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Hackernoon logoHow to Make YOUR Resume Stand Out From the Crowd by@kondrashov

How to Make YOUR Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

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@kondrashovAlex Kondrashov

Team Lead and Engineering Manager at EY

I’m a software engineer and a Team Lead. I participate in the hiring process of other engineers in the company and over the last year I've helped hire 15 software engineers in our company and conducted around 45 interviews. In my experience, one of the biggest challenges for applicants is applying with a well-structured resume.

Due to this common issue, only 3 out of 10 resumes would make it to the initial interview. Candidates keep on repeating the same mistakes in the structure of the resume. They don’t talk about their actual skills and include irrelevant information. I want to share some tips and tricks on how to make your resume stand out based on my experience.

General Do’s and Don’ts:

If you know Front-end and Data science, you can work on both positions. Hence you need two resumes. Each of them should contain the experience that is relevant to a given position. This raises your chances of getting the job.

DON’T: List every possible work experience that you had

  • 2020 — Front-end developer
  • 2019 — Data scientist & Python developer
  • 2018 — Full-stack developer
  • 2017 — Back-end developer
  • 2016 — Embedded engineer
  • 2015 — English teacher
  • 2014 — Baywatch lifeguard

DO: Show relevant experience for the role that you’re applying to

Work experience relevant to Front-end:

  • 2020 — Front-end developer
  • 2018 — Full-stack developer

Work experience relevant to Data Science:

  • 2019 — Data scientist & Python developer
  • 2018 — Full-stack developer
  • 2017 — Back-end developer

Tip: The best length is 2–3 pages. In my experience it’s hard to focus and read when it’s past third page.

Structural Block of a Resume

Name and general information

Always specify your contact details. It’s hard to believe but from what I've seen, 1 out of 2 candidates tend to forget to include this information.

DO: Keep relevant and concise contact details

  • Name and surname
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Linkedin
  • Your city

Tip 1: A photo is not necessary. Instead of your photo in the resume you could attach a link to your LinkedIn with the photo available there. Don’t attach a random selfie with a bad lighting as this will not look professional on your resume.

Tip 2: Full address is not necessary. Unless the potential employer is going to post to your address.

Summary of qualifications

The main goal of your summary of qualifications is to show that you’re qualified for this particular role. It’s useful to highlight your work, skills and achievements throughout your career. Bullet points will help keep the summary concise.

DON'T: Have many summaries in one sentence

  • 4+ years IT experience in development, software architecture, e-commerce and corporate/investment banking 

DO: Have one summary per sentence

  • 4+ years of experience in software development
  • I was responsible for software architecture on my previous project
  • I worked in different areas of software development: ranging from e-commerce to corporate/investment banking 

Work experience

Your recent experience is the most valuable on your resume. Therefore sort places of work in descending order starting with the latest. This will help the reader see the most valuable information first.

It's useful to have these listed with each workplace you mention:

  • Technologies used
  • Your responsibilities
  • Team size
  • What you've being working on

Tip: The most recent place of work should be described in most detail. In this way the prospective employer would see your latest and relevant experience first. Structure the information in order to better read it. Use bullet points and start with the verbs. In this way it’s easier to show your achievements.

DO: Use bullet-points and verbs when describing work experience

Programmer, July 2011 – present

  • Technologies Used: , PHP, Ruby, Javascript 
  • Solve software errors by running extensive testing processes and analyzing details about the program settings.
  • Review computer software program functionality and adjust capabilities to reflect project objectives, management input, or other feedback.
  • Lead the building process of new program development by managing all tasks and supervising the team of analysts and operators

Backend Developer, January 2011, Duration: Three months

  • Technologies Used: Python, PHP, Ruby, Javascript 
  • Created a content management system serving as a client interface that reduced download times by 30%. 
  • Developed a new admin panel, which improved internal operating efficiency by over 40%.
  • Created a comprehensive testing regime using RSpec to ensure bug-free code.
  • Rebuilt the entire website with up to date technologies and frameworks.

Verbs that you can use to describe your experience:

  • Architect, Deliver, Implement Maintain
  • Help Coach Support
  • Work, Had experience with, Design

Skills

For IT — this would be programming languages, for other professions it will be program, online-platforms and techniques.

DO: Group skills by topic

Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence: Pandas, Numpy, Matplotlib, Keras, Sklearn, TensorFlow, OpenCV, Natural Language Processing, Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning

Data Mining: Data Pre-processing, Data VIsualization, Market-Basket algorithm

Mathematics: Statistics, Bayesian Inference Network

Education

Always specify your degree in your resume. Even if you have a degree in psychology and you apply for an IT job. It makes sense since a degree gives a good base. This will show that you’re capable of learning and are familiar with deadlines.

Next, mention courses that you’ve passed. Courses are much shorter than a degree. That’s why only specify courses only those related to the field. If you want to be a marketing expert and have recently passed a sewing course — most likely it’s not worth specifying on the resume (only if you’re not applying for a marketing expert of the clothing brand).

Keep in mind that work experience is most valuable. It will describe you better than any online course. Hence if you have relevant experience, you most likely don’t need to mention online courses.

Additional  

I would not suggest to mention all your hobbies. Potential employers would not be interested in your interests in playing tennis and skiing. Instead you could mention your interests related to work. This could be:

  • Attended conferences
  • Hackathons
  • IT courses
  • Articles

Is It Worth Including Non-IT Experience?

If you're applying for a Junior position and you have no experience you could rework your existing experience and highlight your qualities which could be applied to all areas, including IT. What can be included here?

  • Keeping a friendly atmosphere in the team
  • Motivating your colleagues
  • Responsibility for substantial orders and financial reports
  • Process management within the company

DON'T: Show experience relevant to only one industry

General Manager, McDonald’s, 2019–2020

  • Was responsible for operating and running a profitable restaurant.
  • Met McDonald's high customer standards of quality, service, and cleanliness.
  • Hired and developed a team of department and shift managers to ensure a successful franchise.
  • Provided coaching to 10+ employees at grilling, frying, and coffee stations.

DO: Show experience relevant to any area, including IT

General Manager, McDonald’s, 2019–2020

  • Maintained a positive atmosphere among employees despite demanding conditions.
  • Supervised a 10+ person team in a fast-paced environment by effectively multitasking.
  • Managed expense reports, as well as the purchasing of supplies and equipment worth more than $25,000.
  • Oversaw the scheduling of crew members, maintaining flexibility despite the sudden changes in schedules.

What else could you mention?

  • Interships
  • Online-courses
  • Pet projects with technologies that you're interested in

You could publish your homework for the courses as part of your experience. If the work you have done is related to programming - publish the code into GitHub and paste the link on your resume.

Conclusion

    1. Specify only the experience relevant to the position you are applying to. Otherwise the employer will skip entire paragraphs which you have carefully written.
    2. Ideal resume length is 2-3 pages.
    3. Don't forget to mention your contact details.
    4. Describe your most recent experience in most detail. Then describe your past experiences with less details to save space and attention of the reader for other important information.
    5. Mention your degree regardless of which field it's in. Courses though should only be relevant to the field you are applying to.
    6. If you don't have an IT experience, then highlight your qualities which easily transferable to IT from other fields.

Tell me about your experience in the comment section. Which rules are you following when constructing a resume?

Extra mile

  1. How Should I Format My Contact Information on a Resume?
  2. Programmer CV Example
  3. How to List Projects on a Resume (Work, Personal, Academic)
  4. How should I list my programming skills in a resume?
  5. Should You Include Irrelevant Work Experience on a Resume?

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