or leave out anything that doesn’t get you closer to that goal. When writing your professional experience, be sure to have the content filled with the skills you list on your skills summary - show where you applied these skills and what you did with them. (As a side note, if you want to keep track and list ALL your skills and experiences, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a separate form for your own use that you can extract those parts from that you feel would be most applicable for the type of jobs you are applying for; but, keep the resume itself short, sweet, and pertinent.)
A few more final tips:
When writing the various sections of your resume, keep this thought in mind: “My objective (and the job I want) must be supported by content in the skills summary and professional sections on my resume that clearly demonstrates that I can do the job!” Hiring managers and recruiters will scan your resume top down very quickly, looking for obvious “evidence” that you have skills that meet their need (their opening = your objective ) and professional experience that utilized your skills.
Junior applicants (0-5 years) should stick to a one page resume. If you have 5+ years of experience and had 2 or more jobs, a 2 page resume is fine. Do your best to avoid the dreaded “3-Pager”...even if you have 15+ years of experience.
Stay away from using boarders, lines, boxes, graphics, colors or photos. Uses commonly used fonts and keep formatting plain and simple. Good luck!