How to turn readers of your Java resume go from “Blah blah” to “Wow”?

More often Java resume readers go “blah blah blah” than “Wow wow”. You only have ~45 seconds to impress your reader to read further. Let’s see what makes people go from “blah blah” to “Wow wow” to tee up an interview to learn more about you.

Blah blah statements

  • Involved in designing & developing an insurance claim system that ….
  • My responsibilities included developing an overnight batch job that …..
  • Highly motivated and hard working team player with good communication skills.

The above are “blah blah” statements as the prospective employer is more interested in your quantified accomplishments than your involvements and responsibilities.

Anyone can say he/she is highly motivated, hard working, team player, etc. I will believe only when I see the evidences of motivation

  1. via the impact you have made to any business by solving their problems.
  2. via open-source contributions.
  3. via self-taught projects  on Github.
  4. via regular publications & blog posts.

Your resume must be results oriented, and not a shopping list of things you have performed.

So turn “responsible for” into action verbs like “managed”, “Designed”, “facilitated”, “spearheaded”, etc.

Some of the overused words to avoid are “Problem-solving skills”, “Detail-oriented”, “Team player”, “Hardworking”, “Proactive”, etc. It is more important to show where you solved a problem than just tell.

SAR (i.e. Situation Action Result) Technique

Use the SAR technique will help you write eye catching statements with action verb. This technique is also very effective to answer open-ended questions sell your know-hows & skills.

Give away that you are not experienced

  • Oracle certified Java developer. Secured 89% in Oracle Certified Professional exam.
  • Good handle on SQL queries.

The above statement is a give away for the prospective employers that you are a novice with not much industry strength accomplishments and had just learned to write “SQL queries”.

If you have 2+ years of experience, then the above statements are a “blah blah” as your prospective employers will be more interested in your hands-on experience and work related achievements than academic achievements. In my opinion, your hands-on experience with self-taught projects & open-source contribution will be much better received. Make your self-taught projects available via GitHub, and provide the link in your CV.

Redundant phrases and sections

The other redundant phrases that don’t add much value are “References available on request”, “Salary is negotiable”, and an “Objective” statement that is a run-of-the-mill stuff “Looking for a challenging position in Java ……”. It is better to have a “Career Summary” section summarizing your achievements and experience than an “Objective” section. The “Objective” section is handy if you have a specific focus like “career change”, “opportunity to learn BigData”, etc.

Wow statements

Following statements quantify your accomplishments. They also arouse the eagerness of your prospective employers to learn more about how you achieved these results and what challenges you faced.

  • Increased the number of unit tests from 30+ to 120+ in my watchful eye to improve the overall quality of a number of Java/Spring/Hibernate based applications.
  • Designed and developed a Java/JEE based online insurance system to serve 400 concurrent users using sought-after frameworks like Spring, Hibernate, JSF, and Ajax.
  • Communicated the detailed design and solution architecture to cross-functional teams like developers, business users, testers, external vendors, and management.

Brings out your soft & technical skills:

  • Managed a Java based project with both on site and off-shore development and delivery effort of a team consisting of ~25 developers resulting in successful delivery of the end product both within budget ($12 million) and on time.

Shows that you are a quick learner:

  • Awarded outstanding achievement for coming in just 2 months before the deadline in a development effort that was going on for 18 months to contribute significantly to fast track development where some home grown Java based frameworks and technologies had to be quickly learned.

Shows that you have worked on large & mission critical projects

  • Produced a number of comprehensive impact-analysis documents to a project budgeted at $20 million with 7 dependent sub-systems.

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