This question pertains to presenting oneself when starting a job search, not targeting a particular job.

I have many years (25+) administering traditional UNIX systems (HP-UX, AIX, Solaris) as well as Linux and Open/Free BSD. While UNIX admins know the differences in what these are, sadly most recruiters and even some employers don't.

I consider the title "Senior UNIX Administrator" should be all encompassing because I understand what that means but that seems to fail many job filters. This I feel because of the types of responses I've gotten after modifying it on various job sites like LinkedIn and the conversations I've had with recruiters afterward. Should I go with a slashy-like "Senior Unix/Linux/BSD Administrator"?

Along the same lines, how do you convey additional roles within the summary to which you are suited, like storage area networking or database administration while keeping it short?

I made the mistake of Senior Systems admin and went off track into being called about MS/Win related work and some other crazy stuff. I went with UNIX and was called primarily about non-Linux work. Adding "/ Linux" changed that but it still seems to miss on some jobs. I wonder if I should not do it a better way, in particular when I also qualify for other jobs that I would consider, like those mentioned or in Python/Perl Development which I've also done extensively over the years.

As far as the actual job sought, I've been sticking with UNIX administration because as a rule, it can and often does include the other roles mentioned but only if the recruiter/employer knows what they're looking for and how to find it.

  • How you know that is failing job filters?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 16:57
  • Also, what do you mean by not targeting a particular job? You surely want something related to the IT industry I suppose? Or are you considering other industries where your admin experience is not related?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 16:59
  • yes you can reply to your own post, by clicking on the "Suggest improvements" link. Presenting yourself over Linkedin is different from an actual resume you send or hand to a prospect employer. Are you just waiting for people to find you on searches, or are you also pursuing specific jobs you would like?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 17:22
  • I am submitting targeted resumes to potential employers but I also have made copies available on LinkedIn and others and am getting calls as well but trying to make it work better.
    – chipfall
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 17:27
  • what about Senior System Administrator (Unix/Linux)? Seems to be a best of both worlds type deal.
    – RandomUs1r
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 22:26

3 Answers 3


This question pertains to presenting oneself when starting a job search, not targeting a particular job.

Although you haven't clarified yet, a job search should be focused on a particular job or options. You will hardly ever land a job on, say, Construction if you are presenting yourself as an IT Admin.

Most likely given your extensive career as UNIX Admin you are seeking for a job where you can apply that experience. If this is true, you should be focusing your resume on those type of jobs, and tailor it accordingly.

Under that light, I see no problem in using "Senior UNIX Administrator", because the people on the industry know what that involves and will know if they need to hire one. I also don't see much problem with "Senior Unix/Linux/BSD Administrator", although it sounds longer and more verbose.

Along the same lines, how do you convey additional roles within the summary to which you are suited, like storage area networking or database administration while keeping it short?

You could write a brief description under the jobs you list (which surely mention all the *NIX flavors you know), indicating additional tasks and responsibilities you also were in charge of besides solely administering the systems.


It is no industry secret that the sheer number of Unix and Linux clones can be confusing, even to employers as you mentioned. This seems to be your first concern.

I would say that yes, using slashes in your job description is perfectly acceptable. Countless résumés after all list things like "C/C++" or "R/RStudio" under "Programming Experience" to encompass the different flavors of those languages.

Another option for your title would be "Senior Administrator for Unix- and Linux-Based Operating Systems". While somewhat verbose, this title places Senior Administrator front-and-center, indicating not only the level of experience but the leadership, with qualifiers positioned afterwards.

For your question on how to introduce other job experience, there are a few different options. This varies somewhat depending on the mode of communication (résumé or online profile) but the general idea is the same. You could advertise yourself as "Senior Administrator specializing in Unix- and Linux-based systems, with additional expertise in storage area networking and database administration." This has the implication that Unix and Linux (and BSD if you choose to include this) are your main strengths, with additional skills following. Then there is unlikely to be confusion from employers as to whether you are seeking a Unix/Linux/BSD position or something very different, like databasing.

Out of curiosity, I compared "Unix," "Linux," and "BSD" in Google Trends. Results suggest Linux far outranks Unix in usage. The implications of this may or may not generalize to job recruiters. But results seem to suggest Linux is being talked about, at least in Google searches, at a higher volume than Unix. It may be a good idea to prioritize advertising yourself as a Linux expert if you can corroborate these findings on job search boards. This assumes that you are comfortable working in either Unix, Linux, or BSD.

I would not neglect featuring BSD, HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris prominently on your profiles and résumé, perhaps in list format, as automated crawlers may scan for these keywords, and employers will look for them.


There's usually an HR person, and often an AI bot, filtering your resume before the reasonable person who'd understand 'Unix' would get to see it at all.

No matter how pithy your resume, it can include bullet points such as 'storage area networking'. And I like to add a 'Tech:' couple of lines to each job to specify which OS, tools, languages and versions I was using, aimed squarely at the person who'd understand them. That goes a long way towards fixing the elimination-through-ignorance synonym keyword problem.

I'd totally go with the more descriptive/awkward title though, because people don't read much.

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