Make your profile and resume “outstanding” these summers — A developers action plan!
“Hey Madhav, I am not doing any internship in these summer vacations, how should I make my time more productive?”. Here’s your answer :)
A lot of people (especially my college juniors), were asking me these questions, “How to make these summers more productive?”, “What to do these summers?”, “What skills should I work on?”, “How to improve my profile”, and many more…
Hence, I am writing this blog to answer these questions of yours :)
The questions I loved
Amongst all of these questions, I really loved these questions. One of my juniors said that he didn’t get any summer internship, he said he was rejected wherever he tried due to lack of experience, and experience comes from internships. He had nothing to write in the experience section of his resume and to cover it up, he wrote his school projects like “Made a TIC TAC TOE game using C++”. So he asked these 2 questions —
- Why was I rejected?
- Companies and startups select experienced candidates and experience comes from doing internships, then how am I supposed to get my first internship?
Not only him, but almost every first timer goes through this problem and that was the reason why I loved his question and spent time with him personally, answered his questions, gave him tips on how to improve resume, and how to achieve that “first job” without actual industrial experience, cleared his doubts and most importantly, gave him an action plan on what to do these summers so that he will never have to face this situation ever again. So, in this blog, I am going to share that “Summer Vacations Action Plan” with you all as well. First, let’s start by answering his questions.
Why was I rejected?
The answer to this question was quite obvious, he did not spend time on making a proper resume.
This is not to demotivate him or anyone who made the same mistake, but still, I should put forward the truth, only after knowing our mistakes we can learn from them, if we stay ignorant about our mistakes, we will keep committing them. So read carefully to what I am going to say, and take it as constructive feedback.
Keeping it forward in very simple terms, his resume was without any format, he typed anything anywhere on a plain white sheet of paper, he wrote activities which were nowhere related to the job in his resume, and moreover, his experience section was full of irrelevant information. After seeing it anyone would react like this -
Although this blog is not about resume making, still I would give some tips to my readers so that they don’t do the mistake that he did.
1. Use a resume template (or design your own)
Either use a pre-designed resume template or make your own, but make sure it doesn’t look too dull nor does it look “very designer”. In my opinion, the resumes of developers or designers shouldn’t be just some pieces of text on a blank document, although there is no hard and fast rule stating it, but of course, if you are a designer (or a developer for that matter) at least your resume should look somewhat attractive and pleasing to the eye. But, don’t spend too much time on just making a resume look very visually attractive, make use of that time in increasing your skills which would actually make your resume stand out.
So the best option is to use any good looking resume template. Here are some websites where you can make a good resume —
2. Look for keywords in the job description
Your resume should tell the employer that you are fit for the job, and the best way for that to happen is to make your resume according to the job description. Obviously, a person looking for a web developer won’t hire an iOS developer, correct?
So look for keywords and include them in your resume if you have those skills, or if you think you can workout on those skills.
3. Your resume should be concise
Don’t brag too much in your resume and end up making it of many pages. Think about the employer, he has to go through hundreds of resumes like yours in a single day, if it’s too long, chances are that he is not even going to read it completely.
So keep your resume concise, preferably a single page, matching job requirements, and highlighting the keywords that match the job description. Suppose if a person is looking for a react developer, and somehow the first line that he reads in your resume is something like “Senior software developer, with 2+ years of experience in React”, won’t it be cool?
4. Your headline should match what the employer is looking for
Continuing the last line from the previous point, imagine if your resume headline matches with the exact job requirement, as soon as the recruiter sees your headline, he would get the first impression that “He is the type of candidate I am looking for”, and that’s exactly what you want.
For people who don’t know what a resume headline is,
A resume headline (also known as a resume title) is a brief phrase that highlights your value as a candidate. Located at the top of your resume under your name and contact information, a headline allows a recruiter to see quickly and concisely what makes you the right person for the job.
5. Add links to your online portfolios, projects, and blogs
Having an online presence as a developer gets you an edge over those who don’t. Add the links to your blog, projects, GitHub and LinkedIn profile, etc. in your resume.
6. No Typos, please
The resume is a professional document, be careful while making it, avoid grammatical errors. These type of errors on your resume might reflect that you are not serious about this job, and you did not put in enough time and efforts required to get the job.
7. Again, include only relevant information
Apart from making your resume concise, make sure that the information you are giving is relevant and describes you perfectly. Sometimes, while adding too much unnecessary information in the resume might make the relevant and important details go unnoticed.
8. Add important achievements
Adding your achievements in the domain you are applying for makes your profile better and gives you an edge over others and helps gain the trust of the recruiter.
9. Are you making an impact?
Make sure to ask this question before finalizing the resume, just show your resume to random people and ask their views about your resume. This will let you know whether your resume is actually making an impact on the reader's mind or is it just another boring list of experiences.
10. Proofread. Proofread again!
Make sure that you proofread your resume at least twice. Use tools like Grammarly to check for grammatical errors, check such errors manually as well and pass your resume through cloud word generator to know which keywords are prevalent in your resume and do they match with the job role.
Learn from mistakes and keep improving
This is the most important step, nobody makes a perfect resume in their first try, create your resume, apply for the job, learn from the experience, improve your resume.
Now that your resume is applaud-worthy, let’s move on to the next question.
What to do these summers to improve my experience and profile?
Here is the real thing, getting that first job or internship as a freshman/fresher turns out to be difficult some times due to the lack of experience. Even in the case which I mentioned above, the student mentioned his “TIC TAC TOE” game which he made using C++ while applying for a web development internship. He did two mistakes here…
- Not mentioning experience related to the position he applied for, and instead, writing experience in another domain.
- Writing a basic “TIC TAC TOE” game in experience section.
He had a tough time deciding what to write in the experience section! You might have to go through the same, but here’s the golden opportunity in your hands, your summer vacations, yes, you can use these vacations (even if you don’t have an internship in your hands) to build your profile so strong that they can’t say no to you. BUT HOW? I am mentioning eight things that you can do these summers to build a strong profile, try to do at least 6 of them.
Step 1. Learn 2 new skills these summers
For doing anything in life, you need skills! yes, anything!
You wanna be a salesperson, you’ve got to learn those amazing speaking skills and presentation skills to actually sell your product, you want to be an actor, then you’ve got to work on those acting skills of yours, even the easiest seeming professions need skills.
To earn money, you require skills, no matter what profession, or occupation, or domain you are in! And here we are talking about Computer Science, here you are nothing without your skills.
Summer vacations are a perfect time to work on yourself, and when you work on yourself, unknowingly you are actually working on your profile as well.
So these summers, remove those digital distractions, stop scrolling through Facebook and Instagram feed and learn 2 skills, not less, not more, if you become greedy and try out mastering many different skills at the same time, believe me you’ll end up nowhere. I’ve tried it, I’ve been in that state where I tried to put inside me the knowledge of tens of different domains altogether and I ended up wasting my time and learning nothing.
You need to know that part-time commitment leads to part-time success, if you want to master a skill, you have to give it a full-time commitment! Only those who devote themselves to a cause with full strength and soul can become the true master, mastery demands all of a person!
“Now Madhav, easy thing you told that we need to learn some 2 skills, but what should those two skills be?”, good question! But you should be asking this question to yourself, not me. Everyone has different areas of interests, if I tell you to learn frontend web development in Month 1, and Backend using NodeJS in Month 2, some of you might enjoy it, and some of you might not like it.
I guess I made it clear, there’s no absolute answer to this question, the answer varies from person to person. If you feel you enjoy developing websites, why not become a full stack web developer these summers? If you feel you enjoy making Android applications, why not move from Java to Kotlin, or maybe learn some new technologies like app development using flutter and dart?
One last point, if you feel that you’ve already found your area of interest and you know the basics, then instead of jumping to another skill, master the existing skill these summers, become a pro!
Step 2. Make a good GitHub profile
Okay, so now that you followed the “Step 1”, partially or completely, follow the step 2, build a nice GitHub profile. I suggest you start with step 2 after “partially” completing step 1. What does it mean? Simple, start off by doing some side projects as soon as you learn something new :)
How to make a good GitHub profile though? First of all, if you don’t know what Git or GitHub is, or you have a little knowledge on how to use them, leave reading this article and go to these articles I wrote earlier and learn about Git and GitHub. For a developer, having knowledge of Git and GitHub is highly essential!
GIT Good: A Practical Introduction to GIT and GitHub (Hello GitHub)
This is a two part series on GIT and GitHub,
→ GIT-Good Part-A: Hello GitHub
GIT-Good Part-B: In Git we trust!
GIT Good: A Practical Introduction to GIT and GitHub (In GIT we trust!)
This is a two part series on GIT and GitHub,
GIT-Good Part-A: Hello GitHub
→ GIT-Good Part-B: In Git we trust!
GitHub plays an important role in actually showing that yes, you’ve been working on the skills and project that you mentioned in your resume, which at times impresses the recruiters a lot.
Some tips on improving your GitHub profile
- Work on some side projects
- Commit often (but make sure you don’t do meaningless commits)
- The photo on your GitHub profile catches a lot of attention, make sure you add a professional photo (with a gentle smile) to your account
- Do some open source contributions, it really shows that you have skills
- Add a nice README to your projects (I know it’s boring meh.)
- Add good and meaningful commit messages to your commits
I guess that was insightful, now let’s move forward to the next step :)
Step 3. Make an amazing LinkedIn profile
Everyone knows the importance of having a good LinkedIn profile, most of the recruiters go through your LinkedIn profile, and not only this, you can find some amazing jobs in the LinkedIn jobs section.
Since this article does not focus on How to make an amazing LinkedIn profile, I won’t talk much about that, but yeah, to clear your misconception, it is not at all difficult to make a good LinkedIn profile, all you need is consistency, and give it some time, making a good profile is a gradual process, not an overnight feat.
Also, if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn and discuss something, I am here for you :)
Madhav Bahl - Founder and Community Leader - Code To Express | LinkedIn
Join LinkedIn A cadet by nature and a developer by passion, a wannapreneur, tech enthusiast, open source contributor…
All the best, build an outstanding profile. Also, I am not an expert at LinkedIn profile making, but I’ve tried a lot of things and did them with consistency, which seriously showed me significant results, my profile views went up from less than hundred (when I started) to more ten thousand, and almost everything that I post reaches around 5k+ people, and some even 10k+, so yeah, if you feel you want any help in building LinkedIn profile, DM me on LinkedIn, I’ll be more than happy to help. (Also, do endorse me on the skills you think I am good in :D)
Note* DM me only if you are VERY serious about building a good profile, I don’t like people who start something, but leave it in middle.
Ok one last thing, you can actually search how to build a good LinkedIn profile and some “Dos and Don’ts” of LinkedIn profile building. You can find out some amazing resources out there which can actually help you out. Now let’s move to the next step.
Step 4. Build a Portfolio Website
So if you are following along, now you have good skills, a good GitHub profile, and a decent LinkedIn profile, now is the time to build an attractive portfolio website.
You might want to ask, Madhav, I have a resume, I have a LinkedIn profile, and moreover, I have a good GitHub profile, then why do I need a Portfolio website?
Good question, the answer is, it’s good to have a portfolio website as well because you are a developer. Since you are a developer, the first impression that anyone should have about you is that you develop stuff, and having your own website is a very good way to show that yes, you develop stuff, plus you can show your design skills, plus you can put your other projects on the website, so there is a high probability that the people visiting your profile would visit your projects as well.
There are two things which I want to tell you here, firstly, don’t think that you should add too many animations and your website should be very visually attractive, keep things simple and sweet, no need for any heavy animations (But if you are a frontend designer and developer having a visually attractive website would be a great thing). Second, no need to re-invent the wheel, if you really want to develop your website from scratch, it’s good, go on, but if you think you have many other projects going on and you don’t want to give too much time to build your website, you can take some boilerplate codes, there are many free templates available on internet.
Also, once you are done with your website, you can host it for free on GitHub. If you don’t know how to do it, go ahead, read this article —
Get your static website live in less than 60 seconds
Even though GitHub pages is super easy to use when it comes to deploying static pages, still many people have trouble…
After following the steps, you will have your own website hosted on GitHub, with this URL —
<username>.github.io which in my case would be: http://MadhavBahlMD.github.io
Also, note that when you try to open http://MadhavBahlMD.github.io, it opens http://madhavbahl.tech instead. It’s because I have set up a custom domain to my GitHub pages. It’s a very simple procedure, and you can do it too, in maybe less than 5 minutes. If you are interested, read this article —
Use Custom Domain With GitHub Pages: 2 Straightforward Steps
I had a website deployed to GitHub pages and wanted a custom domain for that, when I looked into the documentation, It…
I hope you aren’t getting bored by what all I am saying, bear with me for 2 more minutes 🙈
Time to move forward
Step 5. Build (at least) 2 Side Projects
Having some projects to show off is a great way to boost up your profile as a developer.
“Don’t tell them, Show them!”
Generally, summer vacations are of 1–2 months, you have a lot of time if you are not doing any other project or internship, make sure you use that time. The best way to use it is to start your own side projects involving the skills you learned in “Step 1”. Also, Please remember that there is no order to these “Steps”, you can do any of these steps anytime, so don’t think that you have to wait until you master skills before starting new projects. It would be amazing if you learn while you work on these side projects.
One thing to remember here is, side project does not mean small project, it means something innovative, something challenging, something fun to work on. Don’t go on making a TIC TAC TOE game and say I am working on a side project.
A Great Opportunity for you…
If you think your idea is good enough, CodeToExpress will be glad to feature your project. You will be added to our GitHub organization, the repo will be created there, the project will be completely open source, and will reach the followers of CodeToExpress, which means more people will take part in your project, and the credits remain yours ✨
If you think you have a good idea, send an abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 6: Start Blogging
I believe that this is the best and most fun part. I seriously think that if you are a developer, you should start blogging as well.
But why should you start blogging? There are countless benefits of blogging, especially if you are a developer. I’ll try to list out the benefits of blogging in bullet points,
- Write about the project you just finished and increase the popularity of your project by making it reach more people
- Share your passion
- Tech blogging on some topic “xyz” is proof that you know that topic “xyz”
- Share knowledge, you never know how useful your simple blog can be to someone who is in need
- Make your place in search engines (Search the name 😎)
- Build an online identity, and trust
- Learn new things as you write
- Improve your writing skills
- Improve English (or whatever language you use), English is used globally, it’s important to have a good grasp over it, and believe me, writing blogs consistently will increase your skills
- Connect with new people, they themselves will approach you 😎
- And much more… (Benefits of blogging are countless)
Here’s a blog I wrote some time ago on why did I start blogging —
Why I write and you should too!
January 14th, 2018, I still remember. I just finished writing my first blog “A practical road-map for web development”…
Hope it will encourage you all as well and you start writing.
An important note
CodeToExpress is starting “Featured Writer Contest” from 1st June 2019, where we will be featuring the best blogger on our social media handles and website and will send his blog to our email subscribers (Instant Popularity 🤩) every fortnight.
How to participate? Just send the link of the draft of your medium blog on email@example.com and we would love to publish it :)
Step 7: Network with people, attend conferences
The “Work Hard” part was contained in steps 1 to 6, now the remaining to things are the fun part, I won’t spend too much of your time in these two.
As the title suggests, attend conferences and tech events, network with people in the same industry, increase your connections, stay in touch with them. This is really an important step, as staying in touch with people from the same industry keeps you updated about the advancements in the industry, and they might be helpful when you actually go out in search for a job.
Step 8: Participate in Competitions (Hackathons)
I am glad you read all the way from top till here, and here’s the best part. Hackathons 🤩
After you have done so much to build your profile, try to participate in coding competitions, code sprints, and hackathons. I love hackathons, you get to learn so many new things, you get to network with top leaders in your industry, you get to connect with like-minded people, you share your ideas and listen to theirs, and you get schwags 😎, plus it is a lot of fun to build something amazing during a hackathon, you get to work on ideas that might actually change the world, and the best part, if you win, you get many goodies and prizes, and you can write it in the achievements section of your resume, and even if you don’t win, you can still mention the project you made in your resume.
So hackathons are a win-win, doesn’t matter you win or lose, you get to build your profile.
So, that’s it.
I hope you found the blog helpful, and you will start working on the areas I mentioned. All the best, and use your vacations wisely.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you want to discuss something :D
I would be more than happy if you send your feedbacks, suggestions or ask queries. Moreover, I love to make new friends and we can be friends, just drop me a mail.
Thanks a lot for reading till end. You can contact me in case if you need any assistance: