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4 Tips for Creating a Great Developer Resume

Published 5/25/2015

In this episode, I give 4 tips for creating a great resume. The reality is, resumes are still an important part of the hiring process. Your resume can make or break you. So, what are employees looking for in a developer? I can only speak from my personal experience, and I believe these 4 tips will help you create a better resume for the job you want!

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I'm going to be talking to you about how to create a great resume. Now that sounds very broad so let me scope that in a little bit. This is going to be specifically for developers, people who are trying to get a job as a programmer somewhere and also those who presumably have enough work experience to put it on a resume. Hiring is very difficult. It's difficult for the people who are looking for jobs and it's difficult for the people who are trying to find employees. It's difficult for everyone. The reason for that is because you have a very short amount of time in order to decide if somebody is a fit or to decide if you are a fit for a given company. That's difficult because you only have a short bit of time. We rely on our intuition and we rely on first impressions and we draw on our history with other people and with other employees in order to make decisions. It makes it very difficult. It's hard to present yourself in such a way that makes you seem hierarchical regardless of how hierarchical you might actually be. One of the building blocks of the hiring process and this might not come as a surprise to you is still the resume. The resume being a sheet of paper or perhaps a digital PDF that describes who you are and what you can do and why I should hire you and also what you're looking for. The resume is still important because it's easily transferred between different people. It's a common form of communication and I'm looking for that as an employer, for example. I'm looking for you to know that a common part of the hiring process is the resume. So whether we like it or not, it's important to know how to create a good resume that speaks in the proper ways to a potential employer. So I'm going to give you four tips today in my personal experience as an employer as someone who is hiring people actively. I'm going to give you four tips as to what I'm looking for in a great development resume, a developer's resume. So the first tip is put effort into your resume. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people just go and grab the best template that they can find online fill in the details and shoot that to their employer. Remember, your employer could be the most important step that you take in your career, whoever your next employer is, that could be your most important step in your career. So if you care about it, then you should act like you care about it. And the way that people know that you care about something is that you simply put time into it, put some effort into making your resume good, take some time, don't just pull down the template. You can use a template. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, but take the time to make it great. Make the links clickable, for example, learn the software that you need to learn in order to make the links in your resume clickable. Make sure it's spell checked. Make sure there's not any errors. Make sure that your dates are correct. And that the emails that you put for references, for example, are still valid emails, all of these little details add up to attention to detail, right? All these things add up to show me that you spent time and that you care about your resume. And you can even cater your resume to the particular employer that you are sending it to. It doesn't take very long, but perhaps you just put the name of that employer as like a statement of purpose at the top of your resume. Now this podcast episode is not going to give you a list of all the details or different sections that you're going to put in your resume because your resume is going to look wildly different from my resume, but there are some commonalities between them. For example, we both work with code and we probably both have a accessible place to see that project live. And so if it is accessible and I can click on your link in your PDF, then I know you've taken the time to make it accessible to me. If you cater that PDF directly to me, I know that you've taken the time to say I care about what you are seeing. I care about the way that I present myself in this resume to you as an employer. The next tip that I have for you today is simply show and tell show and tell what does this mean? Well, a good resume has a list of previous work or of relevant experience. You should have really high quality projects that you worked on in the past, whether that is your own personal projects or perhaps for a client or maybe even at school, whatever it is, those projects should be high quality and they should be in your resume for me to see what you've done. Because the best way for me to determine how good of a worker you are and what kind of work you do is to look at work that you've done in the past. So when you put a project on your resume, you should be showing me that project by at least giving me access to a live representation of whatever it was that you created, especially if you're a web developer, this is very important that I should be able to access a URL that shows me the work that you've done. And also, if you can show me the code, that's that much better. I can look at how you solve different problems and I could go through the code, perhaps on GitHub. So that's the show side. The tell side is to explain to me what your role was in creating that project. Give me a little bit of background. For example, did you do all of the back encoding or did you do all of the front encoding? Did you have other people that you worked with? If so, who were they? How did you meet them? A very simple background to the project that you're showing me. Give me a little bit of information about it in your resume. If you miss one side or the other, for example, if you're only telling me about the project or you're only showing me the project, then I don't have enough context to really understand what you've done and how well you have done it. The third tip that I have for you today is that you make the rules. You make the rules. This is your resume. If you want it to look a particular way, if you want to, for example, design a logo, this is your resume. Go for it. It's absolutely up to you. But even more than that, if you don't want to include particular things about your past work history, you don't have to. I've received questions many times from you listeners about how to explain that you only have a half a year of experience in 10 different languages. The truth is you don't have to explain that. You can just say, well, I have five years of experience and here are the languages that I have worked with. If the employer wants to ask further about your level of understanding of those languages, which is really the only thing that matters, then they can ask you further once they have brought you in for an interview. Now, this might sound disingenuous to you, but the reality is you make the rules for your resume. If you don't think you are qualified for a given job, you shouldn't be going for that job. But if you do think you are qualified for a given job, if you think you will be able to function in that position, then it is up to you to communicate that you are hierarchical. It is up to you to communicate that you can do the job the best out of all the candidates that are applying for that job. If you view your resume in the eyes of your employer, then you can understand very quickly that your resume is not intended to be a biography of your life, but instead it is intended to explain why you are a candidate for a particular job position. Now, I have one last tip to share with you right after a quick word from our sponsor for today's episode. Thanks so much to today's sponsor, CodeShip. CodeShip is a hosted continuous delivery service focusing on speed, security, and customizability. You can set up continuous integration in a matter of seconds and automatically deploy when your tests have passed. CodeShip supports your GitHub and Bitbucket projects and you can get started with their free plan today at codeShip.com. Should you decide to go with a premium plan, you can save 20% off of any plan for the next three months by using the code Developer Tea. Now that code will be in the show notes, so go to codeShip.com and use the code Developer Tea for 20% off today. For fast, secure, and customizable continuous integration, go to codeShip.com. I've shared three tips so far about how to make a great developer resume. Number one was make sure you're putting effort into your resume. Make sure things like links are clickable and that you're spell checking yourself and that all of your email links are still valid. Number two was show and tell about the experiences and projects that you've done. Number three was that you make the rules. You decide how to present yourself and what information actually appears on your resume. Now the fourth and final tip for you today is that any resume can show what you can do, but only your resume can show who you are. It seems simple, but you can have two identical resumes and the way that we determine who is higherable as humans is to find out a little bit more about the person. What stands out about their personality? What about their personality makes them more higherable? Do they have a dedication to excellence, for example? So how does this actually play out in real life? Let's take an example of a beginner developer who is coming out of a different career path. Maybe they were a photographer or a manager at a restaurant or an investor or maybe even a politician. Any of these different career paths have completely different skill sets from being a developer. Or so we might think. Of course, that's true when it comes to actually writing code or managing a server, but it's not necessarily true when it comes to dealing with other humans. Your experience as a restaurant manager tells me that you have the potential for leadership. Your experience as a barista at a coffee shop tells me you have the potential to learn very specific processes and execute them over and over every single day. Your experience as a politician tells me that you have enough interpersonal skills in order to get people on your side to convince them to join you in a given cause. Your experience as an investment banker tells me that you might understand risk management better than the average person. If you have significant experience in something that seems irrelevant, you should include these kinds of things on your resume, especially if your experience can show that you have a dedication to excellence. So if you won the employee of the month award as a barista, that is completely relevant to your next employer because your employer is looking at who you are and how your personality is going to fit on the team. And when it comes down to it, two people who can write the same quantity and quality of code in the same amount of time are differentiated by their other skill sets, by their experiences and other industries, and ultimately by who they are, by what their values are when they sit down to code. Are they dedicated to excellence or are they just simply talented? I would rather have someone who is dedicated to excellence and who is dedicated to learning than just simply talented because talent is only truly valuable when you have someone who is dedicated to using that talent properly. I hope this has been a helpful discussion on how to craft a good resume. I will certainly be talking about resumes more in the future and a lot more about the hiring process and what it takes to be a good developer and a higherable developer. If you have any questions about this topic or any other topic for that matter, you can email them to me at developert.gmail.com or you can reach me on Twitter at developert. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Developer Tea. You can find the recording of this episode as well as all of the past episodes at developertea.com. That is also where you can find show notes and links to subscribe to the show so that you don't miss any future episodes of Developer Tea. Thanks so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.