The ability to write a great resume is a coveted skill that few job seekers ever completely master. Aside from the basics of spell checking and formatting, the content that actually goes into your resume is regularly contested.
So, how can you land a job at a top New York tech company when getting your foot in the door is left at the whim of a hiring manager or recruiter? Simple: find out what makes them tick.
We caught up with four New York tech companies to discuss the important dos and don'ts when applying for a job:
When it comes to job applications, Teckst, a company that allows businesses to receive and send text messages with customers, recommends standing out in every way possible. If you’re writing a cover letter, the company wants to see personalization. On a resume, Teckst prefers if you highlight hard numbers in your accomplishments instead of using vague sentences.
According to Jim Leahy, People Operations Manager at Teckst, the company wants candidates to be as truthful as possible, and doesn't want candidates to list accomplishments or skills they wouldn’t be able to dazzle their potential employer with. Leahy also recommends sweating the small stuff, with resumes devoid of all spelling errors and punctuation mistakes.
“A recruiter is passing along your resume after your initial chat as a way to 'sell' you to a hiring manager,” said Leahy. “It's important to put your best foot forward.”
Leahy stresses the importance of asking someone to review your resume before you send it to a company.
“If you're doing it right — you'll have spent a nice amount of time on your cover letter and resume,” said Leahy. “Your resume may be too close to you after spending so much time on it — so grab a friend and let them give a glance!”
When it comes to things to avoid, Leahy warns against objective statements, lengthy resumes, listing Microsoft Office as a skill, listing ‘Social Media Proficiency’ as a skill and attaching photos to resumes.
At VTS, employees are working to give brokers, landlords, and asset managers an all-in-one leasing platform for commercial real estate. According to Tyler Brann, a technical recruiter at the company, the most common mistakes VTS sees on job applications is grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, resumes that are too long, resumes written in paragraph form and talking about what your team accomplished instead of your individual achievements.
As far as tips for creating the ideal application, Brann recommends listing full education details, including a cover letter and specifically talking tech.
“I love seeing where people went to school and what they went for,” said Brann. “I've used this information many times on initial calls to break the ice and create a much more relaxed conversation. Cover letters are also great. Good recruiters know resumes only tell part of the story, and having a cover letter really helps us better understand who you are outside of job responsibilities. There have been times in the past where a cover letter got me much more excited about a candidate than a resume. I also like it when engineers list the tech they're playing around with on their own time. Here at VTS, we like to hire engineers who program for fun outside of work. You might have been a front end engineer your entire professional career, but I definitely want to know if you're dabbling in other things when you're off the clock. I once had a hiring manager tell me he'd talk to anyone who has LaTeX listed on their resume, purely because he found it fun to play around with.”
Signpost is an online advertising service that connects local businesses with new customers, and provides its employees with a fast-paced, ever-changing office culture. According to Signpost Sales Recruiter Alicia Molina, a lack of personalization on resumes can be a flaw, stressing that taking time to personalize a cover letter and resume will go a long way.
For sales positions, Molina also recommends displaying a sense of personality.
“Our sales roles require a strong and enthusiastic personality so it's refreshing to see that come through in a resume,” said Molina. “One candidate, who is now a manager, wrote, ‘I would be a great fit, because I'm really tall and can grab things off of shelves.’ I instantly knew he would be a great fit!”
At Poppin, the company often receives resume mistakes with obvious grammar and spelling errors. Katie Parker, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition, recommends proofreading your resume for inconsistent fonts, aligned margins, chronological order of positions, length, spacing, and consistencies between LinkedIn profiles and your resume. The company often sees some other larger, glaring errors that you should definitely avoid. These include: spelling your own name incorrectly, giving the wrong contact information and applying to 'Poopin' instead of Poppin.