How to Apply for a VMware Engineer Job

virtualization resume tipsAs the manager of a large virtual infrastructure, I’m always looking for excellent VMware talent for my team.

Weekly I review resumes and to be honest – Some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain ugly!

That’s why knowing how to apply for a VMware job is important for getting you past resume screeners.

What gets my attention isn’t just the words: VMware, ESX, ESXi or VCP on resumes, but moreover when the job history has enough details to support someone as an experienced vEngineer (Virtualization Engineer), and not just a SysAdmin with some virtualization skills – vSysAdmin. (BTW, no disrespect intended to SysAdmins)

Here’s what I mean…

A vSysAdmin is a Windows or Linux administrator who can: add vMemory, vCPU, storage and clone. They can provision a VM using vCenter and they can install VMtools. These are system or OS type tasks that are easy for them to learn without getting to deep into understanding how virtualization works.

Virtualization Engineer

A vEngineer on the other hand can do all of the above as well as design, build and fix virtual infrastructure. Good vEngineers have a background in networking, storage, hardware and OS which all converge in the virtual space.

  • They can white-board custom VM configurations, and without much thought, they can explain why one vCPU is better than 4.
  • They have typically done 100s of P2Vs, migrations and cold clones.
  • They know how to remove hidden hardware drivers.
  • They’ve spent at least 25 hours on hold with VMware support 🙂 which while they were on hold, they figured out the problem Googling it.

So, for SysAdmins whom are trying to cross over into the virtual space, don’t sell your skills short. Explain that you can do more than I listed above for vSysAdmins.

  • Don’t hide that you have done 100 P2Vs, or designed and built a 8 host cluster using NetApp storage with HP c7000 chassis and BL460G6 blades.
  • Explain how you scripted the install of ESX/i and all the vNetworking.
  • Or worked with the storage team to revamp how they provision storage to optimize LUNs for better performance.
  • Give details, challenges, and how you overcame them.

Resume Tips for Virtualization Jobs

For the vEngineer who wants to expand his/her career, for you the challenge is bigger, faster, automated and more complicated designs. What needs to be on your resume is all of the above and details about storage, network, security, hardware and 3rd party tools.

  • Go deep with your details about how you were instrumental in designing 16 host clusters capable of hosting 100s of VMs, with converged networking using xSigo, HP Flex Fabric or Cisco UCS.
  • Dive into the details of how you leveraged thin provisioning, or what you designed to back up VMs – Veeam, vRanger or VCB with NetBackup.
  • Explain your struggles with system administrator who didn’t want to use templates and how you went about convincing them it was better. List your best practices for managing vCenter and how you manage capacity.
  • Don’t forget to explain how you used VMware Capacity Analyzer to assess a large physical environment with 100s of Windows and Linux servers, and how you created a detailed report with a bill of materials for building the right virtual infrastructure to migrate the physical servers to, and a migration plan.

DO NOT! (all in caps) leave out any experience working on a “Cloud” project. Not many people have this experience so “Bold” it and provide lots of details whether it is private or public, AWS, Joyent or vBlock, as well as any work you’ve been involved in accessing services via an API. (This will get you to the top of the list super fast!)

How to Make Your Virtualization Experience Stand Out!

Details! Details! Details!

What makes you stand out from all the other system administrators who are applying for the same job is details about your experience? Remember, you are not applying for a DBA or Windows SysAdmin job.

Virtualization is relatively new, and not many managers understand or know what it takes. They think you’re just a VM SysAdmin, but anyone that has been doing the job for three or more years knows it’s a completely new thing.

Highlight Scripting Skills

One more thing to add that always gets my attention is scripting skills. Go deep explaining your scripting skills and experience. PowerShell, Bash, Perl and VBscript are always good skills to see on a resume but you need to put some meat on the bones and explain how you have used them. Explain how you wrote a script that automates conducting daily health check of disk space and emails a report, or how you scripted finishing scripts required to reset all the GUIDs or Certificates for Windows or Linux Gold Templates so that all the 3rd party applications are unique after deployments, you don’t want to duplicate this stuff right?

Include VDI, Citrix, XA, XenServer, Hyper-V, KVM, View, XenDesktop

Make sure you don’t leave out your experience with VDI, Citrix, XA, XenServer, Hyper-V, KVM, View, XenDesktop and any other virtual technologies. Go deep with your experience because most large infrastructures managers who know their stuff are looking for people who have broad experience in the virtual space, not just VMware.

Finally, here are some tips and good questions to ask when interviewing for a VMware Job:

  1. Any time you are asked a design question – show them don’t tell them. If there is a white-board in the room ask if you can use it then get up and draw pictures for them. They are most likely all geeks and pictures say a thousand words. Plus, you will impress the hell out of them, especially if you draw well. 🙂
  2. Ask how capacity is tracked. Wait, listen, and then explain how you have tracked capacity. This is generally a challenge in most places because balancing capacity with performance is not easy.
  3. Ask what projects are going on and what’s on the horizon. Wait, listen, and then explain your experience working on a similar project.
  4. Ask about storage, what type, who manages it, what challenges there are (SCSI reservation and performance issues are common).
  5. Ask for the job – if you know your stuff, don’t be arrogant but also don’t be afraid to ask the panel for the job. Explain how the job fits your experience and briefly summarize your experience.
  6. Have or get your VCP! (Read: 5 Resume Bullets That Will Get Your VMware VCP Skills Noticed)
  7. Leverage the klout you have with people who can recommend you.
  8. Network at VMUGs, VMWorld, or other social events.
  9. Join LinkedIn.com and build your profile around what I have written above. Try to link to people that manage virtual infrastructures.

Here’s my LinkedIn Example.

View Joe's profile on LinkedIn

 Good Luck!

Your Turn: Do you have tips or comment on how to apply for a VMware Job, please share them!

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