A few weeks ago I asked my friend Aria to tell me more about the challenging moments of her AWS job.
Apparently, things get really hectic just before the Black Friday and Christmas holidays. Apart from the day-to-day operations, that is.
Of course, because people start mass-buying. Each and every order must get to its rightful owner in time.
Which usually means all websites and systems must be operational.
As Aria put it, “There is no room for error or downtimes.”
The more we talked, the more she revealed all the many pitfalls one can fall into.
Naturally, I asked her many questions about her AWS resume and the interview process.
Aria admitted she had her doubts. Even with the certificates she had acquired. But she persevered and her efforts paid off.
And how did she do it?
Read Aria’s story and her journey of becoming an AWS Solutions Architect.
Here is What You Can Expect in This In-Depth AWS Resume Guide
- Which resume formats are suitable for you and which are favored by recruiters
- What makes an AWS resume give off all the right signals to hiring managers
- How to write a winning resume objective or summary
- How to tailor the experience section so you match the job description requirements
- How to show off both your hard and soft skills
- Which certificates are key for securing an AWS job
- What else can you include in your resume to present a well-rounded personal story
Building Your AWS Resume: Setting Up the Architecture
Similar to cloud computing, your base is a blank piece of paper. You have to lay some groundwork before you start writing.
First, you need to consider the resume layout.
For more skilled professionals, it’s preferable to use the reverse-chronological format. The reverse-chronological layout is the traditional one most hiring managers are used to.
Why is it suitable for AWS specialists?
It emphasizes context and substance. Simply put, it zeroes in on how and where you’ve applied your skills. Remember, context is important.
What about less skilled professionals?
The hybrid format is more fitted for those of you who have less than 2 years of experience.
Because it creates a nice balance between your skills and your experience.
Sure, you may have dabbled in other cloud computing platforms. You may even have one AWS project under your belt and you want to develop your skills further.
That’s why you need to show equal parts abilities and application. Display what you’ve done so far, as well as how you see your career path progress from here on out.
“But what if I have absolutely no experience in AWS?”, I hear you ask.
The functional resume should be your format of choice.
Cloud computing is only part of your skill set. No one goes into the field before getting into programming in general.
If you’ve only just obtained your AWS certificates, you won’t be able to show your skills in context. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have other valuable abilities.
Highlight how your other talents fit into the grand scheme of things. Show the extent of your skills and how you’ve applied them in real life.
Now that you know which resume format to choose, here is how to divide it:
It doesn’t sound very difficult, does it?
On what to include in each of these sections, think about the questions in the table below.
These are the issues you need to address before you move onto the technical interviews.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your AWS Resume Header
You may be thinking: What’s so special about a resume header?
After all, it’s a small box with your most basic information. But this little box can say a lot about you. Even about your soft skills.
There are two things you need to remember about resume headers:
- The details you provide have to be up to date
- Make sure there aren’t any missing bits or typos
One habit Aria has is to keep snippets from her progress in everything she does. She gracefully showed me her first resume draft and the final version she sent out to recruiters.
Let’s look at them side by side.
2 AWS Resume Header Examples
First, have a look at Aria’s initial attempt at writing her resume.
It seems she hastily filled this part of her resume.
Possibly because she was rushing to focus on the meatier sections.
But each resume section requires your undivided attention. Just like any part of a cloud computing infrastructure.
So, what are Aria’s mistakes? Well, she hasn’t:
- Included a specific job title. Yes, she works with AWS, but there are different AWS specializations. Be specific.
- Provided a phone number, where she can be reached. Hiring managers need to be able to reach you to schedule an interview.
- Mentioned where in New York she resides. Recruiters need this information, even if the position they offer is remote.
- Listed a link to her LinkedIn profile or online portfolio.
Take a look at the final version of her resume:
Now we can see what type of AWS work Aria does.
I was curious about why she referenced her LinkedIn profile and not an online portfolio. When asked, Aria said she was updating and polishing her existing ones.
She was afraid to show incomplete work.
So, if you’re uncertain about your GitHub or Kaggle projects, go with your LinkedIn. But don’t get discouraged from presenting your portfolio work. Even if it’s unfinished.
Hiring managers want to see the scope of your abilities.
More importantly, they want to know where your professional interests lie. And what your problem-solving approach is, of course
What Makes a Compelling AWS Resume Summary Recruiters Can’t Resist
Next comes the resume summary. Or objective, depending on your circumstances.
What’s the difference?
The resume objective is used by college grads or those who change their career path.
By contrast, the resume summary is reserved for those with more experience in the AWS field.
Regardless of which one you have to write, it’s all about how persuasive you can be.
Both the objective and the summary aim to impress hiring managers. Use no more than 4-5 sentences and mention your biggest achievements.
2 AWS Resume Summary Examples
Let’s continue with the samples provided by Aria:
There isn’t much attention to detail, is there?
In her attempt to include everything succinctly, Aria left out important details. She hasn’t:
- Indicated her AWS specialization
- Specified how many years she’s done AWS work for
- Added other technical skills, achievements or certificates
One good point about this summary is that Aria has included the business niche she’s operating in. This provides much needed context.
Here is how the summary looks in the edited resume:
This one is a whole lot better!
Because it sounds believable.
There’s plenty of relevant and verifiable information about Aria’s professional career.
You don’t need to exaggerate. Just list your proudest achievements and quantify the outcomes of your work.
How to Wow Recruiters With Your AWS Resume Experience Section
Speaking of measuring one’s own success: the next task on your resume to-do list is the experience section.
But here’s the catch. You’re not here to recite your job description.
You see, most hiring managers have some semblance of what you do. After all, they’re the ones who have written the job ad requirements.
They’re searching for someone who can deliver results. So, grab recruiters’ attention by showing them what they will get, once they hire you.
2 AWS Resume Experience Examples
Going back to Aria’s first resume draft, do you notice anything in particular?
Yes, you can say that this isn’t merely a to-do list of responsibilities. Aria has included the output of her work at Armadillo Information Security Ltd.
But these aren’t really the results hiring managers are looking for.
You need to talk business and show how your work will reap benefits for the company.
Start each bullet entry with an action verb and lead with data. Then, explain how you’ve tackled the specific business issue and which tools you’ve used to do this.
I’ll let Aria’s final resume version illustrate this point better:
It’s no wonder this AWS resume got Aria several callbacks!
Check out our guide on how to frame the experience section of your resume, if you feel like you need more tips.
How to Balance Out the Skills Section of Your AWS Resume
The skills section is always tricky for technical professionals.
Many often forget that their hard skills are only a part of what hiring managers are on the search for. Your social talents make up the second half of this equation.
Remember, resume real estate is valuable. So, don’t let one category of skills overcrowd the other.
Ultimately, you’ll be working with other people on human problems.
Be relevant, be specific and discard the unnecessary bits.
Describing Your Technical Skills the Right Way
"Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing."
In other words: your skill set defines the extent of your AWS abilities.
That’s why, when writing your resume, take into account to:
- Think about important hard skills you haven’t had the chance to talk about yet.
- Rank them by your level of expertise and include no more than ten.
- Mix different types of tools, software, frameworks, languages and environments. Don’t forget to list the versions, too!
How to Flaunt Your Soft Skills and Get Noticed By Recruiters
This one is a bit trickier.
Because you’ll have to quantify your social abilities. It doesn’t sound easy, does it?
Don’t worry! Think about the experience section bullet entries. Apply the same logic to your soft skills.
As long as you tie your talents to measurable results, you got it.
Let’s go back one more time to Aria’s resume. Here is how she described her social abilities:
Notice how Aria has linked her soft skills to her technical abilities. This is a good workaround, if you’re wondering how to provide measurable results.
Have a look at the table below to see which social talents are presently trending.
How Important Is the Education Section on Your AWS Resume?
A traditional education doesn’t have much to do with cloud computing.
This is because cloud computing is comparatively new. There are only a few providers for such environments. And each one has its own training and licensing program.
As such, an academic background is more relevant to the other technical skills you add to your AWS resume.
Unless you have a specialized degree in machine learning or cyber security. Or any general cloud computing knowledge because it's something you've explored before.
When it comes to AWS positions, you’ll need to get certified by Amazon.
With that in mind…
Which Certificates Should You Include on Your AWS Resume?
Below you’ll find all the AWS certificates offered by Amazon, ordered by level of difficulty.
Naturally, if you’ve worked with other cloud computing environments - mention it. Especially if you have the certificates to show for it.
This way you will display a versatile skill set. And show you’re familiar with all industry standards and best practices.
Make sure your certificates are valid before including them in your resume.
What Else Can Make Your AWS Resume Stand Out to Hiring Managers?
Depending on your level of expertise and your experience, you can also add:
- Cover letter
- Association memberships (For example: CCA, IASA, CNCF, CSC, NGI, etc.)
Key Factors to Remember When Writing Your AWS Resume
- Choose the most suitable layout for your case
- Remember to include an online portfolio in the header section
- Be specific about the type of AWS work you can do
- Create a balance between your soft and hard skills
- Show the scope of your technical abilities, but prioritize
- Display ability to work with other cloud computing environments, if possible
- Quantify your skills and lead with data
- Don’t forget to check the validity of your certificates