Over a million developers have joined DZone.
{{announcement.body}}
{{announcement.title}}

Why Technical Résumés Need a Profile

DZone's Guide to

Why Technical Résumés Need a Profile

· Agile Zone
Free Resource

Learn more about how DevOps teams must adopt a more agile development process, working in parallel instead of waiting on other teams to finish their components or for resources to become available, brought to you in partnership with CA Technologies.

There is significant variation in résumé format across candidates. Name and contact information is always on top, but on any given day a recruiter might see the next section as Education, Skills, Experience, or even (gasp) an Objective.

Career length influences which section comes first. Entry-level candidates usually choose Education, while veteran candidates gravitate towards experience and accomplishments. Unfortunately, going from a glance at contact information to dissecting intimate project details doesn’t make for a smooth transition. It’s jarring. A section that serves as a buffer to introduce résumé content that also subliminally instructs the reader on what content to pay attention to will help.

And remember the résumé’s audience. Most recruiters and HR personnel don’t have the background of the candidates they assess, so reviewers benefit from any guidance (even subliminal) provided to understand content. Since few grow up aspiring to the glamorous world of tech recruitment, the industry is typically stocked with C students.

Since a résumé “states your case” to employers, let’s look at lawyers…

The Purpose of Opening Statements

When trial attorneys present cases to juries, they don’t immediately start questioning witnesses. They start with opening statements. Why?

The opening statement informs the jury as to what evidence they will hear during the trial, and why that evidence is significant to the case. The statement is a roadmap on what the attorney wants jurors to listen for (or ignore) during the trial and which elements are critical to the case. It provides background information and announces what is forthcoming.

Before trial, jurors know nothing about the case. Without opening statements, jurors may get lost in trivial details while missing out on the important elements the attorney wants them to hear. Attorneys can’t trust a jury’s ability to make those decisions independently, so opening statements influence thought process.

It is paramount that attorneys present their case in a manner consistent with their opening statements. Diversions from that roadmap will cause the jury to distrust the attorney and detract from the attorney’s credibility.

Back to résumés… Just as jurors know nothing before trial, recruiters know nothing about applicants until they open the résumé. Job seekers today are less likely to provide a cover letter (with recruiters less likely to read them), and résumés are often given brief initial screening by untrained eyes. This creates a problem for qualified applicants who may be wrongfully passed over. What is the optimal strategy for expressing experience and ensuring that even novice reviewers will properly identify qualified candidates?  An opening statement.

The Purpose of the Profile

Profiles are the opening statement in a case for an interview, with the résumé content that follows the evidence. The Profile introduces experience to be detailed later in the document, which tacitly baits reviewers into seeking out evidence to specifically support (or refute) those claims. A résumé without a Profile makes no claims to be proven or disproven, and doesn’t give the reader any additional instruction on what to seek.

When Profile claims are corroborated by details of experience, it results in a “buy” from the reader. The Profile was a promise of sorts, later fulfilled by the supporting evidence.

When a Profile doesn’t reflect experience, it exposes the candidate as a potential fraud and detracts from any relevant experience the candidate does possess. Qualified candidates with overreaching Profiles put themselves in a precarious situation. Even well-written Profiles are a negative mark on applicants when the claims are inaccurate or unsupported. Just as attorneys must lay out cases in accordance with their opening statements, experience must match Profiles.

Typical Profiles Are Noise, Not Signal

The overwhelming majority of Profile statements are virtually identical. Words and phrases like hard-working,intelligentdedicatedcareer-mindedinnovative, etc. are, in this context, mere self-assessments impossible to qualify. It’s fluff, and contributes résumé noise that distracts readers’ attention from signal.

Writing Profiles

Useful Profiles clearly say what you have done and can do, and are ideally quantified for the reader to prevent any misunderstanding. If a temp at a startup is tasked to find résumés of software engineers with Python and Django experience, he is unlikely to ignore résumés with Profiles stating “Software engineer with six years of experience building solutions with Python and Django“.

For candidates attempting to transition into new roles that might be less obvious to a reader, a Profile must double as a disguised Objective. These Profiles will first state the candidate’s current experience and end with what type of work the applicant seeks. “Systems Administrator with three years of Python and Bash scripting experience seeks transition into dedicated junior DevOps role” provides background as well as future intent, but the last seven words are needed to get the average recruiter’s attention.

Just as Objectives are altered to match requirements, consider tweaking a Profile to highlight required skills. A candidate that identifies herself as a Mobile Developer in the Profile might not get selected for interview for aWeb Developer position, even when the résumé demonstrates all necessary qualifications. How a candidate self-identifies suggests their career interests, unless stated otherwise (see paragraph above).

Based on the importance of having Profile/experience agreement, it’s suggested that the Profile is written last. Lawyers can’t write an opening statement before knowing their case, and candidates should have all of their corroborating evidence in place before attempting to summarize it for clear interpretation.

Conclusion

Assume your résumé reviewer knows little about what you do, and that they need to be explicitly told what you do without having to interpret it through your listed experience. Identify yourself in the Profile as closely to the job description (and perhaps even title) as possible. Make sure that all claims made in the Profile are supported by evidence somewhere else in the résumé, ideally early on.

Discover the warning signs of DevOps Dysfunction and learn how to get back on the right track, brought to you in partnership with CA Technologies.

Topics:

Published at DZone with permission of Dave Fecak, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

The best of DZone straight to your inbox.

SEE AN EXAMPLE
Please provide a valid email address.

Thanks for subscribing!

Awesome! Check your inbox to verify your email so you can start receiving the latest in tech news and resources.
Subscribe

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}