You want to become an SRE. You’ve read the right books, taken the right classes and earned the right certifications. You’re part of the way toward landing an SRE job.
But you’ll also need the right SRE resume. And while there are no universal rules to follow about creating the ideal SRE resume, following some key best practices will help you build a resume that sets you apart from other SRE job applicants.
Here’s an overview of what to know about writing an SRE resume.
SRE resume examples
One of the best ways to get started in creating an SRE resume is to look at examples of resumes from current SREs.
Several sites offer free sample SRE job resumes, including:
- Mintresume, which has an example SRE resume that you can access without jumping through any hoops.
- Online Resume Builder, where you can find several sample SRE resumes, although you’ll have to do some clicking-through to see them all.
- Kickresume, which also provides an easy-to-access example SRE resume. In this case, the sample is for an SRE job outside of the United States, which may be beneficial if you’re not in the U.S.
Copying these resumes word-for-word is not at all a good idea, both because it would be plagiarism and because the resumes probably don’t fit your experience exactly. Nonetheless, look at how these SRE resumes are structured and which skills they list most prominently. This information will help you think about how to design your own SRE resume.
Complete resume writing guide for SRE
In most cases, crafting an SRE resume requires walking through several steps.
Most SRE resumes start with a 3-4 sentence summary of the applicant and his or her goals. Use this section to highlight why you want to be an SRE in particular. What makes SRE stand out to you in ways that similar fields, like DevOps or software development, don’t?
Define your work history
You’ll next need to summarize your relevant work history, usually using bullet points. Strive here to highlight experiences that relate to reliability engineering specifically. Work in the IT industry in general, without an SRE focus, is less useful.
If you are new to SRE and don’t have any directly relevant work history, think creatively about what you’ve done that relates to reliability. Have you worked in a customer relations role where you had to deal with the fallout of incidents? Have you helped maintain systems of some type, even if they were not IT systems? Highlight that experience on your resume.
The skills section is perhaps the single most part of an SRE job resume. A successful SRE possesses a variety of skills, from software engineering, to observability, to people management and beyond.
The ideal SRE resume skills section, then, will include not just specific technical skills (although those should be there), but also other types of skills that make you stand out as an SRE. Have you worked extensively as part of a team before? Which skills do you have that demonstrate your ability to work calmly during an incident? Do you have finance skills that can help you align SRE goals with business goals? Spell all of that out in this section of your resume.
Most SRE resumes include a section on educational experience. If you have relevant degrees, such as a degree in computer science, you should certainly include that here. You should also definitely include any certificates you have earned in SRE, DevOps or related fields.
However, in general, actual skills and work experience will be more important than credentials. Err on the side of keeping the education section short, so that you have more space to highlight your skills and experience.
Tips for writing an SRE resume that stands out
As SRE jobs grow in popularity, writing a resume that sets you apart from the crowd will become more and more important. There are several tips that can help you do this:
- List your most important skills first: This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook: Your most relevant experiences and skills should be listed at the top of each relevant section on your resume. If you have worked with chaos engineering tools, that’s probably a more relevant skill than experience with Unix (which is still important, but less unusual), which you can include further down the list.
- Be short and sweet: Typically, you should write in full sentences when listing a skill or experience. But try to keep each sentence as short and to the point as possible. Overly wordy resumes are not likely to be read in full.
- Quantify, quantify, quantify: Whenever possible, include specific numbers to quantify what you’ve done or what you know about SRE. How many systems did you manage in a previous role? By which percentage did you reduce MTTR? How much did average incident rates decrease under your watch?
- Identify specific tools: Along similar lines, when listing skills, include specific tools that you know how to use. If you have mastered a chaos engineering tool like Gremlin, include that on your resume. Even if you won’t use the same tool in the role you’re applying for, mentioning specific tools drives home the fact that you actually possess the skills you claim to possess.
- Proofread: Proofreading is a best practice for creating any type of resume. But for SREs, it’s particularly important in the sense that SREs need to be detail-oriented. Just as an errant keystroke can cause major reliability problems, a typo on your resume could lead employers to doubt your seriousness as an SRE.
Conclusion: SRE resume success
There’s no one specific way to craft a great SRE resume. But you should start by exploring relevant examples. Then, think strategically about which skills and experiences make you, in particular, a great SRE. Finish by writing a resume that is concise, yet makes it very clear to employers how you stand out from the crowd.