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5 Code School Resume Mistakes and Recommended  Fixes

by Brian

Code school graduates have it rough. The job market for software engineers is hot, but not for junior software engineers. Interviews are hard to land and offers even harder.

A huge problem with the job application process is that most candidates get zero feedback. It shouldn’t be like that.

The Offer: Free Resume Review for Code School Grads

Wanting to give back to the developer community that helped raise me from self-taught to Director of Engineering at a tech startup, I offered code school graduates on LinkedIn a free resume review.

About a dozen code school grads submitted their resumes, which takes courage and I give them credit for putting themselves out there.

In response,  I sent each person a 20-40min video resume review covering every detail from the perspective of a engineering hiring manager and tech recruiter.


Responses to My Resume Review

Along with the resume review, I sent each code school grad a brief survey about their experience and was shocked and delighted to receive all ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews with quotes like:

  • “I have had peers, colleagues, and my GA coach review my resume and no one ever said anything close to what you said in relation to your experience as a hiring manager.”
  • “I was told previously that we want to place all of our used languages and technologies to get passed alot of the filters that exist. I can see why you mentioned that it can also lead to us looking desperate and why being more specific would be more beneficial.”
  • “The most surprising part about this review was the fact that my career coach from bootcamp helped me create this resume and told me it was employer competitive.”
  • “I’d say the best part of the review was the honesty. I really appreciated the fact that the good and bad were covered and there wasn’t any sugar coating.”

This experience of giving back felt tremendously rewarding and I absolutely encourage other engineering leaders to try it. Not only will you meet great people, but you have the opportunity to help change their lives. I can’t wait to see these code school grads land software engineering jobs.

But I don’t want to stop there. This resume advice needs to be spread to more code school grads applying for developer jobs. So below are the top 5 code school resume mistakes I saw and how to correct them:


Getting Your Code School Resume Past Tech Recruiters and Hiring Managers

View on Google Slides

1. Failure to tell your story

  • Mistake: Using a long, boring, and generic intro paragraph that could equally describe any developer
  • Fix: Write a one-liner that is unique to you and tells the story of your career trajectory. Ex: High performing salesperson turned software developer

2. Long list of soft skills

  • Mistake: Having a long list of soft skills like “Project Management” and “Leadership”
  • Fix: Show recruiters you have those skills by incorporating evidence into the bullets of your Project and Experience sections

3. Not distinguishing between tech skill proficiency vs. exposure

  • Mistake: Listing every technology you’ve ever touched in hopes of getting past automated filters
  • Fix #1: Trim your skills to remove old tech (ex: jQuery), items that are too broad (ex: AWS), insubstantial (ex: Bootstrap), and semi-technical items (ex: MS Office)
  • Fix #2: Split your tech skills into two lists: Proficient and Familiar

4. Amateur style in portfolio

  • Mistake: Your portfolio style doesn’t suggest you have a sense of style that tech companies expect, reducing the company’s confidence you can perform the job
  • Fix: Use something like Tailwind or Start Bootstrap to make your portfolio style look cleaner and stylish

5. Inability to describe your projects

  • Mistake: It’s unclear what the app/site does and what you actually did vs. somebody else
  • Fix: Tie the technology used to your learning, app functionality, and your specific role in the project

Watch the video above for more detail and examples of how to fix your resume for software engineering jobs.


5 Code School Resume Mistakes and Recommended Fixes