Your resume is one of the main ways you gain the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. You want to make sure you stand out with a concise resume that entices the hiring manager to want to find out more about you. Your resume should showcase your personal brand along with your skill set and achievements.
But what are employers looking for? This depends on whether you are new to the tech field or are looking to simply change companies and already have a wealth of experience. For the career switcher or new to the tech field job seeker the resume should include a list of skills you have developed during your training. You should also include a number of projects that you have completed, preferably with links to sites such as github where employers can see the examples of such work. This shows employers that you are actively working on your craft even while you are not employed and have passion for your new field.
In general, most agree that resumes should be kept to one page. After including skill sets and examples of projects, you’ll want to include your education history for the tech field. In addition, what you notate for contact information is important too. Name and email are of course essential but so too are links to personal websites, blogs, and other professional sites such as linkedin. This is where employers can track your presence and interest in the field. If you include such sites you must make sure you are active in them and have completed all the profile options. Nothing looks worse than a blog site with no posts for months on end as it implies a lack of commitment.
A resume summary is a current trend. This information is prime real estate and sits directly under your contact information. This introduces who you are and what skills you bring to the table. It needs to be specific, factual, and in the active voice. This section is changed for every job you apply for to make it specific to the job. You should use an iterative process to write, review, and repeat until you have the best summary you can possibly create because this introduction is what recruiters or managers will read first and it needs to stand out.
One thing that most people agree on is not to use pre-packaged resume builders as these take away the individuality of your resume and often come across as bland. Also, recruiters and hiring managers are well aware of these products and will not be impressed by you using such tools. Remember a resume is just one part of the application process. It is complimented by networking, informal get togethers, and interviews. Your resume should reflect who you are so that when you finally meet with someone they can see your personality meshes with what your resume says.
Now what about if you are changing jobs within the tech field and already have a wealth of experience? Your resume will focus less on education and more on past work experience that includes details of skills and achievements within each job you held. For example, if you headed up a project you would include this and the skills that you developed from that experience. You still want to keep your resume concise and preferably to just one page, but this can be difficult if you have many years of experience. Do your best to consolidate and focus on those skills that you think the new company is looking for.
Finally, make sure that you customize your resume to each job you are applying for. Not all jobs are looking for the same skill set, and you may have to alter your resume to reflect this. For example, government jobs often use keywords to sift through incoming resumes. This means you have to include these keywords to get past the computerized sorting system before a human will ever read your resume. In this case resumes can be longer to accommodate more keywords and descriptions of achievements and skills. In summary though, the general rule is to stay concise and include links to examples of work or online presence where managers or recruiters can get a better feel for who you are. And finally, before ever sending out your resume, have a few people look it over and give you feedback. This can pick up errors or highlight areas you need to improve on. Best of luck in moving forward to a new job.