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This Mistake Could Be Killing Your Resumé

Published 3/31/2017

In today's episode, we'll talk about a mistake you may be making with your resumé (and how to avoid it).

Today's episode is sponsored by Rollbar. With Rollbar, you get the context, insights and control you need to find and fix bugs faster. Rollbar is offering Developer Tea listeners the Bootstrap Plan, free for 90 days (300,000 errors tracked for free)! Head over to rollbar.com/developertea now for the free 90 day offer!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Perhaps my favorite and the most important key on my keyboard is the delete key. I've used it maybe more than the inner key because I make mistakes a lot and hopefully you know as a developer that the delete key is incredibly important. Deleting lines with code obviously, that's a good thing. WinLets is the delete key important. That's what we're going to talk about on today's episode of Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and this is Developer Tea. I'm coaching you through your career. That's why I'm here. I want to help you level up as a developer and adopt the great developer's mindset. That's really what I want to help you do. This show exists for you. I'm so glad you've decided to listen to today's episode. I think it's going to be a good one because I'm going to be answering perhaps one of the most important questions that comes to the show. How do I create a good resume? We've talked about resumes in the past. We've talked about things to include on your resumes. We've talked about what makes a standout resume and we're going to keep on talking about it. This is a subject that isn't going to go away because hiring doesn't go away and the way that resumes are supposed to look, it's not something that will be static because not something that we're going to arrive at and then never change it again. If you look at resumes from 10 years ago that were incredibly successful, they're going to be in many ways different from resumes from today. With that said, if you're listening to this episode two years after it was created, this is still the underlying principles of today's episode are still 100% valid and unless human psychology has changed significantly in 10 years, which we know is pretty much not the case. What makes a good resume? We talked about all of the good things in the past about helping yourself stick out. There was actually a very good debate on designer news recently about whether or not you should include a photo of yourself. Maybe we will get into that debate on social media or something. I'd love for you to share your opinion on that with me. In today's episode, we aren't going to focus on any of the things that should be added to your resume, but instead we're going to talk about that very important delete key. We're going to talk about what you need to be removing from your resume in just a moment. First, let's talk about today's awesome sponsor, Roll Bar. If you are digging through error logs, I did this not too long ago. Unfortunately, if you're digging through your error logs trying to understand what is going wrong in your application, or if you're trying to read an angry user reports on a bug that happened in your application, then you're probably missing out on most of the context that you need to have to accurately and proactively solve these bugs before they cause big problems, business problems, loss of revenue. These are bad things and stuff that people get fired over. Roll Bar can help you avoid that kind of thing. With Roll Bar's error monitoring, you get the context, the insights and the control that you need to find and fix bugs faster with a lot less noise. It's easy to install. You can start tracking production errors in just a few minutes. It works with all major languages and frameworks. Every language we use at Whiteboard is supported. For example, Ruby, PHP, Node, iOS, Android. You can integrate Roll Bar into your existing workflow. You can send error alerts to Slack or HipChat. You can link source code and GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab. You can turn errors into issues in JIRA, Pivotal Tracker, Trello. You get the picture. It's going to be integrated with the stuff that you already use. We have a special offer for Developer Tealisteners. If you go to rollbar.com slash Developer Tea, that's rollbar.com slash Developer Tea, you can get the bootstrap plan for free. Go and check it out, rollbar.com slash Developer Tea. Thank you again to rollbar for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. We're talking about your resume today. If you have it open and you're ready to just eviscerate everything on it, then slow down a little bit. We're talking about the delete key, but we're not saying that your resume needs to be minimal. That's not the point of today's episode. We're not talking about making things clean and removing things for the sake of aesthetics. Instead, we're talking about something a little bit deeper. You have to understand when you submit a resume that you're submitting it to a person or a group of people who are going to evaluate it from the perspective of the human mind. The human mind has quite a few flaws. One of those flaws is its assumptions. We make a lot of assumptions as humans. These can help us a lot of the time. In fact, we're pretty good at making good assumptions about people, good judgment calls about people when it comes down to it. We protect ourselves and we protect our companies by making good assumptions. However, there are some kind of classic mistakes that we make. There are some classic fallacies, classic assumptions that are totally wrong. If you craft your resume without considering one particular assumption that we're going to talk about in just a second, then you can devalue your resume. It's amazing that the only tool that you need in this discussion is a deliki. Some assumptions that I'm making right now is that you have some good references. You have some experience on your resume. You've listed some things that you would consider to be good things. The types of questions that I get most often about resumes are around whether or not to put particular things on the resume. Should I put my college education? Should I put my GPA on the resume? Should I put the club that I was in in high school on my resume? In tons of other questions, should I put my pet's name on my resume? The simple answer to all of those, unfortunately, doesn't exist. It actually depends. It depends in every scenario. It depends on who is reading your resume. It depends on the other things that are on your resume. I want you to configure your brain for your resume as if you were writing a letter rather than presenting some objective box-checking form. Your resume is not a form. Your resume is a piece of communication. That's where we're starting from. We're starting from the idea that you have some pretty good stuff on there. You have two or three good references. You have two or three pieces of experience, whether that is your education or a previous job, and you have some work to show. You have links to projects that you've done, or maybe if it's an online resume, you might even show the work itself. That's the assumption that we're working from. What is it that you need to delete you're probably asking? Here's where the fallacy comes in. Here's where the bad assumption that is built in, a well-researched assumption that is built into almost every human's mind. This assumption can be summed up with a simple phrase, one bad apple can ruin the bunch. One bad apple can ruin the bunch. All this actually has some merit when we're trying to evaluate whether or not we should eat an apple out of a pile of apples. It doesn't really truly have merit when it comes to our work. One project not going so well doesn't necessarily have a bleed over effect into another project. And yet, the human mind will still evaluate it in that way. That's because we evaluate the value of a collection of things, or the value of a list of items, for example, based on their average value rather than on their collective value. In other words, if you have five good things and five bad things in your resume or on your portfolio, and then another person has only five good things in their portfolio, the second person is more likely to win. The second person is more likely to be viewed favorably. Now the reality, the logical reality here is that you have just as much good in your portfolio as they have in their portfolio. The difference is you have 100% more bad in your portfolio than they have in their portfolio. So the principle at work here is to look at the average of the value on your resume. Now, of course, you can't have only one thing on your resume and expect it to stand head and shoulders above everything else. Certainly isn't impossible to get hired with only one thing on your resume, but you want to have a representation of your work that is not one-dimensional. You have three or four things on your resume is not a bad number. But what a lot of developers have been wrongly coached to do. I want you to hear this because I'm going to hopefully coach you in a different direction. What a lot of developers have been wrongly coached and told to do by career professionals or hiring managers is put all of your experience on your resume because your experience is the most important thing. Put all of your projects on your resume or on your personal website because the vast amount of experience is more important than anything else. And quite simply that's not true. As humans, the value of a collection of things we perceive to be the average of the value of those things, rather than the collection of the value of those things, the sum of the value. So go to your resume and this is the exercise that I want you to perform, particularly if you have eight or nine things on your resume. What I want you to do is identify the three worst items, the three worst previous employers, and if it's the three least impressive, right, the three least impactful, the three most trivial projects in your portfolio. And want you to eliminate those altogether and then take a look at your resume, have a trusted friend or a mentor or even me, you can send it to me, have me take a look at your resume before and after and ask them for their judgment call, which one would they prefer to see. And you may still get people who prefer to see the breadth of your experience, but by and large, the way that a hiring manager is going to look at your resume and compare it to others is based on the average value of the things in your resume. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope this perspective gives you a little bit more to go on as you're creating your resume. I think it's incredibly important that we start looking more at the human mind and how us working with people, everyone has a brain and us working with people is incredibly reliant on us understanding how the brain works. That's why we talk about psychology on the show all the time. I have no degree in psychology. I haven't done any formal studying in psychology. My best I'm an armchair psychologist or a weekend warrior when it comes to psychology, but I think that this is really key to understanding the way forward and upward in your career. So thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. If you would like more coaching like today's episode, here's the thing. It's totally free to listen to this podcast 100% free. Take a moment to subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use. This will ensure that you don't miss out on future episodes of Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you again to Rollbar for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. You can get the bootstrap plan on Rollbar and start hearing about your errors instead of from your users. You can hear about them from Rollbar and jump ahead of your users and fix those errors before they cause a loss in revenue or worse before they cause you to lose your job. Go and check it out. Rollbar.com slash Developer Tea. Thank you again for listening. Until next time, Jorger team.