Resume advice

In helping a friend with their resume this morning I shared some of the advice I wrote up with the Support Driven community. Folks seemed to appreciate it enough that I wanted to log it here for future reference.

These aren’t necessarily deep insights. They are things, though, that I’ve often seen job applicants forget or skip over.

  • The more succinct your resume is the better. You don’t want to cut important experience. At the same time, though, 4+ pages is too long. If you can fit your relevant past experience into one page that’s ideal.
  • Your resume’s brevity matters because a hiring team will only ⁠⁠⁠maybe⁠⁠⁠ look at the resume and ⁠⁠⁠if⁠⁠⁠ they do then ⁠⁠⁠maybe⁠⁠⁠ they’ll go past Page 1. The more complete Page 1 is the better chance you have of an accurate first impression.
  • Visually it helps to make the content scan-able. If a hiring team has just 90 seconds to glance at your resume then how can you use font weights, color, and text size to draw their eye to the right things?
  • For each job application read through your job summaries and focus on whether the descriptions are clear to your audience. Are there things you want to emphasize for one job but maybe not another? Are you including the right project samples and client names?
  • For how you describe a job, cater to your audience. Your descriptions should be different depending on whether a hiring manager, an engineer, or the HR team is reviewing applications. Who reviews your resume may influence what they’re looking for. It helps to think that through.

If you follow that advice you’ll likely also realize that it requires writing a different resume for each job application. That’s intentional. When your resume is generic and not tailored to the company or role you are applying for it shows.

I think the main goal of a resume is to be interesting ⁠⁠⁠enough⁠⁠⁠ to get you a conversation with the company. If you don’t cover every project, client, or skill that’s okay. What counts is covering the sampling of things which will be ⁠⁠⁠most⁠⁠⁠ relevant toward getting you on to the next step of the process.

The IT Era and the Internet Revolution

people in the pre-Internet era didn’t read local newspapers because holding an unwieldy ink-staining piece of flimsy newsprint was particularly enjoyable; people read local newspapers because it was the only option. And, by extension, people don’t avoid local newspapers’ websites because the reading experience sucks — although that is true — they don’t even think to visit them because there are far better ways to occupy their finite attention.

Ben Thompson – The IT Era and the Internet Revolution.


One of the things I’m most proud of from this year was helping to organize the first ever SUPCONF in San Francisco. I spoke about how to build a career in support and helped plan pieces of the event. It was amazing to see a Slack community come together in-person and connect.

Later this month we’re holding the next SUPCONF in New York City. Over two days we’ll host speakers from Medium, SmugMug, Wistia, Help Scout, Automattic, and more. Beyond that we’ll have dedicated time and space to talk with other attendees.

That time and space for connecting with attendees was one of the things I was happiest with from SUPCONF SF. I think attendees walked out of the two days having gotten to know far more people than a traditional conference would have allowed for. A hallway track can be great for outgoing folks. Being intentional with how it’s organized, though, can give even those who aren’t outgoing the confidence to engage.

We also have many other events happening around the conference. From a pre-event cupcake social to a GIF battle to a hosted dinner and conversation there’s a lot going on.

If you find that interesting I’d recommend registering soon while there are still a few tickets left.

Crater hike

Phone shells

Sunrise at Whistler

Cliff walk

Make Conversation Great Again

The outlets that welcome Turkle’s polemics are trading in the illusion of intelligence. They collect quotes from neuroscientists and quacks that call themselves things like “happiness experts”, package up half-thoughts into edgy-but-not-too-edgy counter-intuitive claims, and then overlay a narrative that assures their audience that they already knew how to live according to science but maybe they missed a few things. Turkle has expertly manipulated an already dishonest landscape of science journalism meant to provide fodder for condescending liberals.

Make Conversation Great Again.

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic