Believe it or not – resumes evolve over the years. There are now many variations on the classic style. We’ll dive into many of them as part of a series on Resume Guides, but for now, we’ll review the most basic format and provide a downloadable guide for you as well as you search for your next tech role.
Generally, a solid tech resume contains five sections:
Include the basic information to reach you. Use your first and last name, and a nickname if relevant. Keep it professional, of course, but if the legal name you use on your tax paperwork, for example, is William, but you go by and sign emails as “Liam,” include both.
Do not feel compelled to include your entire address. Some people find themselves on mailing lists for years because they included their whole mailing address when posting on random job boards, for example. Include a preferred phone number, your LinkedIn profile link, and if relevant, your GitHub info.
With today’s emphasis on remote work, you can simply list your:
Be sure to focus on your relevant experience here. Some people choose to title this section, “Relevant Experience,” for instance. Don’t list every task you ever performed. Reference the job description for the role you want and emphasize any overlap. Also, remember to write your current role in present tense, and your prior roles in past tense.
Overall, keep it succinct and list (in the same order for each company):
If you went to university, include your degree, school, and graduation year. Was your GPA exceptional? You may include it, but otherwise leave it out. Also, if you’re 10 or more years from graduation, you can leave the year off. It’s no big deal. Likewise with campus activities and jobs. Once you’ve been out of school for a few years, very few people will base decisions on your part-time job at Subway or that you were Treasurer for the Choral Society.
If you have a degree in something unrelated to a tech role, or if you are part of the growing number of self-taught engineers or bootcamp graduates, this is fine. A degree of any sort is an accomplishment, don’t worry if it was in Music Performance or Finance.
If you’ve pivoted to a new career thanks to bootcamps or online courses, list your certifications and other relevant credentials.
Related: Candidate Spotlight on Paula Muldoon: Transitioned from Composing Music to Composing Code.
For some people, this section supersedes the education one. Recruiters (or ATS software) often zero in here. List your top skills in order of expertise, frequency, and relevancy. This means focusing on your strongest skills, and have the greatest comfort level.
You have some freedom here, too. If you have a passion project or regularly use a skill or programming language for an ongoing hobby or volunteer activity, it’s fair game. Just because you don’t use it for your day to day job, doesn’t mean you’re not fluent in it. It’s just important to differentiate between skills or languages you used briefly four jobs ago versus those you know well and could confidently use in your next role.
Related: Curious about the most in-demand skills? Our 2022 State of Software Engineers report found Go was the most requested skill for the second year in a row, creating 1.8x more interview requests for engineers proficient in it.
This section is a great place to highlight your involvement in your community or other volunteer pursuits. They often provide insight into other desirable skills or character traits. Plus, they often provide conversation starters for interviews. For example, maybe you are:
Download the Tech Resume Guide for more helpful tips, including a list of technical action verbs. This will help the language on your resume be more active than passive. There’s also a downloadable sample resume inside to get you started with easy formatting.