In my career as a software developer I’ve been lucky. I’ve been lucky that finding work has never been terribly difficult. The longest I’ve ever been out of work is a month and a half. Six weeks might seem like a long time, especially in software; in my case I was unfortunate enough to experience a two-week delay in my interviewing thanks to the Snowpocalypse of 2010 and the aftermath of that event. When I’ve actively looked for work I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a good resume, good skills, and most importantly, a strong job market for the particular field I’m in.
What I’ve often struggled with is finding the right job. There are lots of bad jobs out there; many developers are in them. I’ve been in them. You know the type: jobs that have managers who think that being salaried means they own your every waking moment. Jobs with non-compete clauses that would force you out of your profession if they were enforced. Jobs that advertise for “good under pressure” people or “detail oriented” individuals.
During my last job, I occasionally was invited to interview candidates for the web development team. Usually I’d receive a copy of their resume a few days beforehand with the instructions to review it, and I’d take a few minutes to read their resume and usually pop them into Google to take a look at their online presence. Throughout this process I began noticing things that I saw to be mistakes, probably propagated by the avalanche of resume advice that permeates the job seeking culture. This caused me to rethink my own resume, and I’ve wanted to share these things for a while.
It’s important to note here that I see the technical resume (and any resume, really) as a marketing tool. It is, in essence, the brochure that we build for ourselves highlighting what we can do for a customer (that is the employer). But technical resumes, like many resumes, aren’t written that way. Here are three common things I see as mistakes on technical resumes.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to review a number of resumes and cover letters, both through my professional endeavors and because of inadvertent posts to the DC PHP list from people replying to job postings.
One thing that strikes me as odd is the number of people who send cover letters riddled with errors.