“Can you check my system administrator resume?”
We get this asked at least once every day. So, we finally decided to write a guide that everyone can use whether you’re entry level or experienced, whether you’re a Windows or Linux system administrator.
Most of the advice you found here has been extensively tested and verified by hiring managers from organizations of various shapes and sizes. What you will learn here:
- You’ll walk through some real system admin resumes that scored big;
- You’ll learn what’s the most important thing for a hiring manager in your resume;
- Walk through of what makes the resume sections good and bad (with examples);
- At the end, you’ll walk away with a perfect resume for your job application.
Let’s first start by looking at some resumes that made it big. We handpicked these resumes by considering how difficult it was for them to stand out, how picky recruiters were and the job diversity they represented. Above all, they won the job!
Related resume samples for sysadmins
Below you'll find three resume examples for System Administrators for different cases - whether it's a different technology specialization, or level of experience. If you'd like to use them as a base for your resume, just click the button above them.
Linux system administrator resume
While this resume has all the basic sections and language needed to appeal to HRs, what we were really impressed about is the soft skills section. We've often seen resumes where people don't go the extra mile to put their skills in real-world context, unlike this applicant. Don't just blindly state you've got excellent communication skills - demonstrate it with real-life examples.
Junior level system administrator resume
We don't like Junior resumes that go pages upon pages with filler content. This applicant has made a great use of a two-column template and managed to fit important info on just a single page.
They also have a robust, no-bullshit skills section, listing the tech they feel comfortable with. We can also see the decent scripting skills listed, which is always a plus for a Junior SysAdmin. A lot of tech recruiters and CTOs prefer to hire SysAdmins with just a bit of coding experience.
Windows system administrator resume
Your resume is your opportunity to toot your own horn. The key, however, is to map your skills and contributions directly to the job description, which this candidate has obviously done well.
As a more experienced candidate, they also included a summary instead of an objective. It's quite short, but it's backed up by concrete contributions relevant to the job they are applying for.
How to write a system administrator resume?
A hiring manager would look more for network engineering experience. More specifically, the hiring manager would try to evaluate your experience of setting up and hardening enterprise firewalls, whether you can set up cloud environments, etc.
Most system administrators resume are filled with a lot of help desk credentials rather than actual technical skills.
You’d be surprised to hear how many recruiters only try to look for CCNA, AWS practitioner certifications, Net+ certification, etc. when applicants are giving them everything else.
Here’s what a recruiter will look for in your resume:
- What business units have you supported?
- What technologies and tools are you familiar with?
- What certifications do you have?
- On what capacity have you worked with?
the most important sections of a system administrator resume:
- Resume summary
- Resume experience
- Technical skills
- Resume header
When you craft a resume considering these, you write a resume that recruiters want, with the perfect balance without information overload.
Examples of good and bad resume headers for a system administrator
Let’s say that you are a Linux System administrator, and imagine your resume header looks something like this:
While this seems all good, the devil is in the details.
If you look closely, you could’ve used this real estate to make an impact. See the example below to notice how small tweaks can make a huge impact right from the start.
When someone reads your resume header now, they are going to see that you are certified, and high relevant applicant.
First impression matters a lot. And, as we move towards writing the resume experience section, we will show you can reinforce the impression you made here and actually land an interview call.
Write a system administrator resume summary or objective?
The golden rule here is that - you write a summary if you are just looking for another system administrator role. But if you’re an entry level candidate or writing your resume for career transition, go for a resume object.
Let’s start by looking at the most rejectable system administrator resume summary (add this and your resume is invisible)
Now that we’ve established what you shouldn’t really do, let’s move towards another example that could lead you to rejection.
If you ask a hiring manager on what’s wrong with this sys admin resume summary - you’ll find:
- First of all, it’s too long for a summary
- Secondly, too vague and not pointing to the impact you made
- Lastly, no focus on your skills, the value you bring to an organization and no passion
The biggest problem is that sometimes we write for ourselves, not for the reader. Let’s try to write in a way that provides high relevance and impact to a recruiting manager.
Breaking the summary listed above, you can see a couple of things here. Certifications help recruiters know that you are relevant, they are then able to see what you actually did as a windows system admin, and lastly they see that you are passionate about security.
Let’s go through one more resume summary to see this advice in action
How to write system administrator resume experience
Your resume experience should be included considering the following:
- Skills, tools, and certifications that the job you’re applying to demands
- Relevance with the industry e.g. if you worked for healthcare and the job demands someone from it
- Pickup elements of networking, deployment, maintenance, management, etc. from the job description and make sure to display these competencies via your resume experience
Let’s see how to do that with your resume experience. Below, you’ll find two examples, and we will try to show you the difference between a good and a bad sys admin resume experience.
- Responsible for monitoring and troubleshooting various computer issues for Novotel.
- Monitoring and troubleshooting issues with virtual machines and servers.
- Windows server 2008/2012/2016 administration.
- Manage configuration changes and to Cisco devices.
- Installed and managed computer hardware and software.
If someone was reading this resume experience, they would have a hard time figuring out what software you work on, what business unit you support and what does your day to day activities are like.
- Provided on-site third level support for corporate-wide infrastructure related issues.
- Primary System administrator for manufacturing plants in Boston and Worcester, MA.
- Worked extensively within the corporate Active Directory and Group policy environment, performing resource provisioning and troubleshooting.
- Administered VMware vSphere environment for all corporate and satellite offices, including 2 cluster-based implementations.
- Worked with Brocade and Meraki networking products in production environments throughout the corporate infrastructure.
- Provided support to corporate voice engineer for Shoretel voice infrastructure.
- Installed and supported Untangle and pfSense firewalls to provide cost effective security.
Notice how the resume experience tells an entire story about work scale, technologies and skills of this System administrator. This combination is almost near perfect for hiring.
If you’re writing a junior system administrator resume on the other hand, you can be more creative (cautiously) on how to present your limited working experience. You have a huge empty space that you can either:
- Fill with fluff and make a recruiter regret that they opened your resume and had their time wasted
- Or, you can effectively use the white space and break down your resume experience to three categories: Technology experience, project management, and interpersonal management
Here’s one more Sys Admin resume sample for you to see our advice in action.
- Wrote shell scripts for VWS
- Responsible for performance monitoring
- Installation, maintenance and configuration of systems
- Manage configuration changes and to Cisco devices.
- Troubleshoot issues and provide support to users
- Lead Administrator for system level performance optimization and system monitoring
- Used utilities like sar, top, mpstat, etc for performance monitoring of Disk, CPUs, file systems
- Proactively identified and decommissioned unused hardware resources reducing operational costs by 15%
- Implemented Disk Management on our servers using LVM, file systems, volume management
A few tips for entry level system administrator resume experience
As much as you would love to add your job experience at the grocery store - don’t do it. Make sure that your resume experience reflects the following:
- Relevant internships as a system administrator, network engineer or a support engineer
- Your experience of handling technologies like cloud, 2FA, SD-WAN, etc.
Once you write a resume experience section considering the above points, let your resume skills section, summary, certifications do the rest of the talking - that’s an incredibly powerful and sharp resume right there!
“All system administrators should have a functional + chronological resume layout”
That’s the best advice we’ve ever heard for an entry level sysadmin. As you don’t have a ton of experience to show, but you for sure have the skills, certifications, etc and placing them meaningfully on resume gets you the job for sure!
Listing certifications on your system administrator resume?
Certifications often say what a 100 words can’t. They display your focus and reflect the scale of your work as well.
E.g. Small scale system administrators (working in non enterprise setup and less than 50 sized organization) don’t usually have CCNA certifications.
And your hiring manager knows that pretty well, it’s a trend that they’ve observed over the last few years of hiring. So, miss out on them, and they’ll toss your resume.
System administrator certifications to include on your resume:
Some system administrator resume skills that you might consider adding to your resume
Let’s make your hiring manager’s job a little easier. We’ve already taken care of the rest of the sections, but let’s add this little skills section to help them scan through things and possibly add a few more contextual skills that you can’t display in a limited “resume skills” and “resume experience” sections.
21 system administrator resume skills to pick from and add to your resume:
- IT networking
- Software and hardware management
- Customer support services
- Software installation, configuration and upgrades
- Data loss mitigation
- System backup/Recovery
- Environments: VMWare, Active Directory, Windows Server, Exchange Server, etc.
- Server/Desktop Virtualization
- Troubleshooting IT issues
- OS: Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh
- Linux Distribution
- Server maintenance
- Storage based technologies
- Computer Forensics
- Information Security
- Cyber Investigations
- Network design
- Network administration
- Help Desk Software
Feeling more confident than ever? You should be, now you have a resume that you should really be proud of. And after spending 5 minutes reading with this guide, you just saved yourself from sending 100 more job applications.
Before we end this guide, let’s summarize what we have learned so far.
- Striking a perfect balance between information overload and relevant job skills
- Using the white space to your advantage and highlight sections that recruiters want to see
- A precise resume summary and resume header
- A resume experience section that is built precisely for the job application
- Sections on resume skills and certifications