Cover image for Common Mistakes in Tech Resumes

Common Mistakes in Tech Resumes

kaydacode profile image Kim Arnett  ・3 min read

Recently we broke the internet with a Resume Review dev.to post and tweet. OK - we didn't break the internet, but my notifications were definitely fried. Overall it was an amazing thing to watch the community help each other out. I reviewed as many as I could bear before holiday, and will be continuing to go through and try to catch any that fell through the cracks.

Out of the many I reviewed and comments I've seen from other reviewers and more, I've compiled the list of the most common mistakes collectively caught.

Not having a PDF resume ready to go

Recruiters and managers pass your resume around via email and printed paper. Run it through a printer, make sure it looks good in black and white and that it's not cut off anywhere.

Relying solely on a website

As useful as having a portfolio website or thorough LinkedIn profile is, it's more important to have a document ready for email or print. Through this exercise, I got a glimpse into what recruiters and managers go through while filling a role and it was not pretty. I didn't want to click through 5 pages of your website to get to your experience, I didn't want to scroll through your GitHub projects to see what languages you knew, and I sure as heck was in no mood to watch your 10 second loading animations. You can absolutely (and should) provide a URL to your website / GitHub on your resume so someone can dive deeper into your experience. Although: anything you include on, or linked to in your resume MUST be ready for employer eyes. What would you think as a hiring manager if you went to a website that was broken or substantially incomplete? One reviewer even mentioned he loads up the JS console when looking at portfolios to look for JavaScript errors! Sneaky, sneaky ;)

One page for every ~5 (but preferably 10) years

A resume is designed to be a quick review of your skills, experience, and education. It should not be an extensive dive into the last 20 years of your life. Here's a few quick tips to cutting down on the number of pages:

  • list only relevant experience/projects
  • use bullet points and not complete sentences.. remember easy to skim
  • position your resume for the job you want not the job you have
  • try different layouts, helps to think of your resume as a website. How would you optimize a blank page to fit everything without scrolling?

Alternatively, utilize more then half a page

It's hard to know what to put down if you're new to the field. But, this also gives you so much room to boast about what cool things you've built. What classes did you take? What group projects have you built? What languages did you use, or are currently learning? What technologies are you familiar with? Git? SVN? npm? All the acronyms?! This is your chance to highlight your accomplishments, what you're learning, and what you're interested in. In technology, you're greatest skill is being able to learn new things. Show it off!

List only what you're comfortable with

Anything listed on your resume is fair game to be asked about in an interview. For example: if you list JavaScript on your resume, because you built the CSS and HTML for a website that also used JavaScript (but you did not touch the JS), and I ask you to explain defining a constant in JS, and you cannot, I'm going to assume the rest of your skills are a lie also. With that being said, even though at one point I was very comfortable with Java, that is no longer the case and you will not find it on my resume. Set yourself up for success by firstly not lying about or exaggerating your skills.

Posted on Jan 8 '19 by:

kaydacode profile

Kim Arnett 


Senior iOS Developer at Expedia. I enjoy watching my creations work wonders while making a positive impact on the population. Interested in technology, feminism, mental health, and Iron Man.


markdown guide

Is anyone here still open to reviewing resumes? I missed the resume review thread, but I would love some feedback on mine since I'm just starting to apply for new grad tech jobs. Thanks! docs.google.com/document/d/1Ii2wyj...


Reminder anything you list in technical skills is fair game to be interviewed on - so make sure you're comfortable with it or leave it off. You can always mention things you've done in the past verbally.

See if you can fit into one page - you're so close. You have a few lines with just one word - maybe start there.

I would personally move experience over skills since you have relevant experience. I like that you dive into your experience, as you gain more you definitely want to keep things skim-able so keep that in mind going forward. looks good & good luck!


Thanks for the info! The multiple pages was just a formatting issue when I copied it across google drives, it was originally 1 page and should be fixed now!

In terms of skills being fair game - I basically listed any language I have done at least one project in/with, and I figured I would brush up on syntax and such before I do interviews. Does this seem like a good method? Or should I just leave it off if I am not extremely comfortable with it.

Once again thanks for the reply!

EDIT: Moved the Experience block as well, good tip!

I would leave what's relevant for the job you want. Anything you feel rusty in, leave it off. You can always mention in passing in interview you've dabbled with other languages.

The bad part about listing so many is it's hard to tell on paper what you're passionate about and what you're strong in.

Great, I made some changes to leave off the few languages I was weakest in. I also took for OS’s and replaced them with IDE’s because it seemed more relevant. Do you think this is a good move?


This already looks good to me.

I'd remove the address details. You can cut it down to the city and state to give an idea of the region you're prepared to travel within without the clutter of street names.

"References are available upon request" is also a given. You can remove this and get yourself back a little more space to say things that matter more!

  • Full address no needed. City/state good enough.
  • Keep your website URL, promote your socials on your personal site, remove socials from resume.
  • Physics (with astronomy emphasis), & Varsity Baseball, NCAA Division III, while this shows: while this shows a 'well rounded' individual they are not relevant.
  • Experience, no paragraphs please. Bullet point items or short sentences.
  • Tech Skills section, very nice and well laid out.
  • "References are available upon request."... of course they are. No need to state the obvious.

As a recruiter you have 5 seconds to get there attention, 10 seconds to get them to stay, another 15 to convince them you are worth putting in the 'call this person' pile.


Thanks! The link on my original comment should have the most updated version if you want to check it out :)


Hi Sam, your CV is not open to the public, I can't see it


Oops! You're right, it was on my university google drive account with restricted access.. Should be fixed now!


I love articles like this, because they help you think about your resume from the HR employee or whoever reviews the resumes. Job hunting fuels people's stress and anxiety about resumés, which choulds their thinking on what actually matters in their resumé.


Great advice that can cross over into other fields like mine (mechanical engineering).


You can also tailor the resume for each position you're applying to. List your skills in order of importance based on the job requirements. You may even want to leave some skills off to focus on exactly what they're looking for, as anything else can be distracting. Your resume will be skimmed for keywords and maybe read in full if you have their attention.


Thanks for this great list! I really took away some things that I fall into the trap of doing on my own resume. I also missed the resume review thread and would love some feedback.


Thank you, Kim. I'm an 'older' techie who's re-entering the workforce(I'm a former Geologist). Needless to say, I'm facing more than a few hurdles. Looking forward, I think it's time to shave a few skills from my list.

Do you have any advice for removing oneself from dB's with expired skill[sets]?
Www.dice.com seems to either share w/o recourse and/or sell user data.

FYI: Java = !(JavaScript)


I don’t. I usually stick to linked in or indeed, I’d consider stack overflow also.


I think the other thing everyone should focus on is to also highlight the business value of your work so that you demonstrate you have an understanding of the bigger picture.


This post was generated mostly from a junior dev perspective, in which case would be hard to accomplish this.. but I see the value once experience is achieved.


True, but you should be able to identify the value of your actions in every position you list as experience, whether it was janitorial services or intern. In other words, don't just list what the duties were or what was focused on...take the opportunity to highlight your impact no matter how big or small.

I'd be worried if I had a tough time figuring out if my contributions mattered, and so might a hiring manager.


Thanks for sharing this piece with us. Worth reading and my takeway is 'Set yourself up for success by firstly not lying about or exaggerating your skills."


Thanks for sharing this piece with us. Worth reading and my takeaway is 'Set yourself up for success by firstly not lying about or exaggerating your skills."