Are you afraid of being sucked into the “resume black-hole”? Well, I’m here to tell you the infamous “black hole” doesn’t have to be so scary IF you can avoid a few ever so common technical resume blunders.

Before we begin, as we go through these “blunders” keep these things in mind:

  1. The minute you release your resume into cyber space, you’re relying on it to sell all your accomplishments and the talent you can bring to an organization. This is the first and maybe only shot at catching a recruiter’s attention.
  2. Recruiters look at potentially 100s of resumes a week. No offense to your resume, but after a while you start to go cross-eyed. Make it easy!

Blunder # 1 – Irrelevant content

Avoid weighing down your resume with irrelevant content. You don’t need to include minor tasks or detail every process you do.  Why? You begin to bury the important skills that you want to be catching the recruiter’s attention. And, look back at before we begin tip #2, the recruiter has to sift through all the information. Lastly, if you leave out something, then they just assume that you do not have that skill.

The fix? Relevant content. Keep your content relevant. If you know what opportunity you’re applying to just list what you know is relevant and/or going to make you stand out for that job. Remember, the recruiter is a professional, they have an idea of how things work. Save yourself the time and trim away those useless details. Good content is relevant content.

Blunder # 2 – Purposely Vague

Some developers also put details in their resume that are not clear and are open to a lot of interpretation. For example: Designed the company’s online store. Wrote the system so that users can either accept or cancel the order. This will not convey just how much work you have done for the online store. Did you write the entire program or did you just work on a small part of it? Did you work on the whole project or just the cancel and accept buttons?

The fix? Duties vs. Accomplishments. Some tasks are common knowledge. Focus on your accomplishments for example: “Significantly improved the performance of the company’s proprietary accounting software by optimizing the stored procedures in SQL Server 2012.”

As a developer you need to make sure you’re covering the specific technologies you used as that’s what manager’s look for when reviewing a resume. E.G. Developed user interfaces for Java based web application using GWT, CSS3 and HTML5.

Blunder # 3 – Believing everything you read

You’re a savvy developer, architect or web designer, not a professional resume writer. So you consult blogs, books and even school guidance counselors for advice. But not all advice is good advice. Take for example the “Objective” section debate. Some say it’s a must, some say it’s useless. I say, IF done correctly, it’s a must.

The fix? Summary of skills vs. fluff. Everybody wants a “fulfilling job” where they can “use their skills and learn new ones” and preferably one in which they can grow. This approach is useless and the first thing recruiters see. Instead, start your resume with a summary of your tech skills and levels specific to the job you’re applying for.

Here are a few more tips.

Organize. Before a recruiter gets deep into your professional history, they want to know if you have the skills for the job so make it easy to find. Break your skills into categories e.g. technical certifications, operating systems, networking/protocols, programming languages, etc.

Don’t forget about your online profiles! Keep them current. LinkedIn, GitHub, StackOverflow etc.

The resume is not dead. In the recruiting industry, there has been a lot of buzz about the “death of the resume”. Let’s not be fooled, the resume is not dead. And personally, I don’t see it getting a visit from the angel of death anytime soon. It is still extremely important during your job search to have a relevant resume.


Original Author:  Brittney Pippin