Resume Writing 101 For Technical Roles
As a recruiter, I see lots of resumes every day. It surprises me how many resumes land on my desktop that are not well-written, contain obvious mistakes, or lack vital information. When applying for a position, it is imperative that your resume is built to stand out and impress! After all, as a candidate, you are trying to differentiate yourself from the competition. You only get one shot for a good first impression, so here are some tips on what makes a good resume.
Every resume should contain your first and last name, city and state where you live, email address and phone number. This seems very basic but a large percentage of the resumes I receive do not include much of this information. Your basic info should be at the top of the resume and easy to find. Also, you want to make sure to use a professional email address. Long gone are the days of funny or clever email addresses as the norm. If you still apply with an email address such as email@example.com, it’s time for an update.
Length and Format
Another thing I have noticed consistently are resumes that are unnecessarily long. Many resumes consist of five pages or more, unfortunately. It is important for your resume to be concise. Usually a few bullet points with one or two sentences for each previous job is adequate. Often, candidates simply post their full job description under each position which can balloon a resume to over ten pages long. It is also important to list the dates of employment for each position you have held. Simply listing the year or no employment dates at all makes it look like you are hiding something.
My recommendation is to keep your resume at two pages. Three pages is okay if you have worked for many years and multiple employers. Note that it is unnecessary to list your employment history going back more than fifteen years. It’s also wise to use an easy to read font at a reasonable size. Please don’t use fonts like Comic Sans or Courier New, and don’t make the font larger than 12 or 14 pt.
Your resume should be visually appealing with a nice layout. Putting in extra spaces or pages can make your resume look sloppy. Make sure all of your text is aligned and formatted correctly.
When it comes to listing your higher education, it is vital to list the name of the school you attended, if you graduated, location of the school and degree. It is not necessary to list your high school information on your resume unless you did not attend college.
Another thing that is easy to do but often missed, is to proofread your resume for spelling or grammar mistakes. If you have mistakes on your resume, it leaves the impression that you are not careful with your work. We love attention to details. Misspelling the name of a company you worked for won’t impress a recruiter. Moreover, it is often a good idea to have a friend or coworker proofread your resume as they usually have feedback that will improve it.
Additional info on your resume
Different countries have different standards when it comes to listing personal information on resumes. In the US, it is not appropriate to put a headshot on your resume or other personal information such as marital status, age, or race. Some candidates like to put personal interests or hobbies on their resume. This is fine as long as it’s somewhat relevant to the role and won’t make a bad impression on the employer.
Putting links to outside resources is always a great idea on your resume. URLs to your LinkedIn profile, your personal website and Github are very helpful for companies to determine if you’re potentially a good fit. It is also helpful to list any technologies that you are familiar with on a professional level, such as Java (back-end) or Angular (front-end). Make sure to only list technologies that you have significant experience with, as your integrity could be questioned if you list a large assortment of languages or frameworks that you have little or no experience with.
What we look for at Bounteous
At Bounteous, we are always looking for talented developers to join our team. We like to see candidates that set themselves apart with a clean, well formatted resume that contains concise information. Tell us about your greatest accomplishments for each role and how you made a difference at each previous company you worked at. Let us know how many years of experience you have with each technology that you list on your resume. It’s great to see your goals listed and a resume specifically tailored for your application at our company. Take some time to modify your resume so it stands out as being in line with what we are looking for in a candidate. Do you meet the qualifications listed in the job description? Make sure to highlight why you’re the ideal candidate for an open position. By putting in a little extra effort, the chance to move forward in the hiring process can increase significantly.
It is important to think about what impression your resume will make when applying for a position. Most recruiters only spend a very short time looking at a resume before deciding if a candidate fits a position. By being thoughtful about how your resume is written, it will greatly increase your chances of getting an interview and making a good impression. Best of luck and happy resume writing!