List your technical knowledge first in an itemized fashion. Use as many buzz
words as you can conjure up which reflect your work and school experience. List all
operating systems and UNIX flavors you know. List all programming languages and platforms
with which you're experienced. List all software you've thoroughly used. This will satisfy
the visual curiosities of hiring managers and OCR scanners conducting key word searches
(at Taos, every resume received is thoroughly reviewed by a real live human being).
List your qualifications in order of relevance, from most to least. Only list
your degree and educational qualifications first if they are truly relevant to the job for
which you are applying. If you've already done what you want to do in a new job, by all
means, list it first, even if it wasn't your most recent job. Abandon any strict adherence
to a chronological ordering of your experience.
Quantify your experience wherever possible. Cite numerical figures, such as
monetary budgets/funds saved, time periods/efficiency improved, lines of code
written/debugged, numbers of machines administered/fixed, etc. which demonstrate progress
or accomplishments due directly to your work.
Begin sentences with action verbs. Portray yourself as someone who is active,
uses their brain, and gets things done. Stick with the past tense, even for descriptions
of currently held positions, to avoid confusion.
Don't sell yourself short. This is by far the biggest mistake of all resumes,
technical and otherwise. Your experiences are worthy for review by hiring managers. Treat
your resume as an advertisement for you. Be sure to thoroughly "sell" yourself
by highlighting all of your strengths. If you've got a valuable asset which doesn't seem
to fit into any existing components of your resume, list it anyways as its own resume
Be concise. As a rule of thumb, resumes reflecting five years or less experience
should fit on one page. More extensive experience can justify usage of a second page.
Consider three pages (about 15 years or more experience) an absolute limit. Avoid lengthy
descriptions of whole projects of which you were only a part. Consolidate action verbs
where one task or responsibility encompasses other tasks and duties. Minimize usage of
articles (the, an, a) and never use "I" or other pronouns to identify yourself.
Omit needless items. Leave all these things off your resume: social security
number, marital status, health, citizenship, age, scholarships, irrelevant awards,
irrelevant associations and memberships, irrelevant publications, irrelevant recreational
activities, a second mailing address ("permanent address" is confusing and never
used), references, reference of references ("available upon request"), travel
history, previous pay rates, previous supervisor names, reasons for leaving previous jobs,
and components of your name which you really never use (i.e. middle names).
Have a trusted friend review your resume. Be sure to pick someone who is
attentive to details, can effectively critique your writing, and will give an honest and
objective opinion. Seriously consider their advice. Get a third and fourth opinion if you
Proofread, proofread, proofread. Be sure to catch all spelling errors,
grammatical weaknesses, unusual punctuation, and inconsistent capitalizations. Proofread
it numerous times over at least two days to allow a fresh eye to catch any hidden
Laser print it on plain, white paper. Handwriting, typing, dot matrix printing,
and even ink jet printing look pretty cheesy. Stick with laser prints. Don't waste your
money on special bond paper, matching envelopes, or any color deviances away from plain
white. Your resume will be photocopied, faxed, and scanned numerous times, defeating any
special paper efforts, assuming your original resume doesn't first end up in the circular