How to make your tech resume more appealing to hiring managers

With the rise in social media hiring platforms, the traditional resume has changed. Here's what hiring managers are looking for.

How to make your tech resume more appealing to hiring managers With the rise in social media hiring platforms, the traditional resume has changed. Here's what hiring managers are looking for.

Traditional methods of recruiting have been eliminated by profiles and newsfeeds, with nearly 15% of job seekers landing jobs via social media platforms, according to a recentClutch report. The most popular method of finding jobs today is through online job boards, such as Indeed, Monster, MediaBistro, and USAjobs—which 40% of job seekers use to secure employment, the report found.

Despite the change in job search methods, the traditional resume layout is actually still alive and well. Granted, resumes are primarily submitted online, but the process of compiling experiences onto paper remains true to its roots.

"Resumes are very relevant," said Elaine Varelas, managing partner at Keystone Partners. "The other tools enhance and give users different opportunities to communicate their experience in different ways, but you absolutely still need a resume."

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Professional social media accounts like LinkedIn are incredibly useful tools for showcasing your skills, but they shouldn't replace a resume, Varelas said. If an applicant just copy and pastes their resume on LinkedIn, they lose the opportunity to really enhance their overall presentation—defeating the purpose of the social platform in the first place, Varelas added.

"On LinkedIn, you can really enhance your experience, you can go into greater detail, you can tell more stories," Varelas said. Resumes won't go into as much refined detail, but they also won't be confined to one page like they used to be, she added.

How to format your tech resume

Resumes offer a snapshot of your work history, outlining each job chronologically with tight, pointed descriptions, Varelas said. Especially for candidates in the tech field, resumes should be very straightforward. Place your duties from each job into specific bullets, and bucket your tech capabilities by functional aspects, making it extremely easy for the reader to digest, Varelas added.

"Tech people usually have a section that is very dedicated to just specific tech skills—programs, applications, specific things that they've worked with, so that applicant tracking systems can check those boxes that say yes, you've done this, this, this, and this," Varelas said.

While the format stays the same, some resume features do vary by industry. If the candidate is in marketing or advertising, "the minimum you want is to have the logos of the companies that you worked at in there. The content should be eye-catching, engaging if you are that kind of a field," Varelas said.

No matter what industry you are in, though, the resume should be no more than two pages, she added.

What hiring managers want

Hiring managers are looking for not only what you did, but how you did it. "What were the results?" Varelas said. "That's what hiring managers want to see most because, as they read the results, they think about, 'Okay, so what is it you could do at my company?'"

Approach resume writing from a hiring manager's perspective, and consider what you would want from a strong employee. Ultimately, most hiring managers want someone who can solve a problem, and who can be self-sufficient, Varelas added. So, candidates should showcase experiences that display those qualities.

"Is this person a leader among peers, or are they run of the mill? Can you show me how you increase capability of production or decrease costs? Those are the things that really make the difference," Varelas said. "Not only do you understand what your technical responsibilities are within your role, but that the way you view things is part of the larger business."

What to avoid on a resume

Lying about their experience is the biggest mistake a candidate can make on a resume, according to Varelas. "That's one of the major no-nos. We still see people who mislead in terms of the information on their resume: Either about their education, or the dates on a job, or skipping job entries altogether. You may not get caught right away, but it typically will," Varelas added.

Candidates also shouldn't exaggerate their skills and capabilities. If you know how to use a program or tool, but are only proficient at it, then say so, Varelas recommended. The last thing you want to do is show up to work on the first day and be expected to do something you claimed you could, but actually can't.

Lastly, balance your ability to work with a team with your ability to work alone as well, Varelas said. "This resume is yours. This isn't the team's resume. People really need to take a look at the fact that they need to own some things that they were personally responsible for," she added.

To learn more about some of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make in their resume, check out this TechRepublic download.

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Image: iStockphoto/Tero Vesalainen