Son of Resume Woes

I’m going to look at another resume issue today–making your resume say things that are of interest to the hiring manager! For software engineers, this means showing me what you’ve accomplished. I’ve had a slew of resumes cross my desk where the author seemed hell-bent on telling me everything they did that was tangential to software engineering, while minimizing the actual engineering work itself.

To wit. Here is an actual snippet of a resume, lightly edited to protect the author:

Implemented fixes and enhancements to customized solutions for auto xyz systems capable of [doing] 15,000 xyzs per day. Assisted customer support team in remote updates of systems.

• Responsible for maintaining the software development budget for customer-contracted quotes.
• Aided fellow software developers in implementing fixes and enhancements to systems.

My reading of this resume is that this person is doing very little software engineering–they highlighted (via bullets) budget management and aiding others (aid is a terrible word here, btw, because I have no way of interpreting precisely what kind of aid was being given). If, in their own words, they really aren’t doing much engineering, why should I hire them?

I also can’t figure out why these two items are bulleted to begin with–it looks almost random. They could be appended to the beginning sentences to make a paragraph. If you’re going to bulletize, at least be smart about it! Highlight the things that are MOST RELEVANT to the position to which you are applying!!! So…if you are a software engineer…highlight software engineering things.

What might that be, you say? Well, let’s take the example we have above, the auto xyz system. What does this auto xyz system do, and what does the code that you have written do within that system. The author didn’t say. Are there any interesting data structures or algorithms that you developed? Anything clever about the system? Look at the job posting. I ask for certain personality traits. It would help your case if you tied some things that you did to what I asked for in the job description.

Put in a diagram or two if that helps get your point across–>which is that you can build great software!!!

Forget the resume formula you learned back…well…whenever! I don’t care about the format other than to the extent it helps makes your case for getting hired.


About jeffmershon

Director of Program Management at SiriusXM.
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