I'm a recent graduate and I've used ArcGIS 10.0-10.2 (I just say 10.X) for a variety of tasks:

  • Analysis
  • Data Conversion
  • Georeferencing
  • Editing
  • Data Management (i.e., creating and organizing geodatabases in ArcCatalog)
  • General map creation

Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to summarize my GIS skills on my resume?

closed as primarily opinion-based by PolyGeo, BradHards, Curlew, Brad Nesom, Simbamangu Jun 15 '14 at 14:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This very much depends upon your career objectives. What is your degree? What jobs are you targeting? – Aaron Jun 14 '14 at 17:26
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    You should additionally consider having a portfolio (examples of maps you've made) -- obviously this is too cumbersome to be included with the initial resume, but it is useful to bring to an interview or to set up a web page showing off your work. – Erica Jun 15 '14 at 2:40
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    careers.stackoverflow.com or workplace.stackexchange.com – Brad Nesom Jun 15 '14 at 2:41
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    I do not think off-topic is the appropriate close reason. 'Career' questions can be on-topic for this site (e.g. the non-closed questions on the career tag). General resume writing advice applies, of course, but I think it would be useful to hear from actual GIS professionals/managers as to what they are looking for on applicants' resumes. Of course this will vary wildly depending on the field which is why you should narrow down what sort of career you are looking for. – blah238 Jun 15 '14 at 3:16
  • @blah238, brad: Sorry if I started a resume thread here, but I specifically tailored this to the GIS industry, because it's pretty unique. The rest of my resume is actually better, but summarizing skills (esp. with a wide variety of different skills that can translate to various positions) has been a challenge. I'm mostly looking at entry level Tech or Analyst jobs right now. Thanks for everyone's input!!! – GISFan Jun 15 '14 at 11:11

If the experience you have came from a job, then I'd make bullets under that heading giving short descriptions of what you did. If you wanted, you could put your general description then follow with more specifics after a dash:

Data conversion - Designed and implemented workflow for converting GPS data

I'll (hopefully!) be a graduate in a year or so, and my GIS experience on my résumé is laid out thus:

  • Updated and standardized GIS database for government highway project.
  • Processed high resolution imagery for analysis and basemaps.
  • Designed multi-software suite workflows for data manipulation.
  • Researched most efficient implementations of topology algorithms.
  • Developed Python scripts and add-ins with the arcpy module for ArcGIS.

This way, your prospective employer can glean what you worked on as well as what general experience you have.

Just my two cents... Good luck with the job hunt!


Good luck in your job hunt.

Tailor your resume to the employer. If you're intending working for public service then absolutely follow Paul's advice.

From the point of view of someone who has been involved in the employment process in the private sector, we read dozens of resumes and by the end we're just tired of reading cryptic descriptions of what are basically mundane tasks. If you've done it then write it with as little nonsense as possible... your honesty will make your CV stand out from the others and that is what you want! If you don't stand out you won't get the interview whence you can impress with your scintillating personality and enthusiasm.

For example:

GIS packages:
    ArcGIS 10.2 / 10.0
        - Georeferencing, scanned plans to cadastre.
        - Data capture, pipeline network from georeferenced imagery
        - Geoprocessing, using individual tools and ModelBuilder
        - ArcPy, several scripts using the fundamentals of Python and Esri tools
        - Plugins, created plugins for QGIS:
            Automate classification of features
            Interperet GPS track log

List as many as you think pertinent and give a brief description, dot points if you've got several important instances, but do not over embellish. If you did something with a team then write that, employers want to hear that you're a team player. Use GIS terms by all means and some big words but don't make it so full of jargon that it's almost undecipherable.

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    It should also go without saying that if you have typos on your resume that most definitely will hurt you. If you aren't detail-oriented enough to avoid glaring errors on your resume, how do you think that makes the hiring manager feel about how you will do on the job? In my experience, GIS is a highly detail-oriented profession, and it will help immensely if you are very thorough in reviewing your resume for typographical accuracy. – blah238 Jun 15 '14 at 2:53
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    Thanks @blah238, I'll accept that criticism, I've got kids screaming in the background whilst trying to get a project out by Monday. ESRI stands for Environmental Systems Research Institute so should be all caps... no excuse for the rest. – Michael Stimson Jun 15 '14 at 3:14
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    The ESRI/Esri thing is a discussion of its own (for the record I didn't make that change). Mostly silly marketing/re-branding, but I suppose it's possible a hiring manger might be particular about one or the other (e.g. old school vs. new school). Also if you apply for a job at ESRI, you'll probably want to call them "Esri" on your resume. – blah238 Jun 15 '14 at 3:21
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    I didn't say idiot, neither do I think that. The point being adapt a technique to suit the audience. I used to work in the public sector and have a fair idea what they want to see. Though I should have chosen my words better. I did not want to cause any offense to the very talented and skilled workers in government positions I will take that part out. – Michael Stimson Jun 15 '14 at 4:50
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    I made the ESRI/Esri spelling change because, although ESRI originally stood for Environmental Systems Research Institute in the US, and probably still does, it was re-branded from ESRI to Esri a few years ago - see esri.com/about-esri. To me the correct spelling and capitalization of company/product names can be an indicator as to how familiar a candidate is with Esri/ArcGIS literature, and in a world where everyone is looking for an edge ... – PolyGeo Jun 15 '14 at 9:36

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