Technical Resumes: Establishing a Common Language
When you submit your resume for a position in a highly technical field, you are never sure who is going to read it or make the final decision to bring you in for an interview. You are never sure who has selected the keywords for the job posting and the automated Applicant Tracking System (ATS). And you are can never sure how much experience the company as a whole has with your specialty.

As a chemical engineer with a degree from MIT, I understand the difficulties of communicating highly technical information to an audience outside the technical field.

While you are chiefly concerned to show the extent of your technical experience, your potential employer—like all potential employers—is concerned to see the value of that experience. Therefore, your resume has to establish a common language so that the company understands your value even if it doesn’t understand the technical aspects of what you do. You begin to accomplish that goal in several ways:

1.You define acronyms. I cannot state strongly enough that acronyms vary, not only from company to company, but from division to division! While some acronyms are now commonly accepted (SaaS, for example), others will prove major stumbling blocks. Moreover, you do not know if the ATS has been programmed with “SaaS” as a keyword or “software as a service” or both.

2.You clearly state the business value of your technical accomplishments. For example, “developed a new SaaS product that attracted 23 new customers in 2 years” or “developed online simulations which led to a 50% reduction in customer calls to technical support.”

3.You weed out references to outdated technology and approaches, highlighting your experience with the most current technology and approaches. Although past achievements are important, make sure your resume gives the most space to technologies and approaches that are vital to the job you want. Read job postings and company websites carefully to identify those technologies and approaches.