The entertainment industry always speaks to “giving the audience what they want.” Things are not much different in the job search world. If you are applying for a technical job, your resume needs to showcase—what else—your relevant technical skills.
There are a number of clever ways to include more technical experience in your resume. Here is an outline of the basic resume components with ideas on where you can work in that important information.
Objective or Professional Profile
The Objective or Professional Profile section is the opening section in your resume. You could include a separate Technical Highlights or Skills Profile here or following the education section, but not both. (If the bulk of your technical information derived from academia, the appropriate place for the technical summary is after the education section.
Education (or Education & Trainings)
In the Education section, not only include the schools you graduated from, but if your resume lacks professional experience, here include information on projects (i.e., a capstone project) and hands-on experience you acquired while obtaining your degree.
If space permits, you could list course names, but it is often stronger to explain what you learned or what you did. For example:
Employment History (Experience, Relevant Experience)
In this section, not only list your experience, but do not forget to include your internship or relevant volunteer experience. Internships and volunteer opportunities are excellent ways to showcase your knowledge to a potential employer, but only include this information if the skills obtained translate into the open job position.
If you are a student or recent graduate, the most obvious way to talk about your technical competencies is to enhance your school information. Bulleted information or subsections can be included under the education section. The information could include the names of key courses, a short summary of technology or tools used, and/or explanations of significant projects or simulations. If you have more than two or three projects you would like to highlight, break them out into their own subsection titled “Highlighted Academic Experience,” “Highlighted Assignments,” or something similar.
Other sections as appropriate (Certifications/Trainings/Professional Development – if not listed elsewhere)
Other skills, languages, volunteer activities, etc.
If you already highlighted your technical skills in your opening section, a complete technical skills section could be included near the bottom of your document.
It is also appropriate to provide information about hands-on experience or self-study outside of the classroom. Depending on how much of this information you would like to include, you could choose to combine it in your education section (use a section heading like “Education and Training,“ ”Education and Self-Study”). When including information about self-study courses or other types of training, format it similarly to the other education items. Provide the information necessary for the reader to understand the value of the item (i.e., name of the course or program, where and when you took it, its length, a short description. It could look something like this:
When creating your resume, be thoughtful and deliberate when deciding what information to put in and what to leave out, and in prioritizing your content accordingly. Focus on presenting your strongest and most relevant information, and leave out things that do not support the position you want, or offers little value to the employer.
While all these formatting choices may seem a bit overwhelming at first, they allow you to create a document that best showcases your unique talents. It is important that you be deliberate in building your resume and in creating a strategic message that speaks to the needs of the employment marketplace. If it is a technical job you want, show the employers your technical skills.
For more resume resources or to set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist, visit CareerQuest.
Ann Martin is a career advising specialist at University of Maryland University College where she has worked for more than five years. She holds a master’s in mental health counseling from Bowie State University. As a mid-life career changer, she feels uniquely qualified to assist adult students in transforming their lives and finding their place in the workforce.