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3x3: 3 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Resumé In Just 10 Minutes

Published 11/8/2017

In today's episode, we continue the first 3x3 week with a list of 3 things you can do to improve your resumé, quickly.

Today's episode is brought to you by Linode.

Linode provides superfast SSD based Linux servers in the cloud starting at $5 a month. Linode is offering Developer Tea listeners $20 worth of credit if you use the code DEVELOPERTEA2017 at checkout. Head over to spec.fm/linode to learn more about what Linode has to offer to Developer Tea listeners!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hopefully you know by now that your resume isn't just your resume more. There's so many other things that matter on top of your resume that go well beyond just that piece of paper that you send to your potential employer or maybe a PDF. But it is still important and it's important that you get it right because it kind of acts as the door, the opening door to the rest of what you provide, what you offer when you walk into an interview. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. My goal on this show is to help driven developers become better at what they do so that that developer can work in a position with a company or start a company even that has a positive impact on the people that come in contact with it. Design developers are not just about the bottom line and they're not just about getting raises and finding shortcuts. It's not about optimizing everything that we can but instead focusing on the things that are the most important. So here's the thing, not everybody who's listening to this right now fits that description, especially with an episode like this. This is going to benefit people who don't necessarily want to work with a purpose that goes greater than that bottom line with a purpose of more than a paycheck. So if you're not a part of that group, if you wouldn't consider yourself a driven developer, then don't worry about subscribing. There's going to be a lot of content on here that challenges you to do things that maybe you don't really want to do. But if you are a driven developer, I'm going to ask you to subscribe. Because here's the reality, there are other driven developers like you in the world. And by subscribing, you're giving yourself the opportunity to connect with those people and have meaningful conversations about these topics that we bring up on the show, about the discussions that we have with other developers who consider themselves to be a part of this group as well. So let's dive into today's episode, the content for today. This is a three by three episode. The second three by three episode, we talked about it in the last episode, three by three. We noticed when we were looking at the popularity of episodes that the ones that provides you actionable takeaways, a list of actionable takeaways, those tend to be popular. And that makes sense, right? It's not some trick. We are trying to fool you into downloading this episode. But instead, we're trying to give you something that is tangible that you can write down in a journal that you can remember that you can walk away with that is meaningful to you that makes a positive impact in your career. And in today's episode, we're going to do exactly that. We're going to try to give you some practical advice for how to improve your resume, right? Three things that you can do in the next 10 minutes, assuming that you have 10 minutes of free time and your resume is sitting in front of you. Three things that you can do to make your resume better in the next 10 minutes. All right? So let's jump into this three by three. But first, we need to talk about today's sponsor. We mentioned on the last episode, we're going to take a moment to thank today's sponsor before we jump into these three items. Today's sponsor is Linode. Linode has been a sponsor of Developer Tea for quite a while. They are supporting driven developers just like you who want to build useful things. That's why they provide you with such an excellent value. And they're providing you with a lot of horsepower. You can do pretty much anything with Linode. You can create your own private get server, for example. You want to build an entire suite of products or microservices as a side project. You can do that with Linode. You can scale an entire podcast delivery system with Linode if you wanted to. All right? We've relied on Linode with spec many times in our history. So I recommend you check out Linode. They're going to give you an excellent deal in terms of RAM per dollar. Their entry price is $5 a month. And they get to a gigabyte of RAM, a whole gigabyte of RAM for $5 a month. You can get two gigabytes of RAM on a single server for $10 a month. And they're playing scale up to even 16 gigabytes of RAM for $60 a month. All right? That's less than $5 per gigabyte. That's an incredible deal. So I recommend whether your needs are small or they're incredibly large and scaled that you check out what Linode has to offer. If you need, for example, if you need multiple server endpoints so that if one goes down, you can fall back to another. Linode provides that option and they provide the node balancing service. It's literally called node balancer. So go and check out what Linode has to offer. Head of respect out of the M-slash Linode. Use the code Developer Tea 2017 and you can get $20 worth of credit on any of these plans and services. By the way, all this stuff is build per hour. So if you wanted to spin up three servers for one day, you can do exactly that. And you're only going to pay for the time that you use. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. Okay. So what are three things that you can do to make your resume better? All right? Well, what does better mean exactly? What are you trying to do with this resume? I want you to set your mind on that. I want you to set your mind on what is it exactly that you want to happen when somebody reads this resume? And you may have a whole list. You may have a whole list of things that you want to have. One, certainly is that you would like for them to invite you to an interview, right? Or take the next step. Whatever that next step is. Every company deals with this stuff differently. They may have a phone interview or they may have an in-person interview. They may ask for more information from you. They may ask you to expound on a few things. But ultimately, you want them to take action. You want them to take the next step, right? You want them to feel like you are qualified. You match the minimum standards of what they need. But you also want them to feel that you far exceed those standards, right? That you are going to be much more capable than the minimum. They are going to provide a ton of value that you are going to be enjoyable to work with. There is a whole list of things. So it is important that you know what you are going for, what you are headed for, right? But we are going to provide you with three practical tips. That is a separate exercise that you are not going to fit into the 10 minutes. It is important that you know that before you ever start looking for a job, what is it that you want someone to do next? What are those next steps? So that is kind of a bonus thing. But right now we are going to talk through three specific things you can do to your resume that is going to improve it. The first thing is prioritize results and readability over everything else. Prioritize results and readability over everything else. Now we put results and readability together because we are not just talking about design, the readability of the type, for example. We are talking about the ability to understand what you are saying. So for example, let's say you got an award in your computer science degree program that only your school gives away. And maybe your school isn't very well known and that award isn't very well known. While putting that award on your resume might communicate value, it might communicate authority or it might just be clutter. It might look like just a trophy on the wall. So in this particular tip and this step, we are going to try to remove some of that stuff. We are going to remove some of the knowledge gaps that you would force people to jump through. You may want to identify, instead of identifying that award by name, you could explain what the award was. Not just the name of it, but the scale of people that you rose above in order to achieve that award. Maybe the purpose of the award, how long it's been around, something to explain what that award is and why it matters that you got it. Not just that you were given some obscure award. And likewise, with any experience that you have, especially if that experience is your own side projects or if you worked as an intern at a company that isn't super well known, maybe it's an agency, a local agency or a digital design firm, any of these jobs, any of these experiences, you need to explain why they're important. Don't just rely on the job title or on the project title to carry the weight of what you're trying to explain. It is not very useful for you to list all of the technologies that you know and then relist them under those projects, for example, right? Instead, it makes more sense for you to talk about the problems that you faced and how you overcame them, right? That's the results portion of this tip. Focus on the results. If you are able to reduce page load speed by 300%, that matters significantly more to me than what was on that page. It matters more to me than the title of that side project. If you are able to demonstrably show your skill set, that is so much more important to me than any of the tools that you actually used during that process. So in this tip, the first part of it is just leading things that are extraneous, deleting extra stuff that really is just there for context, right? Remove that and try to get to the highest impact of fewer things that you can. If you have, for example, more than three items on your experience list, then try to imagine how that resume is going to look if you were to reduce it to the three most important things. Heuristic is a single page. If you can't fit your resume on a single page and make it comfortable to read, right? Don't try to slam it into a single page. Instead, cut stuff out until it naturally fits and it's readable. If you can't fit into a single page, then you probably need to cut a significant portion of the content on the resume. So that's tip number one, reduce your resume to the most important result-oriented items, right? Clarity of results and readability. That's what you're going for. Tip number two, remove exclusive language. We already kind of talked about this, but remove deeply technical or otherwise unshaired words. If you're not going, especially if you're not going for a highly technical position, then having technical language on your resume is not going to be useful. For example, I don't believe that it's super useful to include the names of algorithms that you used, right? These may be obscure. And here's the important part of this is you may not have a highly technical person on the other end reviewing your resume. So a lot of this is going to look like noise to them. If you can remove this highly specific or otherwise cultural language stuff that only means something to a very limited group of people, instead if you zoom out and try to communicate to someone, try to communicate on your resume as if you're talking to a non-technical manager or a non-technical project leader. These are the kinds of people that ultimately are probably behind the scenes pulling levers. Now, there are situations where the technical language makes sense. If you are applying to, for example, Google, right? Google is going to be reviewing for those technical details. But if you're applying for the average job, maybe in a startup or an agency or even a more traditional technical role at a larger company, then having that technical language on your resume, you need to limit it. You need to limit the language that isn't immediately understood by the average person. So instead of using, for example, you know, big O complexity analysis language, you may consider using speed increase. Everyone pretty much understands a 3X speed increase rather than saying that you optimized from linear to log time, right? It's not going to be immediately clear to someone else who's reading this, who isn't technical. And even for some technical people, it may not be clear. So understand your audience and try to match the tone for that audience. Don't try to use technical language to prop up your authority in the space. It's going to cause eyes to glaze over. It's not really a useful technique of communication. Third and last, the third and last piece of this. This may go beyond your 10 minutes. But if you have this defined, then you certainly can incorporate this into your resume. Write your personal mission statement and introduction letter. I want you to rewrite these. Now, you could argue that this isn't totally about the resume, but at the very top of your resume, you need to explain why this resume even exists. Why are you even going for this position? Why do you care about development? This should only be one or two sentences. Don't write a whole paragraph on your resume because you need that space for other stuff, right? But make sure that you state some kind of value-driven statement at the top of that resume. That's thing number one. Thing number two is this rewriting your introduction letter. This letter needs to be personal. If your letter starts with hello, sir, or madam. It's probably not a tailored letter to me, right? It almost looks like spam. So if you introduce yourself with a tone of spam and you're looking for a job to work with me, then I'm probably not very motivated to even care about what you have to say next. If instead, you connect personally, right? Go and understand who it is that you're sending this letter to. That's kind of how letters work, right? If you don't know who you're sending the letter to, then the letter becomes ambiguous, and ultimately it's going to get ignored. You're sending it to no one. But if you do a little bit of research, you can figure out the background of what's going on. You can understand who the person is that you're sending this letter to and what they're looking for, right? They're looking for someone to fill this position, what they're looking for. And you can write this letter from the position of your personal values. Why do you care? Why do you care about whether or not they're going to reply? Don't talk about how qualified you are for the job in this letter, right? That's not the time to do it. Instead, explain your interest. And ultimately, this comes down to explaining your values. Why you even care enough to send this letter, right? If you don't connect personally, at the very least, you should understand who is the, what is this person's name? What are they interested in? What is their position in the company? You know, what are they trying to do with this role? What have they done in the past? What is the context of the company? If you're applying to a company for a job and you haven't done that work, then you probably don't belong at that company. And they're going to know that. The average company is going to see you right through someone who's sending form letters to everyone they come in contact with. So I recommend you do a little bit more research, write a personal letter that is from the position of what are my motivations? You should answer that question in that letter of intent. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. A lot of what we said on today's episode is highly opinionated. Of course, we make no guarantees about job placement. And I also make no guarantees about what a given recruiter or employer is going to want from you, right? So what I am saying is, as a general rule, the most meaningful positions that you will hold in your career will be based on human connection and communication, not based on some list of skills that you have and not based on some authority that you've generated through complicated language. Instead, if you can connect and if you can actually show that you care about what that company is doing about who that person is, you are much more likely to end up in a fulfilling position. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. I hope it was helpful to those of you who are driven developers especially. If you're not a driven developer, if you're only focused on increasing your salary or if you're only focused on manipulating your way into a job, hopefully none of you are that way. But if you don't really care about your value sets as it relates to your career, then some of this stuff probably doesn't apply to you. But if you do care about your values and you care about expressing those values through your career, right? If you care about your values, you know, spilling over into your nine to five, then I highly recommend that you take some time and think about positioning that as a part of who you are when you go into an interview. From the very beginning from that letter of intent all the way through to the moment that you're sitting at that desk for the first time and then all the way through to the moment that you're sitting at that desk for the last time. Always be seeking that purpose driven way of thinking and communicating. Thank you again for listening. Thank you to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. You can get started with a one gigabyte Linode server for $5 a month or you can scale all the way up to Linode's massively powerful plans, 16 gigabytes of RAM for $60 a month. Everything in between and all of this stuff is build on an hourly basis. And they have a seven day money back guarantee. I haven't mentioned that a little while, but they have a seven day money back guarantee. So you can try to stuff out and if you don't like it, you can essentially return it. So don't check it out, suspect out of Femme slash Linode and they're going to be $20 worth of credit for using the code Developer Tea2017. Thank you so much for listening. And again, if you fit that description of a driven developer, then I want for you to join us by subscribing. That's the best way to stay in touch and in to know about Developer Tea. We're going to be doing a lot of stuff in the upcoming year as we cultivate this community of developers who care deeply about the work that they do. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.