Whether you’re graduating from high school or an institution of higher education, if you’re entering the workforce, you’re going to need a resume! A resume isn’t a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished; instead, it is *usually* a one-page document that highlights your relevant strengths, skills, and work experience. Depending on your experience, education, and the industry you’re interested in, your resume will look different.
We’re including a free template that you can use to create your own resume. This template includes two versions of how your resume might look if you’re looking for work in tech. Pick the resume that you think fits your skills and education level best, and then customize it with your own information.
But before you get started, here are a few things to note:
Always be honest on your resume.
It is okay to frame your accomplishments in a positive light, but stop short of lying or exaggeration. Most of the facts on a resume are easily fact-checked by potential employers, and deception is a poor foundation for any working relationship.
Keep it to one page only.
A resume should *usually* be no more than one sheet of paper. If you have more than three relevant employers or a potential employer requests a CV (curriculum vitae) instead of a resume, it’s okay to include less relevant information or go over the one-page limit. If you’re having trouble getting your resume to just one page, use the job posting as your guide, and eliminate skills and experiences that aren’t relevant.
Use professional language.
Because a resume is a work-related document, it’s best to use formal, business-appropriate language on your resume. When describing work experiences or skills, use action verbs to describe your contributions and responsibilities in a positive way.
Highlight your most relevant accomplishments.
Employers are most interested in the aspects of you that will help you thrive in the position you’re applying for. Take some time to research the values of the company and the expectations of the position. For example, if you’re applying to work at a tech startup that sells accounting software to environmental nonprofits, you might want to highlight your experience advocating for climate change legislation or working in a community garden.
It’s worth noting that ‘most relevant’ also usually means ‘most recent’, so make sure to include any projects or jobs you’ve worked recently.
Use simple, clean formatting.
You can’t go wrong if you stick to the templates we’ve attached, but if you’re making your own resume, it’s important to keep it looking simple. The person reviewing your resume is likely also looking at many other resumes, so prioritize readability. Keep the font and spacing standard so it’s easy to read.
General Roles for Resume Writing
Now that we’ve talked about some general rules for resume writing, let’s break it down and discuss the different component categories that you’ll find on a resume.
Usually featured prominently at the top of your resume, the personal information section identifies who the resume belongs to. It’s useful to include this information even if you’re applying via LinkedIn or another platform because employers sometimes print out and read through resumes individually.
Include your legal name, your cell phone number, and your email address. Depending on your preference, you may want to also include your home address, which would indicate to the employer whether you would need to relocate for the position. You could also write something like “Raleigh, NC & open to remote opportunities”, or “Chicago, Illinois & planning to relocate to Atlanta, GA”.
If you are currently employed, this should be your job title in your current position. If you’re unemployed or a recent graduate, this should be the type of position you’re looking for-- ideally something that aligns with your work, education, and training. Be specific if possible (eg. “front end developer” is better than “programmer”).
You might choose to include a summary on your resume. If you do, this is a great opportunity to show employers what they should know about you, while also sharing a little bit of your personality. Don’t get too informal here-- you still want to stick closely to emphasizing your work history and skills. But you can also slip in some information about your soft skills, like teamwork or problem-solving.
This is one of the main focal points of your resume. List each position you’ve held independently, naming the company you worked for, the position you held, and the dates you worked there (month and year are fine). If you’ve held too many jobs to fit on one resume, prioritize your most recent and most relevant jobs. If you don’t have much work experience, it’s okay to feature an internship here.
Under each position you include, write a bullet-pointed list of your duties and responsibilities in that role. Each bullet point should start with a strong action verb; for example, “exceeded sales targets and expanded client base by 25%”. If you have hard facts or statistics about how you made a difference in your role, this is a great place to include them. For past positions, the bullet points should be written in the past tense; for a current role, the bullet points should be written in the present tense.
Here is where you can list any programming languages that you’re proficient in, especially languages and other skills that aren’t mentioned elsewhere on your resume. Only mention a programming language if you feel reasonably confident in your ability to use it in a work environment. You don’t have to limit yourself to only programming languages, either-- other hard skills like graphic design can go here, too.
If you hold a degree or certification, this is the place to mention it. You can include your GPA and the specifics of what you studied, or you can keep things more general. Make sure to include the dates you attended (again, month and date are fine).
You can include the contact information for your professional references on your resume. Make sure you discuss the matter with your references first, to be sure that they are okay with you sharing their contact information. You can also write something like “references available upon request”, if you are short on space.
If you have received any awards through previous employment or education, you can feature them in this section on your resume. It’s probably best to include this only if you think the awards are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
LinkedIn and/or Portfolio
In the tech sector, it’s a good idea to include links to your LinkedIn, as well as your GitHub or another portfolio, on your resume. These can go with your personal information, usually at the top of your resume, or you can add a discreet footer at the bottom of the page. If the links to either of these are long, use a link shortening tool to create an easy version instead.
If you’ve used our template and worked through this article step-by-step, you should be all set with a good junior-level tech resume! Make sure you read through your resume a few times to look for typos or errors before you submit it. Better yet, have a friend read it too! Best of luck in your job search!