How to Write a Tech Resume that Lands an Interview

A decent example – 10 seconds to impress – Olympic medals – SEO

Sometimes the best way to get an interview is to simply have a good resume. Here’s how to write a tech resume that lands an interview.

You can get mad about how the resume process is stupid. You could be the smartest person ever, and the recruiter will throw your resume into the recycling bin. So I think it’s better to edit your resume than get mad.

By the way, if you’re in sales, HR, or any non-tech function, you will probably hate my controversial thoughts about Microsoft Office.

Example Resume

This is a version of a resume I used in 2014 when looking for an internship. I also got an interview with Google using it.

Internship Resume 2014

It’s not perfect, but it was good enough. I cringe a little on the inside when reading certain parts. But it worked.

Structure

The person reading your resume will spend less than 10 seconds glancing over it.

10 seconds.

How much can you convey in 10 seconds? They’ve got a huge stack of resumes to go through, and anything that doesn’t convey how cool you are is hurting your chances.

Structure your resume like this:

  • Put your most important items at the top.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Make key items visible with bold text.
  • Keep the resume to one page.
  • Use an easy-to-read font. (If you have to ask, the answer is no.)

Also, you probably don’t need a cover letter. Focus on making your resume stand out.

Grab Their Attention and Pound it Into Submission

When I look at resumes, the things that impress me the most are software related: internships, programming jobs, and side projects.

I don’t care about your time volunteering at a football camp last summer.

I don’t care if you were a financial analyst at a major bank.

I don’t care if you won an olympic medal in Microsoft Office.

Software work experience and personal projects take center stage.┬áIf you’re a student or new grad, you can put your education first.

how-to-become-an-investment-banker

“I don’t know what Python is, but I’m super good with money. And spreadsheets.”

What if you don’t have software work experience? Create some personal projects. School projects count too, if they’re interesting enough to talk about. Plenty of in-class programming projects show that you know how to code.

What if you don’t have any personal projects? Create some!

If you whine, “But I don’t have time to develop a project!” then sorry, I can’t help you. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Controversial Thoughts About Microsoft Office

Unfortunately, HR personnel sometimes attach this line to software engineering jobs:

“Experience using Microsoft Office”

Have you ever met a programmer who could use Vim but not MS Word? Personally, I’m only interested in working at real tech companies, so this can be a useful heuristic on how cool a company actually is.

Keywords

Many companies (especially large ones) use programs to screen resumes based on keywords. You need to do “SEO” for your resume and include important terms in it. The keywords will vary based on what kind of position you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re applying to be an Android developer, you could include “Java”, “mobile”, “app”, and names of major Android frameworks.

And this should go without saying: don’t lie. It would be a violation of integrity to write about how you’ve worked on Android apps if you haven’t.

More Information

There are plenty more sources on the Internet for how to write software resumes. If you’re looking for an internship, check out The CS Internship Guide. That author is super smart, too!

If you’ve structured your resume well, caught the reader’s attention, and optimized your resume with key terms, you’ll be much closer to landing an interview. Good luck!

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