Write a Technical Resume

With diligence and attention to detail, you can craft a competitive technical resume that showcases your talents. Hard skills, such as programming languages and software, are crucial in technical fields, so your resume needs to include a skills bank. In your experience section, explain how you’ve utilized these skills at prior positions. Use strong verbs, balance detail with brevity, and call attention to accomplishments instead of merely describing daily duties.


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Doc:Sample Technical Resume,Tips for Writing a Successful Technical Resume,Things to Avoid in a Technical Resume

Formatting a Technical Resume

  1. Start with a blank word document instead of a template. Create your resume from scratch, and use the Enter and Tab keys to set your spacing. Employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort through resumes; they scan for keywords and generate a score based on the number of hits. Resume templates often contain columns, headers, footers, and text boxes, and ATS have a hard time reading fancy formatting.[1]
    • If you’ve never created a resume before and have no clue where to start, search online for simple resume examples. Try to mimic their organization with basic spacing and alignment tweaks on you word processing program.
    • If you absolutely have to use a template, go for one without columns, rows, text boxes, and other complicated features. The easiest and cheapest way to build a resume is to use a template one from a free popular document processor or job search engine. Google docs, LinkedIn, or Indeed have good easy to use templates. Whether you use a template or start from scratch, save your document as Word and PDF both Convert-a-Microsoft-Word-Document-to-PDF-Format.
    • For printed resumes that won’t be scanned by software, you don’t have to be as careful about making it ATS-friendly. However, your printed resume’s format should still be simple. A complicated layout that’s hard to follow will turn off hiring managers.
  2. Choose a clean, current, and easy-to-read font. While curly fonts and Comic Sans are notoriously poor choices, finding the right font is more nuanced than it seems. Applicants in technical fields are typically expected to have a finger on the pulse of graphical trends, so it’s wise to run a quick online search for currently popular fonts. In any case, your font choice should be simple, clean, and legible.[2]
    • Sans serif fonts are generally easier to read than serif fonts, such as Times New Roman or Georgia.
    • Default sans serif fonts such as Calibri and Arial are fine choices, but could come off as too safe. If you want to mix it up, hot fonts in 2018 include Trebuchet, Tahoma, and Gill Sans. For a classic choice, go with Helvetica.[3]
    • As for font size, go with 11-point for general content; if you must, 10-point is the smallest you should go. You can add emphasis to section headings by setting them a bit larger than your general content font size.
  3. Put your name, email address, and phone number at the top. That blank page is about to get a little less intimidating! Start by typing your name and contact information at the top and center in a large font size, such as 14 or 16-point. Skip your street address; just include your email and phone number.[4]
    • As for margins, stick with {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} on each side. If you need more space, you can set the top and bottom margins to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, but not any smaller, and only the top and bottom. Thin margins, especially on the sides, will make your resume look jumbled.
    • Your street address isn’t necessary and takes up valuable space. Furthermore, a hiring manager might see your address and think, “That zip code seems like too far of a commute,” and toss your resume in the “No” pile.
    • Your email address needs to be professional, such as some combination of your name, initials, and numbers (other than your birth year). Never use your current work email or telephone line. If you’re still in school, don’t use your university email, as you’ll eventually lose access.
  4. Use spacing, bold, italics, underlining, and capitalization consistently. To add emphasis, highlight your section headings, select a font size of 12 to 14-point, and set them to bold. Capitalizing them can also differentiate your content's look. As for your subheadings, such as company names and positions held, use bold and italics to set these apart from general content.[5]
    • For instance, type your position on 1 line, add the company name beneath, and set them in bold and aligned to the left. At the right margin, type the dates you held the position in bold, such as “June 2015 — March 2018.”
    • You can come up with your own ways to emphasize sections and headings, but make sure you’re consistent. If you bold a company name, all other organizations must appear in bold; if you italicize a position, all positions held must be italicized.

Showcasing Your Skills

  1. Format-a-Resume your content in order of importance.[6] With your name and contact information out of the way, it’s time to get to the meat of your resume. Prioritize practical experience, key skills, and your strongest projects. Listing entries in reverse chronological order might be intuitive, but don’t restrict yourself to this method if your prior experience is more relevant than your current position.[7]
    • If you opt to include a summary, skip 2 lines under your contact info, set your alignment to left, then type “Summary.”
    • After "Summary," skip 2 lines and add the heading “Technical Skills,” then skip 2 lines and add a heading for relevant experience, such as “Relevant Experience” or “Professional Experience.” After experience, type a heading titled “Education” or “Education and Training.”
    • If you prefer, include your skills bank at the end of your resume. Alternatively, list key abilities, such as “Software development lifecycle,” “Systems analysis,” and “User interface design,” at the top, then provide a more detailed profile of programming languages, operating systems, and software at the end.
  2. Highlight your strengths in an optional summary.[8] A summary is required, but it’s a good opportunity to include keywords that will generate hits on tracking software. Your summary should be 1 or 2 sentences that highlight your experience, key skills, and traits. If you have trouble coming up with a summary, writing your experience section first could help you come up with ideas.
    • For instance, you could write, “Systems administrator with over 10 years experience in network security, database management, and IT infrastructure.”
    • Provide specifics, but be concise, and avoid using excessive adjectives. “Experienced, hardworking, detail-oriented systems administrator,” for example, is way too wordy.
    • A strong, succinct summary is helpful but, avoid including vague objective. “To hone my skills with a growing company,” for instance, doesn't tell the hiring manager what your skills are or how you've used them in the past.[9]
  3. List your technical abilities in a Include-Skills-on-Your-Resume bank. Unless you’re applying for an executive position, a key skills section is a must in technical fields. List your skills in a bank for quick reference (and to generate ATS hits), then detail how you’ve put them to use in your experience section. Organize your skill bank in sub-categories, such as operating systems, software, and programming languages.
    • Check the skills listed in the job description, and ensure you include those keywords. Only include abilities you actually have; you wouldn’t want to get caught in a fib at an interview or on the job.
    • Your skills section could look like this:

      Programming: C, C++, C#, Go, Java, Python, SQL
      Operating Systems: Mac OS X, Windows 10/8/7, Linux
      Software: AutoCAD, Autodesk 3ds Max, Matlab, MathCad
  4. Contextualize your skills in your experience section. Include only your most relevant experience instead of detailing your entire work history. Use strong action words and measurable quantities to describe how you’ve utilized your skills.[10] In technical fields, using jargon is sometimes unavoidable, but you shouldn’t use unnecessarily complicated terms just to sound smart.[11]
    • Include key facts in each experience sub-heading.
      • Title of your position e.g. 'Application Developer/ Project Lead'
      • Name of the company
      • City and state of your office e.g. 'Sunnyvale, CA'
      • Mention the country if you are applying abroad
      • Start and end month and year e.g. 'January 2018 to present'
    • List bullet points under each position. Quantify and 'sell' all job responsibilities e.g. 'Developed containerized ASP.NET and Python micro services for foo’s cloud platform foo.ai in a team of 13' or 'Led a team of 4 developers guaranteeing 24-hour turnaround for bug fixes and unblocking any team within a few hours'.
      • Use a variety of strong verbs, such as “designed” or “implemented,” instead of writing “Responsible for” or “Duties include.” Write verbs in the present tense for current jobs. Use past tense for prior experience.
      • Mention Service level agreement (SLA) achieved with respect to turnaround time, quantity and quality
      • Highlight Bonuses and rewards
      • Specify business value added if known
      • Use generic and latest buzzwords e.g. 'containerized' instead of 'dockerized'
      • Name high profile products if they have gone live
      • Add your contribution to building the team e.g. 'Interviewed new candidates and trained new hires'.
  5. Place Write-Your-Degree-on-a-Resume after experience, unless you’re a recent grad. If you don’t have much work experience, start with a skills bank, then the education section, followed by any internships, academic projects, freelance work, or other related experience. If you've held at least 2 or 3 relevant positions, put your experience section before education.[12]
    • Write your college or university, your degree, and any accolades, such as “with honors” or “magna cum laude.”
    • Unless you’re a recent grad, don’t include your GPA or year of graduation.
    • If you have a at least a bachelors degree, you do not need to list your previous education.
    • If you are still enrolled in the university, mention the year you are expected to graduate.
    • List the degrees in descending order of relevance and advancement.
  6. Add a section for training and certifications, if necessary. If you only have 1 to 2 industry-specific certifications, list them under “Education,” or title the section “Education and Training.” Examples of industry-specific certifications include “Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS)” or “Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).”
    • If you have more than 1 or 2 certifications, you can pull them out into a separate “Training and Certification” section.
    • Mention the title, certifying authority, date of the certification. Hyperlink just the title if the certificate is available on the certifying authority's website for public use. You may use the following format:
      • Machine Learning Foundations: A Case Study Approach by University of Washington on Coursera certification, April 27, 2017
  7. State your patents. You could mention the number of patents and their status e.g. 'Approved' or 'Pending' in your job summary. You could provide more detail in your sub-section. Clearly state whether your patent is pending or approved. Provide the following in your bullet point:
    • Title of the invention
    • Country patent number
    • Date of filing
    • Date of issue (if approved)
    • Hyperlink to the source
  8. State your publications. Mention relevant publications only if there are too many to fit.
    • Title of the publication
    • Name of the Publisher
    • Date of publication
    • Hyperlink to the book or article URL

Crafting a Competitive Resume

  1. Emphasize measurable accomplishments instead of listing duties. Focus your content on actions, results, and how you made a difference at past positions. Anyone can perform daily duties; potential employers want to know how you stand out from the crowd.[13]
    • It can be tough to think of accomplishments off the top of your head. Get in the habit of keeping an achievement journal, and write an entry any time you write a new program, solve a problem, or spearhead a marketing campaign.
    • Additionally, aim to use measurable values instead of vague generalizations. Instead of “Was responsible for meeting weekly quotas,” write, “Completed a minimum of 10 deliverables per week to exceed clients' productivity goals.”
  2. Leave out obvious or irrelevant information. Only include content that relates to the job you’re applying for, and explain how that experience makes you the best candidate. Hiring managers aren’t interested in jobs from high school, unrelated positions, your hobbies, or personal information.[14]
    • For instance, if you held an unrelated position for 6 months, it's probably wasted space on your resume.
    • You only have 1 to 2 pages to work with, and too much clutter will make your resume hard to read. Unless you can show how you exercised skills that are useful to the position you're applying for, leave unrelated jobs off your resume.
    • Additionally, don’t include references or write “References available upon request.” Recruiters and hiring managers will assume you have references, so there’s no need to waste precious space.[15]
  3. Avoid leaving gaps in your employment history. While you should include the most relevant information, do your best to avoid showing gaps of 6 months or more between jobs. Even if the job you've held for the past 2 years is unrelated to the one you're applying for, include it. Otherwise, it might seem like you've been unemployed throughout that time.[16]
    • Suppose you graduated 5 years ago, held a related position for 1 year, worked in an unrelated field for 3 years, and got back in your field last year. You’d still want to include the job you held for 3 years, even if it’s not in your field. In your bullet points, explain how you exercised transferable skills that relate to the job you’re applying for.
    • Say you have 4 relevant positions and don't have room to include an unrelated job you held for 18 months. Leave the unrelated job off of your resume, but include it on the company application form and mention it in your cover letter.
    • If you do need to explain an employment gap of more than 6 months, be honest. Write in your cover letter or say in an interview, “I took some time off to care for my elderly mother,” “I was downsized,” or “I’d been working 60-hour weeks, was burned out, and needed some personal time.”
  4. Ensure your content is error-free and professionally written. Proofread your resume multiple times until you’re 100% certain it’s free of spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Additionally, make sure you haven’t used slang, “I” or “me,” or other unprofessional language.[17]
    • Check for any weak or passive language, such as “Was in charge of the development team.” Write in the active voice whenever possible: “Led the development team.”
    • Remember that consistent formatting is crucial. A hiring manager will toss your resume if you write “July 2016 to present” for a job, and “6/15 to 6/16” for the entry beneath it.
  5. Tailor your resume to specific job postings. As tedious as it sounds, you need to customize your resume for each job application. Read the job posting carefully, identify the skills it lists, then edit your resume so it targets that specific position.[18]
    • Say a job posting lists project management skills, and your resume is thin in this area. You’ll need to include new (truthful) details about seeing a project through from start to finish. Examples include, “Managed the installation and networking of clients’ IT infrastructure,” and “Led a team of developers to code and test a new reporting interface.”
    • Keep a master copy of your resume that includes all your past positions and technical skills. When you apply for a job, customize the master copy, then save it as a new document with the title you're applying for and the date.
    • Refer to your new customized document when you apply for similar jobs in the future.


  • Don’t exaggerate or lie about your experience. You wouldn’t an employer to find out you lack skills you claimed to possess in an interview or on the job.
  • It’s wise to have a friend, relative, or colleague who works in your field offer feedback on your resume.
  • Some job posting sites offer free resume reviewing services. They run your resume through ATS software, which can help you avoid formatting quirks.

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