We have looked at resumes that are too large or too small.  Now we discuss what makes one “just right.”  In this episode, our focus is on resume extras or bells and whistles.  These are items that might make our resume more impressive, or they could just make it gaudy or desperate.

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Resume Extras That Matter – Complementary Skills

There are almost always experiences we have that are close to a need, but not exactly.  For example, writing SQL queries in MySQL instead of Oracle.  These skills fall under a category we call complementary.  They can help you win a job even when you are not an exact match for the job needs.  In a case like this, those bells and whistles are necessary.  They can help you win the desired position.  Therefore, we want to include resume extras that can add color to our experience via complementary skills and expertise.

Do Not Ignore The Process

There is a broad range of tasks that the typical developer will do in their career that are not technical.  These include task planning, estimation, documentation, team discussions, and much more.  While the topics may be technical, we often ignore them as part of our descriptions.  These bells and whistles are worth mentioning.  You do not have to go deep into the explanation.  However, these items can provide depth to the image of your experience that is being created.  We can keep a bell or whistle if it gives a little more background

Avoid Duplicates

One of the more common resume extras is repeated data.  When you go beyond the most shallow description of an experience, you will often repeat yourself.  For example, you might mention unit testing code at one customer and then at another.  It is useful to provide some extra information to show you know about the testing process.  However, avoid doing it for both jobs.  Sometimes a mention is enough to spark a conversation if the reader wants to.

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Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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