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The Art of the Technical Resume

March 4th, 2016

Businessman Reading Resume

This article includes sections from a Talener article originally posted on DC InnoClick here to view the original article in its entirety.


There is an art to resume writing.  There is an even finer art to writing a technical resume that highlights your skills as a developer, without overwhelming a hiring manager with tech stacks that crowd the page.  So how do you master the skill of resume writing and avoid some big pitfalls along the way?

It often takes hiring managers less than one minute to scan through a resume and decide whether you move to the short list of resumes or not.  One minute. It might seem unfair or downright crazy that your job search is based on less than 60 ticking seconds.  Jobs can have hundreds of applicants; especially if you live in a thriving metro area.

So barring any major spelling mistakes, formatting issues, or illegible fonts – we’ve highlighted some of the biggest offenders we see on tech resumes as well as included links to some great overall resume advice.

It’s too long.

We’ve seen resumes 10-15 pages long (seriously). The resume is filled with projects, every last detail about the tech stack you know and have seen once in your life.  Longer is not always better. This is where the age old, quality over quantity is imperative.  If your best qualifications aren’t on the first two pages, you’re selling yourself short.

Rule of thumb: no more than three pages for a general resume.  And this is generous according to the Talener NYC Director, Kim Siembieda. Junior candidates shouldn’t exceed 1-2 pages, and mid-level should stick to two pages. Your resume should introduce your skills; you are there to tell your story.

It lists every technology you’ve ever seen.

And you can’t explain how you have used them. Rule of thumb: If a hiring manager closed their eyes, moved their index finger around and pointed to a technology on your resume, would you feel comfortable answering in depth technical questions about it?  Sound crazy? It happens more than you think.  Be prepared to explain the smallest line on your resume, not your biggest project.

If you really want to illustrate the scope of your abilities without overselling yourself, add in a section that lists technologies that you are familiar with or have seen in action before.

Education: Check. Experience: Check. Motivation…

It’s great that you went to a top school for your CS degree and have three internships under your belt.  But if you haven’t gotten a job right out of school and need to go through the interviewing gauntlet, then you need to show your motivation for finding a job and continuing your learning. This is critical for bootcamp grads as well. Include associations, tech groups, meetups, hack-at-thons & trainings outside of work. Show your motivation!

Looking for more information about technical resumes? You can always reach out to a Talener team member, contact us, or check out some resources from some of the companies we have worked with, below:

Technical Resume Templates – Dice.com

Technical Resume Templates- Monster.com

How To Write A Developer Resume That Will Get You Hired – Business Insider

 

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Bootcamp Grad: Preparing for the Interview

February 17th, 2016

In the interviewing gauntlet, there are always tips and tricks for getting through an interview. If you’re a new bootcamp grad, check out this brief interview guide of Do’s & Don’ts for getting through the process:

Do’s- 

Be prepared to talk about what you did before the bootcamp

  • Why? – You want to focus on any skills that could carry over to a new engineer role: communications skills, client facing skills, analytical work, etc.

Know why you left your old role and WHY you moved into software development

  • Why?- Someone doesn’t leave a role to learn software development  just because (unless they are independently wealthy, in which case…they probably don’t need the job). Know specific reasons why you are making the transition: new skills, complimentary skills, job market, etc.
  • Why? –  Show your passion for technology and what it means to you moving into a new role/industry/company

Know our languages and how to talk about them in real world applications

  • Why? – Theoretical knowledge of a language is not the same as having used or being proficient in a language. Know your languages like the back of your hand and know your weaknesses with those languages even better.
  • Why? – You will be asked about projects. Bootcamp grads may have compacted development into a much smaller time frame than traditional CS grads so it’s important to have a concise outline in your head of projects, professional work, and personal investment.

Practice your answers

  • Why? – The more you practice, the more clearly and concisely you will be able to give confident answers.

Research the company before the interview

  • Why? – It shows interest in their product, industry, structure, and services.  It also means that you’ve taken the time to analyze their current market and give you an opportunity to let them know how you will help.
  • Why? – So you can ask questions of the interviewer. If you have done thorough research, you can ask questions regarding development of new software, team structure, etc. This turns the tables and takes you out of  the hot seat for a while.

Know how you want to grow

  • Why? – It shows forward thinking and an understanding for learning, mentorship and the future with the organization. This doesn’t mean you have to have a five year plan.  It is simply an open door for guidance, continued training, and growth.   “I’m comfortable building the back end of Ruby on Rails web apps on day one, but I’m looking forward to expanding my front end skill set as well.”
  • Why? – It gives you challenges that you want to overcome. You are motivated to overcome them.  Provide specific past examples of challenges that you were able to take on.

Have your portfolio memorized inside and out

  • Why? – This shows drive and organization.  You should know every last detail your personal projects, live apps, published work & Github. You should be able to explain the process from start to finish without missing a beat.

Articulate your experiences

  • Why? – If you are speaking with someone who is non-technical, this is where your past background and commuication skills are key.  This is the difference between knowing what you do vs. HOW and WHY you are do it.  Help your non-technical interviewer vizualize your work.

Don’ts-

Go into too much detail about your previous career

  • Why? – You want to spend a few minutes talking about your previous career but if it isn’t entirely relevant to your new industry/ company/ skills set, it may draw focus on reasons you are less qualified for this new career.

Be too selective on the industry, company size, location & compensation

  • Why? – If you’re a new grad with no experience at all, then there is no reason to like or dislike on specific aspect of an industry, company, or size.  If you would like to focus on a certain area of work, do your homework about the companies within the industry, how their software teams are made up, and what they consider to be fair compensation by looking at their job boards.  One year of professional software development experience will make you significantly more marketable and allow you to hone in on your dream job with much more ease. Don’t settle, but be flexible.

And, as always, standard interview rules apply: be early, dress to impress, prepare questions, bring a resume (even if they have one), and avoid strong sensory markers that someone might associate you with, instead of your skills ( strong cologne, nail polish still drying from your subway ride, etc.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Insights from the CEO: Passive Job Seekers

February 1st, 2016

While on a client visit at a few weeks ago, the term “passive candidate” came up in our conversation. The hiring manager explained that they recently had a candidate who turned down their offer. When we asked why, they explained that they turned it down because they were a “passive candidate”.

Later on, a colleague and I spoke about what it really means to be a “passive candidate”. The definition in itself is simple: it’s anyone who is actively working. In order to on board a passive candidate, an offer from a different company needs to be “better” than their current position. But this is where the simple definition weaves itself into a spider web of complex emotions, needs & desires. “Better” does not mean the same thing for everyone. If you have a family, perhaps it’s monetary or stability. If you are beginning your career “better” could mean team size or the latest and greatest office perks.

My intention is not to lump passive candidates into one pool. Rarely does one factor (let alone the same one) influence the decision to leave one role and accept another. If your spouse is making $1m annually as a brain surgeon, your primary motivation may not be remuneration centric. But, you never know.

A few week ago, Mark Zandi, of Moody’s predicted full employment by mid-2016. What does this mean on a macro level? Companies are competing for top talent and their roles may not look as appealing as they were during the recession.

As the owner and CEO of Talener, I would hate to think that someone could offer a better opportunity than myself. I know that individuals are drawn to certain roles and my goal is to constantly find people who are drawn to mine.

Getting to the root of what someone “wants” and what is “better” isn’t quite as easy as asking them…”so, what do you want?” While we start by asking each candidate what they want in their next role, this only scratches the surfaces to the true needs and desires that each individual has. Honing in on specifics gives us a detailed portrait where we can see the individual brushstrokes that make up the overall picture.

So…what do you want? We ask our candidates, and you should ask yourself what you really want and need from your next role. Industry? Title? Technology? Location? Work from Home? Salary? Benefits? Organization Size? Start Up? Public Company? Often we compromise of the size of a company in order to get the ideal title or location. But if the healthcare industry is part of your future ideal job- let us know! We don’t want to miss anything that is important to you.

As we start the New Year and we’ve all had our fill our holiday festivities, one of my favorite ways to describe this process comes from watching “A Christmas Story”. Ralphie has brain freeze while on Santa’s lap and agrees that he wants a football for Christmas. But, as he slides down, away from Santa, he remembers what he really wants: an official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot range model air rifle.

The lesson here is to ask twice and to be careful not to lead someone towards a role that they would like, but it isn’t really want they want or need. It is as much our responsibility to ask and ensure that we understand as it is yours, the passive candidate.

Simply saying that a role was turned down because someone was “passive” doesn’t get to the real reason that the offer is unaccepted. Without placing blame, we have been taught to hold our cards close. Because revealing everything means showing our true desires, insecurities or hot button issues. A role that is passed up doesn’t mean that it is not attractive or desirable- it just means that it wasn’t “better” for that candidate.

This needs to be a two way street. We, as recruiting professionals, need to support candidates in their current role. Something new is not necessarily always better. Sometimes the best advice we can give to a candidate is to stay put. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have something for them or a role that could fit their job searching criteria. It means that we’re looking out for your best interest in your current role. Technology has been very forgiving to those who move from role to role. New Software and startups move quickly and wait for no one. But sometimes our best advice is to stay put.

At the end of the day, very few candidates that are truly passive. And very few candidates can tell you that absolutely nothing, no other role, no other location or salary could be better. So does that mean that everyone is an active candidate? Not necessarily. With full employment coming into mid-2016, for the first time in a few years, companies will be dealing with “active recruits” in addition to “active candidates”.

So in this ocean of candidate labels, what does it all mean? Active recruits are going to cost more than an active or passive candidate. You want them. You pursue them. A fresh faced college student with a Computer Science degree could command close to $100k without having worked a day in the field. Some of the largest companies compete for top talent, paying premiums to recruit active candidates.

Our goal, as a company, is to ensure that our clients are getting the best candidates who know what they want and how they will fit into their structure. But our goal is also to provide candidates with job opportunities that give them what they want.

Instead of lumping everyone into a category, we need to consider where the candidate in their search (if there is one) and where a client stands on a position. Step back and ask yourself these questions before you blame a passive candidate or, if you’re the candidate, what would be “better”:

ClientsCandidates

While these are only a few of the questions the clients and candidates should be asking themselves as they sort through their needs and wants, it is insight into how involved the hiring process is- no matter which side you are on. Human emotions and needs can derail a slam-dunk offer, no matter how great. If it isn’t the “better” that candidates are seeking out, then it won’t work. So passive, active, or recruit- your better, by better, and their better will never match 100%.

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Posted in Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Talener Washington DC: Open for Business!

January 6th, 2015

Talener is continuing to grow organically and is happy to announce that our Washington DC office has opened!   Thousands of tech jobs can be found through a simple search on LinkedIn or Indeed. These numbers back the tech expansion that has been talked about in Washington DC over the past few years.

The key is making the connection between these employers- (from start-ups to Fortune 500s) and top tech talent in the Washington DC metro area. Some of the finest talent comes from top universities like George Washington, American University, or Georgetown- all in the heart of our nation’s capital.

Tech start-ups have realized the potential of this market and have attempted to break out of Silicon Valley and across the country to the east coast. From Proudly Made in DC to the Washington Post– more and more tech and media outlets are highlighting the potential for rapid growth.

While the office space is new and the paint has barely dried- four of our veteran managers and directors have taken on the task of making Talener the tech staffing solution in Washington DC.

Meet the Team:

WashingtonDC_Meet the Team_PS

Justin Cottrell– Justin has moved up the ranks at Talener over the last five years, including his most recent position as Director of our New York City headquarters. His extensive knowledge of the software, Java, C# and QA markets make him an asset to the team and to any potential tech job seekers in the Metro DC area.

Chris Fanning– Chris has an exemplary background in placing Open Source technology candidates with some of the country’s top companies; all while running a successful team in New York City.

Margo Slaff– Margo’s personality, organization, and passion for the front end market have made her a valuable asset in New York. Moving to Washington DC gives her the opportunity to build out a successful team with as much passion as she has.

Kate Byrnes– As an expert in the software field- Kate has left a void in New York. The dedication to her clients and candidates is unparalleled. Her work ethic and desire to make the match between top tech talent and our clients is exemplary.

With several years of combined experience; Justin, Chris, Margo & Kate will take on the DC office in several different areas of technology, including:

Open Source Scripting, Front End & Mobile, Enterprise Software, Dev Ops, Project/ Product Management & Quality Assurance

From iOS to Drupal, JavaScript to the Cloud- our DC team can make the connection. Whether you are just starting the job search or hiring for that hard-to-find talent, Talener is your full service solution- recruiting, relationship building, market data, and placement.

Take a moment to contact the team to see how they can help you today.

Washington DC Metro:  1655 North Fort Myer Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22209

Phone:  703-592- 6000

Meet the Team

Posted in Company News, Current Events, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Talener Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 6

June 28th, 2013

“Hot Town, Summer in the City”
Summer time is here and the pace of business may slow down a bit.  If your company is not growing, chances are your bosses are probably on vacation, so it’s a great time to get out there and interview.  Aside from sweating profusely, this is an excellent chance for candidates to interview and check out some interesting opportunities.  These next few months are great time for growing companies to get a lot of interviewing done, especially in our offices.  Trust me, all of the Talener AC units are set to the coldest setting possible. 

We are excited to announce the launch of our 5th office in Chicago, IL, which will open up on August 5th, 2013.  This will be our first non-coastal office.  We recently had a management meeting in Chicago which lead to a number of people begging to get out to Chicago to start the office there.  At the end of the day, we had a lot of choices and went with the following people:
Daniel Nooromid- Director, relocating from LA and started in NYC in 2010
Ashley McNamara- Manager, relocating from Boston and started in NYC in 2011
Jacob Bearman- Senior Relationship Manager, relocating from LA and started in 2012
David Schulman- Senior Relationship Manager, relocating from NYC and started in 2012

In addition to opening up a new office, we also hired 6 new people in NYC, 3 in LA and 3 in Boston and 3 in San Francisco:
NYC Office:
Caroline Brewster, Trinity College
Kate Byrnes, Colgate University
Kelly Grote, Trinity College
Chris Horner, Colgate University
Alicia Scully, Colgate University
Taylor Rhodes, Tulane University

SF Office:
Simon Bunker, California State University
Nhung Hoang, California State University East Bay
Ana Lozano, University of California, Berkeley

BOS Office:
Joe Barbano, Colgate University
Timothy King, Saint Anselm College
R. Andrew Neville, Denison University

Welcome to Talener!

 

 

Posted in Company News, News, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

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