A Better Resume for Developers

July 26th 2021

It's 2021 and we have LinkedIn and Indeed and a ton of other apps, services, and algorithms to help us find employers and to help employers find us. But yet we still have resumes. And they still kind of suck.

Of course they're not as central to the process as they were years ago, but some companies still use them to help decide who to interview, and some interviewers still use them as a guide for what questions to ask. And in either of these scenarios, if you're the one who has to read through the resume, it's not a great experience.

The problem is our typical developer resume is a multi-page chronicle of every system, component, and library we've ever worked with over the course of our entire careers. Information overload. If the reader had only a few minutes to skim our resume (which is usually the case), it'd be really hard for them to come away with an accurate picture of what we know or what we've done. They might wonder, "how much has he worked with single page apps?", and then would scan the resume like a grade school word search until their few minutes were up.

But it makes sense why it's this way. From a developer's perspective, it behooves us to cram in as much information as possible, lest we miss out on conveying some skill we've honed or technology we've used that might be relevant to some company. It's like packing for a month-long vacation where you don't know whether you'll be skiing, sunbathing, or going to a formal dinner. Might as well pack it all! And so our resumes become absurdly long.

My goal with this project was to improve on that user experience, even if just a little. Make the resume more of an interactive dashboard than a static document - one that allows us to keep all the detail, but lets the reader zoom in and out to view what's most interesting. So given this guiding vision, I built two main features for the MVP:

First, there's a timeline view at the top, so the resume reader can quickly get the "big picture" of your career trajectory. How long have you been different places? Have you been going to school and working at the same time? How long have you been a "senior"? In my opinion, seeing this visually makes this way easier.

The second feature is a full-resume skill filter. Each experience is tagged by skill, and then these skills can be used to filter the resume content. So if you want to see how much I've worked with NodeJS, then clicking on "NodeJS" would filter the entire resume down to only those experiences where I used it.

There are a few other bells and whistles that hopefully make this a viable way to maintain and share your resume, like PDF download and custom themes, but that's the gist of it as of now.

I have no idea whether this will fly, but it's been fun working on it. Give it a try at TechRez.io. And if you have any feedback or ideas, I'd love to hear it either in the comments below, or you can send feedback on the site.

I'm an "old" programmer who has been blogging for almost 20 years now. In 2017, I started Highline Solutions, a consulting company that helps with software architecture and full-stack development. I have two degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, one practical (Information and Decision Systems) and one not so much (Philosophy - thesis here). Pittsburgh, PA is my home where I live with my wife and 3 energetic boys.
I recently released a web app called TechRez, a "better resume for tech". The idea is that instead of sending out the same-old static PDF resume that's jam packed with buzz words and spans multiple pages, you can create a TechRez, which is modern, visual, and interactive. Try it out for free!
Got a Comment?
Comments (10)
July 21, 2021
I was thinking, what about a web page where I, as a developer, could describe my experience in great detail.
However I would structure it in a tree-like manner, using the company->project->responsibilities hierarchy.
The visitors could then read this full description but also would be able to select certain areas of interest by checking the corresponding checkboxes in the tree - and then export it all into a nicely formatted PDF.
So let's say I want to apply for a job as a team lead and I need a customized CV for this role. Then I would just load this profile page - check only the boxes the contain relevant experience - skip the parts where my responsibilities were limited strictly to programming - and then export my new "team lead" CV.
The best part is that I could re-direct head hunters and recruiters to my profile page and let them build my CV tailored to the roles they have available.
VERY interesting idea. Thanks for sharing that. I had a thought to build in versionability...same goal as what you described...but the idea of letting the reader or consumer (or head-hunter) pick what they want to see is super cool. Thanks again, and feel free to hit me up over email if you wanted to chat more.
July 26, 2021
Sorry about my last comment. I hit submit on accident.

Maybe integrate with https://jsonresume.org ?
Yeah...someone else mentioned this on reddit. It's a great idea and on my backlog now. Shouldn't be too hard.
July 27, 2021
Hi Ben,

I think you're onto something. I've been researching the same topic at HackerIntro. I came to a similar understanding that a static resume is rather a skeumorphism — that is, it is just the good old paper resume taken into the digital world.

However, as you rightly pointed out, resumes need to be more interactive to answer questions quickly and easily to those who review them.

Another important angle that I discovered is that this approach allows candidates to essentially have their resumes self-tailor themselves based on what kind of skills and experiences are being looked for.
Cool concept, and nice site. Thanks for sharing that. And thanks for introducing me to the term "skeumorphism"! :)
July 27, 2021

Thank you! Always glad to introduce people to something that is new to them :)

I haven't built the resume engine I alluded to at HackerIntro, but it's definitely on my list.

I'm happy others are also thinking about this. This means the problem is likely real and is not solved yet.
July 27, 2021
Love where you're going with this! The résumé space is in need of a facelift and you're doing it.

My only feature request is for the capability to import data from LinkedIn or whatever other sources are out there that way a user can quickly shift over to your platform without a bunch of data entry. At bare minimum, an import of something in the https://jsonresume.org/ format would be great.

I would totally upgrade to your Pro tier for that feature in a heartbeat.

Keep up the good work on this idea.
Yes, absolutely...great point. To be honest, I've spent most of my time so far on the "external" features...but hopefully next I can spend some time on the import/integration side to make it easier to get existing resumes in without manual data entry. Thanks!
October 03, 2021
Hey Ben, nice site. Can you please take a look at JSON Resume? I think this idea would work great as a theme.
Yes for sure. Other people have mentioned this as well, so it's definitely on my backlog. Thanks!
October 20, 2021
This is really nice Ben.

Would love to see more features available, like multilanguage support, customizing pdf, options for hiding timeline or showing personal projects in timeline, etc.

Keep up the good work !
Thanks Nicolas! I've been a little bogged down the past month, but looking to add more features really soon. Some of these are on my backlog, but I will add the others. If you see this, feel free to reach out via the contact form on techrez.io and elaborate on these features. I'd love to get your feedback.
October 29, 2021
First of all yes I am human all flesh and bones xD. I would like to ask you if I can create my own CV and customize theme, if the repo is opensource I can contribute to it.
Ha. :) Good to hear you're human. Yes, you can create a custom theme with the Pro license. Only $5 for life! Regarding OpenSource, not right now, but I am thinking of ways that people can extend/customize on their own. Thanks for the comment.
November 02, 2021
Thank you nice article. Reading it encouraged me to go and create a fun resume app. I want the recruiters to have 5 min of fun when exploring resumes, click around and explore them. Developers are not robots, maybe their personality can pass per a little in the way the resume is presented
Great. Good luck! Post back with what you came up with!
December 02, 2021
This idea is brilliant! I am going to implement it right now!