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Should I make different resumes for different positions?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployeda month ago

Hi, a little bit about myself: I am an entry-junior level software engineer. I just graduated from a coding bootcamp 2 months ago. But before that, I had been doing self-studies. I mainly build with JavaScript, TypeScript, React, Express, HTML, CSS, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB. However, I have knowledge in Python, Redux, OAuth, Jest, Docker, Kubernetes, and some services in AWS. I have been sending out a resume that has a long list of technical skills, but I'm concerned that the very long list might make me appear overreaching and amateurish. That said, I wonder if I should make different versions of my resume.

P.S. I have sent out almost 500 applications, and only 4 reached out to me. I made it to the final round with one company, but didn't make it past the final round.

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(3 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    First off, here's some immediate tactical advice to improve your resume: Remove HTML/CSS from your technical skills/language section.

    HTML/CSS are way too basic to be worth mentioning and is generally an anti-signal with recruiters and hiring managers, showing that you're a n00b engineer basically without much technical depth.

    In general, I'm not a fan of making multiple resumes as I talk about here: https://www.jointaro.com/course/ace-your-tech-interview-and-get-a-job-as-a-software-engineer/polish-your-resume/

    Something a lot of junior engineers need to learn is the concept of a Pyrrhic victory. Yes, it's possible that you can take the time to grind out multiple resumes to make it seem like you're more skilled than you actually are and maybe get marginally more interviews. But if you're getting a job opportunity that you aren't fundamentally qualified for, you're eventually going to get weeded out anyways.

    Let's say you make an awesome Python-focused resume despite not having much deep mastery in it and are lucky enough to get a Python engineer interview. If the interviewer is any good and/or is strict (most interviewers in this market will be extremely strict, especially with junior candidates), you'll get rejected instantly. So sure, you made it past Round 1 but have 0 chance of passing Round 2.

    Junior engineers frankly suck at everything (there's nothing wrong with this, this is expected!), but you somehow need to craft a narrative that you deserve to be paid $80,000+ per year (assuming US pay). In order to do this, you have to convince people that there's something you are halfway-decent at.

    What this means for you is that you should focus down your resume to tech stacks you actually feel pretty confident in. Based on your question, it seems like you did a fairly standard Bootcamp stack of web development with some back-end via Node.js/Express.js and PostgreSQL/MongoDB. Of those 2, I would focus it down even more and pick 1 of 2 profiles:

    • Front-end web development with TypeScript/React (if you used frameworks like Tailwind.css and Next.js, mention those too)
    • Back-end development with Node.js/Express.js (and mention whatever other big Node.js libraries you used)

    Focusing down is also just generally better for your growth as I talk about here: https://www.jointaro.com/course/level-up-your-code-quality-as-a-software-engineer/focus-focus-focus/

    • 0
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      Entry-Level Software Engineer [OP]
      Unemployed
      a month ago

      Thank you! I’ll start making two versions of resume, one more tailored for front end and one for backend.

      🙏🙏

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