Any content improvements needed on my resume?

Well, I figured this would be the most suitable place on this site to request a resume/CV critique, so here goes. I’ve been struggling to land a full-time job this entire year, and don’t want to worsen my chances of it by letting more time pass by without improving my resume.

I am mostly trying to get into a job as a back-end developer at a software product-driven company, since they seem to treat their developers as a more valuable asset than most IT shops.

Out of my entire resume, I mostly want my content reviewed. I feel that my Experience section has gotten too long and wordy, but I’m not sure. But something must be keeping me from being hirable as a mid-level or even junior developer. That’s why I’m a programmer and not a salesperson :stuck_out_tongue: My personal contact info and some company names are omitted for security reasons.

Summary of Qualifications

Web developer with intermediate experience in back-end web programming and extensive understanding of front-end programming and best practices for creating websites. Specific knowledge in object-oriented concepts and frameworks, including the implementation/revision of custom work. Able to collaborate in a small team environment and using project/code management tools. Capable of applying basic design work in graphics authoring software, completing a web project from start to finish.

Technical Expertise

  • Cross-browser compatible XHTML and CSS
  • PHP 5 and OOP/MVC frameworks
  • Working knowledge of MySQL and MS Access (design views)
  • Wordpress and Magento e-Commerce
  • Setup and configuration of LAMP and WAMP stacks
  • Some use of Javascript, jQuery, and AJAX
  • Object-oriented C++, C#, and Visual Studio Express
  • Subversion and GIT clients
  • Some design work on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

Professional Experience

Self-employed (part-time)
2010 - 2011
Software Engineer

  • Customized themes and widgets for Wordpress sites and various third-party PHP CMSes.
  • Updated Magento skin for a jewelry store, regular maintenance on the shopping cart and product areas.
  • Added functionality to a custom web page uploader for local bands in partnership with Hot Topic.

MacSales / Other World Computing
2010
Software Engineer / Code Reviewer

  • Reviewed thousands of lines of code of a custom PHP framework for use with several e-commerce stores, and tracked logical and syntatical errors, UI errors, and preparing possible fixes.
  • Worked together with UX QA tester to identify new bugs and planning out solutions.

Web consulting company
2008 - 2010
Software Engineer

  • Helped develop a sales and marketing application for janitorial services as an on-site project. Application uses a PHP and AJAX front-end with MySQL. Site features included were email campaign managers, sales metrics, and tools to project sales goals.
  • Migrated and refactored databases of >10k records, writing custom scripts to ease the migration process.
  • Launched and updated Magento e-commerce stores, and built Wordpress sites for several clients.
  • Built and maintained custom websites for many smaller clients and in-house marketing brands.

International magazine publisher (part-time)
2007
Jr. Software Engineer

  • Maintained a proprietary object-oriented PHP CMS and websites for an international publishing company serving a wide range of blue-chip clients locally and overseas.
  • Added many updates and features for news website for college students. Improved workflow for writers and editors by fixing bugs on the CMS and making some functions more intuitive to use.
  • Built/installed Windows work PCs and provided basic technical support to company employees.

Local photography studio (part-time)
2007
Jr. Software Engineer / Web Designer

  • Built an online sales tracking application with a ColdFusion front-end and created custom queries with MS Access, to provide personal sales data for freelance photographers.
  • Developed ColdFusion prototypes for the CMS and website for the local town’s Chamber of Commerce.
  • Redesigned a website for a local grocery store to reflect the store’s theme. Contact form in Classic ASP.
  • Retouched and organized hundreds of digital photos for many events.

Instructional Technology Lab - UIC
2002 - 2006
Research Assistant

  • Tutor focused on delivering technical assistance exclusively to university faculty and staff.
  • Provided basic technical support by phone, on-site, and help ticket systems.
  • Setup and installation of video camcorders and audio/video hardware for computers.
  • Video editing and conversion with Premiere and Final Cut Pro.
  • Updated departmental websites with Dreamweaver.

Education

University of Illinois at Chicago
Graduated December 2007
BFA in Electronic Media
Some education in Computer Science, including discrete math, data structures and algorithms.

It sound good, You are fulfilling all the criteria very cleverly, I am sure you will get the results very soon. One thing - You can use tables for mentioning all your professional and educational details. It saves space as well as gives to the point information required by any recruiter.

Your resume reads well, and it would appear that you have plenty of experience as a developer. If I were handed this CV I would probably give you an interview.

However, I assume that you’re not here for your resume to be praised. If I had to give criticism it would be that you appear to paint yourself with a rather broad brush. You list lots of experience with lots of different tools, but not much specialisation.

Since you’re looking to cut things down, I would probably list three different platforms you’d like to work with (e.g. C#/ASP.NET, Python/Django, PHP) and write tailor-made resumes for each role, highlighting briefly your range of experience and extensively your knowledge of these areas. Specifically highlight your knowledge of source-control as that’s a very sought-after skill that, shockingly, a lot of developers haven’t picked up yet.

If you’re looking for work then two places I can recommend to you are Reddit (namely, /r/forhire) and [url=http://careers.stackoverflow.com/]Stack Overflow Careers. Outside of LinkedIn, where there is a lot of noise, I think that someone of your experience shouldn’t struggle to get a job if you’re willing to relocate.

Finally, get yourself a portfolio site! I’ve kept my CV up to date, but I’ve never actually had a use for it for any full-time job. If you’ve got some free time, sign up to those sites and build yourself the best possible portfolio to flaunt your talents. I’ve done nothing to my portfolio and I get around twenty people look at it a day, and a few emails asking about jobs.

Thanks Philip and ULTiMATE, these were the kinds of responses I was hoping for. I may just reformat some of my content into a table as a last resort, though.

ULTiMATE, you brought up some really good points and I mostly agree with them. So I should narrow down the focus in my resumes? That’s probably what’s causing me to think my resume is too long and verbose. Would you suggest reducing every job description down to two or three list items? For example, I could probably do away with the part about photo retouching- I don’t remember that coming up as a topic in any of my interviews.

Also, since we are focusing on specializing resumes for different job roles, I was considering writing one for a backend developer using open source stack (LAMP) and a different one for junior software development, since I want to get more into desktop software. This will focus on my general programming skillset, and interest in C++/C#. I have not used those two languages professionally, only as a hobby, but if anyone had to choose among which junior programmer they should prefer to choose the one with the most passion about what they do, rather than the one that just does this job to get paid.

I did have a portfolio also, but I haven’t been able to pay my hosting fees for a while (now totaling over $50). It doesn’t sound like much, but my freelance leads have really dried up and I don’t have many professional references at the moment. Would you suggest any free website/blogging platforms to present my portfolio, and if so, which ones?

There’s nothing wrong with that. Over the past five years I’ve worked at numerous places on internships and contracted/freelance hours. However, as my experience builds I slowly remove jobs and references from my list. Some jobs now occupy a small one-liner at the bottom of my CV.

The issue I’ve found is that if a programmer is hiring they like to see a broad set of skills, whereas if someone in HR were hiring they’d just want someone who can do the job using the correct abbreviated tool.

If you want to land a job as, say, an ASP.NET Developer it’d be a good idea to write your CV to highlight (and yes, a but of overemphasising) all of your experience in that field and to push the rest of your experience into smaller bits for your CV to show some diversity. I’ve read a number of developer CV’s looking for jobs at my current employer and many of them, often at request from their university, chuck all the information they can on there. All I want to know is whether they can write code, and all the HR department wants to know is whether they know X. Everything else is irrelevant.

I’d look further into the job role itself, and possibly look around the sites of the company you’re applying for.

If, for example, you find out that they’re solely a .NET shop, they’re asking for a competent C# developer and that they use MVC3 on their site you’ll want to highlight your knowledge of C#, ASP.NET, Unit Testing frameworks and experience using MVC3. To be honest I don’t think it matters if you’ve not used it much commercially; just list how much experience you have using it and when it comes to the interview stages tell them if they ask.

To be honest there is such a thing as being overqualified, especially for a junior role. Even in the most general of cases I would limit your resume/CV to your strongest experience. A good table of what you know, your levels of experience with it and your perceived competency in it would work wonders also. You want any interviewer to be able to read through your resume as quickly as possible and realise that you’re an experienced and competent developer.

Also, as already mentioned, get yourself a GitHub/BitBucket account for personal code to show off, a LinkedIn and Stack Overflow account and mention those in your CV. I’m in the top 10% of users on SO, which is pretty easy to do, and that alone gets the average manager to think that I’m some sort of programming guru.

That’s a lot for basic hosting! Get yourself a domain from somewhere cheap and get your hosting somewhere like NearlyFreeSpeech.NET, where you can pay for what you use, rather than a flat rate. Lots of guys I know host their portfolios on there and per month they pay next to nothing.

Nowadays I’d steer clear of the Blogger’s and the WordPresses as they’re considered by many to be the solution for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. If you’re a Web Developer then you should be able to afford a domain and the smallest hosting package possible.