A Remote Developer's Tips For Drafting An Attractive Resumeby@nehapant
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A Remote Developer's Tips For Drafting An Attractive Resume

by Neha PantMay 17th, 2022
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As the world transitions to working remotely or in a hybrid environment, it’s important to know the essentials of a remote developer resume. The details are the holy grail for a resume that enchants recruiters. Shortlisting jobs is a very important part of job applications and shortlisting increases the chances of writing a solid resume and getting selected. For remote developer jobs, your resume must reflect your capability for a remote role. Paying attention to these small details can bring your resume into the spotlight.
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How powerful your resume is can determine whether your career as a remote developer soars high or nosedives. I have put together all the tips that helped make my remote resume shine.

The idea of remote work is no longer novel to any of us, especially in the business world. Though the world is still grappling with the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic on business, the one thing that has become normalized, instead of being only need-based, is remote work.

Turing’s CEO, Jonathan Siddharth, says that people want the flexibility to work from anywhere. Here’s what he recently said at the Zinnov Roundtable

While remote work has its many pros, it comes with its challenges. First, it is difficult for recruiters to scan through the vast talent pool that remote work offers. Second, it may be challenging to narrow down candidates from among the many resumes received.

From the candidate’s perspective, it becomes crucial to draft a resume that shines! Not only that, it must be a resume that is caught by the recruiters’ AI net. Reverse the order of that, if you will.

So, as the world transitions to working remotely or in a hybrid environment, it’s important to know the essentials of a remote developer resume.

Now, it’s not uncommon to get spotted on LinkedIn if you have a stellar and active profile there, but if not, you can and should make sure that you have an attractive resume. I know I procrastinated far too long before I finally made one for myself; I agree it’s an arduous task. But the tips below should help you shape one quickly.

The devil is in the details

Let’s change that to say that the details are the holy grail for a resume that enchants recruiters. Even before a recruiter has a look at your resume, the AI tools and software shortlist it for the recruiter to do so. Since the AI tools are trained for specific details on your resume, it’s prudent to craft the resume using words and details mentioned explicitly in the job description. Talk about everything you know or have done or achieved, but highlight the tech stacks, skills, and certifications relevant to the job description.

Does this mean that you will have to redesign your resume every time you apply for a new role or to a different company? Short answer - Yes. Long answer? Read on.

You must design an all-purpose resume and keep it ready for when an opportunity arises. Go through the job description carefully and then re-design your resume highlighting the minimum and preferred qualifications and relevant experience.

Shortlist the jobs you want to apply for

Whether it is one or more jobs, shortlist them before you undertake the journey of the application process. Apportion time to carefully review the job descriptions and highlight all the mandatory and preferred requirements. While it is preferable to have a resume that checks all the required boxes, ensure that you select jobs where you can at least check the mandatory requirements.

For example, I am a writer with experience across different sectors, but I prefer writing about the technology field. When shortlisting jobs, I try to find writer roles in this field, particularly. Even so, it is not necessary that all types of writer roles in technology are to my liking. So, I must ensure that I choose the ones I feel most comfortable with and avoid those that I find complex or uninteresting.

Shortlisting jobs is a very important part of job applications. Most often people apply indiscriminately to “roles” but it is equally important to find out whether the company you are applying to has good human resource policies. The background check of the role, the company, and, if possible, reading company reviews of past employees can help in making a solid shortlist. Excellent and apt shortlisting increases the chances of writing a great resume and getting selected.

Once you have an idea of the details you need to add and have a shortlist, the real work begins. Since you are writing a resume for a remote role, your resume must reflect your remote capability. For this, you need the following:

Correct contact information

As a remote developer, you need to ensure that your phone number, email address, and link to your LinkedIn profile are correct, recent, and clearly visible in your resume. If you maintain any other relevant social or professional profiles, add their link to your resume. Usually found at the top of your resume, your contact information determines whether your recruiter can reach out to you without any hassles.

Applying for a remote role does not mean you can omit your location. Most employers would like to know where their employees are based. Some companies offer remote roles but within a particular geographical region. So, you must add your current location and, if required, your permanent address also in your resume. Though, adding the city, state, and country of residence usually suffices.

Customized professional summary

Again found at the top of your resume, the professional summary is what the AI tools or the recruiters themselves scan first to see if you are a fit for the job. Thus, for every job you shortlist, you must customize your professional summary. There may be some keywords from the job description that you may want to add to your professional summary. While this summary contains a snapshot of your work experience, ensure that the snapshot matches the job description. Include only the relevant parts of your experience in your professional summary.

Since you are applying for a remote development role, your professional summary must include your experience and ease of working remotely. Adding experience in remote video conferencing, maintaining customer support through email or phone, and delivering online presentations of your projects can show your comfort level with remote working.

Design your resume exclusively for remote work

If you have remote work experience, it’s great because you can add that to your resume as is. However, if you are only now contemplating going remote, you need to display that you have it in you to work remotely. All kinds of offline work also include certain competencies that are much needed for remote work. For example:

  • Knowledge of remote collaboration tools such as Asana, Trello, Google WorkSpace, Slack, etc.
  • Knowledge of video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, Airmeet, Skype, etc.
  • Comfort in using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Time and schedule tracking with Google and other calendars; and project management through Asana, Slack, etc.
  • Online GitHub or other profiles that serve as an online repository of your work

Your ease with online working inspires confidence in the recruiter hiring you. Include as many of the above as possible in your resume to highlight your suitability for the remote job you are applying for. When mentioning your past work titles, if you have remote experience, add it to the title. For example, Technical Content Writer, Turing, Remote.

If you do have some past remote work experience, ensure that you add it at the top, even if the resume is chronological. You can choose between a chronological or functional resume type or even design a hybrid resume that contains your experience in both a chronological and functional manner. While a chronological resume talks about experience starting from the most recent and going to the earliest, a functional resume focuses on the functions that the job description requires. Going with a hybrid resume may be useful for remote work.

Talk about your remote skills

I am sure the main purpose of working so hard on creating the perfect resume is to score an interview with your dream company. While your technical skills will help you score one, they’re not the only thing a recruiter is looking for. In a remote setting, soft skills such as collaboration, teamwork, team management, etc., are equally important in getting you a foot in the door. You should also talk a little bit about your remote planning and execution skills in your resume.

The recruiter wants to know and understand whether you are a self-motivated person who can work without external supervision. This is one of the key requirements of remote work, and the resume is your first interface with the recruiter. Ensuring that you highlight this crucial skill can determine whether you get the interview call.

You can highlight them in a section of your resume as follows:

  • Good communication skills
  • Time management
  • Remote team management
  • Self-motivation
  • Detail orientation
  • Tech-savvy
  • Keen observation
  • Critical thinking

Include the X-factor in your resume

Your technical and soft skills can ensure that you are on the shortlist, but adding an X-factor can put you on the top of the pile. What do I mean by X-factor? Things that you do, not for yourself but the community at large. Things that make you a trustworthy person and a bankable employee. For example:

  • Providing free resources to open-source communities
  • Having a technical blog or white papers
  • Having tech patents
  • Having publications in journals
  • Contribution to the community - leading or participating in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives

Include a separate section about these or other achievements. This section would be the star attraction of your resume.

Add numbers to build authenticity

Numbers speak louder than words. Show your achievements through numbers. When talking about key projects, you can:

  • Outline the problem that you had to solve
  • Mention the approach that you took to do that
  • Highlight the results you achieved
  • Talk about any insights that you could use for future projects

Following the above approach can do two things - build credibility and show detail orientation. Both of these can tilt the balance in your favor.

I recently attended a Turing Community workshop in which the speaker talked about some of the steps above. I was happy to learn that I was already following most of the advice! I have tried to cover it all here. However, if you still have any doubts, you can and should attend such free online events to learn how you could optimize your resume for remote developer positions. You can also reach out to me on Twitter, and I would be happy to help.