November 18, 2013, 3:12 PM — It's a common problem for any veteran professional: How do you boil down a lifetime of skills and experience into a one-page resume?
The question is especially true with tech pros, who have miles of certifications, skills, employers and job titles to showcase. How do you choose what's most important and compelling for the hiring manager or screener who will be laying eyes on your resume without drowning them in detail?
Tech writer Jack Wallen has the answer for you: answer one simple question.
Wallen tells Pluralsight that an easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff is to focus on one question: "How did those skills and experience affect the bottom line of the company you worked for?"
You need to be ruthless with this, he notes. Do not list anything that had little to no impact on an employer's bottom line.
"For example: If you re-deployed a company network using all open-source technology, and saved said company tens of thousands of dollars on their yearly budget, that should land on or near the very top of your list," he advises.
"If you implemented a firewall system that served to not only block unwanted access to your network, but significantly drove down port scans to your servers, that too should land on or near the very top of your list. If you served as desktop support for 20 or so desktop users, yes, that could go on the list, but how did it save the company money?"
Whittling your experience and skills down to quantifiable facts will make you stand out while other candidates are submitting screeners to death-by-bullet-points.
Not only does answering the bottom-line question make the hiring manager stand up and take notice, but also it demonstrates that you are cognizant of what every employer wants: a professional who understands the importance of the bottom line.
You're treating your resume like a solution to their problem ("Here's what I did not Company A, I can do it for you, too") as opposed to a hundreds-word-long testament/ego trip to every job, title, skill or cert you ever earned.