Step-to-step guide to make an awesome SWE Resume

Not everyone knows: No such thing as a perfect resume

That sounds strange, but it’s true. I need to admit that it took me near two years to build up a ‘good’ resume that got me Facebook and Google interviews from Vietnam. And until now, I still have to upgrade my resume every year.

  1. Choose a plain, simple resume template.

There are many resume templates you can find in the internet. One of the simplest templates I can recommend is

Format is really important

  • A ‘harsh but true’ thing is:
  • Recruiters also use Applicant tracking system (aka ATS) to scan your resume so you should go with 1-column-template because 2-column-template might make your resume harder for ATS to parse the information you put in your resume.
  • Unless you work in a creative field, a plain and simple template would work fine. Make sure your format is simple and consistent in font, size, spacing, and color.
  • Black and white templates work best. If you want to make it less boring, you can consider one more (basic and readable) color.
  • Use (only one) readable font through out the body. You can use another font for your name.

2. Write down all experiences, accomplishments in the bullet points:

  • Write all of your accomplishments, academic achievements, work experiences, certificates, skills, etc on a blank piece of paper. Write all down. Do not hold anything back in this step. We will shortlist and paraphrase these items later.
  • If you are a sophomore and you have no experience working in an industry: don’t need to be an all-achiever or have a stellar record in academics to have a good resume. You can list out some significant courses you learnt in the university or the online courses you learnt after school such as Algorithm and DS, Operating System, Database,… Besides, your teaching/research assistant experience, hackathon experience , and volunteering.
  • If you don’t have any academic awards, then better spend time doing some side projects and do extracurricular to put in the resume.
  • Don’t go into details about your hobbies and interests.

3. Go over the list again and group them by the areas:

such as Education, Experience (Work experience, Employment), Honors and Awards (Awards), Projects (Side projects).

Now, each category, choose from 2 to 4 items to put into your CV and make sure

  • All the content as mush equally as you can.
  • Keep your resume to 1 page only. Only expand to 2 pages if you have over 5 years of experience. Imagine that recruiters have to read 1000 resumes a day. Will they give up on your 10-page-resume?

4. Put all of them in the template you chose in the first step.

  • Use the bullet points instead of writing your experience in an essay (you’re not writing a cover letter). Avoid writing a long paragraph because ATS will miss your information when scanning or the recruiters might give up on it or misunderstand it.
  • Highlight keywords or content you want recruiters to focus on, such as your skills, rewards, and achievements at school/at work. (eg: Promoted, Improved the performance 15%, high GPA,…).
  • Use strong verbs to describe your experience. Write it short and concise. Make sure each sentence is not too long (1 line is the best).
  • Find the good keywords on Linked in and your dream company’s job description: Go to Linkedin and read the profile description of 10 people that appears on top of the result when you type the role name in the search bar. You also can read many job descriptions of the role you are preparing your resume for. Also note most common verbs and nouns company is required in the job description. As I mentioned above, recruiters use Applicant tracking system (aka ATS) to scan the resume, so the more keywords you have in the resume, the better.
  • In the experience/projects description, show your impact on the team, not only your team’s project. Recruiters want to know your skills, your impact, not how big or how successful your old team/company was.

5. Review your resume before sending it out:

  • Go over again and again make sure your resume don’t have any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. before asking others to review it.
  • After you finish crafting your resume, ask 3–5 friends or staff at Career Center to proofread and give feedback to the resume.
  • Even better if you can ask for feedback from professionals or recruiters in the role you’re applying for.
  • However, Be selective about the feedback you receive. Only make changes for consistent feedback. Different people may give feedback that contradicts each other, but if there’s consistency in the feedback you receive, then it’s time to take that one. Make sure you iterate your resume after a couple of rounds of feedback.

Thanks for reading my article! Feel free to leave the your thoughts below. 🥰🥰

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