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Give your HPC resume a performance boost by creating a Resume Profile

If your job search was a parallel program, then your resume would be the code that outputs interviews. You wouldn’t want to scale up your job count until your code is optimized and bug free, right?

An inefficient resume can cause you a lot of wasted time, extending your job search out for several months. Sure, brute forcing your job search by sending out 100’s of resumes will typically land you a job, eventually. But it’s likely that you will burn-out before then, or get into a “I’ll take anything I can get” mindset.

So what can you do to optimize your resume to increase your interview rate?

There are several ways, but one stands out in my book as the most important, and that is adding a resume profile at the top of your resume.

Adding a well-crafted resume profile can make your resume irresistible to hiring managers because it gives them exactly what they want: to quickly learn about you and what value you’re going to bring to the job.

And when your job is to sift through 10’s, sometimes 100’s of resumes for one position, you will appreciate being able to find that information quickly.

But even more important than readability, a Resume Profile allows you to control the narrative of how the rest of your resume is read. When your most relevant and powerful qualifications are read first, you can actually get the hiring manager excited to learn more about you, and even call you in for an interview.

Why is a Resume Profile So Important?

You only have six seconds.

According to several studies, resumes are first skimmed for about 6 seconds before they are read in more detail. In those 6 seconds, the hiring manager is looking for key pieces of information like your location, years of experience, what companies you recently worked at, and job-specific keywords.

They will start at the top and work their way down as they skim for this information. In fact, research has proven that the upper third of the first page of your resume is the most looked at portion - no surprise there.

That’s why a Resume Profile is strategically placed at the top of your resume. The idea is for it to be one of the first things the hiring manager reads.

Although, don’t confuse a resume profile statement with a career objective statement. A career objective statement focuses on what YOU want. A resume profile instead focuses on the employer by concisely stating the value and benefits you will bring to THEM.

So how do you create an interview-generating resume profile? With four components: years of experience, area of expertise, relevant skills and achievements/accomplishments.

Understand that you do not have to include all of the components. In fact, you should strategically pick and choose from them depending on your unique qualifications and what each job application is asking for.

So for example, if you just graduated from college or got your Masters and have little to no experience, then you may leave out your “Years of Experience” and focus on the remaining components.

Here’s an example of a resume profile for a Senior HPC Solutions Architect:

Senior HPC Solutions Architect | Sales Engineer | AI Systems
  • Dynamic and motivated professional adept at HPC Cluster design, on-site consultative solution selling and partner development. Skilled at managing technical projects and procuring EXAbyte, multi-million dollar systems for US Federal customers, while maintaining a high degree of communication and customer satisfaction.
  • Capable of making critical design decisions in high-pressure situations to meet time-sensitive sales goals across a wide range of industries, including Federal, Industrial, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Auto & Aero.

There are three more examples at the very end of this article for the following job titles: HPC CTO Resume Profile, Director of Program Management Resume Profile, HPC Product Manager Resume Profile.

But before that, let’s dive into the four components of a resume profile so you understand how they're composed.

Four Components of a Highly Optimized Resume Profile

Years of Experience

If you have the years of experience requested in the job description, then leading with it in your resume profile statement can be a powerful way to tell the hiring manager that you immediately meet that qualification.

If you don’t have the years of experience in the specific job title, then you can instead state how much industry experience you have.

If you don’t have the requested job experience or any industry experience (students, recent graduates, or those moving into the HPC industry) then you may consider leaving this component out of your Resume Profile and focusing on the other three components. As a recent graduate, you can also focus on including relevant coursework, postdoc experience, or internship experience if it relates to the job you’re after.

In general, do you need to have the job’s requested years of experience to get the offer? The short answer is NO, for several reasons beyond the scope of this article.

Truth is, hiring decisions aren’t based solely on your “metrics.” There are several other factors such as your network, your interviewing skills and your achievements that can lead to the job offer.

Area of Expertise

Your areas of expertise are the particular fields or subject areas in your job where you have a lot of knowledge. Just like how a medical doctor can specialize in radiology, or how a dentist can specialize root canals, you too may have areas of expertise that you can highlight in your resume profile.

But which ones should you include?

Just like with skills, you might have several areas of expertise. What’s important is linking what you have vs. what the specific job is asking for.

Take Action

Read the job description in great detail. Highlight all key-words and phrases so that you can identify the actual language, word-for-word, what areas of expertise you could put in your resume profile that would immediately connect with the hiring manager.

But don’t just look at the specific job description you’re applying to. The job description doesn’t contain the master set of key-words you should put on your resume.

Truthfully, knowing the ins-and-outs of the job, knowing your industry, looking at other company’s job descriptions, and even talking with people at the company your applying to can be better methods to determine what specific key-words on your resume are going to resonate the most with the hiring manager.

Three areas of expertise examples:

  1. A Systems Administrator might have areas of expertise in: configuration management, Infiniband network troubleshooting, or security.
  2. A Solutions Architect for an HPC vendor might have areas of expertise in: AI (Artificial Intelligence) Systems, Financial industry customers, or Exabyte systems.
  3. A Director of Software Engineering might have areas of expertise in: Enterprise software, Scrum Agile software development, or managing budgets between $10MM and $15MM annually.

Relevant Skills

What’s the difference between skills and areas of expertise? Skills can be more specific and tangible, unlike areas of expertise which can be made up of several related skills.

You will have an abundance of hard skills and soft skills in your tool belt; much more than you need to put on your resume. So which ones matter most on your resume, and specifically in your resume profile?

Only you, with your unique knowledge of your past experience, the depth of knowledge you have for the job and the industry, can determine that answer.

Remember that a resume profile is like an “elevator pitch” to the hiring manager. What would you say to the hiring manager if you both stepped into a 20 second elevator ride? What skills, among other things, would you mention that would spark their interest and make them want to learn more?

Take Action

First, go back to the key-words and phrases that you highlighted in the job description. From that list and your knowledge of the job or industry, determine which skills are the most important for the job.

Also, know that typically the higher up you get in your professional career, the more soft skills matter. That fact translates to your resume as well. Meaning you should determine what soft skills are the most important to mention.

For example, a Director of Software Engineering might be an expert in Java. But at that level, highlighting relevant soft skills on the Director’s resume may be of equal or greater importance.

Three relevant skills examples:

  1. A Systems Administrator might have skills in: ZFS, PBS Pro job staging, and UNIX operating systems
  2. A Solutions Architect for an HPC vendor might have skills in: CUDA optimization, OpenMP/MPI parallel programming, and C/C++/Fortran
  3. A Director of Software Engineering might have skills in: complex integration architecture, organizational change management, and continuous integration.

Achievements / Accomplishments

Your achievements set you apart from everyone else. Your responsibilities only tell the hiring manager what you were hired to do. But your accomplishments tell the hiring manager how well you performed at what you were hired to do. Without the latter, you will just look like everyone else on your resume.

Clearly stating your accomplishments and benefits will make the hiring manager think about how you can achieve the same results at their company.

Take Action

Think, “How did I uniquely benefit the company with my responsibilities?”

Think about how you might have saved the company time or money (or some other metric) and put those bullet points under your Work Experience section for each job you previously held.

Then, place your most relevant, best 1-3 achievements in your Resume Profile statement. It’s OK to have the same accomplishment in both your resume profile and in your Work Experience section. Remember, your resume profile is a high-impact summary of what your resume contains – like a table of contents on steroids.

Also remember to quantify your accomplishments with numbers and percentages to make them more powerful.

In a sea of words, numbers stand out to the reader when they are skimming your resume. Numbers make your accomplishments come to life. They make your achievements much more credible and memorable.

Take Action

First, revisit your accomplishments and think deeply if there are any metrics you can pull out. If you don’t work with money or numbers, think about quantifying time that you saved in some way.

Estimating is acceptable as long as you’re honest, but try to not round numbers up or down because real numbers are more believable. For example, which statement is more believable?

Increased sales 90% vs. Increased sales 87.3%.

Studies have shown the more exact you make the metric, the more believable it is.

Four Examples of Resume Profiles

HPC Solutions Architect Resume Profile
  • Senior HPC Solutions Architect | Sales Engineer | AI Systems
  • Dynamic and motivated professional adept at HPC Cluster design, on-site consultative solution selling and partner development. Skilled at managing technical projects and procuring EXAbyte, multi-million dollar systems for US Federal customers, while maintaining a high degree of communication and customer satisfaction.
  • Capable of making critical design decisions in high-pressure situations to meet time-sensitive sales goals across a wide range of industries, including Federal, Industrial, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Auto & Aero.

HPC CTO Resume Profile
  • Technology leader with a track record of delivering business impact and driving technical innovation at an extreme scale. Committed to innovation for the next generation of low latency network solutions for the upcoming Exascale HPC systems.
  • Proven ability to shorten technology life cycles and accelerate technological convergence by maintaining an adaptive vision. Influences the design and delivery of projects to optimize resources and employs a variety of innovative channels designed to support internal R&D processes.
  • Specializes in executive management; talent development; scalable, mission-critical enterprise applications, systems, and infrastructure.

Director of Program Management Resume Profile
  • Result-oriented leader with over 10 years’ experience in program management, strategic thinking and supporting high performance teams within strong matrix organizations.
  • Successful at aligning disparate departmental goals, driving execution to plan, and motivating and leading teams of up to 1,000 people in creative problem solving.
  • Able to stand up agile teams/processes, implement new HPC features and systems with up to $15 million in budget, and roll out new products globally.

HPC Product Manager Resume Profile
  • HPC Product Manager with 20 years of experience in the global IT industry designing and building top500 HPC systems for the research, education and defense sectors. Extensive product marketing experience researching and introducing new products, growing share of existing products, and developing partnerships and OEMs.

Conclusion

By uniquely combining your years of experience, areas of expertise, skills and achievements into a short summary at the top of your resume, you can quickly communicate your value proposition to the hiring manager in the first 6 seconds.

In that short amount of time, you have the ability to stand out from all the other applicants that hide their qualifications in the meat of their resume or that use a Career Objective statement to talk about what THEY want, instead of what they can offer the company.

In a way, you are giving the hiring manager the opportunity to get immediately excited about you, excited to read more and then eager to call you in for an interview.

Therefore, take the time to optimize your resume with a resume profile statement before you scale up your job applications. It’s a win-win for you and the hiring manager.


Alex McKee is a career strategist and coach for ambitious HPC/Big Data Professionals and runs HPC Careers | hpccareers.com. He enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and traveling. Cluster Monkey visitors can download his 10 Free Resume Hacks that Get More Job Interviews here: https://hpccareers.com/clustermonkey/