Your resume can have a great first impression on your recruiter and interviewer when you apply for a position. Sometimes, talented candidates might not pass the recruiting stage to get carded for an interview because they have presented a poorly written resume. However, there is no one size fits all method of writing a resume. Formats tend to vary across different fields and industries and it’s important to do sufficient research on what is expected in the industry you are planning to submit your resume. As software engineers, many smart applicants often present terribly crafted resumes even though they may have the skills and experience to be a great fit for the job. So, how do you create a resume that stands out? Here are some tips to optimize your software engineer resume.
Keep it condensed but readable
Because of the sheer volume of resumes that come in on a daily basis, recruiters often rely on the first page to get enough information about a potential candidate. As a result, applicants may resort to making fonts too small to fit all their info onto one page. This can make it hard for recruiters to read. Even though it’s ideal to have a 1-page resume, it’s totally fine if it goes on to a second page. Just try to put your most outstanding accomplishments in the front and make use of keywords and a good, readable format.
Proofread your resume a few times
Before sending in your resume, be sure to read it over more than once. Proofreading your resume a few times over can help you spot any errors that you might have missed like typos and grammatical errors. You can also ask a friend to read it to get a fresh pair of eyes to identify any issues.
Use bullet points
Bullet points are a great way to summarize lengthy details and get straight to the point. Avoid using too many full sentences or paragraphs on your resume. Think of your resume’s first page as valuable real estate and make more efficient use of this space by using bullet points and concise language.
Don’t get crazy with details
As mentioned before, readability is an important factor in creating a resume that stands out. While you may want to give a few details on accomplishments, it’s easy to get carried away and write a couple of paragraphs to describe a certain task or project. Try to summarize experiences or accomplishments with concise statements.
Have a consistent format
Pay attention to the consistency of your formatting. For example, if you use a specific format for writing dates such as “Jan – Apr 2015”, make sure that you use the same format throughout the whole resume. This means that you should avoid writing stuff like “Jun – August 2018”.
Talk about the outcome, not the process
Avoid elaborating too much on your job duties, responsibilities, and methods that you used to achieve particular accomplishments. Instead, focus on stating the outcomes rather than the process. This minimizes “fluff” and highlights what you did rather than how you did it. During the interview process, you can go into the details of how you reached the outcome if the interviewer is interested.
Prioritize technical skills and experience
An interviewer is most likely more concerned about your skills and experience as the main factor in considering your ability to do the job. It’s important to put this information at the top of your resume. It should be the first thing your recruiter sees and usually what they look for first.
Highlight your most impressive projects
Your resume should include your most impressive projects, including what you accomplished at school. Notable achievements are a nice touch to your resume and show your range. Keep these mentions short and avoid going into too much detail.
Skip the objective
The objective isn’t really necessary in most cases and often takes up a lot of space that could be better utilized. If you want to include an objective, avoid writing too much about it. It’s already quite obvious what you are interested in just by applying for a position. Use a one-liner that summarizes your title, years of experience, and expertise instead. For example, “Software engineer with 8 years of experience developing large scale systems” instead of an elaborate message such as “Seeking a software engineering position with a highly reputable firm to put 5 years of large scale system development expertise into creating new technologies with committed and innovative people”.
Don’t add publications
Recruiters don’t place much emphasis on whether you are published or not unless you are applying for a research position or your paper is relevant to the job that you are applying for. Apart from this exception, including publications on your resume is considered to be unrelated information that makes the resume longer than it should be. Alternatively, you can simply create a LinkedIn or a homepage that lists your publications in one place for those who might want to check them out.
Photos aren’t necessary
Avoid using photos as they don’t add any value to your resume. Recruiters care more about your accomplishments and abilities rather than what you look like.
Don’t use acronyms
Refrain from writing acronyms on your resume, especially if it was unique to a previous job. No one will know what you are talking about.
Save references for when you pass an interview
Keep the phrase “references available upon request” off of your resume and don’t bother to add any on your resume itself. They take up space for more relevant information and usually aren’t needed until you pass an interview and the hiring manager asks for it.
A single resume doesn’t fit all
Resumes can be nerve-wracking and more often than not people tend to overthink the information they put on their resumes. The simpler and concise the resume, the easier it is for recruiters to pull the necessary information about you that they need to determine the next steps. Always try to keep your resume data straight to the point and avoid lengthy paragraphs and descriptions. A recruiter will normally take 5-7 seconds to scan your resume. However, it is important to note that you shouldn’t use the same resume for each job application. In fact, it would be ideal to customize your resume to suit different job opportunities. This will allow you to highlight certain skills or experiences which are specific to the job responsibilities of the positions you want to apply for.
With these tips in mind, you now have the basic tools to prepare and present a readable, straightforward resume that will enable you to stand out and give a better first impression to your interviewer. Different recruiters may require different things so first and foremost, it’s important to do your research and fine-tune your resume to target specific companies and their preferred formats.
How we can help
In TechMockInterview.com, professionals from top-tier companies will review your resume in 1-to-1 sessions (New Grad, Mid-level, Senior/Manager) and provide you with valuable feedback on how to make your resume stand out among all other applicants.