System administrator resume guide | examples & tips

Volen Vulkov Avatar
Volen Vulkov
8 minute read

“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 recruiter’s were and the job diversity they represented. Above all, they won the job!

System administrator resume example

Craig Pratt
System Administrator
+359 88 888 8888
help@enhancv.com
www.example.com
Cedar Rapids, IA
Experience
System AdministratorTAC-TIC
2015 - Ongoing
Sorocaba, Brazil
Responsibility on the servers, servers room, and end users (~100 users)
Exchange 5.5 administration, including creation, deletion and moving of accounts.
Giving support on information technologies to nearly 40,000 people in ITU
System AdministratorHertz Corporation
2011 - 2015
Cedar Rapids, IA
24/7/365 Availability for critical restarts of infrastructure, software, hardware and internet connection.
System administration of office environment and support more then 60 employees and over 20 remote.
Junior System AdministratorInnovasys Ltd.
2010 - 2011
Cedar Rapids, IA
My time
ABCDEF
A
Relaxing
B
Study
C
Certification Studies
D
Photography
E
LinkedIn
F
Technology Updates
Education
Computer ScienceUniversity of Cedar Rapids
2006 - 2010
Cedar Rapids, IA
GPA
3.85 / 4.0
Passions
Music
Reading
Skills
MySQLPythonLinuxPHPActive DirectoryVMwareCSSBash
My Life Philosophy
All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.Walt Disney
Languages
EnglishNative
SpanishProficient

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 setup 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
  • Certifications
  • 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 Windows System administrator, and imagine your resume header looks something like this:

Mark Costanza
System Administrator
+359 88 888 8888
help@enhancv.com
Boston, MA
WRONG

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.

Mark Costanza - CCNA
System Administrator
+359 88 888 8888
help@enhancv.com
Boston, MA
RIGHT

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.

How to write a system administrator resume summary/objective

Let’s start by looking at the most rejectable system administrator resume objective (add this and your resume is invisible)

Summary
IT specialist experienced in a broad range of technologies. Looking for roles as a System administrator in an esteemed organization.
WRONG

Now that we’ve established what you shouldn’t really do, let’s move towards another example that could lead you to rejection.

Summary
I am a young IT professional with +2 years experience in IT support in different Enterprise environments. Skillful in Desktop Troubleshooting (Win/Mac), and Web Applications Support. I am currently looking for a Systems Administrator position. I believe I can massively contribute to the company in this position because this is where my passion is - troubleshooting more complex problems.
WRONG

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 when 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.

Summary
A Microsoft and Cisco certified System admin with 2+ years of experience in healthcare IT enterprise environments. Managed large scale firewalls and networking, extremely proficient with SonicWall, VMware, AWS and have a deep passion for enterprise-wide security management.
RIGHT

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.

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.

2 System administrator resume experience examples

Experience
Senior System AdministratorNovotel Inc
04/2017 - 06/2019
Boston, MA
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.
WRONG

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.

Experience
Senior System AdministratorNovotel Inc
04/2017 - 06/2019
Boston, MA
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.
RIGHT

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

The last point above can also be done in case if you have experience within the same organization. If your work actually made an impact - this would be a pixel perfect resume layout for you.

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

  1. A+
  2. Net+
  3. Sec+
  4. CCNA
  5. MCSA certification
  6. Red Hat - RHCSA and RSCE
  7. LPIC system administrator
  8. Comptia Server+
  9. ServiceNow Certified System Administrator
  10. VCP6.5-DCV*

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 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

  1. IT networking
  2. Software and hardware management
  3. Customer support services
  4. Software installation, configuration and upgrades
  5. Data loss mitigation
  6. System backup/Recovery
  7. Environments: VMWare, Active Directory, Windows Server, Exchange Server, etc.
  8. Server/Desktop Virtualization
  9. Troubleshooting IT issues
  10. Touchnet
  11. OS: Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh
  12. Linux Distribution
  13. Server maintenance
  14. Storage based technologies
  15. Computer Forensics
  16. Information Security
  17. Cyber Investigations
  18. Network design
  19. Network administration
  20. Help Desk Software
  21. Deployment

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.

What makes a winning System administrator resume?

  • 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

Looking to build your own System Administrator resume?

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