By all means keep your resume interesting. Listing key buzzwords will certainly help because human resources people and hiring managers will be looking for evidence of experience in specialized areas. Be careful, however, not to exclude the human achievements that set you apart from a well-programmed automaton.
There are a lot of good techies out there with credentials comparable or even more impressive than yours. For each program you have mastered your competition has mastered three. As in every occupation, though, it is not always the most “qualified” candidate who gets the job.
It is critical to demonstrate that you are good at what you do, solving the most complex problems, completing projects on schedule and within budgets. If you designed a product that became a hot seller or a feature that made an existing product soar, mention it. Did you take over a troubled project and turn it around? Did you identify critical bugs that were delaying a release? Did you work cooperatively with internal and external customers? Don’t underestimate the “people stuff.”
Combine general and specialized knowledge. Some employers are looking for people versed in highly specialized areas. Others prefer those who have demonstrated they can specialize but also have sufficient all-around skill and knowledge to handle multiple projects and problems.
A way to pitch both is with a statement in Qualifications that might read “Over 10 years experience in ___________, with specialties in ____, ______, ______, and ________.” In the job narrative you can expand on the overall functions and work your way into the specialized pieces of it.
In the job narrative you might say “Responsible for all areas of _________, including _________, and __________.”
Quantify results whenever you can. In your job sketches list the objectives or specifications of the product, or research project. Then determine if you met the specifications or goals. Once you’ve determined that you met the specifications, try to quantify some aspect. If you’ve got hard figures, by all means use them, but don’t hesitate to use numbers even if you have to do some estimating.
Engineering and scientific fields are typically project oriented. Therefore, in the first paragraph of your job narrative provide an overall description of the generic duties you perform across all projects. It is also a good place to demonstrate your overall accomplishments and recognition such as consistently completing projects on time, group and individual citations, merit raises, and bonuses. Then, select three or four of your most representative projects. (See Special Projects/Activities/Awards) Present sufficient information to describe the scope of the project, your role, budget, obstacles you overcame, and results.