The perfect resume
How to make your software engineering resume stand out.
People make many mistakes when crafting their resumes.
To craft good resumes, we need to take a deeper look and ask ourselves questions:
What's the purpose of resumes?
Who will read your resume?
What's necessary to share and what isn't?
How should I write it?
The purpose of a resume
A misconception many people have is that the resume will help you get the job.
Don't get me wrong, the resume is necessary. However, a successful resume still plays a small part in the process of you getting the job.
A resume only helps you get to the door.
To get through the door, you've to go through the interview process.
The people who hire
Recruiters are likely the ones to read your resume.
They get tons of resumes. They can't read every single one in detail, hence have to skim and filter out the resumes to be read in-depth.
On average, your resume will be skimmed and read for not more than 10 seconds.
Impact of your work
Companies aren't too interested in your work. They're more interested in your work's impact (if you have previous work experience). So it's more outstanding when you can articulate how your work elevated the business.
I made our site more performant.
I made our site more performant, which resulted in a 15% increase in our conversion rate.
The second point brings up the impact your work had. Recruiters love that. They'll eat such resumes for breakfast.
It's nothing more exciting to interview a candidate who not only had a positive impact on his previous company, but also understood the impact and could articulate it.
To some, it may sound cringe, but being able to display a glimpse of your personality in resumes goes a long way.
We are humans. We talk casually to our friends and family when we aren't at work.
When resumes come across as more casual and informal, not just do they stand out, but people connect with them better.
Funny story, I landed an interview at Google, where I began my email with "Yo."
If you've had previous work experience, seeing growth will make you a more attractive candidate.
Promotions are one of the things that indicate your growth. However, they also indicate other things. For instance, you could work with your manager toward reaching the next level.
That indirectly says you're able to receive feedback and act upon them.
If you've got a portfolio, a website about yourself, that'll make you stand out.
People would rather click on your portfolio to see something visually nice than the usual PDF resumes.
It's not necessary to get a job, but having a portfolio goes a long way.
Mistakes people make
Now that we understand how a resume is perceived, let's look at mistakes to avoid.
Rating your skills
Don't rate your skills.
You are either undervaluing or overvaluing yourself. It's never the right metric.
More than one page
Don't make resumes more than one page.
People are people. They don't wanna read pages just to see if you're a candidate for the job.
Keep your resume to one page.
Not bringing up your impact
If you've previous work experience or side projects with users, bring up the impact your work has had.
Highlight the impact. Let it shine.
Recruiters will eat that like a juicy burger.
Making it hard to read
Again, people are reading your resume, not robots.
Make your resume both easy to skim and read. Don't cramp things together to fit more onto it.
The resume aims to get you to the door, not reveal everything about yourself.
Keep the necessary things in the resume and use concise language.
Break things into sections to make the resume skimmable.
Personality will help your resume stand out.
You won't look robotic like the average resume. Instead, you'll come across as more authentic and reading your resume will be interesting.
This includes a nice photo of yourself.
A good example
Now we got the knowledge of what a resume should look like.
Let's take a look at my last resume. This resume got me interviews at companies like Cloudflare, Vercel, Google, Quora, and many other top-notch companies.
I've edited out some of the personal parts.
I created this with FlowCV:
I'm doing many things well here:
Keeping it to one page
Showing my growth from Junior to Mid
Highlighting the impacts with bold text
Multiple sections so it's easy to skim
A profile section about me
Links to my socials
A nice profile photo
The resume only helps you get to the door.
People are the ones reading your resumes.
Getting through the door is a different game.