Now, with the job market evolving extremely rapidly, writing an effective resume has become both an art and a science. Some companies are continuing to hire. However, others have had to reduce their workforce, like Airbnb, in addition to an increasing number of businesses shifting to remote work—permanently. That being said, the demand for tech talent remains high.
Based on data from over 30,000 developer resumes analyzed by CV Compiler, (an automated tech resume reviewer), here are ways to upgrade that should lead to getting more job interviews:
1. Stay away from resume templates that are available to anyone on the web. Your resume should look unique, thus ensuring more than a cursory glance.
2. Make your resume sound like a person wrote it, not a machine. Write as you would talk. Make it engaging and enjoyable to read, both for you and your potential employer. Incorporate some interesting, work-related facts about yourself. For instance:
Covered 2M lines of code with unit tests since 2017
3. Wherever possible, back up your accomplishments with numbers: e.g., improved app performance by 40%, achieved 300k plug-in downloads in a span of 3 months, reduced page load time from 20 seconds to 5 seconds, and the like. Listing your achievements will highlight your ability to deliver results.
Back in 2014, Google’s former SVP of People Operations Laszlo Bock offered the perfect formula for listing your accomplishments in a measurable, impactful way:
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].
Despite having been in tech recruitment since 2012, we’ve rarely seen this while reviewing developer resumes, testifying that backing up your accomplishments with numbers is a surefire way to differentiate your resume from your competition.
4. Enrich descriptions of the things you’ve done with “power words,” making your descriptions much more compelling. Here are some excellent options, handpicked from over 1,000 software engineering job listings:
automated, complex, concurrent, core, distributed, fault-tolerant, fully responsive, highly available, large-scale, maintainable, multi-threaded, reliable, resilient, resource-intensive, reusable, robust, scalable, secure
5. Personalize your resume with a short cover letter that shows you care and know the company you’re applying to, and, as IDEO’s former Director of Talent Virginia Martinez notes in one of her blog posts, “...what matters most is that you show a little personality. After all, we want to hire you, not your resume.”
6. Don’t overly detail your history; your resume is a marketing tool, not a bio. Yet at the same time, you don’t want it to be too short. Give the recruiter/hiring manager what they’re looking for—a brief overview of your relevant skills, knowledge, experience, and achievements.
7. Write a pithy summary or write no summary at all—no soft skills or buzzwords. Adding “passionate,” “proactive,” “good team player,” “results-driven,” “hard worker,” and other cliched resume words serves little purpose, as recruiters see them in virtually every resume/summary section.
The experience and accomplishments you add to your resume should showcase that you’re a hard worker, so there’s no need to add “hard worker” to your resume.
Describe what makes you unique and sets you apart in 3-4 sentences.
8. Incorporate relevant keywords, especially those listed in the vacancy, throughout your entire resume. This is essential in getting past the initial resume screening.
9. Show your “passion” by mentioning your open-source projects, providing a link to your active tech blog. You can also include a link to your stunning GitHub, Stack Overflow, or HackerRank profile.
10. Don’t describe your responsibilities. List your accomplishments and achievements. Start each with a strong action verb: e.g., automated, improved, developed, re-engineered, implemented, achieved, reduced, and so on. Use the right verb tense for past and current positions. Using bullet points makes it easier to read and assess.
Last but not least, include a link to your LinkedIn profile so a recruiter or hiring manager can verify you are who you claim to be.
Of course, resume expectations vary wildly, depending on the country, the company, and the recruiter/hiring manager perusing your technical resume. However, I do believe the preceding tips will help transform your resume from ordinary to attention-grabbing, helping you land, if not a job at your dream company, then at least a slew of promising job interviews.
Andrew is a serial entrepreneur with more than a decade of recruiting experience in the tech field. To date, he has founded four startups, including Relocate.me and GlossaryTech. In the off time, Andrew is a long-distance swimmer and coffee taster.
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