Resume screeners look for the same things that interviewers do. They want to know that you’re smart and that you can code.
That means you should prepare your resume to highlight those two things. Your love of tennis, traveling, or magic cards won’t do much to show that. Think twice before cutting more technical lines in order to allow space for your non technical hobbies.
Appropriate Resume Length
In the US, it is strongly advised to keep a resume to one page if you have less than ten years of experience.
More experienced candidates can often justify 1.5 – 2 pages otherwise. Think twice about a long resume. Shorter resumes are often more impressive. Recruiters only spend a fixed amount of time (
about 10 seconds) looking at your resume.
If you limit the content to the most impressive items, the recruiter is sure to see them. Adding additional items just distracts the recruiter from what you’d really like them to see. Some people just flat-out refuse to read long resumes. Do you really want to risk having your resume tossed for this reason?
If you are thinking right now that you have too much experience and can’t fit it all on one or two pages, trust me, you can. Long resumes are not a reflection of having tons of experience; they’re a reflection of not understanding how to prioritize content.
Your resume does not and should not include a full history of every role you’ve ever had. Include only the relevant positions, the ones that make you a more impressive candidate.
Writing Strong Bullets
For each role, try to discuss your accomplishments with the following approach: “Accomplished X by implementing Y which led to z:· Here’s an example:
- “Reduced object rendering time by 75% by implementing distributed caching, leading to a 10% reduction in log-in time:·
Here’s another example with an alternate wording:
- “Increased average match accuracy from 1.2 to 1.5 by implementing a new comparison algorithm based
Not everything you did will fit into this approach, but the principle is the same: show what you did, how you did it, and what the results were. Ideally, you should try to make the results “measurable” somehow.
Developing the projects section on your resume is often the best way to present yourself as more experienced. This is especially true for college students or recent grads. The projects should include your 2 – 4 most significant projects. State what the project was and which languages or technologies it employed.
You may also want to consider including details such as whether the project was an individual or a team project, and whether it was completed for a course or independently. These details are not required, so only include them if they make you look better. Independent projects are generally preferred over course projects, as it shows initiative. Do not add too many projects. Many candidates make the mistake of adding all 13 of their prior projects, cluttering their resume with small, non-impressive projects. So what should you build? Honestly, it doesn’t matter that much.
Some employers really like open source projects (it offers experience contributing to a large code base), while others prefer independent projects (it’s easier to understand your personal contributions). You could build a mobile app, a web app, or almost anything. The most important thing is that you’re building something.
Programming Languages and Software
Be conservative about what software you list, and understand what’s appropriate for the company. Software like
Microsoft Officecan almost always be cut. Technical software like
Eclipseis somewhat more relevant, but many of the top tech companies won’t even care about that. After all, is it really that hard to learn Visual Studio? Of course, it won’t hurt you to list all this software. It just takes up valuable space. You need to evaluate the trade-off of that.
Should you list everything you’ve ever worked with, or shorten the list to just the ones that you’re most comfortable with? Listing everything you’ve ever worked with is dangerous. Many interviewers consider anything on your resume to be “fair game” as far as the interview.
One alternative is to list most of the languages you’ve used, but add your experience level. This approach is shown below:
somewhat similar to each other. It’s better if you can learn languages that are more different, like
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