The Best Resume Design for Software Engineers [Free Resume Review In 60-Seconds]

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If you’ve been on the job search for a while without getting results, you may be thinking that no one is hiring junior developers. That’s not true! There are a lot of companies looking to fill junior roles. You just need to know how to present yourself as a professional and make it easy for hiring managers and recruiters to take action and move you forward in the process. In a recent post, we showed you how to perform a job market analysis and evaluate your current resume against important keyword data that you can find by searching LinkedIn and dissecting language used in job listings. We explained how you can prove your value and beat the ATS through listings examples of skills on your resume. 

While these are essential concepts you need to understand and execute in order to make it through the Application Tracking System filters, you will eventually succeed and get your resume in front of a real human being to review. 

Getting an actual person to agree with the Application Tracking System and see you as a potential candidate for a role requires some design thinking. We’re not suggesting graphics or creativity here. This kind of design requires understanding and empathy around what a recruiter or hiring manager is experiencing while reviewing your application materials. 

What are recruiters and hiring managers looking for in a resume?

A successful resume is one that immediately demonstrates your value and the most important aspects that demonstrate value are boiled down to education and work experience. Remember, where you are at in your career will determine what sections bring the most value and need to be positioned before other sections. For example, for a new Software Engineer, Skills need to be highlighted in a separate section after the summary and education needs to be high on the resume, even credentials in other fields.  For a seasoned Engineer, skills need to be dispersed throughout the resume and education can generally be located toward the end of the resume.

What are the top 3 things that you want recruiters to know about you?  

Are you a self-motivated team player, with a passion for solving problems, and a willingness to learn? That’s awesome! That’s what employers are looking for. 

But what if hiring managers aren’t getting the message? With so many applicants to review, most hiring managers and recruiters just won’t have the time go out of their way for you. Everything you need to convey should be crystal clear when someone scans your resume. What matters the most is what will convince them that you are the best candidate. To learn more, watch the following video, and then we’ll cover the steps to follow to create a great UX for recruiters.

How To Test Your Resume

Have trusted friends and family members review your resume. Tell them to spend 15 seconds reading it and then jot down the top three value propositions that jump out at them. This will tell you whether you need to adjust your resume structure or edit your wording to make your values more visible. You should be hearing that they see you as a professional developer with proven experience. You shouldn’t come across as a student who’s still learning and not yet job-ready. 

Resume Review – From a  Recruiter’s Perspective

“When I was working in Human Resources, one of the most challenging tasks for me was creating a resume for a potential candidate. I would read through the resume and then have to come up with an assessment of how likely it is that this person will be successful.

Every successful resume tells the story of how past experience translates into being the right person for the job. It’s up to the reader of the resume to determine if this logic holds up or not. And it’s often difficult to do so since we’re looking at two very different things: the document and what they do.

The document consists of a few words, some dates, and sometimes an educational pedigree. The person is probably a beautiful human being with the capacity to learn new things and grow as a professional. They’re also probably full of shortcomings, deep-seated insecurities, quirks, or possibly even mental illness. None of these things are obvious when you’re reading their resume.”

As we can see, it is up to us to make it very clear to the recruiter what we are bringing to the table, otherwise, we are just another random person applying for a job.  We have to write so that people want to stay on the page!  There is no way around that!  If you want to stand out, take the time to create a Resume User Experience that works for the recruiter and helps you get the interview.

60-Second Resume Reviews

It’s unfortunate but true. You generally only have less than a minute to “wow” a busy hiring manager before they run out of time for you and move on to the next candidate. It’s tough but there’s actually a valid reason you get so little time. If you’re applying for an entry-level software engineering job, the chances are very high that hundreds of other developers are also applying. The recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t have enough time to read everything, let alone spend any time hunting down your code on GitHub or trying to find live links to review your portfolio projects in the browser.

The entire 60-second test revolves around whether the recruiter can easily navigate across your links, efficiently scan your application materials, and quickly learn what they need within 60 seconds. 

If a recruiter has a stack of 500 resumes to sift through, you want to stand out by having a polished and well-structured resume to catch their eye (UX), and easy navigation so the recruiter can extract what they need to make the split-second decision to email you back. Some hiring managers might skip email altogether and prefer texting to save time.  

Now it’s time for the moment of truth. You’ve accepted the reality that you have less time to impress a recruiter than it takes to heat up a hot pocket! But how?

Before we begin our 60-second test there are a few questions that you must ask yourself.  

Resume Review Questions

Can the recruiter get from here to there fast enough?

Can the recruiter access my information quickly to find out about the best I’ve got to offer?

Can the hiring manager find out how to contact me and quickly do so?

Now, with these important questions in mind, watch this video:

How To Review A Resume Design

1. Make sure that basic contact information is located at the top of your resume; name, phone, and email address.  

2. Make sure that links to your GitHub, your Portfolio, and your LinkedIn URLs are at the top of your resume.  

3. Link to your GitHub, Portfolio, Resume, and LinkedIn URLs on your GitHub, Portfolio, Resume, and LinkedIn URLs. 

In other words, on your Github, there should be a link to your LinkedIn, your resume, and your Portfolio. On your LinkedIn, there should be links to your GitHub, resume, and Portfolio.  

The recruiter should be able to figure out exactly where they need to go to extract the information they need and quickly decide whether you’ll be worth contacting.

How To Check If Your Resume Is Effective

Once you’ve got all of your links configured consistently throughout your application materials, you’ll need to reach out a trusted friend, colleague, or family member and give them a clear task to accomplish that should take 60 seconds or less.

Ask them to visit your LinkedIn, Github, and Portfolio and have them spend 20 seconds reviewing each page. Then ask them if they can remember the name and general premise of your most impressive project.

You can also ask them specific questions about their impressions your skillset and skill level, education, and work history and see if anything relevant (or irrelevant) stood out to them. Remind them to be brutally honest and to not hold back. Let them know that this an objective UX experiment that you need them to help you with. You might need to promise them that you won’t take anything personally – promise yourself that as well.

If they get some details wrong or you find your resume and application materials just aren’t that memorable yet – it’s ok! Take some time to reflect on every answers and all of the feedback, rework and improve your application materials, and then run the 60-second review again. You can repeat this as many times as it takes until it’s working for you.

Get Hired In 60-Seconds 

By now, you should have plenty of ideas of ways you can make positive changes to your resume’s UX by updating the content and formatting it in a way that will make it more likely to be read, understood, and moved to the “yes” pile. To recap, we recommend researching job listings and LinkedIn for technical keywords to use on your resume. Look at what soft skill keywords they’re asking for, and incorporate those requirements into your own profile. Now all you need to do is submit a few dozen applications each week until you begin to crack the code and discover what works for you. 

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