5 Accomplishments to Make Your Database Administrator Resume Stand Out

If you google "database administrator resume template", you'll find a lot of resume models filled with roles and responsibilities such as:

  • Troubleshooting Forms server, Reports server, Apache server, Jserv, Jinitiator and Workflow.
  • Installation, configuration and deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite versions 11i and R12.
  • Management of schemas, objects and partitioning the tables and indexes.
  • Gathering database statistics using DBMS_UTILITY, DBMS_STATS, and FND_STATS packages.
  • Database performance monitoring and tuning.

That seems about right, no?

But there's a problem. A huge problem, actually. Think of the database administrators that you know. How many of them have done similar things? Probably most of them. Because that's pretty much what being a DBA is all about. There are differences here and there, but roles and responsibilities will often overlap. So if your resume is very close to a typical "DBA resume template", how is that helping you get interviews? After all, the best resumes are distinctive. They make you stand out, not blend in!

So here's a little something to help you make your resume stand out. It's based on the 3 Laws of Resume Writing. And it's not material that I made up. I found it by carefully studying good DBA resumes.

5 DBA Accomplishments to Make your Resume Distinctive

  1. Upgraded over 20 SQL servers to the latest service pack level in a 3-month period. (I'm not sure how big of a deal it is to upgrade 20 SQL servers, but the fact that it is measured -- in this case, within 3 months -- adds more weight to this employee's capabilities.)
  2. Led a team of 16 core and application DBAs, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the single global instance. (Here, we see both leadership and management, since managing staff means setting priorities, getting people to work as a team, coaching, having tough discussions... The list goes on. And 16 isn't a small team!)
  3. Improved vital processing jobs by reducing process duration by 60%. (This is a concrete, positive result, and time saved is always appreciated, from the employer's perspective.)
  4. Enrolled users, maintained system security, and controlled and monitored user access to the database, operating 24/7, with 40-50 concurrent users at any given time. (The measurable aspects of this item lends it more credibility. People like numbers, and seeing "24/7" and "40-50 users" is compelling to human brains. The numbers don't have to be huge.)
  5. Eliminated months of production server issues by systematically troubleshooting and resolving the problem with no further downtime. (Here, we see dedication, and an attitude to get something done, since this problem seems to have been occuring for a while.)

The benefit is the key component of each accomplishment: improved operations, more money, demonstrated leadership and reliability, ... Accomplishments like these are the most critical pieces of your resume. Now read that last sentence again, because that's the best resume advice you'll get this month.

If you're a fantastic employee but your resume is silent on many of your accomplishments, you'll end up behind a good employee whose accomplishments are all clearly laid out.

And for that matter, an average employee with weak accomplishments better know how to network, since the resume alone won't pull its weight. (Actually, networking skills are critical to everyone's job hunt. But I'm more of a resume guy, so let's stick with the topic, if you don't mind.)

Accomplishments are where it's at. When you solve a problem, reduce costs, make something better/simpler/faster, when you show initiative, it has to be on your resume, without being drowned out by too much roles and responsibilities (i.e. the "we've-all-done-it" resume template material). In my view, half of the energy and time spent on your resume should be focused on your accomplishments. To write good accomplishments, you need to think of what your potential employer is thinking about (problems solved, better results, and so on) and emphasize that. If you go through 20 resumes of your peers, you'll certainly find great accomplishments that you could adapt on your resume. I truly believe that is time well spent.

Many More Accomplishments, Just for You

I've already done that research... The 5 ideas above are just a glimpse of the full list of accomplishments I've assembled. If you'd like that well-rounded, unique list of real-world DBA accomplishments, for just a few dollars, check out our e-book, Database Administrator Resume Hacking, on Amazon. You can read it even if you don't have a Kindle device.