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6 Tips for Building a Stellar Tech Resume

First impressions are crucial, and your first interaction with a recruiter is no different.  

In a recent interview with Myntra, HackerRank’s Co-Founder & CTO, Harishankaran K, revealed his thought process when reviewing resumes. Some questions he tries to answer when going through a resume include: 

1) Do they write tech blogs? 

2) How often do they participate in programming contests? 

3) Are they up to date on the latest technologies? 

Building a good tech resume means providing hiring managers and recruiters with clear answers to questions like these.

Pruning your experience, education, projects, skills, and hobbies down to a page or two can be challenging, so here are a couple of tips to help you craft the perfect resume for your next job application. 

1. Tailor each resume

Tailoring your resume to fit each job you apply to is a simple and effective way to stand out. Research the company, check out the tools they use, skim through their engineers’ profiles on sites like LinkedIn, and read the company’s engineering blog.

Another way to do this is thoroughly reading the job description without skipping directly to the “Requirements” section. For example, a job description for a front-end developer may read that you can expect to work closely with a UI/UX designer to develop apps under the “What you’ll do” section. Demonstrating that this is something you’ve done successfully in the past can go a long way in showcasing your appropriateness for the role.

2. Formatting matters

In a job landscape where it’s common to find over 50,000 applications for a single tech role, the way you present your resume matters a lot. 

In recent years, creative ones like video resumes and resumes hidden in food delivery boxes have taken off in popularity. But don’t worry, you don’t have to make a stop at the local bakery for every job you apply to. Here are some easy ways you can make your written resume stand out: 

  • The top-to-bottom resume layout has way better readability than a two-column one. 
  • Follow the chronological format (lists your experience in order of when you held each position) of presenting your information, instead of the functional format (lists your experience under different skills), as this is generally preferred by recruiters for early talent roles.
  • Put the “Experience” section first if you don’t have relevant education. For instance, if you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and seek a job as a back-end developer, highlight the relevant software projects and internship experiences at the beginning of your resume. 
  • Use a simple font and avoid flashy colors.

3. Soft skills are just as important as hard skills.

Demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively and think creatively among others is more important now than ever as businesses are adjusting to a remote-first world. 

Typically, soft skills are deemed to be important only in customer-facing roles like sales and customer support but tech roles demand just as much communication, if not more, in today’s world. 

Complimenting your soft skills with real-world examples like presenting a tech talk or attending networking events can heavily strengthen your resume. 

4. Let your actions speak louder than words

Many commonly used and freely available templates online will encourage you to put verbose summaries or vague-sounding action points, but it’s best to avoid long and arbitrary sentences on your resume.

While tracking systems do look for keywords in resumes, remember to keep their use controlled. Recruiters and hiring managers usually don’t spend too much time parsing through a resume, and they definitely don’t want to spend time searching for evidence for the claim, “being an ardent and honest team worker, showcasing tremendous results consistently” you make on your resume. 

Instead, shorten the sentence and add actual results and numbers to it. The previous sentence can be better framed as, “I surpassed my quarterly goals consistently from 2019 Q2 to 2021 Q1 by mentoring a total of 10 interns, completing 30 PR sprints, and leading 4 projects”. 

5. Address the links dilemma 

As a developer, having a technical blog can do wonders for your application because it shows the recruiter that you’re passionate about what you do.

If you don’t have a technical blog and prefer to share technical content on your LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other social media, you can include your handle on the resume. However, beware of these pitfalls that come with including links in your resume:

  • Make sure the links in your resume are highlighted and clickable.
  • Don’t include too many links. 
  • If you don’t run a blog or share technical content, include a link to where your projects are hosted.

6. Polish the top of your resume

If a recruiter only spends mere seconds reading your resume and the top of your resume is the first thing they read, it better be captivating. 

Here are some tips for beefing up the top section of your resume:

  1. You can choose between two options: summary or objective to add below your name. Pick summary if you’ve had relevant industry experiences and objectives if you’re a fresher. 
  2. Don’t overdo your contact information - an active email ID and contact number are enough information for recruiters. 
  3. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid inserting your photo as this introduces bias.

Deciding what to include in your resume, how best to present it, and filtering your professional ventures and experiences down to a few sentences are all difficult things to do. We hope the above tips help you along the process of making a stellar resume.

Ready to find your dream job? Sign up for our fall Virtual Career Fair to get your new polished resume in front of high-growth companies. 

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