Is this what your resume looks like?

A few weeks ago I had a client who was well funded but did not yet have a team of fulltime web developers as part of their arsenal.

Working with this client gave me the opportunity to take a look at how developers may see me when I am only represented by my resume.

This particular client wanted a revamp of their current website, which was still fairly new. They had their own UX team onboard which really helped with the outcome of the product.

Anyways, since they did not have their own team of web developers, they asked if I could help find another freelancer who would be suitable to work with me and their UX team on the project. Given a generous contract, I went and posted free postings in many job boards seeking for someone who was experienced in the technologies used for this revamp. I posted a fairly generic ad, much like many of the ones looking for a fulltime developer but I made sure to state that it was a short-term contract with great pay.

Not only was I looking for a great team member to work with, I wanted to see what kind of competition I would be up against from a skill set point of view, and which resumes failed to grab my attention so I would have a better idea how my resume would look to an employer.

I received a total of 56 resumes over 5 days, 9 were generic letters from hiring agencies (these were ignored).

Here are some of the traits of resumes that made it hard for me to hold onto:

  1. Too much information/clutter. If your page is 80% text with thin margins, it may be too much effort to read.
  2. Few or none of the relevant skills are highlighted. Make sure your key strengths are easily identifiable.
  3. Listing FAR too many technologies that the applicant is experienced in. If you’re listing out so many technologies, it’s hard to grasp how comfortable you are with all of them. I saw one resume where the applicant had 3 years in web development, and claimed expertise in about 20 technologies while project experience highlighted no more than 5.
  4. Suggesting that they are “not good enough” for the position. If you’re going to point out that you do not have a college diploma, don’t make the recruiter think that makes you any less capable. There are many amazing developers who do not have a diploma/degree. Show WHY you are a great fit for the position or don’t apply.
  5. Vague or no description regarding each of the past projects. If you’ve created a CMS for the company, or implemented a system for sales tracking, put that down. Don’t just give a generic URL and expect that to make you a great fit for the position.

Surprisingly, almost all the resumes had little or no grammatical/spelling errors. Errors have actually been fairly common in some of the other times I’ve had to look at resumes. Grammatical/spelling errors really stand out and say something about your attention to detail.

I ended up finding a great fit for the position (yes this person had a degree) and have enjoyed working with them. The UX team was also amazing, huge thanks to them for such an amazing and successful site revamp!