Ever-so-often, I've seen youngsters reaching out to me for advice on how to sail this vast ocean that the tech industry is. And more often than not, I find them grappling with the same fundamental challenge - how to craft that perfect resume.
So, I thought it's about time I put my learning into words and create this—what I'd like to believe—rather brutally honest guide on crafting your tech resume. After all, learning is best when shared, right?
Size Matters: Keep it Crisp!
Four pages of a neatly arranged resume may get you straight A's in your writing class, but in the tech industry? Not so much. You could be the next Steve Jobs in making but trust me on this (from experience), if I have to swipe through more than two pages to find your accomplishments, it's likely that your resume will make a direct journey to my trash pile.
Let's get real here. You're yet to put a foot in the profession. There's no need to pen a manifesto instead of a resume. Discard those co-curricular activities; no one really cares. And please, the 'minimum letter count' principle is best left within the confines of your college exams. Brevity is gold, especially when you're only starting.
Bullet Points: Your Best Friends
Here, have some friendly advice. Do yourself a favour and befriend bullet points. Trust me, they'll make your resume look much more palatable and to-the-point. This isn't a fantastical narrative that needs your storytelling finesse. Save that for your next blogging gig perhaps?
What I need you to tell me is simple: why should I consider you amongst the throng of applications knocking my inbox every day? Highlight those top points in bullet and you've gotten past the first hurdle.
Mastering the Art of Keywords
Keywords, ah! They are language's spectacular gift to the tech industry. But like all good things, less is more. Do not stuff keywords like you're writing an SEO blog post. Tech recruiters have advanced tools (ATS), and believe me, they can tell a mile away when you're trying to game the system.
You're applying to be a front-end developer? Don't shy away from mentioning it. You're adept at Python, C++, or any other technology? Let the world know. But remember the KISS principle, folks - keep it simple, stupid.
Using Numbers: The Proof is in the Pudding
Concrete data is the tech industry's oxygen. Use it wisely. Think about the time when you could improve an app's performance by an impressive 30%. Or when you automated a process, making it 40% faster. Those are stellar examples that define the value you can bring in as a developer. So, don't hold back, make them shine on your resume.
Watch That Exaggeration
The world of tech is an exciting and tantalising one, no doubt. The feeling to put your best foot forward is only natural. But, remember—you're a beginner. Be realistic about your skillsets. If you've only toyed around with Java in college, you can't claim to be an "ADVANCED JAVA DEVELOPER." Be honest with your skills and save both yourself and your interviewer the embarrassment.
Some Cold, Hard Facts
To bring a sense of perspective to things, let me illustrate my point with some figures. Whenever I've had to recruit developers, I've received hundreds of applications in mere days. Based on figures, interviewers take an average of 7 seconds to call the shots on a resume. If glancing through your resume leaves me puzzled, sorry but, it's time for the next one.
Ordering it Right
The moment you land your first job, your degree’s worth is just face value. Prioritise your resume. Jobs, then projects, and finally your education—that's the order I'm looking for. Thousands of students graduate with you. What sets you apart? Your degree doesn't answer that for me. Grades are no indicative metric for real-world performance.
To sum it up—keep it crisp, directly highlight your skills, use appropriate keywords, back up with data, be brutally honest with your skillset, and take the right ordering approach. After all, your resume is the first impression you make in your potential job. Don't let these common mistakes dull the sparkle of your technical prowess.
Keep striving, keep succeeding. Here's to a bright and fulfilling career in technology. And remember, we all learn from mistakes. The best way to eliminate them? Be open to feedback, constructive criticism, and always, always stay humble. After all, as we march into the future, the only thing constant—in technology and life—is learning and evolving.
Best of luck!