Ten Tips for Getting that Software Developer Interview

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Phone.com is growing, which means we’re looking for software developers.

One of the hats I wear as Senior API Developer is screening applicants for our API team openings. I’ve read hundreds of developer applications over the years, and I’d like to share my top ten tips for getting an interview for a position on our team.

Some of these guidelines might be baised to my personal preferences, and won’t necessarily be shared by other managers. Nevertheless, they should serve you well, regardless of the job you’re applying for or the company you’re applying to!

1. Resume Required

Yes, you should include a resume with your application. LinkedIn profiles are great, but I want something I can pass around easily to our team and archive on my machine. Not providing a resume gives me the impression you’re not really that interested in pursuing the job.

2. Write the Right Resume

Do your homework on how to build a good developer resume. There are excellent resources for this, and the best I’ve seen so far is The Google Résumé. It’s short and very practical, and I highly recommend reading it before you submit another resume anywhere.

3. Highlight Relevant Skills

Tailor your resume for the job. Many developers have skills that make them suitable for multiple roles. Focus on the skills we’re looking for, so that I’ll be more likely to notice you’re a perfect match.

4. Show Tenacity

We care about your commitment to your projects. I see many applicants who’ve bounced from one employer to the next, often with only a year or so at a job. Ideally, I want to see that you stick with your projects for at least two years at a time. I know this isn’t always possible—employers downsize, a work environment turns sour, the job was a short-term contract. I get it. But if your resume consists of one six- to twelve-month stint after another, that’s a red flag! If it was a short-term contract, please note that or I might assume you’re a job hopper.

5. Be Specific and Accurate About Skills

For senior positions, I need to see depth of experience with our core technologies. List the platforms and tools that have factored strongly on each project in your work history. And if you include a summary section showing how many years you’ve worked with each technology, please be real about the numbers and your level of involvement. Dabbling in PHP for five years does not equal five years of getting down-and-dirty building products with it.

6. Skip Self Promotion

Don’t include statements about your personality or work ethic, and please leave out that Objective statement at the top of your resume. Team playerhard-working …  creative … are meaningless, because most people see themselves positively, and we’re often least qualified to decide if these descriptors apply to ourselves. Also, everybody wants a job that’s rewarding, fulfilling and lets you utilize your core competencies.  Save space for what matters!

7. Again, Keep it Relevant

Please don’t include unrelated work history. If you used to be a librarian, great, but it won’t mean much to me, unless you used that time to code!

8. Flag Football? Not Relevant

Along the same lines, don’t include unrelated hobbies, interests or community awards. They offer little value in this context, and I’m not using them to decide if you are a well-rounded person. The interview is where I get a good sense of who you are.

9. Achievements Not Duties

When writing up your work history, emphasize what you accomplished rather than reciting a list of your responsibilities. Quantify if possible. I want to know what you’re capable of doing, not what your employers asked you to do.

10. Don’t Be TL;DR

Hiring managers do not have time to sift through a five-page resume. Use bullet points and keep each one succinct. Keep your resume no longer than two pages. Emphasize your recent work projects above all else, because those are what I care about most. Education is important too, but honestly I usually pay no attention to this section until later in the hiring process. The initial resume screening is almost all about your skill set and the projects you’ve completed.

With these guidelines in mind, your resume should be a quick read and easy to evaluate. Everything on it should be relevant to the position posted. And if you look like a good match for our needs, we will be reaching out to you in no time!

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