Putting Together an Outstanding Resume: Our Top Tips

Victoria Burghi and Adriana Campoy
March 26, 2019

Here at Sophilabs, we strive to find talented team players who are as excited as we are to deliver high quality, client-focused services. We've seen a lot of resumes, and we've noticed a pattern in the ones that are successful in landing an interview. In this post, we share our advice for shaping a competitive resume.

Before you get started, get to know the company.

The recruitment process works best when the candidate and the employer are a mutual fit. Just as a company looking to fill a job opening needs get to know an applicant before hiring them, it's crucial for you to do your research before you begin the application process so you're fully informed on what the job entails and what the company is like.

Mine the company's website for information: What is their mission? Who are their founders? Read up on the company's history, methodology, and achievements so you can get an idea of the company culture. Do their values resonate with yours? Imagine yourself on the job: Why would this be a great place to work, and what do your skills bring to the table? Answering these questions honestly ensures that you are applying to a job that you would find meaningful; it should also inform which qualifications you stress on your resume.

At sophilabs, we encourage applicants to take a look at our Playbook and make sure our company culture and values are a good fit. We're transparent about who we are, and we hope potential applicants will research us and ask us questions to see if they share our passion for teamwork and delivering top-notch, client-focused solutions. If they do share our values, this should be reflected in the skills and experience applicants highlight on their resumes. We also recommend that applicants write a cover letter explaining in more detail why they chose sophilabs and what they can contribute to our team.

Keep it simple.

The formatting of your resume should be clean and easy to read. Organization and legibility are the most crucial factors of your resume layout. Choose a simple font like Arial and utilize white space strategically. Try to avoid using too much color and steer clear of flashy templates, which tend to distract from the important information. Designers should keep in mind that the resume is not part of the design portfolio; it's best to keep your resume plain and straightforward and simply include links to your creative work if you want potential employers to see what you can do. You can download sophilabs' template below if you're looking for somewhere to start.

Check out our resume template

When it comes to personal information, include only the essentials. It's not necessary to include your photo, age, birth date, marital status, identification number, mailing address, or any other personal information that's not relevant to the job posting. We recommend limiting personal information to your name, phone number, email address, and city and state of residence. You can also provide a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Providing only the essential personal information is not just a good safety measure; it means you're including only the information the employer will actually use throughout the recruitment process and leaves more room for you to write about your qualifications (remember that a good rule of thumb is to keep your resume to a single page). Our recommendation to leave out your photo and unnecessary personal information is also in accordance with Sophilabs' anti-discrimination policy.

Highlight relevant experience.

You may have heard that you should include all your previous work experience on your resume, but this is not sound advice. Select the professional experiences that are relevant to the job posting. Even if you have not yet worked in the company's industry, include the positions where you developed skills that would help you perform well in the position you are applying for. If you haven't had much work experience yet, include projects completed during your studies that have prepared you for the job.

When it comes to describing the previous positions you held, keep descriptions concise and to the point. Aim to be specific but brief: focus on significant daily tasks and major accomplishments. We recommend using your cover letter to provide more details about how your previous experience has prepared you to fulfill the responsibilities of the job you're applying for.

Sophilabs is interested in what candidates can do, and an outstanding resume will draw attention to those capabilities with succinct, concrete examples. Applicants interested in a technical position with us can include links to GitHub, Bitbucket, Behance, Dribbble, or whichever platform they use to share their work to help demonstrate their skills. If the applicant's qualifications fit the job requirements, they'll have the opportunity to provide more details about their work experience during an interview.

Pay attention to the details.

Once you have finished putting together your resume, proofread it closely for any errors. Save it as a PDF or another portable format that will remain legible after being downloaded. This way you can be sure your hard work won't be lost, as there will be no unintended formatting changes when a potential employer opens your resume on a different machine (docx files, for example, can have formatting discrepancies depending on the computer). It's also a good idea to print out your resume and double check that everything looks good.

At Sophilabs, we appreciate a detail-oriented resume that doesn't go bananas when we download it to one of our computers. An error-free resume submitted as a PDF speaks very well of the applicant because it demonstrates that they have taken the time to ensure their resume is impeccable and that everything is delivered in the format they had intended.

Make sure your contact information is up to date.

Before you hit "send," take one last look to make sure your contact information is current and accurate—it would be a shame if an employer can't get a hold of you because of a typo or outdated phone number! Sophilabs contacts applicants via email at each stage of the process, so we always encourage them to keep a close eye on their inbox after submitting their resume.

Putting It All Together.

So, with all of this information in mind, what does a great resume look like? Check out these sample resumes, which apply our advice and present the applicants' skills, qualifications, and experience in an organized and compelling way. The first resume represents an applicant with considerable experience working in the field, while the second example shows how you can demonstrate your skills even when you don't have much professional experience yet.

Example: Senior Developer Resume
Example: Senior Developer Resume
Example: Junior Developer Resume
Example: Junior Developer Resume

A resume is an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths and accomplishments so that potential employers can quickly assess what you can contribute to their team. Focus on clarity, specificity, and concision as you make choices about what to include and how to present it. A well-crafted resume is the crucial first step to getting an employer's attention and achieving your career goals. Don't forget that you can download our template to get started!

Check out our resume template

Interested in working with us? We'd love to receive your application! Remember to:

"Putting Together an Outstanding Resume: Our Top Tips" by Victoria Burghi and Adriana Campoy is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters.

Categorized under people & culture.

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