Last Updated on August 1, 2021
A good resume is akin to successful content marketing for job seekers. Where you are the product being sold.
When you see billboard adverts for food products you’ll never see a long string of ingredients alone on a white canvas. Yet it’s common for someone to send me a LinkedIn profile that’s empty except for a few lines with job titles and dates worked. This is not good marketing and you are effectively unsellable.
Why am I mentioning LinkedIn and instead not discussing the word document you have on your laptop? Because LinkedIn is your new resume. Every single technical recruiter in the world is on LinkedIn. There is an entire ecosystem of automation tooling that recruiters use every day on this platform. Recruiters are fishing for their next big catch and want to message you directly via InMails when they find you.
In this blog we’ll discuss how to market yourself properly. We’ll look at what should go on your LinkedIn profile and then we’ll generate a resume automatically from your profile that you can use when applying for jobs. You’ll then have a live profile that recruiters can search, prospective employers can view instantly by clicking a link, and have an old fashioned pdf file that will satisfy the archaic HR systems most companies still use.
The experience section is the most important section to get right. Add all of your positions and be truthful about job title and dates worked. Next, work backwards from most recent job to last. Your most recent job is the important one to perfect.
What should you put down for experience? If you think about it, you’re usually selling to people just like you. How many times have you been asked to look at a CV by your manager to see if the person is worth interviewing? Generally, recruiters will search for keywords, managers will look at high level experience, but people on the DevOps team will actually have the final say in matters. The technical team members want to see what you’ve been working on and how much of it you did yourself.
The recommendation is to therefore include a mix of keywords, high level story and technical project details. Here’s an example from my most recent position.
I’ll appear in all of the recruiter searches because of those keywords. Managers can see at a high level what I’ve been doing, but more importantly I’ve called out exactly what I’ve done on the project. You don’t need to sell the ‘business value’ in these bullet points. You need to clearly articulate to other technical people on the team you’ll be working in that you can do the job. On the interview you’ll get asked about specific line items on this list to confirm you did them and to get a feel for how you approach problems. This is excellent because you are now driving the conversation towards an area where you’re the expert.
You’ll notice that I linked a video to this entry. Attending conferences and meet-ups as a speaker is like gold dust for your resume. It shows you’re passionate. Similarly, if you have a blog call it out somewhere visible on your profile. Technical people love to read blogs from other technical people.
On my profile I literally put my blog down as experience.
This isn’t a normal thing to do but perhaps it will start a trend. I’d remove this section for the more formal pdf file copy of your resume. For your online profile though this is awesome as it lets people click to your blog and get a deeper sense of your experience. You’ll find interviews with companies are vastly different if the team is already familiar with your work by reading it online.
Another cool thing to put on your profile is a link to your Github account. If you’ve been contributing to an open source project then call it out. Make it obvious and visible so the hiring companies can have a look.
Work your way down previous positions and add similar content. If you have a long work history you don’t need to go into too much detail on the oldest. People will generally only read what you’ve done at the last company and then skim read the rest. Keywords, quick project summary and then short description of what you specifically did will suffice.
Once your experience is complete try to fill in every other section and add a nice profile picture. Once finished pass it along to your friends and get some feedback and iterate anything they found confusing. It’s difficult to write about yourself objectively so constantly seek advice and improve your own marketing.
Edit: LinkedIn have added a Skills Assessments feature under jobs.
These are extremely short tests (only 15 timed questions). LinkedIn claims that these tests help improve your chances when applying for jobs. As they take so little time to complete I’d recommend you give them a go.
Once your LinkedIn profile is complete and you’re happy with it you can use it to create a file based resume. In the past I used to use paid products to do this but nowadays I use LinkedIn’s built in export feature.
Edit: More recently LinkedIn have added a build a resume function which is absolutely brilliant.
From speaking to lots of recruiters you want to cut your resume export PDF down to under 5 pages. Even that may be a little too long and should be considered an absolute maximum.
The tool I always used before is called Resumonk.
The process to transfer details out of LinkedIn into Resumonk is simple. Go to your LinkedIn profile page, hit the dropdown and select export to PDF. Then import the PDF into Resumonk. Once imported you can fine tune the contents to make it more applicable to a non-web media type. This means removing the URL links and defocusing the keywords.
You can see from this one that I’ve changed that list of comma separated keywords that work well on the web into more of a sentence.
Try to cut down your total resume size to 2 pages. Pick a nice theme and make sure you have working contact details listed. Here’s an example of mine.
You now have a PDF file you can send to people by email or use when applying for jobs on other sites. You also have the source of truth on LinkedIn which is constantly visible to a massive audience.
The final thing to do is turn on your “I’m available” flag in the LinkedIn settings. Go into your profile and turn this option on.
This will make it easier for recruiters to find you. If you have a good profile with the right keywords you should get spammed by quite a lot of InMails each day. It’s much better to have the jobs come to you rather than searching job boards full of stale entries.
If you have any feedback please drop me a note via the contact form on this site. Or otherwise feel free to add me on LinkedIn. I’d be happy to review your profile and provide some short feedback.
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