DevOps job hunt: 3 resume writing tips

Is your resume ready to help you win a DevOps job? Learn how to tailor your resume for these in-demand IT roles
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devops resume tips

DevOps professionals have become some of the hottest commodities in today’s shifting job market. With expertise managing critical full-cycle projects that support application conceptualization, ideation, and implementation, the demand for this role isn’t just developing – it’s dominating.

Because the industry is red hot, job seekers must have confidence in their personal marketing materials to land their next role.

Confidence? In the year 2020? We know. But before sitting down to tailor your DevOps resume, it’s important to approach your job search with self-assurance. In DevOps Institute’s 2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills research, 58 percent of respondents say that finding skilled DevOps individuals is a huge challenge, and 48 percent say the retention of skilled DevOps individuals is a challenge. That’s why tailoring your resume for specific roles is important.

[ Why is DevOps engineer an in-demand IT title that's here to stay? Eveline Oehrlich explains. ]

How to write a strong DevOps resume: 3 principles

So how do you make sure your resume is ready for a primetime DevOps jobs search? How do you ensure alignment between your personal marketing materials and your target job announcements?

Start by following three simple principles: Focus, trust, and phrasing.

Focus: The top third of page one

The most important real estate on your resume is the top third of the first page. Think of it as your handshake to a prospective hiring manager. This is the portion of the resume that will garner the majority of their attention, especially during an initial screening.

Any information that is “below the fold” or buried on page two may not even be considered. This means that important past roles or projects may be ignored. And if they are critical to your story, this can be a difficult barrier to overcome.

The most important real estate on your resume is the top third of the first page. Think of it as your handshake to a prospective hiring manager.

This is where we recommend building a “signature achievements” section within the top third of page one. Pull three or four of your biggest, best DevOps career wins and highlight them here. Put them into bullets and keep them aligned with specific keywords or requirements from your target job announcement.

[ Want DevOps best practices? Watch the on-demand webinar: Lessons from The Phoenix project you can use today. ]

Trust: Tailor, but don't toil

Typical hiring windows for a new role last between 30 and 45 days. Announcements for tech jobs can have even tighter windows, leaving you with limited time to prepare and tailor your resume.

I’ve seen many professionals – both from technology and other fields – fall into paralysis by analysis when it comes to customizing their resume. Tech leaders by default are taught to thoroughly gather and analyze information. This detail-oriented approach is also helpful in the job search, but only to a certain point.

Focus your time on building a keyword-rich resume that also tells a solid story. DevOps professionals should ensure their resumes contain the following information:

  • Technical training and certifications
  • Specific projects that display your leadership and technical capabilities
  • Quantifiable achievements that show how you impacted the company’s bottom line, security posture, product offering, or other key function

Phrasing: Keyword strategy vs. keyword soup

One of the most obvious ways to make sure you tailor your DevOps resume for a job search is to play the keyword game. The majority of companies leverage Applicant Tracking Systems to screen incoming applications. These ATS systems, which search your resume for keywords and strategic phrasing that matches a job announcement – can be your best friend or your biggest enemy.

Keywords can make the difference in a resume making it to an actual human being, but many professionals make the mistake of relying on them too much. Review your resume from the objective perspective of a hiring manager. When your document hits their desk, will it be easy for them to identify key projects you’ve led and wins you’ve achieved, or will they simply be muddling their way through keyword soup?

Here are some keywords to consider including in your resume:

  • Web-based application development
  • Software engineering
  • Cloud computing
  • Project and release management
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Automation
  • Data analytics
  • Process improvement
  • Client service
  • Software development lifecycle (SDLC)

Be sure to always spell out acronyms like SDLC to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to match an ATS keyword.

The key to a successful DevOps job search is finding an effective balance between storytelling and ATS alignment.

The key to a successful DevOps job search is finding an effective balance between storytelling and ATS alignment. And with a little research, it’s easy to keep up on emerging trends and insights in the technology space.

Bonus tips: Run your resume by peers in your industry. Information-sharing is one of the best ways to ensure a top-quality document and personal marketing approach. Also, remember that distribution is just as – if not more – important than development.

Gone are the days of uploading your resume to a job board and waiting for recruiters to trip over themselves to find you. Proactivity breeds production when it comes to landing your next big role.

Follow these guidelines as you tailor your DevOps resume, and differentiate yourself from the competition in a red-hot market.

[ Need to explain key DevOps terms to others? Get our cheat sheet: DevOps Glossary. ]

Marilyn Maslin is the co-founder of Resume Footprint located in Denver, Colo. She is a proven Job Search Strategist, Employment Branding, and Human Resources executive with over 20 years of experience providing talent solutions that help companies and people grow.