Welcome back to Part Two of our series on creating an outstanding tech resume. In Part One, we discussed some essential components such as bio, education, and skills that can make your resume stand out. Now, let's move on to the next set of crucial components that can give you an edge over the competition.
As you know, the tech job market is highly competitive, and having the right skills and experience is just the beginning. To land your dream job, you need a resume that showcases your unique strengths and expertise while also demonstrating how you can add value to the company.
In Part Two, we will delve into the important components of a tech resume such as projects, experience, and layout. These elements can make a significant difference in how your resume is perceived by potential employers. So, without further ado, let's explore some additional components that you should consider adding to your tech resume to help you stand out from the crowd.
The Projects section of your resume is crucial as employers often glean information about your experience, soft and technical skills from it. Furthermore, it's common for interviewers to ask you about the projects listed in your resume. Therefore, it's essential to know every detail about your projects. You may have completed multiple projects and documented them in your portfolio, but remember that you only have a few seconds to showcase your skills to employers. Therefore, it's crucial not to include too much information and too many projects in your CV. I recommend describing a maximum of three projects.
There are two ways to select suitable projects from your portfolio. The dynamic approach involves selecting projects that meet the requirements of the specific job opportunity you're applying for. The other way is the static approach, where you select three projects from your portfolio that can cover most of the requirements for jobs in the market. I prefer the latter approach as preparing your resume according to each open opportunity is time-consuming and frustrating. However, there's a trade-off, and your projects might not match perfectly with all jobs. To mitigate this impact, carefully choose your three projects.
Let me give you an example. If you're applying for a data scientist role, you need to showcase your experience with cloud services like AWS, Microsoft Azure, or GCP. You should also demonstrate your proficiency in data analysis, implementing machine learning solutions, and familiarity with data engineering tasks like data modeling, ETL, and model deployment. By addressing these requirements with your projects, you can cover up to 90% of the data science jobs in the market.
Once you have selected suitable projects for your resume, it's time to describe them. Your project description shouldn't be more than one paragraph and a maximum of four sentences. To describe your projects, follow this structure. First, briefly describe the project. There's no need to provide too much detail, and if you've done this for a previous employer, consider confidentiality issues. Second, describe your role, contribution to the project, and the tools you used. For example, you may have worked in a team of developers, led them, or worked on your own. Also, you may have contributed to the project by maintaining the data pipeline, performing data analysis, etc. Additionally, you may have used tools like Apache Spark and AWS to manage big data. Third, focus on the outcome of the project. This varies depending on the team and company you worked for, but your contribution should have had a commercial impact on the project. For example, you can mention that you developed a machine learning model to predict seasonal demand for a product at your company and helped the procurement department reduce storage costs by 8%. If you're not aware of the commercial or financial impact of your project, focus on the technical improvement. If you're describing a mock project like a Kaggle competition you participated in, it's always good to mention the potential impact of your work.
Here's an example of a complete project description using the structure outlined above:
[Developed a machine learning model to predict seasonal demand for a product]. [I lead a team of data scientists and engineers to develop, deploy and monitor a demand prediction solution using Microsoft Azure service and Data Bricks]. [ This reduced the storage cost by 8% during the off-season at the procurement department].
This section is where you can showcase your past work experience. If you are transitioning to tech from a different field and your previous roles are not directly related to your desired job title, it is important to spend some time thinking about how to link your previous experience to your current field. For example, if you were an engineer in your previous job, you likely used problem-solving and analytical skills, while as a software engineer, you may have been engaged in software development cycles, utilized programming languages, managed databases, and collaborated with other developers to deliver projects. These skills are all relevant to the data science field, and you just need to highlight them in your resume.
If you are fortunate enough to have relevant experience in your desired job title, try to state your responsibilities as clearly as possible. Avoid using overly specialized language and complicated sentences unless you are applying to a job that requires it. For instance, if you're applying for a role in the pharmaceutical sector, using technical jargon may make sense to the recruiter or employer. Also, avoid listing too many responsibilities for each job. Remember, you need to keep your resume concise while highlighting your key responsibilities.
Finally, make sure to include the start and end dates of each role, the company name, and location, as well as your specific responsibilities or daily tasks in your resume. This information will provide the employer with a clear understanding of your work experience and how it aligns with the requirements of the job.
In today's job market, most recruitment processes involve Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to handle the large volume of resumes received. ATS is a software application that scans and parses resume, matching them to job ads based on keywords. Therefore, it is essential that your resume is ATS-friendly in order to get past this initial stage and reach the hands of recruiters. To do so, make sure your resume is in a parsable format such as a Word document, and avoid using design software such as Figma. Additionally, you should include relevant keywords throughout your resume, especially in the Projects section. Keep this in mind while writing each section of your resume to increase your chances of getting noticed by the ATS and the recruiter.
When it comes to building a resume in the tech sector, I recommend keeping it to one page. While this may seem challenging, it's entirely possible to fit all the necessary information onto a single page with the right layout. One popular approach is to divide the page into two sections. As you craft your resume and allocate space to each section, keep in mind that readers typically start from the top left corner and read left to right and top to bottom. Therefore, it's important to include your name, title, contact information, and summary at the top of the page, followed by sections such as projects and skills. By using this approach, you can effectively utilize the space on your resume and make it easier for recruiters to quickly identify your key information.
Building a great resume is crucial to increase the chances of getting hired in today's competitive job market. Employers take only six to seven seconds to review each application, so a well-constructed resume that highlights the candidate's skills and achievements is essential. The components of a tech resume include name and title, contact information, a bio that summarizes skills and abilities, and education details. Candidates should use the correct title, provide professional contact information, and highlight relevant skills and qualifications. A concise and impactful bio should be specific and highlight the candidate's expertise, impact on the business, and relevant skills.
While having an outstanding resume is an important step to getting your desired job, it's just one of many steps in the job search process. Properly preparing yourself for interviews, networking, and negotiating salary are also crucial to landing your dream job. Stay tuned for more articles from me that will help you prepare for these important aspects of the job search.