First things first, shoutout to our sisterhood — because over 1,000 of you joined this week’s GWC Talks session! We learned how to craft the perfect tech resume, and had so much fun with our panelists (and you in the comments!) while doing it.
Big thanks to our panelists — Jazmine Harrison (Lead College Recruiting Manager at AT&T), Anthony L. Holloway (Head of Talent Acquisition at Woebot), and Rachel Ward (Enterprise Services Strategy at Raytheon Technologies). Thank you also to Chelsea Williams (Founder & CEO of College Code) for moderating! And, of course, thank YOU for joining!
Check out our recap of the conversation below, and watch the full session here.
Put Girls Who Code on your resume
We’re starting with this one, because it seems obvious but everyone needs to hear it: put Girls Who Code on your resume!
Thank you to the viewer who asked, and reminded us to remind you. Your experience with Girls Who Code is so unique — it shows you’re passionate about tech, demonstrates your participation in an extracurricular activity, and speaks to your leadership skills. Make sure you include it on your resume, along with any other organizations that you’re involved with!
Your resume is a marketing tool, not your life story
Imagine opening a webpage, or scrolling past an ad. What you see in the first few seconds should give you enough information to understand the company or the product. If it’s really well done, you’ll click it to learn more. If it’s super well done, you’ll buy it.
The same is true of your resume! It’s an advertisement for your experience, a marketing tool (shoutout Anthony for this amazing metaphor!). Done well, it could land you a phone screen. Done really well, it could land you a job offer.
Jazmine and Rachel offered these tips for making it the best advertisement possible: Keep it to one page. List your technical skills. Tailor it to the job you’re applying to.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
Most companies have an “ATS” or “Applicant Tracking System”. What’s an ATS? It’s a system that helps big companies sort through the thousands of candidates that apply for their open jobs.
So how do you increase the chances that an ATS picks up on your application? Easy. Look at the job description and make sure your resume lists keywords from the job description. If it mentions Python or Java, triple check to see that your resume also says Python or Java!
Anthony shared with us an amazing resource, jobscan.net. You can use this website to crosscheck your resume with common terms in job descriptions.
Lack experience? Don’t sweat it
What if you haven’t had a job yet? Or you’ve only just started your college career? Don’t stress. There are plenty of ways to beef up your resume even without workforce experience. Think about classes that have stretched your skills. Or projects you did on your own. Or organizations you are involved with. All of these experiences count. List them.
In the meantime, as you work to build up your experience, consider doing some homework. What do we mean by that? Study 5–10 job descriptions of roles that you are interested in to familiarize yourself with the language in them, to give yourself context for your own resume when the time comes to build it out comes. This exercise will also help you back into the jobs that you want, by giving you a sense of what qualifications and skills you should be working towards.
Worried about your GPA?
We get it. Of course, everyone should be aiming for good grades — studying hard, paying attention, doing the work. But you’ve all heard us say that coding is about failure, that you should stick with it even if it means you might have a 4.0 or straight As. And we stand by that. Please don’t drop that really-hard feels-impossible-to-pass CS class!!
Instead, when you’re creating your resume — make sure to market yourself in the right way. Sure, maybe you have a 2.5 GPA but you have stellar community service experience or you were the President of your Girls Who Code College Loop or you stuck with CS even when the going got tough. All of our panelists encouraged students not to get hung up on GPA as a qualifier.
Yes, social media matters
We know that LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for users to build and engage their professional networks. You should be using it to follow people whose careers inspire you, and companies you might want to work for one day. And of course, your own profile doubles as a digital resume for recruiters.
Make sure to list your Girls Who Code experience under the education section of your LinkedIn. But don’t forget about Twitter and Instagram and other social platforms. If they’re public, recruiters might use them to look up the cool things you are doing within your community (here’s where we remind you to snap a pic of your College Loop crew and post about it!). If you want, you might even consider putting your social media handles on your resume!
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Huge thanks again to Jazmin, Anthony, Rachel, and Chelsea for making this conversation so informative and so delightful!
#GWCTalks is a free virtual event series for our alumni and our community, to come together to address uncertainties around college, internships, and careers in tech during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To register for our upcoming session, “Virtual Career Fair Etiquette”, click here.
To view prior sessions, see links below:
Session #1: College During COVID-19
Session #2: Career Pathing in a Crisis
Session #3: No Internships, Now What?
Session #4: How to Be Brave Not Perfect in a Crisis
Session #5: The CompSci Class Experience & How to Succeed