Journal

Focus Producing
Theme Resume

At Irregular Cafe this morning, I was challenged to reach out and build a connection with a specific person who inspires me, and report back by the end of the week! The person who inspires me is specialized in two areas that I’m keenly interested in, but I haven’t yet been able to work in the time to get more in-depth with either topic (I have projects related to these skills in the pipeline, just not there yet!).

My concern is that I don’t want to disrespect their time by talking about something they’ve already covered in the content they’ve released. So, I want to do a little research and try to craft a good question! There are actually a few different people that I’ve been meaning to chat with, so depending on how things go today, I may expand this challenge to myself.

The rest of today didn’t go as planned, though, and in a very good way!

I was not feeling well and took some time to rest early in the evening. I took a quick nap and polished off Josh W Comeau’s How to Build an Effective Developer Portfolio, which was absolutely fantastic and you should go read it. I will be heavily considering this information going forward and referring back to my notes. It resolves a few design decisions I was fighting back and forth with in my mind, which is great!

Shortly thereafter, I saw what looked like the absolute perfect opportunity show up in my LinkedIn feed! Time for an emergency stop on my existing plans to recalibrate. 🚨🛑

This position was posted on LI yesterday, but has fairly low engagement on the platform so far - just two likes. Checking their website, it’s actually been up for a full week already - yikes! My portfolio won’t be done before I would need to apply, and there’s not much I can do about that if I want to do it right (which I should, I already have a live bad portfolio they can check out, haha). My resume needs a major structural overhaul…which would probably take all night, but could be done! For the sake of Learning Log metrics, I’ll only record my reading time, as it did in fact take all night (it’s 2am again and this post isn’t done yet… tomorrow might be a “break” night)

I dove into writing a cover letter first. Thankfully, I had developed my own custom-themed Word documents for cover letters and resumes previously. They’re not incredible or anything, but I personally like the look and organization.

The company in question is actually one that I’ve been interested in for quite a while, and I just networked with a former employee a few days ago. Back in the before-COVID-times, they would hold lunch-and-learn events and local tech group meetings downtown, which were really cool and part of why I took getting into web development more seriously this year.

Following the advice from the book I had just finished, I tried to create more of a narrative for my cover letter. It feels a little dry to me, but I tried to put more of my “voice” in there than I traditionally would have for an engineering role, and I’m hopeful that it comes through. Even if they have already filled the role or if they’re looking for someone further along, getting a chance to talk would be a tremendous experience, and I’d love to connect with people.

Next up, the resume. I like my custom theme, but Microsoft Word is… well, it tries a bit too hard. Part of what makes my theme work is an underlying table, and a combination of merged cells and breaks. When making adjustments, Word tries to “automate” things and 90% of the time ends up breaking things in ways that don’t seem to follow and sort of logic, like creating rows of duplicated content when deleting cells.

That being said, I’m excited enough for the opportunity that I have the motivation to hammer through it. The content wasn’t too bad, as I had drafted up a lot of the core information in markdown a few weeks back, and I can simply refer to my Stats page for a gut-check on what my top skills are (hey, the blog is finally doing it’s original job!! 🌟).

I personally have a strong preference for single-page resumes. I haven’t been involved in a ton of hiring, but in my role, I’ve reviewed about 30 resumes and been on the other side of the table for about 6 interviews. I certainly have more than one page’s worth of career history and responsibilities, but most of that, typically, won’t be relevant to whatever job I’m applying for. The things that will be relevant are my current position, and what I’m doing outside of work.

With that restriction, I could squeeze at most three projects into my resume, and things are definitely a bit more tight than I would prefer! It took some deliberation, but I ended up going with:

  1. Learning Log
  2. TD Collection
  3. Hook Clock

AGWSU showcases more of my project management than my development, and it was suggested that drawing attention to my project management experience may dilute my overall message.

Then I just fought with Word tables for two hours.

I wish I was kidding.

Honestly, it might be easier to build the resume in Excel. Excel is always good to me.

FINALLY, at long last, the battle was over!


For a little extra fun, I embedded and styled my links to make it a bit easier to check things out, if the resume is viewed on a computer. Seeing as how it was super late, I queued up this draft to go out to a few people to get a more sets of well-rested eyes on them before I send it out tomorrow, hopefully!

This feels like a boulder rolled off my chest. If my changes are mostly okay and there are no major rewrites needed, then I should be able to go back to focusing on my portfolio!

It’s a bit too late for me to get into these, but here are some references I was checking out before plans got derailed:

Tasklist

  • Craft a cover letter
  • Overhaul my resume
  • Schedule to send out for quick gut-check review
  • Finish this blog still!