Resume question for full-time developers and/or those who hire developers

I’ve been applying to full-time, mid-level, remote developer positions and was recently ghosted for a few positions I was a great fit for. I really think my resume is to blame. My dilemma:

We’re told to include 10-15 years of experience, possibly no more than 10. This does not seem to apply to the tech industry, even if you have relevant coding / production (HTML, CSS, SCSS) experience. Only the last few years are actually relevant. No one asks me about older work, even if it’s well-known clients.

However, if I only include my last few years of freelance work and Javascript projects (hello, pandemic) I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice. What if I miss out on a higher salary offer?

I honestly cannot believe people would rather hold some total n00b’s hand throughout multiple projects just to save a bit of money. Yeah I know ageism is alive and well, but experienced people are a way better investment, seriously (unless it’s an entry level job, of course).

Thoughts?

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I’m absolutely by no means a resume expert, but I have looked at probably thousands of them as someone who has hired developers and academic roles - both which have very different philosophies on “the right resume” particularly with length, as you bring up here.

There’s no real silver bullet to creating the perfect resume, it’s all in the eye of the hiring manager. I can say with confidence, though, that when you’re competing with hundreds of other resumes in tech (which you probably are), you want your most recent, related work to catch attention. I think this is what has lead to tech roles expecting single-page resumes as opposed to 3+ page CV’s. You’re optimizing for an efficient burst of “LOOK AT ME!” versus documenting your entire career. It’s not uncommon for me to see a to-be-continued link like “for older work history, see my [linked in or full resume online]” which I find pretty helpful.

In short, try not to see the resume as a full extensive biography of a career, but a trailer of it for a specific audience. When you’re in the interview process is when you can go into the details of past work if it relates to the discussion.

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Thanks for your thoughts. Also, as a director and someone who’s looked at that many resumes, you shouldn’t sell yourself short (!) I’m guilty of that as well. I think as women we are more likely to make self-deprecating comments. :joy:

I have a single page resume (with somehow 15 years crammed into it…I lumped freelance/contract work into bullets rather than listing out each gig). I like the point about linking out to a separate page or website that shows some older work.

I read an interesting article yesterday that said if you include a lot of older work it can look like you’re banking on a time when you were more successful, if not dating yourself. Though that wasn’t the point for me, I hate the idea of all the hard work I did going to waste. But I think I’m emotionally hoarding a bit here. I could probably spend more time on selling the newer work better. (And getting those Lighthouse scores perfect, haha.)

I recently did a 180 and took down the portfolio I built for myself even though I was always adamant about people having one. I thought it screamed “entry level!” I actually prefer using the Glitch In Bio. I see you did that for your dot com as well.

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I’ve actually been spending the last week or so working on my Glitch in Bio so I can move my work and art stuff there in case people want to see, and I can just bubble it to the top if I want more eyes on it! I’m using rollupOptions in the vite config so I can have more pages :3

I think it could be good to have a portfolio if it’s built in a way that is easy and fun to keep fresh and updated - that’s the hardest part of portfolios for me! I’d even argue that blogging is a better format for documenting work than showing just an image grid of past work. And I totally understand the emotional hoarding - I’d try to reframe that, though, as friction around articulating how past work has made you a better candidate today, because that work is not a waste, you’re just having a hard time shining the right spotlight on it.

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I like the rollupOptions idea, I think that works well! Though I’m always impressed by a good looking portfolio, it seems like everyone has one and I usually end up doing the same formats… I’m always excited about them initially but then want a change 6 months later if not sooner. I agree that a blog is still a great format. In fact I like the personal blog more than community-style blogging…though it was a good idea in theory, I feel like people are more out for themselves than trying to make connections there.

A while back I had decided to revamp a few old projects but they ended up changing so much it defeated the purpose of including them. I also spread myself thin and never really finished any of them. Might revisit that…but you’ve def given me some food for thought on how to include them on a resume. I think I’ll be taking the older work out of that standard timeline format and showcasing it differently.

Look forward to seeing your website evolve :slight_smile:

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By the way @jenn, I was just checking out the vart site you did. I think the (final) codepen samples in there would be interesting also presented as a short series on their own, with links back to the blog to show your process. I like the entire thing, but I wonder about the folks who are too lazy to read. I see you have a few of them on Glitch already. I imagine you could probably get away with a page of codepen embeds, if not a single Glitch project. Unless of course you really want people to read the blog…

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I’ve been meaning to finish a refactor of that site, but yeah a big component of it is the writing!

BTW I came across this resume guide from a trusted source, Ask a Manager, she writes one of my favorite advice columns: my step-by-step guide to writing a resume — Ask a Manager

Hey thanks, I’ve seen her column before - I like her perspective. That’s a good article. Listing out accomplishments for a lot of the older freelance work is hard for me - a lot of the projects are short and I mostly wrote a lot of CSS. I think writing a profile instead of an old school objective might work for me though. I should just briefly describe myself. Listing hobbies isn’t a bad idea either…I honestly think most people hire based on who they connect with, as long as they have the basic skills.