What is the Purpose of a Software Engineer Resume?
It's a MARKETING DOCUMENT to help you land an interview, nothing more. It is NOT a list of all your experience or all your skills you've done over the years.
“The goal of a resume is to get you to an interview for that position with a recruiter or hiring manager from a specific company. That’s it—nothing more, nothing less. It’s to get your foot in the door. It's not a goal to share your complete work history or represent everything you did as accurately as possible.”
Even if you’re a Senior Engineer, be sure to get the resume fundamentals right. To illustrate a simple analogy, I’ve always been athletic but for whatever reason, I couldn’t play tennis well AT ALL. So, I took a tennis class in college (yes to meet girls too) and the first day of class the instructor covered how to hold a racket. Was thinking “jeez, everyone knows this!”. Well, It turns out … I’ve been holding the tennis racket WRONG my whole life. No wonder why I sucked at tennis!!!
So if you’re NOT getting the response you want for your resume, be sure to hit the grammar, punctuation and for the Love of God KEEP IT UNDER 2 PAGES! (Recruiters and tech interviewers won’t even read past the 2nd page
Image of Bill Gates's resume in 1974. Nobody cares about weight, height and marital status - focus on IMPACT you've had
No matter what you do you have to customize the resume for each position you apply (or ideally cut in line with a referral).
For instance, say you’re applying for a software engineer role at Google. The first step is to create your narrative of the type of developer you are.
This is an Example of How You Beat the Competition
You get really specific on your work, the impact you’ve had, and what you will bring to the table for the companies. (most of us are afraid to get specific as we're afraid to exclude ourselves).
This is just ONE example - as you can see this is how you stand apart from the hundreds of others applying for the same position. You've done your homework understanding what that company wants.
Where you are in your career will give you the overall structure. For instance, if you’re a college grad it’s going to look different than the stellar industry veteran. It’s all about POSITIONING yourself for maximum chance of success of landing the interview.
The structure for every resume is the same:
I've seen hundreds and hundreds of resumes over the years. While to err is to be human, but NOT when it comes to YOUR resume. Let others make the obvious silly mistakes like spelling and grammar. There's ONE mistake i see so common in most resumes I see when interviewing (or weeding out candidates) is this:
They do not include the RIGHT details in their work experience. Employers want to know exactly what you did at your previous jobs and the IMPACT you’ve held. So - be 100% sure to include details about the projects you worked on, the technologies you used, and the impact you had. What what the end result from the applications you built!! Always try to put a number behind it as it makes it more credible. (if you don't know a
Nowadays, getting your first job as a self-taught developer means having a solid LinkedIn and GitHub profile with a solid portfolio. Bonus points for having other social media platforms down and a website sharing what you know - when employers find you, you win!
A hiring manager's goal is to hire people who are qualified for the job as fast as possible. The recruiter’s top job is to help the hiring manager in this process. If there’s sizable number of resumes with similar skill levels, how do recruiters prioritize resumes?
Most of the time it looks like this:
In short, the answer is to ALWAYS try to apply to a company you really want to work for with referrals!