8 Steps to Increase Your Dev Resume Response Rate by 90%

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We are devs, not marketers. We good in writing code and hate to sell or market any stuff even it’s our own skills. This is why our resumes are so freaking bad when it comes to job hunting.


Hey guys. Today I want to grab your attention and talk about your developer’s resume. That time let’s talk it serious though. And before we start ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time you did update your resume?
  2. Is it just one (1) sheet long?
  3. How many keywords in you Skill Cloud (what)?
  4. What is your resume response rate (RRR)?
  5. Do you know your personal ROI for the last position and the time to ROI if it’s positive (wtf)?
  6. Have you ever A/B tested you resume?
  7. Are you confident you could find a new job in two weeks starting now?

Surprised by the questions and wondering why the heck does it all matter? Read through.

Your resume sucks. Face it.

We are devs, not marketers. We good in writing code and hate to sell or market any stuff even it’s our own skills. This is why our resumes are so freaking bad when it comes to job hunting. We keep it growing to 4-6 pages during our career bragging about all dusted MS SQL 2005 and genuinely don’t understands why that HR agent didn’t call back. We keep writing how we enjoy playing the bass guitar in our spare time. We still hope the list of Udemy courses we bought last Black Friday (and never watched) is vital to stand us out from the crowd. Wrong. Time to face it. Your resume perception is broken and you’ve never done it right. Here is why.

Your resume is your Landing Page

If you’re an avid internet user you’re probably aware what a landing page is.

A landing page is created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. Landing pages are designed with a single focused objective – convert a visitor to a lead by following the Call to Action (CTA).

Now behold the most esoteric job hunting secret:

  • Your resume is your landing page
  • Recruiters are your visitors
  • The main goal of your resume is to convert recruiter to a recruiter who calls you, ideally in 2 minutes time after a resume check.
  • Your resume CTA is a “Contact me” section
  • The one single focused objective of your resume is to get you a job interview. Nothing else.

Now while we keep it mind let’s optimise your resume for conversion and improve your resume response rate (RRR) once and for all for 90%.

The Ultimate Developer Resume Checklist

Be aware, when you’ll implement all the tips from the list below your phone will blow up from the headhunter calls. Stop reading if you want to keep your career the same quite pond as before.

1. Keep it short. Make it just two pages long.

Yes, just one sheet of paper. The average senior dev resume is four (4) pages long. It’s a huge no-no. Attract immediate attention by staying succinct and respectful to others people time right from the start of your professional relationships. Indulge peoples ADHD. And yes, one sheet resume is amazingly convenient to navigate through on a real interview.

🤜 Best practiceShorter resumes always come to the top of the pile. Boom!

2. Pump up your Skills Cloud section

The Skill Cloud is a list of tech stacks, languages, tools, frameworks, libs and other concepts you are familiar with. It’s your only tool of the great office war so keep it sharp, clean and polished as a spartan’s short sword. Use clear-cut, extensive tech terms instead of common phrases. For example instead of JavaScript specify the JS specifications you’re familiar with like ES5, ES6, ES2017. Instead of C# state C# (4.0-7.3) (if you started your career in 2010 from .NET Framework 4) and so on. Get rid of a graveyard of outdated and obsolete skills/tools/frameworks.

🤜 Best practiceTreat your Skills Cloud like keywords in SEO. Show the HR filter systems and picky recruiters what they want – the bleeding edge techy terms they have no idea about. Boom!

3. Stop DOing, start ACHIVEing

When describing your experience write down how did you improve the state of the company’s business and what did you achieve rather than listing what you was getting the pay check for. For example:

Configuration of more than 50 win services/web portals/APIs DEV/UAT/Production CI/CD pipelines using Jenkins. 95% grow of error-free dev-to-prod code delivery. Complete elimination of manual deployment practice. As a result ~210 dev hours been saved for the last year.

🤜 Best practiceTo blow agents mind you have to mention your personal ROI (return of investment) and “time to ROI” on your previous position. For example, if your salary was 5$k/m, you completed a project in 3 months and brought back to the company 60$k than your ROI is 45/15**100 = 300% and “time to ROI” is 3 months. It’s essentially just one thing any company wants to know about you – how good you as an investment. Boom!

4. Spice it up with WOW effects

That is a hardest part but if you’ll master it – your career is settled. The idea of WOW effect is to rephrase your experience to directly tie-up the company’s business success with your technical competence and attract even more attention from a hiring person. For example, instead of writing:

  • “Designed and implemented 2 Single Page Applications (SPA) as a part of Realine project” -> meh… soo boring…

put it like

  • “Helping Realine Project to launch 2 SPA apps (MEAR Stack, 500 reqs/sec) that increased user’s engagement by 35%”. -> WOW! That guy is awesome!

Do you feel the flavour of competence, proficiency and business acumen in the second sentence? Yeah, the employer will spot it too and wouldn’t let it go.

🤜 Best practiceLink your company’s business success with your technical and professional competence.

5. Your contact details is your CTA

Remember the main goal of your resume is to convert a recruiter to the recruiter who calls or contacts you? I had a guy who called me from Melbourne to Perth in 15 seconds after I clicked on “Send Application” button on Seek.com. So your contact details have to be visible on every page and easy to navigate to. Do provide your email, phone, Github and LinkedIn. Encourage agents to call you in your email/cover letter by phrase: ready for immediate chat and interview. Don’t fool yourself by empty expectations, if you’re interested to the agent he/she will call you in 15 minutes max just about finishing their morning flat white.

🤜 Best practiceCopy you contacts to “header” and “footer” to increase its visibility for HR agent. It’s a common UX Design practice – when a user reaching the bottom of the page point him to the next action… Yes! To call you! Boom!

6. Get rid of irrelevant details

Remember, people don’t care about your personal life. They digging gold like gnomes from Moria, launching new SaaSes, organising IPO and cracking brains how don’t f*ck up that 5 million round A investment. Your personal life is their last priority. They will open your personality when they start to respect you. Until that don’t pollute your resume with your hobbies.

🤜 Best practiceAlways stay professional. It will help you to pop out from a horde of Apple haters, D&D players and GoT lovers with ease of bubble sorting.

7. Don’t spend time to cover letter

You are a dev, not a journalist. That’s your code that matters and you honestly have other things to focus on (like noodling with Reactive programming or Golang routines in your sandbox – yeah!). Prepare a simple version of welcome letter with your name, when you available for interview and attach your resume. That’s it.

8. A/B test it, test it, test it

Stop guessing. Start learning from the market. Use A/B testing for your resume as you would do that for your landing page.

A/B testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing) is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app (or resume for us) against each other to determine which one performs better.

🤜 Best practice: Prepare two versions of a resume with different layouts or skill clouds. Separate your applications in two buckets (by city, time, company sector). Calculate the RRR (resume response rate) and stick with a winner.

Where could I find an example of A/B tested resume?

Recently one of my friends asked me to check his Dev Resume and provide some advices how to improve it. He did know I’ve been A/B tested my resume for the last 3 years here in Perth, Western Australia and just landed a 6 figure job a couple of months ago. The result of the A/B test was mind-blowing – the final version of the resume got 90% more responses from recruiters and companies than the version I’ve start my test with. By the way, if you need to get ready for technical questions interviews, visit FullStart.cafe website  


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