Proven Resume Writing Tips for Tech Interviews in the 2023 Job Market

Jan - Feb 2022

Competition for coveted tech jobs has never been steeper. The tech talent purge that began in Q4 2022 shows no signs of slowing down, with Google and Microsoft joining the list of once-impervious companies that have conducted mass layoffs to save costs. To make matters worse, ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have proven their abilities to produce basic code structures at scale, exerting even more pressure on a candidate pool that is already bursting at the seams. 

Tech jobs are still worth fighting for amidst greater competition

Despite the circumstances, software engineer salaries in Singapore continue to hover at a high of S$5,500 according to Glassdoor data as of 13 Feb, with total monthly compensation rates going up to S$8,800 once bonuses, stock options, and other benefits are taken into account. 

Crafting a stellar resume is the tech job applicant’s first step to rising above steep competition. The problem, however, is that most resume writing tips found online tend to be subjective. But the ideal candidate varies significantly depending on position, industry, and even company. In July 2021, founder of Cultivated Culture Austin Belcak released a study that analysed over 125,000+ resumes to empirically measure the types of resumes that receive the most responses. 

This article provides tailored resume writing advice that goes beyond the basics of PDF formatting, typo weeding, and using readable fonts. Based on the evidence that we’ve gathered, these tips will give you the best chance of making past automated applicant tracking systems and HR recruiters, sending interview invites flooding into your inbox. 

Resume Tip #1: Highlight your skills with the right keywords

Including relevant keywords in your resume is absolutely vital to make it past the first post. The job application process has become so streamlined that hiring managers have to sort through digital mountains of resumes just to fill single positions. It is therefore not uncommon to see thousands of resumes being filtered out automatically simply for not including the right keywords. 

To make sure that you aren’t sending out resumes in vain, simply include keywords that are in line with the job you’re applying for. Some examples are listed below, but you can always glean through the job description to get a better idea of how your hiring manager has set their filtering parameters:

  • Technical skill related keywords: Python, JavaScript, SQL, Ruby
  • Soft skill related keywords: Mentorship, experimentation, collaboration, analysis
  • Experience-related keywords: years of experience, various job titles

Weaving in these words and tailoring them to specific positions will put you ahead of 51% of the candidate pool, and in case you’re wondering whether or not your revised resume ticks all the right boxes, you may use free resume scanners to find out.

Resume Tip #2: Tidy up your LinkedIn profile and include it in your resume

Yes, LinkedIn profiles are important! According to ResumeGo, adding a LinkedIn profile to your resume boosts your interview chances by up to 71%. But opening a LinkedIn account alone will hardly move the needle. It’s critical that your profile offers a value proposition to potential recruiters. In other words, it should tell hirers what you can do for them.

Instead of simply listing down your accomplishments and academic achievements, use the about section to talk about how you can add value to companies by taking them from point A to point B. This might be tough if you’re starting out as a fresh graduate with limited experience, but you can still tie in examples from your personal life, volunteer activities, school projects, and internships to illustrate leadership and learning capabilities.

Creating a LinkedIn profile is part of a larger process of cleaning up your digital footprint, which may aid or diminish your chances of landing a role. So before you start sending out resumes, make sure to clear out anything controversial or incriminating that is associated with your name.

Resume Tip #3: Include quantifiable results of what you’ve done

If you find yourself struggling to describe how you’ve added value in the past, use the X-Y-Z resume bullet formula that hiring managers at Google swear by:

• Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].

This helps you stand out by legitimising your claims. Anyone can claim that they were responsible for a particular task, but not everyone can confidently say that they executed their tasks well. For example, here are three variations of the same bullet point arranged in order of quality:

  • Average: Automated BAU finance tasks using SQL.
  • Good: Increased team efficiency by 10% using SQL to automate BAU finance tasks.
  • Best: Increased team efficiency by 10% using SQL to automate BAU finance tasks, leading to a 25% increase in revenue.

This formula works for school-related activities as well:

  • Average: Achieved second-runners up at ABC hackathon.
  • Good: Achieved second-runners up amongst 50 competitors at ABC hackathon.
  • Best: Developed an app that synchronises social media updates that was adopted by XYZ company, achieving second-runners up amongst 50 competitors at ABC hackathons.

Resume Tip #4: Remove buzzwords and cliches

This point involves subtracting rather than adding to your resume, but is equally important to improve readability and prevent hiring managers from rolling your eyes while they assess your profile.

Main culprits include buzzwords, such as highly motivated or passionate, are hard to verify (even if they are true), and do not provide a tangible, measurable yardstick for employers to measure you against other candidates. If you are indeed a passionate, motivated individual, use the tips outlined above to land yourself an interview where you can showcase your enthusiasm more effectively. 

Get personalised tech career insights 

Job hunting during economically tough times is no doubt a difficult and emotional experience, but the most effective way to turn things around lies in assessing your situation and choosing the best course of option every step of the way. If executed correctly, these tips can not only help you land a job, but provide you with more options to pick from and negotiate when it's time to make that fateful decision.

Follow TTAB for more insights into the tech market and join the  TTAB Career Conversation for networking opportunities with industry professionals.

You may also drop us a message on Facebook to receive personalised tech career advice.

More Insights

How Employers and Employees Can Guard Mental Health Care Amid Layoffs

Singaporeans in tech firms find themselves fearing for job security. Meta recently announced plans to...

17 Mar 2022

Read more

How Good Is ChatGPT at Programming and Will It Replace Software Developers?

Has artificial intelligence become good...

Jan - Feb 2022

Read more

Will Tech Salaries Decline in 2023 Amid Tight Labour Markets & Record Inflation?

The job market has never been tighter...

Jan - Feb 2022

Read more