You’ve done enough toy problems to write a book on algorithmic complexity. You’ve memorized how to implement complex data structures. Your Github is full of spectacular projects that demonstrate your programming ability.
You’ve got everything you need to make a great impression at your next tech interview, except the resume. You may not think that the resume is the most important part of your application, but it is often the first thing hiring managers see when considering candidates. You want to make a good first impression, so it is important to put some work into your resume. Be careful to avoid these mistakes:
Not Using A Professional Resume Service
You know how to code, but that doesn’t mean you know how to write. When your resume determines the future of your career, sometimes it’s best to hire professionals from a resume service like this one. It’s imperative that your resume is as well-written as it possibly can be, and that can mean not writing it yourself.
Going with a resume writing service is a financial investment that’s up to you to make. Sometimes, spending a few hundred bucks for a quality resume written by resume writers who truly know what they are doing can be worth it if it means landing a job offer that pays well. Of course, there are downsides as well such as the potential that the writer will do a poor job – so there are pros and cons here that you must weigh out on your own.
Resume Employment gaps
Did you take a few months off to relax after a stressful project? Did you struggle for a while to find work after a layoff? Did you take a year-long break to work on your dream project, only to find that there was an open-source solution already available? Whatever the reason, many of us have gaps in our employment history. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re lazy, you may have been working on your own projects, but that may not be obvious to hiring managers.
If you have work gaps on your resume, hiring managers will certainly ask you questions about them during the interview. Why not beat them to the punch? You can write a simple explanation for the work gap on your resume and/or cover letter to increase your callback rate by up to 60%, according to the same study.
Listing Too Many Soft Skills
The tech field heavily emphasizes hard skills such as coding languages and tech software. While it’s always good to have a healthy level of soft skills up your sleeves, it’s not what tech recruiters are really looking for.
If you ever find yourself listing more soft skills on your resume than hard skills, than you’ve made a huge blunder. Remember, soft skills like being a team player or a strong communicator just isn’t something that can be proved on a resume. As a result, it’s better to save that stuff for the interview and focus on just the raw technical skills in your arsenal.
Assuming the Recruiter Speaks “Nerd”
Reality is, not everyone reading your resume is going to be a software engineer or coder. It could just be a random recruiter or the company’s manager. These people don’t understand tech lingo to the level that you might would. So, don’t expect them to on your resume. Spell out all the programs you list while also including the abbreviated version, so there’s two chances for the hiring manager to understand what you’re talking about to begin with.
Have you ever spent hours debugging your code, stepping line by line, scrutinizing each function call, only to find that you wrote currnt instead of current? A simple typo brought your whole program to a halt. You may have written thousands of lines of unit-tested, production-quality code, but one typo was enough to break it. For better or worse, it’s the same case with resumes!
Read through your resume aloud slowly, word-by-word, at least twice. Then pass it to a friend or family member. If you make spelling mistakes in your resume, a recruiter will expect you to make spelling mistakes in your work emails and in your programs. Simple things can stop programs and stop you from getting the interview.
With the advent of easy online job applications, hiring managers have more resumes to read over than ever before. If they read every resume, they usually only have time to search for keywords. In most cases, resumes do not even reach the hiring manager until going through an Applicant Tracking System which will automatically scan resumes for key terms which the company has listed as requirements for the job.
As all tech workers know, computers are not perfect; you may have the ideal background for the position, but if the Applicant Tracking System does not detect the exact keywords on your resume, you won’t even get the interview. Luckily for you, the solution is easy enough: you just need to search for the most common resume keywords for your field and fit them into your resume.
All About Me
Hiring managers do not want rockstar programmers who implement whole projects by themselves, without documentation and with little regard for the actual spec, like a character from Halt and Catch Fire. They want team players, people who collaborate well, who communicate clearly, and who are willing to sacrifice their time and personal vision for the good of their coworkers and the project as a whole. Your resume should reflect this. Along with emphasizing the value you added to the company, highlight the instances in which cooperation, rather than just cleverness, was key to success.
If you remove these common mistakes from your resume, you can greatly improve your chances of getting an interview. Remember, your resume is your one shot of standing out from a sea of other applicants. It doesn’t matter what you have accomplished throughout your career and what you bring to the table if you aren’t able to showcase it here on your resume.