Get your Sysadmin Resume Noticed, with a Compelling Summary

Sysadmins are expert troubleshooters, who usually know a lot about many different aspects of technology (servers, OS, applications, databases). But how do you showcase all that knowledge very quickly? The resume summary is a very rich section designed to quickly demonstrate you've got what it takes! Let's look at two examples of very compelling resume summaries for system administrators.

1. Highlights of resume for Pineapple Inc.

  • Serious-minded IT professional with 12 years of experience in systems administration and information security in a fast-paced work environment, supporting a global IT infrastructure.
  • Expertise in data center operations and architecture with focus on performance and reliability.
  • Robust experience with Microsoft and Cisco networking technology.
  • Key accomplishment: Implemented site-to-site VPN WANs for multiple medical practices in the greater [city] area, saving each client nearly $5,000/month.
  • Key accomplishment: Identified 20+ vulnerabilities by testing infrastructure security, using both automated tools and manual testing.

2. Summary for Big Bank Inc.

  • Network administrator/engineer with 25+ years hands-on experience, with a master's degree in Computer Science.
  • Demonstrates excellent interpersonal skills, concern with quality deliverables, and a passion for new technologies.
  • Solid grasp of banking IT infrastructure (for loan applications, money laundering, etc.) and regulatory constraints, after 6 years at [Large bank].
  • Resolved system slow-down issues through network migrations, reconfigurations, integrations, and troubleshooting.
  • Managed local and off-shore staff and consultants who support Intel systems. Off-shore staff has allowed better 24/7 support and incident response.

The goal of the summary is to: 1. show you qualify and 2. build a strong first impression. And you do that very, very quickly, in a few bullets. Unless you're too early in your career, you should mention how many years of experience you have. Also touch on the sectors you've worked in and name drop a few of the big tools/technologies you work with (this should be expanded on in a "Technical Skills" section on your resume.)

Make sure your resume summary is tailored!

Always remember the job ad when preparing your summary. Maybe you'll see certain keywords in there that need to be emphasized. There's no such thing as a good one-size-fits-all resume. It has to be customized.

As I often repeat, accomplishments are the strongest elements of your resume, because they make you stand out from the crowd of sysadmins. On your resume, you want as many accomplishments as possible. But in your summary, you have to choose a few that seem most relevant for the specific job you're applying for. Which means that your summary repeats your key accomplishments. It's a smart thing to be redundant with the most valuable info on your resume! A potential employer won't mind that you insist on resolving system slow-down issues or saving $5,000 per month to your clients!

If you write a strong summary using these tips, potential employers are much more likely to give your resume a good read. And that's a necessary step to getting more interviews!

More tips for sysadmins

If you're looking for more advice specifically for sysadmins, check out 5 accomplishments for Sysadmins. But if you feel like 5 isn't enough, get the Sysadmin Resume Hacking e-book!