I have worked all my life, starting at 14 years old as data entry. I'm now 36. In my life I've done plenty of stuff:

  • Owned and manned a comic book store
  • Developed industrial control systems
  • Start a moderately successful youtube channel
  • Electronics and microcontroller development
  • Consultant for companies in matters of IT and Networking

but my only "real job" (as an actual employee for a company) experience is as a software developer at one company for the past 4 years where I've worked with:

  • .NET WinForms
  • NodeJS and Vue
  • Python and Keras+Tensorflow

I'm not sure what to include in my resume. If I include it all I think it may come off as "jack of all trades, master of none". But if I include very little, I may appear as another run-off-the-mill developer with no special qualities.

In my resume I only included the relevant software development, barely mentioning the industrial control and embedded stuff, and completely left out the "owning a store" part.

I tried to go more into detail in the cover letter, this time including most of my skills. But the letter is already two pages long and I'm not sure a HR manager is going to bother going through all of it.

What parts should I leave out? Should I go and include everything in my resume? Should I customize the resume for the position I'm looking for and leave out the irrelevant details?

  • do you have any qualificaions? Consultant for matters of IT and Networking doesn't mean much if you're not a qualified network engineer. – Kilisi Sep 11 '19 at 13:51
  • @Kilisi CCNA back in 2004. I've only worked for small companies and ISPs, basically helping them set up routing and VPN between branches, and getting rid of piracy in their computers. – hjf Sep 11 '19 at 13:56
  • CCNA would have lapsed 15 years ago, the experience is still valid though – Kilisi Sep 11 '19 at 14:02
  • You need to supply the job description with the question. No one can answer until they see the job description because the resume you submit should be tailored to the position. – user25792 Sep 11 '19 at 15:13
  • This is too broad. I assume you're looking for ways to include relevant work experience for which you earned money? – Julie in Austin Sep 11 '19 at 17:23

What parts should I leave out? Should I go and include everything in my resume?

In addition to your most recent software development work, I'd include Developed industrial control systems, Electronics and microcontroller development, Consultant for companies in matters of IT and Networking.

Everything else seems rather irrelevant for the jobs you are seeking.

Should I customize the resume for the position I'm looking for and leave out the irrelevant details?

You should always customize your resume.

Emphasize the items that you feel will be of most interest to your potential employer.

  • How deep do you think I should go? I divided my "experience" section in "my current employer" with 3 paragraphs of detail of what I do there, and "freelance" with also 3 short paragraphs describing what you said. I did not mention owning a store (the store is still open fwiw). The youtuber part I added in the "hobbies and other interests" section – hjf Sep 11 '19 at 13:57

This is the most easily answered question you asked:

Should I customize the resume for the position I'm looking for and leave out the irrelevant details?

The answer is Yes! you should do that. In effect, that dictates the answers to the rest of your questions. While we can speak in generalities for your targeted profession of software development, there's still a ton of variation in terms of corporate culture, specific skill sets, team makeup, and so on - the more you can learn about those things ahead of time, and tailor your resume to fit - the better off you will be.

So - do as much research as you can on the positions you're interested in, and the employers you're interested in. Answer the question yourself based on the research you have done. Besides the obvious research of reading the job advert you're responding to, consider the following:

  • Look at the company website. Sometimes there are good clues about culture. Sometimes, their hiring web page will even make statements about the culture. Or there will be bios on the leadership (learning about their background can be a good hint).
  • Look for current employees on LinkedIn, doing the type of work you want to do. Read through their profiles. This tells you something about the kind of person the company is hiring for those jobs.
  • Look at "review" sites like glassdoor. Although you want to take such information with a grain of salt (since you're sometimes getting one side of the story, from an unhappy individual), you can sometimes glean important information about the working environment and company culture that way.
  • Consider the overall industry the company is in, and how your background might fit (or not). If you're applying for a software company that does video game development, your comic book store might be a very important element of your resume (it shows you can understand and serve a specific targeted culture). If you're applying to write software for a company that does operations and maintenance systems, your industrial controls experience is probably much more relevant.
  • Well, the company is a software development house. They are very, very big with offices all over the world, and one of said offices happens to be in my town. And from what I've read, there is a career path there, as opposed to my current job, where I'm stuck at my position. – hjf Sep 11 '19 at 17:26

You mentioned quite a few things from your career past which might be relevant one way or another to the job you are applying as well as to be considered for your future growth in the company. I wonder if you can include more information about your previous experience by listing what were your achievements.

For example in your description of the current job you take 3 lines to list technologies that you've been using at your current position. While this is very helpful for the HR bot hiring manager might completely dismiss it b/c there is not much said about what you actually done. I would restructure that would show what have you actually done (let's say "used a machine learning to analyze the data and present it to the users of our web application" and then in parenthesis you might specify what technology you used for that). Definitely would mention electronics, microcontrollers and industrial control systems.

Same applies to other experience: you owned a comic store? Was there something how would demonstrate your leadership/communication skills (in a good light)? Yes? Then write about your achievements there. Have a successful youtube channel? Can it demonstrate that you are able to find something that would be interesting to the people? Probably should list it (might be cautious if it is related to politics though). Can it demonstrate that you can do something in a creative way (like those channels related to DIY, modelling, electronics,etc.)? Mention it! Bonus point if it is related to software development.

Keep in mind that your resume is your own ad. You shouldn't lie in it (it would be uncovered quite fast) but you definitely should show the best part of you.

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