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.
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.
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