Lots of people hit me up for these on the regular, so I thought it would be worth sharing the advice I have been giving them:

  1. Take your full address off. City and state are fine. Would you believe some employers may use this demographic information against you, even checking Zillow for home price etc?
  2. Assume that anyone could be reading your resume. While it could be the CTO, it could be a new college grad or even intern in the recruiting department. More junior and/or less technical staff may just be looking to see that your resume checks off all of the boxes in the job description. In that case, if the JD says, “Experience with Javascript frameworks” and you list React on your resume, it might be helpful to list it as a Javascript framework. It may sound silly, but I’ve seen qualified resumes thrown out on misunderstandings like that. Fortunately I could coach my client as a third party recruiter to reconsider, but especially when applying on your own, this is important.
  3. Drop the mission statement. Those have gone out of fashion these days.
  4. Get this onto 2 pages. Most people suffer from tl;dr these days. No need to have separate sections like  qualifications, skills, or background. Those will all show up eventually in the bullet points under your roles, where they are more concrete because they are in context.
  5. Put work experience before education. It’s more recent and thus more relevant.
  6. Quantify your accomplishments with numbers wherever possible, ie “Rewrote front-end in React, reducing page load times by 21%.” or “Identified 7 areas for cost-cutting, saving the department $223,000 annually.”
  7. Don’t waste too much space talking about your soft-skills, like “being a good team player.” Anyone can say that. Save proving it for the interview itself.
  8. Try to limit bullet points under each role to around 5.
  9. Start bullet points with strong verbs, like “Led… Improved… Sped up”. Leave out boring bullet points that read more administratively.
  10. Remove roles that are not relevant to roles to which you’re applying, like fast food roles you had during college. If you’ve had a career over around 10 years, you can even start dropping the earlier roles in your field, or at least drop the bullet points under those roles. Entry level software engineer roles aren’t so relevant for a CTO, for example.
  11. If you’re applying to different kinds of roles (like you could be a tester or a software engineer), you likely want to write two separate resumes, with one tailored to each role.
  12. Goes without saying, but it’s very important to make sure there are 0 typos or grammatical errors. So many of my clients see those as lack of attention to detail.
  13. Controversial opinion: Keep those hobbies on there. Hobbies like marathon running and triathlons tell me a candidate is the kind of person who can stick with something when it gets hard. Artistic pursuits like ceramics, drawing, theater, or writing tells me the person is well rounded. No matter what your hobby is, it can be an ice breaker and make the conversation easier for both sides.