You've decided it's time to get going on the job hunt, you've dug out your resume, and you've started editing it so it really wows the reader.
You come down to the list of technologies you know and you think, "Wow, I know a lot of stuff, but how will the reader get me and my capabilities when they read all this stuff? Isn't there some rule of thumb about how much someone can remember and limiting lists to 7 + or - 2?"
There are two things you need to take into consideration:
- Some applicant tracking systems, and some search engines will weight your resume more highly if you have more instances of certain words: You need multiple instances of the technology skills that you own.
- The reader needs to understand the context of how you know what you know. A list of a lot of technologies doesn't do that well.
To address these seemingly conflicting needs, you need to do three things:
- List the technologies you've used at the end of each job section on your resume.
- If you use a 'Highlights' section towards the top of your resume, post those technologies in which you have the greatest strengths.
- Put the list of all the technologies you know at the end of your resume.
Here's a real-world example from my buddy's, Andrew, resume that states his technology strengths from his 'Highlights' section:
• Strong current technical skills in Java, SQL, Perl, Linux, Windows Server and network infrastructure.
Note how he has limited this entry to 6 items, so he's within limits of 'list no more than 7 items'.
Also from Andrew's resume is a job entry that illustrates how to state the technologies used within the context of a given role:
Director, Client Services, Intelligent Results/First Data, September, 2004 to present
• Engagement Manager and senior technical consultant for data mining software company. Responsible for delivering services to predominately Fortune 500 financial services companies. Developed methodology for project deliver and software tools that aided in templatizing projects, allowing less experienced project managers to be successful.
• Managed multiple projects delivering software and consulting services to leading financial services firms.
• Managed ASP server installation for project serving major wireless carrier. Introduced processes and procedures that improved reliability, reduced processing time, and improved security.
• Set up new temporary datacenter after company disaster (crane fell on building). Researched vendors, contracted for space and bandwidth, designed new installation and set up facility. New facility was online 2 weeks after disaster, and continues to serve as a compute farm for the modeling team.
• Technical environment: Linux, Windows Server 2003, SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, Java, Perl, Python.
In sum, if you need to show both the search engines and the reader of your resume that you have the technology background it takes to do their open job, do three things: List the technologies you've used at the end of each job section on your resume; post those technologies in which you have the greatest strengths in your Highlights section; put the list of all the technologies you know at the end of your resume.