Interview season in  Indian Universities and Institutes is round the corner and its  understandable if some of you are struggling with landing interviews for  your first internship or your first job because of a not so good  resume.

"Its not your experience that lands you an interview; its how your resume presents that experience."

Many  great candidates miss on some amazing opportunities just because they  have a lousy resume. The resume lack perspectives about their own  experience and is not backed up by their accomplishments. In this post,  we’re mainly going to talk about how one can build an awesome resume for  tech industry but these principles can be applied elsewhere as well.

We all know what a resume is, but its also important to understand how it is used.

“ A resume isn’t read; its skimmed. “

Either  a human or an automated program skims through your resume to screen you  for the initial interview rounds. A human generally spends around 15-20 seconds to review a resume and that’s all the time you have to impress your  prospective employer. Let’s go through the following points to  understand how one can make the best use of these 20 seconds,

One page resumes

Resumes at a young age, when you’re looking for your first internship/job interviews should be short and concise. Stick to the highlights of your career so far, focus on what is important and leave out all the rest. Since,  you’ll have somewhere from 15-20 seconds, it makes sense only to include  the best things related to the job/internship you’re applying for.

Sections

Deciding  what data to use and how to use it considering that you’ve to fit  everything in a single page can be a tedious task. To make this process  easier, we can divide our resume under the following sections:

  • Header (Name, Email, LinkedIn, Github, Online Judges),
  • Education (High School, Bachelors and Masters),
  • Employment (Relevant internships and jobs) ,
  • Software Projects (Personal Projects),
  • Achievements (Hackathons and Competitions),
  • Publications (International journals),
  • Skills (Relevant skill sets to the job you’re applying for)

Headings  like Objectives, Summary, Activities, Hobbies etc are not required 9/10  times so it makes sense to only include the above mentioned sections in  your resume. However, if you’ve done something which is really great,  for example if you’re running a youtube channel with lakhs and thousands of followers then do mention it.

Bullets instead of blobs

Longer  a chunk of text is, the less likely a resume screener is to read that  part. Anything that’s four lines or more should be broken down into  different bullet points. You might have to rearrange your sentences a  bit but it will be worth the effort.

Consistent and good clatter free template

Your resume doesn’t have to be Instagram ready. A good resume template won’t make you or your employer go crazy, it’ll be just good enough to get the job done. Readability is most essential.

You  need to make sure that each section discussed above is consistent. Look  for any grammatical errors. Reasonable font sizes, limited styling,  bullets and make sure that the information you’re trying to represent  doesn’t take up more space than necessary.

Back your responsibilities by your accomplishments

“People  care about what you’ve been told to do when you’re working with them.  Once you leave them behind the only thing that people care about is what  you actually did.”

Responsibilities never make it clear  about the impact that you had in your previous organisation and are  often pretty obvious. Everyone knows what a software developer intern  would do at a tech company, its more important to let your future  employer know about what you did as a software developer intern.

To best showcase your accomplishments, you can adopt the following formula, given by the Former SVP of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock:

“Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]” — Laszlo Bock

Example, Accomplished a reduction in response times by 20% by improving the time complexity of the code.

Focus on the five things you are most proud of and that should cover up most of your accomplishments.

Personal projects and other awesome stuff

“Personal  projects are integral to piquing recruiters and hiring managers  interest as it shows you are passionate about programming.”

Never  leave something out because you feel like it wasn’t an official project  or you didn’t get many visitors. Mentioning your personal projects  shows that you’re passionate about programming and solving problems  through writing code. This is a must have for any software developer as  it shows that you are genuinely interested in programming. It also shows  that you have strong desires to work as a software engineer because you  are willing to go beyond your schoolwork.

Online courses and Extracurricular education

Listing  online courses that you’ve done in the past shows that you’re  passionate about learning new things on your own but the tricky thing is  to understand that you’ve to make these classes sound more legitimate  by providing examples where you have implemented your learnings from  these online courses. Completing Machine Learning course by Andrew Ng on  Coursera won’t mean a thing if you don’t have any personal projects to  back it up. You'll have to complete your projects mentioned in the  coursework to have an impact. At Coding Blocks we run our very own Machine Learning course which has more than 20 projects like Pokemon Classifier, Emoji Predictor, Rap Songs Generator etc for you to show off on your resume.

Final words:

Even  when a resume is good enough to land an interview at your dream  company, it can usually be improved. One important thing to understand  about writing your resume is that you’re writing about your own  accomplishments. You might be tempted to copy some of the  accomplishments from your friends or from some other online reference.  What you might ignore while doing that is that the person who’s gonna  look at your resume has more experience than you and probably has been  in the same shoes as yours. It wouldn’t be difficult for him/her to  figure out what’s copied and what’s not.

Your goal should be to  express your skills and accomplishments in the most concise and precise  way possible. Imagine yourself to be in your recruiter’s shoes and look  for the features/qualities you’d want to see in a candidate.

If you need some help in picking a template, you can check one out at https://github.com/witty123/resume-latex-template

Resume template