Photo by Vanessa Garcia
Every hiring manager has things that will influence them positively or negatively about a person when reading their resume or CV. Given how critical attention to detail is for developers and technical leaders, lacking attention to detail is a warning flag for me and many other leaders I speak to.
Your resume is a simple enumeration of your experience and the first sample of work you present to a potential employer. Many developers neglect the quality of their resume because they aren’t comfortable with writing, not comfortable talking about themselves, or simply because they don’t think it is important. When there are shortages of skilled developers, hiring managers will often overlook formatting, spelling, or grammar mistakes in a resume. When the hiring manager has multiple good choices for a role, seemingly small things can make a big difference in the perception of you as a candidate.
Weaving in the Details
Remember that your resume is more than a list; it’s a story of your professional journey, skills, and aptitudes. The quality of this narrative directly impacts a hiring manager’s perception of you. So, while it’s crucial to include your significant accomplishments and skills, attention to detail helps to fill in the gaps and provide a comprehensive picture.
For example, including specific project details, like what technologies you used, your role in the project, and the quantifiable results, can set you apart from the competition. These details reveal the true extent of your abilities and demonstrate your authentic experience as a technologist and your focus on the outcome, not just the output of your work.
Evidence of Care and Dedication
Meticulous attention to detail on a resume is a positive signal to employers. It’s a testament to your dedication and commitment to excellence. On the other hand, errors, inconsistencies, or vague descriptions can give the impression of carelessness or lack of effort. Spelling and grammar mistakes, easily caught by a spelling or grammar checker in a document editor, are red flags. If you have front-end or user-facing application development experience, inconsistent or poor formatting questions your skills.
Detailing Technical Proficiencies
Specificity in listing your technical skills is another area where detail matters immensely. A generic mention of “programming languages” won’t do the job. Instead, list each language and technology you are proficient in, ideally linking them to your professional experience or projects.
Compatibility with Job Descriptions
Lastly, close attention to the job description can make all the difference. Customizing your resume to fit the specifics of the role shows a proactive and thorough approach.
How to debug your resume
- Use a spelling and grammar checker.
- Have a friend (preferably someone experienced in reviewing resumes) proofread it.
- If you are putting your resume into a language where you are not a native speaker, have a couple of people who are native speakers read it over for tone and phrasing.
- If you are unsure how to phrase something, find other resumes (or LinkedIn profiles) from folks with similar experiences to see how they express it.
- If you are updating your resume with new experience, read it thoroughly to ensure that the new and old sections have the same tone of voice and style.
- Once you have made your changes, put your resume aside for a day or two and then reread it with fresh eyes to catch anything you may have missed.
These things seem obvious, but I can’t count the times I’ve found glaring errors in resumes where the candidate did not follow those steps.
Don’t disqualify yourself for silly reasons!
Attention to detail in a resume could be the difference between getting your foot in the door or having it firmly shut. As a technical professional, your attention to detail should reflect in your work, and there’s no better place to start demonstrating it than your resume.
A well-crafted, detailed resume is your representative in your absence, showcasing your abilities and a testament to your commitment to precision. So, the next time you revise your resume, remember to keep the details in focus. It might just be your key to the next big opportunity.
Your resume is an opportunity to illustrate who you are as a professional and how you approach your work. Attention to detail not only elevates your resume above the rest but also demonstrates the values essential to success in technology: meticulousness, precision, and a deep understanding of your craft. The details aren’t just details; they’re differentiators.