Preparing the perfect resume can be challenging for everyone, from recent college grads to seasoned IT professionals. Part of the problem is there’s a debate on the best way to format a resume, and even what to include.
The best resumes are specific, clear, and customized to the role you’re seeking. In the IT world, there’s seemingly a lot of overlap within job titles, and job descriptions can be vague. So how do you create a resume that cuts through the noise? We offer three ways to create a SysAdmin resume that stands out.
1. Highlight Your Most Relevant Qualifications
Recruiters and hiring managers are often reviewing your resume to see how closely your IT skills match the job description. Don’t be afraid to tailor your resume for each role, using some of the same keywords found in the description. Highlight your qualifications that are most relevant to the role.
Some resumes, maybe even yours right now, kick off with an objective statement like this:
Objective: To use my skills to obtain a Senior Systems Administrator position at XYZ Company.
Instead of including an objective statement, consider leading off with your most relevant skills and qualifications. After all, submitting your resume already signifies that your objective is to work in a particular role at that particular company.
One way to do this is to write a summary. This provides anyone viewing your resume with a snapshot of what you bring to the table, which is helpful when they’re going through dozens or even hundreds of resumes from your fellow applicants.
You may do this in a couple sentences or a short paragraph:
CompTIA+ Certified Systems Administrator with 5+ years of experience in Windows Server installation, configuration, and management. Expertise in…
Or with bullet points:
- 5+ years of Windows Server installation, configuration, and management
- CompTIA+ certified
- Expertise in PowerShell, Docker, and Azure…
And so on.
Keep in mind that a summary is one of those components of a resume that not everyone agrees on. But it can be essential if you’re a recent grad, switching careers, or have anything on your resume that needs a bit of explanation because you can use the summary to keep the focus on your relevant skills.
However, if you have a straightforward career path, you may decide to save space and use the listings in your career history to highlight your most important skills and accomplishments.
Bottom line: A summary can be a useful way to start your resume, and it’s really only useful if it’s specific and targeted to an individual position.
2. Show Off Your Technical Skills
Whether or not you use a summary to introduce your resume, you should show off your technical skills, early and often. Avoiding buzzwords as much as possible and list the software, operating systems, servers, and other technologies.
What’s the best format for listing your technical skills? That can vary, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid listing the skill as part of a responsibility (e.g. Managed X with Y), but as an accomplishment that garnered results (e.g. Managed X with Y, in order to achieve Z). Frame the technical skill in the context of the impact it had on your role or organization.
- Monitored event logs on servers, routers, and other network equipment, using Splunk and other tools, proactively addressing issues as they arose
- Led planning and rollout of new mobile phone system for 250 users, including daily management and usage audit, increasing overall personnel productivity
As you can see, these bullet points show not just what you can do, but how and why it’s important.
3. List Your Certifications
Don’t forget to highlight any certifications you’ve earned on your resume. You may have included these in your introductory summary if you wrote one, but it’s a good idea to list them in a separate section to ensure nothing is overlooked.
Depending on how relevant they are, include your certs either before or after your work history. For example, if your only cert is a PMP, but you’re going for a sysadmin role that doesn’t include any project management, include at the bottom, following your relevant work history. If your certs are especially relevant to the roles you’re seeking, list the certs at the top.
And don’t hesitate to include additional training courses you have under your belt, like the CBT Nuggets courses you’ve completed!
4. Bonus Tip: Include Your Soft Skills
You know that you’re good at things like troubleshooting while maintaining the utmost patience and professionalism, but how do you include that on a resume? Simply listing those types of soft skills may feel a bit artificial, so include them in a more subtle way.
The solution is to weave your soft skills in with your other accomplishments. This may not be possible for each and every bullet point, but when possible, include the soft skill that you used.
For even better results, use the soft skills required in the job listing (e.g. self-starter, effective communicator, collaborative). For example:
- Independently developed and initiated cybersecurity training for all new employees, reducing overall number of incidents
- Implemented ZenDesk ticketing system, ran employee survey to measure user satisfaction with IT, and adjusted system based on responses in order to foster collaboration between IT and other departments
Creating an effective, attention-grabbing resume takes thought and effort, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Ensure that you highlight your most relevant qualifications, show off your technical skills and your certs, and weave in your soft skills where you can. You’re on your way to a stellar Sysadmin resume.
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