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Please stop doing this in your resume

caroso1222 profile image Carlos Roso ・4 min read

I have something very important to tell you but, before I do it, I'd like to talk to you about myself. I'm a very charismatic, process-oriented person with self-learning abilities. I'm also a very strong team player with a passion for building and creating new things. On top of that, I have organization and proactivity skills that allow me to produce high-quality work. I have good verbal and written communication which makes me a great team player. Finally, I'm always inspired to do more than expec...

Alright (sighs), that's enough, I think you got the point now.


The art of going straight to the point

The one and only thing you should do in your resume is going straight to the point. Avoid unnecessary blabbing. This applies to everything but, mostly, to your summary. That first paragraph should be your 10 seconds aggressive pitch.

One thing you perhaps didn't know: In paper everyone is charismatic, everyone is a great team player, and everyone has great written skills (eye roll). Everyone is efficient and organized. Every single developer likes to learn new things! You're wasting your recruiter's attention on useless verbosity which says nothing about what makes you different.

"Sure, but, they still have time to go over my soft skills, don't they?"

The myth of the 12 seconds attention span

Some say humans have the attention span of a goldfish which is like 8-12 seconds. The BBC debunked that myth a few years ago. But, being brutally honest, do we need more research to accept our attention span is dead-limited?

Let's say your average recruiter has 30 seconds to make a first impression about you (and 30 seconds is a lot these days). Time yourself reading the first paragraph of this post. I'll save you the hassle: it'll take you roughly 13-18 seconds. That being said, do you really want to waste half of your recruiter's attention span with your verbosity?

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Cut the cr#p

So, by now you're sold. Or perhaps not. Maybe you still think your great verbal skills (on paper) makes you a gold-special developer. In any case, just to put it crystal clear: avoid unnecessary verbosity and cut all those soft skills from your resume's summary. They are very important on your day job but they have no place in your resume.

Are you a good learner? cool, make me infer that by pointing me to your learning in Python, C++ and Svelte. Are you a strong leader? nice, show me that in your work experience where you lead a team of 5 devs to ship 8 microservices serving 25k requests per day. Are you a charismatic, people-oriented person? great, then I should infer that when you tell me you're a speaker, a blogger, an online course teacher.

Let's practice. This post would be incomplete if I don't show you an example of what to avoid and how to improve. Remember the Resume Golden Rule (which I just made up): you have less than 30 seconds to convince your recruiter to keep reading your resume.

Example 1: Frontend Developer

Bad

Proactive Frontend developer with a passion for learning new things. Strong team player, highly proactive and very process-oriented engineer. Experienced with Vue and React. Respectful and with great written and communication skills.

Better

Frontend developer with experience building client-side webapps on React and Vue. Obsessed for impact, I've shipped under 10 robust React applications for thousands of users worldwide. Backend enthusiast with intermediate knowledge in API design (2 deployed APIs on NodeJS). Occasional tech blogger with more than 10k reads a month. Passionate for pixel-perfect frontend apps.

What can you tell about the first person? What about the second? If you're looking for a React developer, which one makes you want to keep reading?

Check out this post on my site for more examples.


That's it, good to go now. You're set to write a simple but strong summary, right straight to the point.

Don't feel bad if you're resume looks like everything I just called out. I've been in that position too but I've read books, watched a lot of YouTube and sent dozens of resumes to get better at it. Feel free to polish your resume and shoot it to me in a DM on Twitter. I'd love to give you my opinionated review.


Acing that tech interview

I've used this technique to land interviews (and job offers) at Amazon, Toptal and a few more top remote work platforms. Now I'm writing a FREE guide with a lot of tips and tricks to ace remote tech interviews. If you're curious, you can sign up on the waitlist here and be the first to get it.

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I normally write about career growth, interview preparation, and software. Feel free to shoot me a DM with your thoughts on Twitter and follow. Finally, see if you can get some advice from my story getting into the most exclusive remote working platforms.

Discussion (44)

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Mike Bybee • Edited

There's nothing more "to the point" you can do than communicate in tangibles.

I've cut out that section, or any sort of "objective" section, from my resume. Immediately after replacing it with a bulleted "career achievements" section in its place at the top (similar to the bullet points of job specific achievements in my employment history section), my recruiter hits shot up exponentially.

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Talha Mansoor

Love it!

Now I'm writing a FREE guide with a lot of tips and tricks to ace remote tech interviews. If you're curious, you can sign up on the waitlist here and be the first to get it.

I tried to sign up to your waitlist, but the URLs to your free guide and waitlist both are 404.

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Carlos Roso Author • Edited

Thanks for the heads up! I totally missed it. Fixed it already.

Here it is, in case anyone else is interested: carlosroso.com/cracking-the-toptal...

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Thomas Lombart

Thanks for bringing these tips! However, I think your example suits well for experienced front-end developers but not for junior front-end devs. When you try to find your first job and that you don't have much to show off (apart from small projects, certifications, or a small blog), I believe it's hard to value yourself.

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Carlos Roso Author

Good point, definitely. I'll work on that and make sure we can all put up good recommendations for junior devs.

I believe everyone should be able to show something, even if junior. Maybe you were teaching assistant at uni, or have a certification, or have participated in competitions. I'll put more examples in another post. Thanks!

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🦄N B🛡 • Edited

My brother usually got his "schoolwork" done in the first few weeks of class, and used the spare time to build stuff like a cryptocurrency arbitrage system and refactor it to support concurrency, all this before he even had his first job. Lots of his projects were like that.

Barely even needed a damn resume.

Suffice to say, he got a job pretty quick after school, a position that was on par with people who had already been working there for years, and is considered a technical leader by his peers.

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Juan Alejandro Morais

Thanks for your post, Carlos! I'll be sure to apply this to my resume and online portfolio.

By the way, the links to your guide don't work on DEV. They both point to https://dev.to/cracking-the-toptal-interview.

All the best!

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Carlos Roso Author

You're the best, thanks for pointing it out. I just fixed it.

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Austin Baune

Agreed! A resume shouldn't just list your skills, but rather explain how they will help a business succeed.

I like your examples of bad vs better.

Experienced in React and Vue = bleh, who isn't?

Shipped 10 robust React applications for thousands of users = Interesting, this person is already doing what I need them to. Let me read on.

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Carlos Roso Author

You got it! Yeah, I can't stress enough on that. Tease them into reading more. Tell them how you add value.

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Peyton McGinnis

Love this article! Fantastic tips, and your article follows your own advice: getting straight to the point. Top-quality content.

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Carlos Roso Author

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Osinachi Chukwujama

Thanks for the tips Carlos.

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Carlos Roso Author

I'm always happy to help!

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Josh Leong

Agreed, thank you for the tips!

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Carlos Roso Author

Glad you liked it!

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Risyandi

Great, thanks for the tips :)

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Ilham Ferry • Edited

Is having more than one-page resume is not good? I mean when you have more portfolio that wants to be written on the resume.

And I've been looking at the internet, there is no example that gives a paragraph in their resume. The items are what they already did with a bullet list, their working history, and their educational background. Here I confused where to place the paragraph as you mention above?

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Jwdat Taifour

Joshua Fluke talked about it the past week he is on Youtube
But yeah great tips thank ya man <3

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Carlos Roso Author

Oh send it over, please! I don't know him. You can put the link here in case someone else finds it helpful. Thanks!

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Louise

Thanks, Carlos. Improved my website, resume and LinkedIn copy using your tips.

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Carlos Roso Author

I'm glad you found it useful! 😬

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Douglas Brauner

Very interesting article! I totally agree with this approach!

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Rima Paskeviciute

Thank you, very helpful for me right now :)

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Carlos Roso Author

I'm glad you found it helpful!

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