My Successful Job Hunt Strategy – How I go about it and found success in the 2024 economy (part 1)

My Successful Job Hunt Strategy – How I go about it and found success in the 2024 economy (part 1)
I have gone through a few jobs since 2022 and in that time I have been in a few different markets in the USA. So, I’ve been on the job hunt for about a year off and on now. Unfortunately, the success of this is going to be based in the USA though my resume works regardless of your country. I have broken this up into 2 different articles due to the fact that this is going to include a lot of information. This one will be all about the resume and the next one will be all about the job hunt and interview process.

Note: Your resume can only get you so far in the job application process. If you are just blindly pressing “quick apply” on Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. You are the least likely to be seen. My recommendation is to quickly view my example resume, do what I did with it, and then skip to part 2 and read over what I do to get jobs. Also, what I have seen other people do that has been successful for them.

I consider this successful because I only have (less than 200) applications (declined and pending) out there and I have 8 interviews as of today and it is only climbing by the week. This happened 2 months ago (between jobs then too, last job was horrid) where I had 6 interviews all at once (with about 400 applications out) and I got hired. Seems to happen every time for me so that’s why I label this as “successful”.
While I am a software engineer, this will work regardless of your career category. You can be customer service, IT, sales, or anything. These tips I am providing are universal. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Resume Building

To the left, I have pictured my resume with everything blanked out and details where they are located. I have gone through several iterations of my resume. The reason why I landed on this version is because I have had recruiters and other people look at my resume and give opinions on resumes. The tiny pops of color helps your resume stand out while not overpowering the message that your resume has. I use the font Calibri (body) which is Word’s default and it is set to 9 point so that I can fit the most amount of skills in there as that is what helps my resume get noticed.

Here is an example of one of my older resumes:
As you can see the Experience section is very small. It doesn’t detail what I do/did and my most recent experience is on the bottom. My Skills section is way too large and it is more than 1 page. The most important notes I have heard from people are: Keep it to 1 page, most recent experience and go back about a year or two (depending on how many jobs you have to list that could be more, I try to limit it to 5 jobs max), add an objective section as that helps AI read your resume and helps identify more key words for it, and lastly, keep everything to 1 column as much as you can. AI that these jobs use is not very good at reading more than 1 column so I keep it 1 column as much as possible. I know this has worked because when I “apply with resume” on websites, other than my very first experience, everything is read perfectly from my resume. I’m not sure what is wrong with that first one but I think it is the AI just bugging out so I just fix it and disregard.
If you want to see exactly what I have on my resume now, check out this image below:
I have 5 jobs and my objective is 2-3 sentences and I used ChatGPT to create descriptions. The descriptions for every job should have as many stats as you can. For example: “I increased the loading speed of websites from 100000ms to 400ms.” or something that has real numbers that looks the best for employers but I don’t have any of that. So, you won’t see that in my sections. I just focus on the languages I used as well as what I did on the jobs.
I don’t have anywhere near the strongest resume out there. I haven’t worked for any FAANG companies (big companies) and the CTO position is a business my husband and I started due to the fact that if you live in Florida and want to sell fish/plants to aquarium stores, you have to be a business. So, we started it to sell to businesses.
You don’t need to start a business or have any big companies on your resume to get calls for interviews and land a position. You just need to be able to handle yourself in interviews (part 2) and apply directly to companies on their sites as well as on Indeed or whatever place you found the job.

Software Engineer Tips

If you are a Software Engineer, you will want to pay attention to the following tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your job search.
First, you don’t need a LinkedIn. I deleted mine over 6 months ago and while I am missing out on some jobs listed on LinkedIn, I have not needed it for recruiters or human resources for any position I applied to. So, go ahead and keep it or delete it, doesn’t matter.
Second, I have an online portfolio where I have my resume stored in PDF for employers to visit and download a default resume from there. I call it a “default” because the skills section is not customized, it is very similar to the about page on my portfolio. I also keep it as up-to-date as my PDF resume. Meaning, I update it frequently.
I find this very important so investing in a .com with your name is worth it. I’d dare to say it is almost mandatory. I have had several employers ask me if I have a portfolio and having a simple .com that is just like or something like that is super simple and easy for them to take a look at. I just looked up “Software Engineer Portfolios” and made something similar to #9 here. You can choose any of those.

Your portfolio doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Mine is just HTML, CSS, & PHP right now and I have had a lot of people commenting telling me how much they love my portfolio.

Your portfolio must include projects. If you don’t have projects, make some. Create Discord bots, create AI, create websites, do freelance work, just do whatever you can to get projects that you can upload to GitLab/GitHub to share to employers. I use GitLab and I share that link on my portfolio in several places. I keep this separated from my GitHub that way my personal and professional projects are separate. Make sure these aren’t just copies of tutorials online. You can use tutorials online, just make sure you make your own spin on them. For example, if you are making a Discord bot, give it extra commands that aren’t in the tutorial and change the commands that are in the tutorials. The goal is to have your portfolio show your skills so you need to make sure you put as much effort into these projects as you can.

Having your skills, a small about me page, and your work history on your portfolio is not required though it is recommended. That way employers have an additional place to see this information rather than just on your Resume. Also, make sure to link to an online Resume employers can download. This is useful for part 2 when you are following up on jobs and you are filling out contact forms that do not allow attaching of resumes. Rather than saying “you can have my resume upon request” you can say “you can download my resume from my portfolio here: [address]” so they can grab it in their own time.

This is everything I can think of that anyone would need on their Resume and/or Portfolio. Do you think I missed anything?
Show 1 Comment

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *