Looking to craft a compelling resume? Here's what to do.

13 November 2019 in JOB SEARCH

With almost twenty years in IT recruiting, it goes without saying that I’ve seen my fair share of resumes - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve met with great candidates with poorly written resumes and I’ve met with not so great candidates with well written resumes. That being said, the notion that great candidates are “too busy working” to spend just a bit of time on their resume is risky and it can cost you opportunities to interview for amazing jobs - often without you even knowing it. 

Hiring managers judge resumes in many different ways. Some could care less as long as the candidate can do the job, some turn down candidates based solely upon their resumes for things like the incorrect uses of tense, spelling mistakes, run on sentences, or even resumes that are simply way too long. 

As a recruiter, it can be a real shame knowing you have an excellent candidate for a job but the hiring manager won’t interview them due to a resume issue.  Sometimes we are able to get past this hurdle by pulling out the “trust me, this is someone you want to speak to” but often the hiring manager has already made up their mind.

Here are some tips to consider when crafting your resume. 

More is often less when it comes to crafting resumes. Keep things concise and try to make it no more than two pages. 

Keep your tenses correct and consistent. Present tense for your current role, past tense for your previous roles.

Make sure the format and your font choice  and size is consistent throughout your resume. If you bold the title of a section, make sure you bold the title of other sections. 

Avoid the use of “etc.” 

Don’t write the same tasks word for word under each position description like you simply cut and pasted it. It can be considered a lack of career progress, laziness, or even false since it’s rare that two positions are precisely the same. 

Don’t bold keywords all over your resume. In my professional opinion, it’s not a good look.

Don’t say Dot Net. 

Don’t use the word, “I”.  Instead, just start with the verb like “Supported” or “Created” or “Managed”.

There’s no need to bring your resume back to the COBOL coding days unless that’s still what you want to do.  

Titles like “Software Engineer” and “Full Stack Engineer” often carry more weight with some hiring managers than titles like “Programmer Analyst” or “Web Developer”. Who knows why beyond the fact that we often see these titles in product dev environments where innovation is important and systems are built from scratch.

Focus your resume around accomplishments instead of tasks. If you have great examples of your work on GitHub, include a link on your resume. 

Many hiring managers want to know that you’re passionate about your work and skills development so don’t be afraid to showcase it. 

If you’re a UI/UX person, have a link to your portfolio. It helps if it’s good and you’ll likely need to produce one for the hiring team at some point in the interview process anyway.

Avoid mentioning technologies on your resume that you can’t answer technical questions about. That’s a sure way to go down in flames fast and have your interview cut short. Anything listed on your resume is fair game for hiring managers to drill you on so I would be wary of adding too much fluff. 

Don’t include too much personal information. Avoid including information that doesn’t relate to your ability to do the job. It’s unnecessary and you never know what a prospective hiring manager might think or pass judgement on.

Make sure your email address is professional. Same goes for everything else.

Avoid making assumptions that one thing means another... many resume reviewers (gatekeepers) aren’t technical and they are basically performing keyword searches. For example, if you write code in  C#, it might also be good to include .NET. 

Make sure the latest versions of your technology stacks are included. Detail is a great thing in most cases especially when you’ve worked with cutting edge technologies.

There’s no need to write a lengthy description of what each company that you worked for does in the experience section of your resume. It’s kind of a waste of space if you ask me. Instead, focus on what you did for the company.

Use spell check. Have another person proof read your resume. It can’t hurt to have second set of eyes give it a look. You also don’t want to have red show up all over your resume when the hiring manager opens it. As such, sending PDFs can be a good way to avoid that.

Anyways, there you have it. Some tips when it comes to crafting your resume. Hope this is helpful and best of luck with your job search.

TD