For all the Software Engineers, folks in Aerospace, Semiconductors and Mechanical Engineering – or any career in STEM, really – writing a technical resume can be intimidating and scary. At least half the resumes I write are technical resumes, and there are 4 mistakes that I see over and over and over and over (you get the picture).
1. Your resume is 19 pages long. That might be an exaggeration, but I regularly have prospective clients send me 5 – 9 page documents. No one wants to read all that. (Not even your mom!) Optimal length is 2 pages, though I have written 3 on occasion. The most important thing to remember is that your resume does not need to include every project or job duty that have ever had. A resume is an overview of your career, not an exhaustive document. The goal is to drop enough information that the hiring manager wants to learn more about you.
2. Your focus is primarily on your job duties. I get it. Really, I do! Your job is so heavily dependent on details that it is probably what you think about a lot of the time. You wake up thinking about the details and leave work each day puzzling over your newest challenge. But here’s the thing….no one cares about your reporting or widget adjustments. In other words, you have simply missed the forest for the trees. Instead, focus on the deliverables. Did you deliver your projects early? Was the functionality or UI amazing? Did you create a solution that no one thought of before?
3. You’ve used so much technical jargon that HR can’t make heads or tails of your qualifications. This should be self-explanatory, but HR is typically the initial stop for your resume once it escapes the ATS black hole. HR needs to be able to decipher both your qualifications and accomplishments in layman’s terms, though be careful about dumbing it down too much. The hiring manager (usually a technical professional) will still need to see your technical knowledge. You’ll have to find a balance that appeals to both technical and non-technical audiences.
4. Your technical skills section is too long. This one is easy to correct. My rule of thumb is that if the application or language hasn’t been widely used in 5-10 years, leave it off unless the job ad specifically mentions it.
If you are interested in best practices, click here and keep reading. Still lost? Contact me for a free consultation and evaluation of your resume.