Make Your Resume Stand Out with Highlights

Want to make your resume stand out and memorable?

When listing out job/project experience do two things:

  1. Be detailed in your bullet points
  2. Call out one interesting story, with details. Call it a “Highlight”.

Bullets are succinct, stories are memorable.

Example

Frontend Engineer - Foo Company

2018-2020

  • Key member of 5-person dev team
  • Areas of ownership: client-side caching, logging/instrumentation
  • As SME (subject matter expert) for logging, I designed and documented our logging infrastructure.
  • I ran multiple brown-bag learning sessions to teach other engineers best practices for our logging feature.
  • We shipped site updates every 4 weeks, fixing bugs and delivering customer features
Highlight

We started seeing customer cases around the checkout experience of the website, saved carts were expiring sooner than they should. I took ownership of the issue and added some additional verbose logging to our shopping cart component. Shortly after deploying the updated component with logging I was able to read the logs and narrow down the issue, only customers in eastern time zones hit the issue. I was able to add a test to reproduce the issue. Once a test was in place I was able to step through the debugger on the test and figure out the bug. Javascript dates assign months with a zero-based index (so January is month 0, not 1) but our code was setting January to month 1. I made the code fix, validating it with both the test and on our staging environment.

The bullets plus the highlight tell me a few things about you, the candidate:

  • You “owned” certain things at that job, I can delegate work to you on our team and trust you to “own” them
  • You taught others what you were learning, you can come onto our team and make others on our team better
  • You know how to ship frequently, you can come onto our team and help us ship
  • You care about quality (in the highlight story you reproduced the bug with a test, and then TDD’ed the fix… personally if someone did this I would insta-hire them, I am a sucker for TDD)
  • You were competent enough at logging to figure out the issue. Logging is a tricky thing… you can easily over-log and then logs are just noise and not useful. Or you can under-log and logs don’t really tell you anything. If you provide an example where logging helped you then that means you have experience logging the right information.
  • You can explain technical things, like that bug you fixed, in a succinct and easy-to-understand way. I know that you can come onto our team and communicate issues up to management in an understandable way.

While that example “highlight” is made up, the part about months in Javascript is true, be careful out there. 😄

Hopefully you found this post helpful, if you have any questions you can find me on Twitter.

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