DEV Community πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Cover image for Resumes and Cover Letters with Chloe Condon
Mandy Moore for New Relic

Posted on

Resumes and Cover Letters with Chloe Condon

This season, we’re helping you level up your interviewing skills! Each week Lauren Lee, Danny Ramos, and industry experts will offer advice on navigating career progression within tech.

Do you have ideas about how we can make our show better? Or would you like to be a guest on an upcoming episode? Reach out to our #devrel team at devrel@newrelic.com. We would LOVE to hear from you with any questions, curiosities, and/or feedback you have in hopes of making this the best show possible!

πŸ‘‰ Give us a follow: @LaunchiesShow

play pause Launchies

Topics Covered On This Episode:

  • Objective Statement: Write or leave out?
  • Make Your Resume Pop
  • Resume No-Nos
  • Getting Personal
  • Playing The Algorithm Game: Is listing every tech keyword I can think of in hopes of making it past a machine learning screen a good idea?
  • Getting Feedback
  • Including Non-Tech Work
  • Keeping Things Up-To-Date

Links:

CTA (Call To Action):

  1. Write a hook for your cover letter that grabs the attention of the recruiter and/or hiring manager.
  2. What is the most important feedback you’ve received on your resume?
  3. Join the New Relic Community Slack!

πŸ‘‰ Follow Launchies, Lauren, and Danny on Twitter!

🚨 FutureStack 2022 call for papers is now open! 🚨

Sign up to share your successes and learnings in a hands-on lab, workshop, or deep-dive session to help your peers advance their observability game.

Transcript:

Danny Ramos: Launchies is a tech podcast dedicated to helping early-career developers or soon-to-be devs.

Lauren Lee: We'll share insights on how to navigate these early opportunities and bring on experts from the tech industry to give advice on general career progression.

Danny: In the first season of our show, we focused on how people launched into their tech careers.

Lauren: And now, in Season Two, we want to offer advice on your career progression.

Danny: The next 12 episodes will be all about the interview and landing your first job.

Lauren: Welcome back, everyone, to Launchies. This is Episode One. We're so stoked to have you here listening.

Danny: Here, yeah. [laughter]

Lauren: Listening in your earbuds, I don't know.

Danny: Oh my God. I'm just cracking up because we were talking, having a normal conversation, and then you pivoted into your radio voice, and I --

Lauren: I did. I went into like, hello, welcome to Launchies. [laughs]

Danny: I was impressed. You didn't answer in the interview that we had but did you ever do any performance or performances?

Lauren: Oh yeah. I was really into high school theater, really, really, really into it. I went to college thinking I was going to pursue it. And then got to Los Angeles and was like, okay, I don't know that I'm going to make it [laughs] and got really nervous about it and then I became a teacher. Like, then I would start taking a bunch of education classes.

Danny: Did you go all the way to LA for that? Thinking that?

Lauren: Yeah, that's why I went, yeah. I went to undergrad out there and thought that that was what I was going to be doing. But I don't do super well with rejections, so that wasn't the right career path for me. [laughter]

Danny: Wow.

Lauren: And then I decided to become a freaking coder. And this is what we're going to be talking about in today's episode is like it's a numbers game. There are going to have to be some nos before you get to yes. Or maybe not even explicit nos just when you're applying to jobs, and you just don't hear back, or you don't get to even the first round of an interview.

Danny: There's definitely that gut-wrenching feeling of just being turned down or just left on read. You're like, I've been left on read 200 times this week.

Lauren: [laughs] Oh my gosh, 100%. And the comparison is very real. I've heard it been made before of like; searching for a job is like online dating. You just have to weed through the bad ones. [laughter]

Danny: Every date with me is tight. I don't know what people are talking about.

Lauren: Oh, okay, sure. Great. [laughter] I'm really excited for folks to listen to this conversation today with Chloe that we have because she really genuinely gives some incredible advice and is so gosh darn charming while she does it.

Danny: Chloe really does rule. And so I was really excited that we got her to be in the first episode and brought in her expertise in general but also her recruiter mindset when she was a recruiter.

Lauren: Yeah, that lens we were lucky to get that. I guess I remember my first resume when I was graduating my bootcamp. I really leaned heavily into the projects that I created while in my bootcamp, all my repos, and everything that I had built. But then I realized that everyone that I graduated with had the exact same resume.

And so, looking back on it now, I didn't make it pop. I didn't make it stand out. And it could have been a carbon copy from anyone that had gone through the program before. And so yeah, I feel like I’ll have a lot of takeaways from our conversation for sure.

Danny: Absolutely. And just so everyone is aware, this first episode, we're going to be talking about resumes, the cover letters, do's and don'ts, and really just some great tips from Chloe on how to make your resume pop, how to make your cover letter, pop and just the trials and tribulations of beginning the whole interview process.

Lauren: Yeah, so I guess without further ado, shall we jump in? Shall we do it?

Danny: Yeah, let's start the crazy like, I don't know, I'm imagining some magical charm or something, some transition, and then it begins fluidly.

Lauren: We're warping into...okay, so music, woo woo, woo.

Danny: Yeah, curtain call, boom.

Lauren: Boom. Action. [laughter]

Danny: No one says action for a curtain call, but -- [laughs]

Lauren: You don't know that. [laughs]

Danny: Yeah, there's the other directors backstage like, [whispering] "Action." [laughter]

Lauren: I can't wait for everyone to listen to this. So yeah, cue the music. [laughs]

Danny: Our guest today is a Senior Developer Relations Engineer previously working at Microsoft, Sentry.io, and Codefresh. Before entering tech, she got a degree in Drama from San Francisco State University and worked in the Bay Area as a musical theater actress while working nine-to-five in various admin roles.

She's worked in tech in roles ranging from video game, customer support, virtual assistant, office manager, executive assistant, and recruiting. A Hackbright graduate and mentor to many non-traditional background folks in tech, she's passionate about bringing more artists into tech and more tech into the arts. Her name is Chloe Condon. Chloe, welcome to Launchies.

Chloe Condon: Hello, I'm so excited to be here.

Danny: Yay.

Lauren: We're so happy to have you, Episode One.

Chloe: Oh my gosh. I'm honored. I'm truly a friend of the pod. I'm the first guest. [laughter]

Danny: You are going to set the standard for the whole season. No pressure at all.

Chloe: Okay, good, good.

Lauren: That's so much pressure.

Danny: Yeah, yeah. If this is not a good episode, that's it. I'll crumble.

Lauren: [laughs]

Chloe: Okay. Well, you can count on me.

Lauren: Okay, so let's dive into today's topic, I suppose. We are hoping to cover the beginning of a journey someone is navigating as they're hoping to find a job, and they're putting together a resume, maybe a cover letter. We'll dive into that too, of course, you know, how to write them, what stands out? How to pass that HR screen, I guess maybe too. Where should we start, y'all?

Chloe: Oh my gosh. There are so many angles to start from, I feel like. Something that I think about a lot, and maybe Danny can speak to this as a performer and maybe Lauren. I don't know if you ever did any performing art stuff growing up. But I think my biggest epiphany was when I was on quote, "the other side of the table."

As in I was an actress, and I was auditioning for, you know, when you audition in a musical, there's the casting director, the director. It's like American Idol. There are people behind the table, and it's very vulnerable. You go in, and you sing, or you do a monologue. Or you have to dance, which I'm a terrible dancer. [laughs] I hated dancing in auditions.

But once I was on the other side of the table, I was like, oh my God, I want everybody who comes through here to be good. You never want anybody to be bad. When you watch American Idol, it's fun to watch the bad people, let's be honest, [laughs], but that's not real life.

Danny: I mean, that made the show great.

Chloe: In real life, when you are a recruiter or when you are someone interviewing someone, you're like, I want the best person for this role. And I always think of that now that I interview people for roles. And I have interviewed people as a recruiter and as an engineer and in so many different roles in my previous life. I've never been in a situation ever in my life...except maybe if your enemy is on stage where you're like, I want this person to do bad. You know what I mean? [laughter]

So when people tell me they get nervous for interviewing, or whiteboarding is terrifying, and we should all address that, whiteboarding takes practice. And you need to take at least a month to just practice that. Like, engineering interviewing is broken. However, informational interviewing you want it to go good. So that's where I always tell people to start from. It's like, you have to get your resume in, and there's like all the nuances ahead of time that, like, we can definitely talk about. But I guess I'll ask both of you have you interviewed people before? Have you ever wanted someone to do bad? [laughter]

Lauren: You're really genuinely rooting for them. You're wanting it to be a good fit. And also the opportunity to make sure that it feels like a nice, I don't know, potential relationship too. You're getting the vibe check of is this going to be someone that's fun to work with every single day? I'm going to be spending a ton of time with this person. And so it's just an opportunity really to know them as a human, I think also.

Chloe: And a fun interview is so important because you're like, I'm going to work with these people.

Lauren: Oh my gosh. Yes, absolutely.

Danny: I haven't interviewed anyone within the tech space. But I would interview a lot of people when I was working at Costco. And exactly, I would feel the same way. I was like, I really hope this person's cool, and I would want them to succeed. I guess a big problem that I have always heard from people who get nervous about the interview is that they feel like they're doing a personality test. And they feel like, oh, if I'm not chipper or I'm more of an introverted person, I'm not going to do well in the interview process.

For instance, I think of my little brother, who is very quiet, very opposite of me. But if you get him in front of a computer, he can get things done. But in an interview process, he would maybe be nervous or shy. Chloe, do you have any tips or tricks for people who feel like they're more introverted and don't know how to really...they look great on paper, but once they get to the interview...Do you have anything that can help them boost their confidence with that?

Chloe: Yeah, I guess I feel like leading from a place of authenticity is so important for everyone. And I think when I entered this space, there are different kinds of schools of thought in engineering. Some people are super serious about their work, and some people love a really quirky creative space; that's me. I'm like, I want creativity and freedom to speak to developers how I would want to be spoken to as a developer. Which I know my flavor of engineering and development is not everybody's cup of tea, and that's fine.

So I think when you're interviewing in places, just vetting the company. Like, is this company working on tools and stuff that I think is exciting? And if you can speak...I feel like passion shows through on anyone. Like for me, it's talking about Rock-A-Doodle. [laughter] But for other people, I'm sure it's like, I freaking love React, you know what I mean? [laughs] There are people who will talk about...I mean, I follow them on Twitter. They talk about React all the time [laughs] or JavaScript or open-source or whatever that is for you.

So one of the reasons I decided to apply for Sentry is I loved their website. I just loved their vibe and their energy. They had a sense of humor. They really spoke to developers how I felt developers wanted to be spoken to, with a sense of humor and empathy. And this is a tool that does error reporting and bugs. Let's dive into that. That stuff is tough. Their jobs' page, every single employee had a GIF made of them.

Danny: Oh, that's cool.

Chloe: Like a personalized GIF that they got to...and we can link to this. I think it's still on their blog. But we had an amazing content team that would sit down with you and be like, "Okay, Danny, what do you want to do in your GIF?" And some people were like, "I want to be teeny tiny and on my keyboard and jump around." [laughter] Or like, "I want to be a PokΓ©mon Monster and throw a PokΓ© Ball." Mine was so nerdy. I went to the theater, and I was like, Fanny Brice from Funny Girl.

Lauren: Oh my gosh.

Chloe: Because I'm not much of a musical theater nerd. [laughter] But it showed everybody's personality which I thought, oh, that's so cool. I got a sense of what this team was, which it was a startup. We were under maybe a couple hundred people, and it was very intimate. And I just loved that energy. And I was like, this is the kind of team I want to work on.

And I think people forget, especially new people, to this space or maybe if you're a junior candidate coming out of university, that you're interviewing the company too. You're in an in-demand field and role. And if you get a weird vibe from a company, interview with a different one. It's okay. [laughs] But vibe is important. Like you mentioned, Lauren, vibe is so important.

Lauren: You're allowed to gut check back almost.

Chloe: Yes.

Lauren: If it doesn't feel right, then it's not going to be a good fit. And there are so many places that are hiring, so keep on it. Let's take a step back to the place of resumes in particular. Do you have advice, oh gosh, on how to make it pop or how to stand out from a crowd? Because it probably feels like there are a ton of people, especially for an entry-level role, that you're competing against. And it may just feel like you're one in a million, almost.

Chloe: Oh my God. I should work for this company because I talk about them every day. Canva, I love you. Canva is a beautiful place.

Lauren: That’s in line with it, yeah.

Chloe: Canva is a beautiful place. I learned about them during Hackbright. I literally was like; I don't even know what this is. And they're like, put your resume in Canva; it's free. And there are all these templates, and I was like, excuse me. I have a Canva pro account. I've used it for literally the last five years on my resume.

And there's super quirky stuff on there [laughter] that I use, but there are also really professional templates. Microsoft Word has a lot of really great templates as well, if that's your jam, that are very business-y and professional. So it really depends on wherever you apply, regardless of if it's a big company or a smaller company.

Just adding more than just a font is so important, even if it's just a very subtle template. When you are a recruiter, which I was in a previous life, every single resume starts to look the same because everyone's using Times New Roman. Everyone's probably using the same base template that comes with the first one that you pick. And I implore everyone please just go into Canva, get a basic template. I swear I don't work for them. I should work for them. [laughter] I love them so much.

Danny: Yeah, this is a sponsored podcast. [laughs]

Chloe: Sponsored by Canva. I love you.

Lauren: It would be so organically embedded into the episode. [laughter]

Chloe: But truly, I can't even tell you as a recruiter...I was a sourcer; then, I worked as a recruiter, which is the career trajectory. When you're a junior recruiter, you're a sourcer which means you literally just source through like, we need a person who has these qualities and qualifications, and you just look for those roles. That's all those messages you get on LinkedIn that are like, "Hey, girl, come and apply for this company."

Lauren: Ugh. They're wilding out these days, I feel like, oh my gosh.

Danny: I just looked at my LinkedIn this morning. I was like, wow, I'm a popular guy.

Chloe: The market is very hot right now. [laughter]

Danny: I was like, my DMs have never looked like this; something must be up. [laughter]

Chloe: Truly, that was the biggest moment in my career; it was changing my title to engineer on LinkedIn. And the difference between that and having Disney Store retail and summer camp experience changed my life, [laughter] completely different experience.

Danny: Did you put that kind of stuff on your resume?

Lauren: Oh, that's a really good question.

Chloe: Yeah. So here's how I view all of this, y'all. LinkedIn for me...and full disclosure, I used to work at Microsoft, but I've been using LinkedIn my whole life, and I use that as my personal timeline. I literally have every job, every certificate I've gotten. That's just my single source of truth of where I've put everything.

And I've had it since I've worked at The Disney Store. I'm old. [laughter] That was like my first job in college. So I literally have my Chinatown YMCA experience as a program leader. I have some theater stuff on there that I've done. But that's just like something that I have. When I'm old, and I have dementia, I can be like, where did I work? [laughs]

Lauren: It's the timeline.

Danny: Yeah, when you're old and have dementia, that's what you want to know. You're like, my name? I don't care. I want to know where I worked.

Chloe: But basically, I think of my work resume how I used to think of my theater resume. And also, I should say my dad is a director, and my mom was a costume designer. So I grew up in the theater looking at resumes, theater resumes, but I know what a good resume looks like. When you see people who have agents' representation, there's a certain way that a resume is, and there's a way to make it stand out.

So people used to literally put like, "I played the Little Red Hen in preschool. It was my first role," on their theater resumes. And I'm like, girl, come on. [laughter] We don't need to know that you played Oliver. You're 55 years old. This is wild.

Lauren: So don't go that far back. [laughs]

Chloe: I would say whatever is the most relevant, maybe two most recent jobs. And that's really difficult for folks like us who come from non-traditional backgrounds, just tweaking your resume in such a way that it's like, here's my relevant experience from roles that literally have nothing to do with engineering, right? [laughs]

Lauren: Yeah. That's really, really hard. It's like, how do you flip that narrative so that it feels like, no, there are skills there that will apply for the team, and I really want to highlight that. But yeah, they are not technical, or they're not anything connected at first glance, maybe.

Chloe: And you really just want to have...if you're like me, you know, you've been working in the industry for five years, unless it's super relevant. Like, let's say I apply for Disney and that I just want to put my Disney Store...[laughs]I don't know what scenario it would be in which I put an old thing on there.

But the best advice that I got...when I started my bootcamp, I took this wonderful person out whose name is Nemo. I used to be an office manager at PAX Labs. And they had just hired this new engineer, and he was a bootcamp grad. And I was so excited to talk to him because I was about to start at my bootcamp, and I took him out to coffee after I graduated.

And I was like, "What's the best advice you can give me to get a job?" And he was like, "Just have a resume; that's your standard resume. Have a cover letter where you're just like, it's the same template for each one, except for maybe very special circumstances, and just send them out. Send them out to as many places. It's a numbers game for your first job. Get it out to as many places as you can." I hate to compare it to online dating, but it's literally like, you're not going to meet the love of your life on the first date. If you do, that's great. But most people – [laughter]

Lauren: Yeah, happy for you. [laughs]

Chloe: It doesn't happen. And also, you want to have, especially as a new person, several interviews because as an engineer, you have to learn how to interview. [laughs]

Lauren: Exactly.

Chloe: It's so weird. Like, we don't talk about it enough that it's like senior, senior engineers have to take a month off to study to even think about interviewing again. So I always tell people your first job is the hardest, hustle, hustle, hustle, just get it out there. You want to get practice. And I think it took me my second or third whiteboarding interview to even know how to whiteboard because it's a skill that you have to learn.

Lauren: Yeah, a muscle. Yeah, for sure.

Chloe: As many interviews as you can get to get that practice for that first job, go for it. As you get more senior like myself, you have more of a choice of where you want to go. And you can get referred, and you're not applying through a recruiter. You have friends and contacts there. And you should always go through a friend or a contact because they get a referral bonus typically. [laughter] It's great. I think my boyfriend made $40,000 when he was referring people at Evernote back in the day.

Danny: Hell yeah.

Chloe: There are ways to...there are big incentives to have good quality engineering talent.

Lauren: True.

Chloe: So just know the first job is the hardest. Oh my God, the first job is the hardest. [chuckles]

Lauren: Well, I think next week, Danny, we're going to be talking about building referrals and that network kind of concept of how to get into that. So I suppose stay tuned, folks. [laughs]

Danny: I told you this is the first episode. We're really setting the bar high with having Chloe here. But stay tuned, really, stay tuned. [laughter] I think when you are looking for that first job, or you're trying to look at your resume and really fill it out with your best of your best, you want to have your projects on there. You want to have your experience. And like we had mentioned earlier, it's hard to put some things that are not technical. I know for me, it was kind of hard to just throw projects on my resume. And then, all of a sudden, I'm like, I worked at Costco.

Chloe: Right. [laughs]

Danny: But then I tried to really look at the position that I was applying for and see how I can correlate my previous job experience with what they were asking for. So I did something like, oh, I was an e-commerce manager, and I was responsible for very tight deadlines that meant managing people and data analysis. And so that can correlate to the position that you're applying to rather than just being like, oh, I just worked at Costco, and that's that. Like, really dive in a little bit deeper and show that you have work experience that relates to the position that you're applying for.

Lauren: That's great advice.

Chloe: Truly be the resume you wish to see in the world [laughter]; just make the resume that you think the candidate who's going to get this job...because you're qualified for it. You're applying for it. So I would say you can tweak it with each...for myself, I'm a developer relations person. So I'm applying to developer advocate roles. And pretty much the job description for most developer advocate roles, it's slightly tweaked at different ones.

But if there's something you really want to be doing, if you're like, ooh, I did a lot of, I don't know, event work at my last company, and I want to do more events. Emphasize that. Be like, yo, I'm great at this, and I want to do this, and here it is written very clearly on my resume.

Let's say you started to do video work at your previous company. You want to do more video work, highlighting that and applying. I always say to people like, the worst thing that can happen is you don't hear back. [laughs] And I think there's a preciousness that people are like, Oh my God, I'm going to apply to Facebook, it's my dream or Google, it's my dream, or Airbnb, whatever it may be.

Lauren: Oh gosh, yeah.

Chloe: And that's great. But also know that you need to practice before you go all out. [laughs] And the best advice I've ever gotten with interviewing is from my mentor at Hackbright who said there's this...you know when you start dating someone new or something, and you're like, oh my God, we're planning the wedding, like, in your head? [laughs] Don't do that with a company. It used to be when there were on sites. But the best advice she gave was; basically, you're going to go to the on-site. You're going to be like, oh my God, I can ride my bike here. They have my snacks that I like. Oh, and they have this benefit or perk.

And she's like, just don't go there in your head at that point. Be present in the interview and be like, do I like it here? Is this fun? Am I getting a good vibe? And then, if you get an offer, you can think about all those great things. But it reminded me a lot of auditioning and being like, oh my God, if I audition, I'm going to get this part, and my life is going to be like this, and I'll get this role. And you can't plan the show in your head ahead of time, if that makes sense.

Lauren: That's great advice.

Chloe: Just be present. And I'm like, oh my God.

Lauren: Don't plan the wedding.

Chloe: Yes.

Danny: For real, you get really excited. And I know for people who are just postgrads from university or just finished a bootcamp, this idea of being able to pick and choose a company is so foreign to them.

Lauren: Good point.

Danny: Because they're just like, hey, I just want a job. Anything that I'm offered, I'm going to take it. And there's kind of this emotional attachment with every application that you submit for. I know that's how I felt like. I was like, if they offer me anything, I will accept it.

Lauren: Yeah, everything was going to be so much more money than my teaching salary. So it was like, I'm not going to play that game of negotiation, or I'm going to say yes to anything that they throw at me. So that's tough in itself.

Danny: Yeah, I think it's good to just have a team on your side that will empower you.

Lauren: True.

Danny: I know for me I was talking to my cohort all the time just being like, "Hey, y'all, I just got this offer. But I'm waiting to hear back from these people." And I'd reach out to my mentor and just like, "What should I do?" And luckily, I was going to take an internship that was going to pay me like $15 an hour, and Lovisa was like, "Just email New Relic one more time, just see where they're at." And I was like, okay, and I thought I was being annoying.

But I realized that with every resume that you're submitting to, like Chloe you had said, it's just a numbers game. There were thousands and thousands of other people doing the same thing. So sometimes you get lost in it. So if you feel like you're being annoying, you're not being annoying until someone tells you you're being annoying. [laughter] So that's what I've learned. And luckily, they were like, oh yeah, actually, we were going to email you. Can we talk to you right now? And I was like, oh my God, I was just about to accept $17 an hour. [laughs]

Chloe: Truly, here's the thing. I love recruiters. I've been a recruiter. And my boyfriend told me when I got into engineering, he's like, "You're going to hate recruiters." And I was like, what? I am a former recruiter; how dare you? I love recruiters. But let me tell you something. There are really, really great recruiters in the world, there are. And there will be recruiters in your life who give you really great signing bonuses and advocate for you, and are really on the team to make a decision.

And you're going to interview places where the recruiting experience is a nightmare. And especially at larger companies, it's totally luck of the draw, right? At startups, there are just such an excitement or even just smaller companies. Not to say anything is wrong with corporate recruiters. It's just like, your mileage will vary with any person. That's why I really say, folks, always go through a referral if you can, someone who can internally advocate for you, especially if they're close or know someone on the team. Because sometimes, especially at larger companies, it's a numbers game, you get lost in the shuffle.

Danny: We talked about some things to highlight your resume, like changing the font or going to...[laughs] That to me makes so much sense because if I'm looking at the same type of like looking resume all day, I'll be like, boring, boring, boring.

Lauren: Yeah, one pops.

Danny: And then I see Comic Sans or something. Ooh, wow. [laughs] I'm like, cool.

Chloe: Papyrus.

Lauren: Are you using this ironically? [laughter]

Danny: Yeah. What were some big no-nos for resumes to you?

Chloe: Oh man. You know what I hate, hate, hate, and I wish that people would stop doing this?

Danny: Lying? [laughs]

Chloe: To give it some context, I used to work with university students. Like, people who put a statement of intent on their resume like, "My purpose with this resume is to get a job."

Danny: Oh my God.

Chloe: And I'm like, yeah, of course. No duh.

Danny: I had one. I had one. [laughter]

Lauren: I still have one, y'all. [laughs]

Chloe: More in the sense that it's like, I would see these ones where it would take up the whole top half of the resume. And I was like, no, no, no, I want to learn more about you, sweety. Who are you? What is your life? And then I would also say this isn't a pet peeve but something...so a lot of times you just want a lot of space. You're a little pressed for what you want to fit in there.

Lauren: Sure.

Chloe: And I see people put their age and their address. And especially in today's age, I'm like, I don't need to know where you live.

Lauren: No.

Chloe: I think that's even illegal for me to know.

Danny: [laughs]

Chloe: I think a phone number and an email is good contact-wise. If you work in a social-related role, social media can...like, I have social media on my stuff. But I would say when I look at a resume, all I want to do is be like, I want my eye in the first five seconds I know what's going on where I'm like, name, cool. Oh, here's the last two or three jobs that they had. Maybe there's some education stuff on there or relevant experience or training. I should be able to do that in five seconds.

So if you don't have any bolded stuff or if it's really confusing, and I can't see...the amount of years you were there is more prominent than what company it is. Just basic formatting, which I think as engineers, a lot of engineers think they're designers, but they're not, which is why I just encourage Canva templates, [laughs] sponsored by Canva, just kidding, not an ad.

Lauren: But Canva, come talk to us.

Danny: [laughs]

Chloe: But truly, a good formatted resume is just like, great, 1-2-3. Here are the recent jobs, here's how long you were there. And if I want to dive deeper, I can look at the bullet points and be like, oh wow, Danny worked at Costco, and he managed people there. If I want to learn more, I'll look at the dot-dot-dot. But I can tell in five to six seconds; this is a candidate that I'm moving forward or not.

Danny: Someone was like, "I don't need to see a summary," exactly what you just said, Chloe. "I don't need to see a summary. I'd rather see just another project that you worked on, and they could be the same size." To me, I was like, oh, duh. Why would I write exactly what the resume is portraying? Of course, I want a job.

Lauren: Redundancies, yeah.

Chloe: They know when you're bullshitting.

Lauren: 100%

Chloe: You can tell on a resume when someone is lying or making something bigger than it is. People who have confidently done things and then put them on the resume, you can tell. And if you have trouble figuring out...for me, I'm always like, what did I do in this job? I always try to save the job description of the role that I applied for. I've forgotten to do it at the last couple of jobs that I've had.

Lauren: That's great advice.

Chloe: Because afterwards, you're like, oh, what did I do? What were my OKRs?

Lauren: The action verbs of it.

Chloe: You know how I said my LinkedIn is my single source of truth? I also use that as a media version of my resume, if that makes sense, so any video podcast, things that I think are relevant projects. If you go on to LinkedIn and you go to add links to a job specifically, each job has a little media section. Use those as you see fit. If you're a designer, put designer portfolio stuff in there. I don't know if people are looking at resumes. I'm sure they are. I look at resumes when I interview candidates. But people go on LinkedIn often, so it's worth keeping that in a good updated place.

Lauren: I think both should stay updated. You just don't know. And I think as a manager, I have quickly looked someone up on LinkedIn right before the call starts just to refresh my memory of it. So you might be catching them at a very particular important moment too. So yeah, I think that's great.

Danny: That is so nerve-wracking, Lauren, just to be on the other side of the call and being like, ooh, I am so excited. Okay, everything's fine. And then you just look on LinkedIn, and it's like, this person looked at your profile. [laughter] I'm like, what? What? What?

Lauren: For sure. I really should be in incognito when I do that. [laughs] Because my day is busy, I have 10 minutes before the call is my time to do the research. So I'm trying to catch up really quick. And so you never know the state of mind of the interviewer, I suppose. And so that's the behind-the-scenes piece of what's happening there. [laughs]

Chloe: Oh my God. I just had a very existential thought. [laughs] So I've been seeing more stuff about the metaverse.

Lauren: Sure, timely.

Chloe: Just like the funniest TikToks out there of just kids being so rambunctious in the metaverse like throwing a boomerang, one of my favorite TikToks I've seen. But I just thought about how currently the way that LinkedIn works, you know, if someone visits your profile. In the future, in the metaverse, is LinkedIn going to be a place and people physically metaversely will go into your LinkedIn? Because I hate that for me. [laughs]

Lauren: It's like your apartment almost and then looking in. [laughs]

Chloe: Oh no.

Lauren: There it is.

Danny: You just walk in, and you're like, oh, never mind.

Chloe: The future is terrible. [laughs]

Lauren: Enjoy, folks, that's all we have for you. [laughter] Oh my gosh.

Danny: You said that you weren't really even sure people are looking at resumes, almost seems like this old-fashioned way of doing things. That kind of brings up our next topic about cover letters because I've always thought cover letters no one was reading them.

Chloe: [laughs]

Danny: To me, I was like, no one is reading this. But would you actually take the time to read a cover letter, and if someone actually wrote a good one where you're like, oh yeah, I'm moving this person forward?

Chloe: I think it makes a difference for sure. Have a good one that you like, especially if you're like bing, bang, boom. You're sending out hundreds of resumes a week because you're new or a new grad or a new student, whatever that may be. Just have a template like a Mad Lib that's like, I'm excited to work at this company because blank, and I think blank and blank. I would love to work for insert company here, you know, Danny.

I will say I have not had to write a cover letter since I was applying for my first role to get a job. Anytime you're referred, a cover letter is not necessary. So I think it's something with seniority that just is...and also, I think it's getting a little phased out. I would say have a good cover letter. Have a good go-to.

I always tell the story of like [laughs] in my bootcamp, we had this thing called demo night where different companies came. And I was so excited that DroneDeploy was going to be there because I was like, I've flown a drone once. [laughter] I was like, this is my in, right? And so, in my cover letter, I had this standard cover letter I was sending out to everyone. But I was like, oh, I met these people at this event. I'll write a personalized cover letter for this one company because I have a video that I wanted to attach that's like, and here's me flying a drone. [laughs]

Lauren: Oh my gosh.

Chloe: I did not get an interview there.

Lauren: Oh no.

Chloe: But that's why I tell people, like, don't treat these opportunities so preciously the way that my mentor was like, don't plan the wedding. It's literally like, don't plan it in your head ahead of time because it hurts so much more. I remember I wanted to play Γ‰ponine so bad in Les Mis, you guys. [laughter]

Lauren: Oh my God.

Chloe: And I never got to audition for it to be fair, to be fair. But there are roles that you miss out on that you're like; I wanted that role. And like, don't let that happen to you with engineering roles because there are so many great roles. It's not like we're all trying to play Elle Woods. There's literally so...it's a great market.

Lauren: Yeah, that's so true. Oh gosh, I remember I walked into a Blue Origin interview, and I wanted this job so bad, Jeff Bezos' space company. And I casually dropped my library book about space on the floor as I walked in and was like, oops. [laughter]

Chloe: Oh my God.

Danny: Why did you do that?

Lauren: In case I get asked about space. [laughter]

Chloe: We love a performer. We love a performer.

Danny: Silly me. [laughter]

Lauren: Apologies. I didn't get a second interview just to update on that one.

Danny: I don't know if you saw, but I just love space so much. [laughter]

Chloe: It's like the girls who dress up as Annie at the Annie audition. It's very the same.

Lauren: Exactly. That's me. [laughs]

Chloe: But that's also a great point, too, is you build these companies up in your head. And I've worked at Microsoft, and it was a lovely experience. But it's like, I think the biggest eye-opening thing for me was I was working at Microsoft, and I went for this event at NASA. And I was like, oh my God, this is going to be so futuristic and cool.

And you forget that NASA is a corporate government organization. It's like the DMV for space. [laughter] And you think oh, you're going to meet all these...and it's literally like, oh, this is an office. There's all this technology, but it's an office. But it's so important to go to these places. I wasn't interviewing but be in these places.

There's a quote from Cinderella in Into the Woods that's like, how do you know what you want till you get what you want and you see if you like it? And that is literally the story of my career where I was like, I'm going to be an actress. Okay, that was cool. I'm going to go do this thing. And so much of even...you're like, oh, do I want to work at Facebook? Do I want to work at Google?

Interviewing these places or meeting people at these places and your experience really defines what these FAANG companies are to you or what a startup is to you. And I think just have so much fun with your career. Don't feel like you have to work at Google or at LinkedIn or whatever your dream company is. You can contribute to this space in such meaningful ways and for competitive pay at other companies.

Danny: Absolutely. I do want to note that you said the best quote of the day so far, "NASA is the DMV in space." [laughter] I just want to note that.

Chloe: It is.

Lauren: I thought it was the Cinderella one. I was like; I did love that. [laughter]

Chloe: I love NASA. NASA is incredible. NASA is literally open-source space. But for anybody who works in open source or works in a government agency, we know what that life...it's so interesting. You grow up, and you're like, I want to work at a game company. And you're like, oh, gaming companies, the culture can be depending on where you work --

Lauren: Dicey. [laughs]

Chloe: Like, it's very in demand. Or I want to work at Pixar. And it's like, no, I don't want to work at Pixar. There are so many different considerations to factor in. It's just like Ivy League schools, right? I went to San Francisco State University. I went to a state school, and I'm doing fine. You don't need to have...it's great to get that experience. If you get the opportunity to work at a big company, go for it, but it's not going to solve all your problems.

Lauren: That actually makes me think that Danny, for a future episode, it would be a really fun thing to workshop in the there are so many things to look for in a job that you maybe want to hierarchically rank while doing the search, whether it's the opportunity to work remotely, or you really want a great work-life balance, or you want good mentorship, or the opportunity to do pair coding, whatever that list is.

But maybe we could spend some time really massaging that particular topic because I think some people do do a little bit of company hero-worshipping thing. And that is great advice that it doesn't really get you very far always. Cool, you can brag about it at the Thanksgiving table with your non-tech family members but like day-to-day --

Chloe: You guys should do truly like a job mood board just like manifest or like, what is it called? A goal board thing where people set their intentions, or they put their goals on a board.

Danny: Ooh, and you cut pieces of paper from a magazine, and you put them on the board.

Chloe: Yeah, very that.

Lauren: Oh yeah, yeah, so like you're manifesting.

Chloe: But do that for a job where you're like, I want to do more video content or whatever that is for you.

Lauren: I love that.

Chloe: I want to make TikTok for a living, I don't know. [laughs]

Lauren: Sure.

Chloe: Just putting all the things that you want to do. There's a really great book. I'll send you all a link. It's a really wonderful book that my friend wrote about...it's literally like a workbook for what do you want in your new job? And what are you looking for? And being able to just...like, that job probably exists. [laughs] I want to eat candy all day. That's not going to be my job. [laughs] But for something where you're like, you know what? I really love this part of my job. And that's how a lot of people end up in developer relations like us.

Lauren: True.

Chloe: They're like, I really enjoy teaching people these things and making content around this. And you kind of wake up one day, and you're in developer relations. And you're like, oh, that's a job. And so many people come to this field being like, yeah, I was an engineer for six years. And then I was like, oh, I like doing content, teaching engineers how to use developer tools. And it's like, oh, that's a job. [laughs] And something that someone said to me recently is that with the rapid rate at which technology changes, the job that you will have in five years may not even exist yet.

Danny: Yes, someone told me that recently.

Chloe: So a great example is April @vogueandcode on Twitter, one of my best friends, a lovely human being. We met five years ago at a conference. She's like, "What do you do?" And I'm like, "I'm a developer relations person." She's like, "I want to do that." And then she did it. But she didn't know anything about VR then, and now she works in a very senior principal VR role at Microsoft.

Lauren: That's awesome.

Chloe: Because you have to be a beginner at some point in these technologies, whatever that is, like blockchain, VR. You don't even know what your job is going to be in five years, truly. Like, technology is changing so much.

Danny: It's all going to be automated. We won't have jobs, hopefully.

Chloe: Exactly. [laughs]

Lauren: Quit it. Would you stop it? [laughter]

Danny: Okay, I have to ask this, Chloe, because Lauren and I were dying because we read my old cover letter.

Lauren: Oh my God.

Danny: And because you are a performer as well, I think you will like it. [laughs] And I want you to get in the recruiter mindset. You've been doing this for –-

Lauren: Oh my gosh. You're not going to do this right now.

Danny: Yes, yes, I am. [laughs]

Lauren: I can feel secondhand embarrassment for you. I'm starting to sweat. [laughter]

Chloe: I'm so excited.

Danny: So you've been doing this for hours. You've been reading the same cover letter over and over and over. Hey, my name is blah, blah, blah. I'm excited for this position, blah, blah, blah, blah. I've always been told you had to come in with a hook. You got to come in with a bang. And so what I'm going to do for you is I'm going to read you my first sentence, my hook sentence.

Lauren: I think I'm going to mute myself. [laughs]

Chloe: No, you're not.

Danny: No, no, no. We want authentic support laughter, not laughing at laughter. [laughs]

Lauren: Laughing with, not at.

Danny: Yeah, so this was my cover letter sentence. I want you to [laughter] just imagine me writing this: Broke, alone, sad probably, hungry, probably a little sweaty. Two years ago, after finishing an eight-hour shift in a large warehouse, I walked into an old, dingy dive bar to try stand-up comedy for the first time. I repeatedly failed standing alone on stage in front of an 11:00 p.m. weeknight bar crowd. I wouldn't say it was the most fun I had, but I knew the only way to get better was to continue working on it. And then I go on and on about how I did that with code. I mean, are you not --

Chloe: That's beautiful.

Danny: [laughs]

Chloe: That is the opening to your book. That is your book pitch.

Lauren: [inaudible 42:12] [laughter]

Chloe: Oh my God. I'm so here for it. I'm hooked. I'm like, tell me more. Tell me more.

Danny: And then I go on to say I put in the same determination and grit to use when learning how to code. I had a great conversation with one of your software engineers blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah spoke very highly of the team at blah, blah, blah. And then that became my little template, and I just put the name in there and the company in there. And I said I'd be delighted to be considered for the blah, blah, blah role, blah, blah, blah.

Chloe: Danny, here is the real tea.

Danny: See, Lauren, I need you -- [laughs]

Chloe: If I read this, I would be like, stop the presses. We need to hire this man. [laughter]

Lauren: That's exactly...No, stop, Chloe. That was the phrase that he was like, I want them to say. [laughter]

Danny: I told you. I told you this shit was fire. It was so good.

Chloe: Because here's the thing I can tell you, Danny, this was me. This was legitimately like before I was in engineering. I remember I applied for Yelp for a sales role. I worked in sales at Yelp for a very brief period of my life. And I was like, I love Yelp. I would just truly have a cinematic what you wrote. I was there. [laughter] You brought me to a place.

But if I had just been sitting in my little recruiter chair going through being a sourcer and I came across...if I even looked at the cover letter and I came across this beauty, I'd be like, excuse me; I would be like, I just woke up. Who is this?

Danny: See? And I would do that for other roles that I knew I couldn't even get hired for. There was one that I loved. It was like this creative coding. They were asking for someone with huge experience. And I literally started my hook with, "I am nowhere near experienced enough to even have this role, nor do I even think I could even get this role. But I want to be hired there."

Chloe: Honesty.

Danny: And they responded to me. They were like, "Hey, we love the honesty."

Lauren: I've heard of that working.

Danny: And they were like, "We love the honesty. We're not looking for any juniors right now but hit us up again in a year or so." And I was like --

Chloe: We love a hook.

Danny: They love a hook.

Chloe: And you know what? That's the performer in us. [laughter]

Lauren: And you're being your full self. And that is an important piece to the equation of showing who you are. So I totally understand it. I want to have our call to action for this episode for listeners be what is something that you've included in your past resume that you wish you could go back in time and perhaps take off or keep? [laughter]

Chloe: Yeah, some spring cleaning.

Lauren: Yeah, what is something that could give us some second-hand mortification or share with us something from that early resume. I would love to see.

Danny: Or let's say you wrote the best resume you've ever written. Just read the first sentence, like, the first hook of your cover letter.

Lauren: Oh, you want to hear the hook. Okay. [laughs]

Danny: We can have two calls to action.

Lauren: Sure. Tag us at @newrelic. [laughs]

Chloe: Did you guys see the girl, lovely woman, Karla Stickler, who was a software engineer who stepped in for Elphaba on Broadway a couple of weeks ago. Did you see this?

Lauren: Yes.

Chloe: Okay, so I'm obsessed with her. I love her. And I'm trying to imagine if Karla were to write a cover letter like Danny, it'd be like I step on the stage. I truly defied gravity just like the Hulk. [laughter] I love this idea of the hook challenge, the Launchies hook challenge. Write your hook. [laughs]

Danny: I'm promising someone...I was going to promise money, but I don't have. I'll just give you attention. [laughter] If you write the best hook, I'll just give you a bunch of attention, say what's up.

Lauren: Oh, Danny. [laughs]

Danny: I don't know if anyone wants that, but I don't have any money to give.

Lauren: Oh my goodness.

Danny: But we'll give you maybe...we have some New Relic swag, I don't know.

Lauren: Yeah, we have some very cute LEGOs of our data nerds. That's what we can send your way.

Danny: And I have a ton of stickers that I was left with at a tech conference.

Lauren: Heck yeah. Well, Chloe, thank you so, so much for joining us today to share your wisdom and all things resumes and cover letters and your past in theater, and all of your work experience. It just makes for a great conversation, and yeah, we just so appreciate you.

Chloe: Absolutely, anytime. Anytime you guys need me to do a resume makeover, I love doing makeovers on resumes. I used to host an Extreme Home Makeover: Resume Edition at the Microsoft Reactor.

Danny: Woow.

Chloe: Back in the before times, people would come in, and I'd grab their resumes to redo it for them. So truly, I love doing content like this. So I'm happy to help anytime you guys need advice.

Danny: You rule, Chloe. You rule.

Chloe: You rule. [laughter]

Danny: What is one piece of advice, Chloe, that you could give to someone who is writing their cover letter, resume, or anything right now just your...not your hook, not your one-sentence hook, just your one-sentence advice.

Chloe: Ooh. So I just watched Goofy Movie. And I feel like Stand Out, the song Stand Out, [singing] stand out above the crowd. You literally need your resume to stand out.

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. I love it. Thanks, Goofy. Thanks, Chloe. [laughter] Thank you so much, everyone, for listening to the first episode of Season Two of Launchies. We want to hear the call to action. We want to see those hooks. Please tag @newrelic in your tweet. We are so stoked to continue this conversation online with y'all.

And then also we have a New Relic community Slack and an easy link...I can put the link in the show notes, but it's bit.ly/nrslack. And come join and hang out with all of the other users and customers of New Relic. And we can chat to you there during the day-to-day workday, and that'd be kind of fun.

Danny: And don't forget to follow our personal handles. I'm @muydanny on Twitter. Lauren is @lolocoding. And don't forget to follow our wonderful guest, @chloecondon, even though you're probably already following her because she rules. But yes, thank you so much, everyone, and be sure to do those calls to action. I will figure something out, a prize or something. We got to give out some stickers or, I don't know, maybe I'll just send you a cool selfie or a picture of my tortoise for everyone who does a call to action.

Lauren: Sometimes I think I'm just going to be quiet here and let him finish his thought and see where he goes. [laughter] I'm like, don't open your mouth right now, just see what happens. See where he takes this. [laughter] Send them a picture of your turtle?

Danny: Tortoise. It's a tortoise.

Lauren: Torty is coming to you, folks.

Danny: Oh my God.

Lauren: All right. Well, there's your prize. We've landed on it. Be sure to tweet at us and let us know what you really would love or if you're happy to see Torty. That's good data for us as we're growing this program. But of course, stay tuned for next week. As we mentioned in the episode, we'll be diving into how to build your network and get those referrals so that you can get an in at a company as you are interviewing and navigating the job hunt.

Danny: Take it easy, everybody.

Lauren: Bye.

Top comments (0)

Classic DEV post:

CLI tools you won't be able to live without πŸ”§

CLI tools