On resume critique

Hi friends!

As I mentioned before, I signed up on hired.com and therecruiternetwork.com in order to provide my profile to recruiters and potentially receive job offers for the US.

From hired.com I received an email saying there is no match for my profile at the moment, I may resubmit my profile again since new jobs are constantly added. What’s annoying about this is that I have to set pretty specific filters to my profile, for example a list of up to ten cities where I would want to work, industries, range of employees (101-500 or rather 501+?) and salary. I dislike that they don’t let me set wildcards there, or show offers that are close exept some of these values I set, because I don’t mean them anyway.
They also say, my profile will not be visible for employers unless there is a larger pool of jobs for my skill set… I’m not exactly sure why this is important for there business model, but fine. Since I just want to be found to check the market, I tweaked my profile and re-submitted.

Feedback for my resume

For therecruiternetwork.com I had to upload a resume as .pdf file, in addition to the profile entries I did anyways. I have decent experience in creating a German style CV, but for the US market I had to learn about the differences. For example, in Germany it’s quite common to put a nice profile picture on the CV, in the US it’s not. The American style CV begins with two or three sentences as summary, advertising who you are – there is no such thing on German CVs.

I hope I got most things right – luckily therecruiternetwork.com offers a free review on your CV, and I was looking forward to learn how experts would rate mine. I was a bit disappointed by what I got. Let me pick three elements of the feedback to make my point:

  • My CV is visually uneven, not polished
  • My resume would compete against 250 others on average when I apply for a job
  • The description of my experience should be achievement-based instead of task base. The expert gives as an example for achievement-based description: “Slashed payroll/benefits administration costs 30% by negotiating pricing and fees

Okay, maybe the US job market is very different from the job market in Germany, so I try to take the critique seriously. But my experience from Berlin is: There is no way an engineer with 10 years of experience is competing with 250 other applications for a job. In contrary, most companies have more openings than applicants; they look at every engineer who applies and find out if he is a fit. When10 engineers apply, the company would be happy to hire all 10, if they make it through the assessment and salary negotiation.
Maybe the situation is not that applicant-sided like it’s here, I’m willing to believe that. But on this level of experience, it’s hard to believe that a hiring manager would only read a CV when it’s designed like art work. (To be clear: My CV is not a black-and-white page of 11pt text paragraphs. I’m using a template with visual structure, colored headlines and short, concise descriptions. But if an engineer puts too much effort into visual styling of anything, you should be suspicious and look out what he is trying to distract you from…)

I’m really trying to look for achievement-oriented wording of my job experience; it sounds credible to me that this is normal for American CVs, I haven’t had a way to check yet. Still, I cannot think of a way to phrase my previous jobs in terms of achievements, because as a software developer I was contributing to large products; there is not that one impact that is clearly my personal achievement. Looking at the example they gave me, I have to wonder: Do their ideas apply to engineers at all?

In total the resume critique is a sales pitch for the service to get the CV rewritten by them, which they offer explicitly. For that reason, the expert has a motivation to not be honest but make you feel bad about your CV. And in addition, I start to doubt that that advice applies to engineers, who can easily fill a page with hard skills they learned on the job and are relevant for the application.

The first match

Besides the resume rewriting advertisement I recieved a mail with job alerts, showing me potential matches the algorithm of therecruiternetwork.com had figured out.

Three of the matches are titled “Lead Android Developer”, “Identity and Access Management Tech Lead”, and “Business Analyst”. I would call that a clear fail in matching, but the scale shows only 50% match (“possible”)… fair enough.

The one match with 75% (“good match”) is called “Lead Full Stack Developer PHP”. Are you kidding me? I do have basic knowledge of PHP, but I didn’t put that on my resume.

Since the CV-expert recommended to put achievements instead of tasks ( = technologies) on my resume, and the algorith doesn’t seem to care about my technology skills as well… I’m courious, is the understanding in the US that technologies don’t matter and any 10 year software engineer can work in any technology?

Not exactly… reading the job offer, they publish an endless list of expected technologies. Now, I wouldn’t mind if I don’t know half of the stuff they mention, that’s how job offers work. But the core point is “Strong understanding of PHP (OO-PHP), Laravel Framework is REQUIRED” in all caps (oh my god, and they are critizing me for visiual design?), and I don’t match that at all.

My sad conclusion is that the matching algorithm is basically worthless. It’s obviously based on keyword recognition, and it’s not able to prioritize, so it will match me up with any job description that uses similar words as my CV, like “software”, “business” and “management”. Looks like I have to figure out a new way to expose me to tech recruiters.

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