My resume is no longer relevant. It can no longer contain an adequate description of my technical abilities. One can get a much better sense of what I am capable of by looking at my GitHub repositories, my Stack Exchange profiles, and the various courses that I am taking at Udacity and Coursera. The problem is that I have no idea how to tell employers that those are the places to look if they want an accurate description of what I can do.

Every time a recruiter contacts me I gently nudge them towards all the resources I just mentioned and I also provide a link to a publicly visible Google doc that contains my resume along with links to all those resources. Yet, they keep coming back asking for a more descriptive resume.

How can I make it even more blatantly obvious that if somebody wants to hire me then they can save themselves a whole bunch of trouble by just clicking on a few links and browsing around?

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    If you're talking to recruiters, many of them don't have the technical aptitude to judge your code/blogs/etc. Some people don't care about the stuff you mentioned, either, and just want a formal resume Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 5:41
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    This isn't really a new answer but rather providing some further reading on the previous answers. Rands in repose wrote a great blog about how important an good, clear and concise resume is and what you should put in it. you can read that blog here.
    – Klee
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 7:18
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    I had never heard of udacity or coursera, those both look really interesting.
    – stoj
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 11:45
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    I think you're missing the part where a potential employer goes from "never having heard of you" to "wanting to hire you". Sure, once they've decided they like the look of you then github, stackexchange etc are great resources, but you have to get them over that initial "why should I care?" hump, and a summary document is still the best (and usually only) way to do that.
    – Arjailer
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 11:53
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    One word: Time (Ok, needs more words :( ). If you have 300 applicants, you don't have Time to go to several web sites to check them out.
    – Paul
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 20:10

8 Answers 8


I would argue that "in the age of GitHub, Stack Exchange, Coursera, Udacity, blogs, etc." the relevance of a concise and a well written resume is more important than ever.

As an employer, I am not going to start with your github projects and blog posts. I might end up checking them if:

  • your resume is relevant to my job requirements;
  • and your resume demonstrates a track record of achievements.

You do not even have to put links to all the aforementioned sites on your resume. I will google your name if I'm interested.

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    Some names are too common to Google. Providing a link on the resume can still be useful.
    – kojiro
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 12:42
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    +1 I can tell you, in 5 years of hiring, I think we may have looked at maybe 1 person's blog, and that was only because he had no actual work history for us to go by. I don't want to know what cool things you did when you were bored, I want to know how well you do your job.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 13:14
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    +1 You've got to be very good in order for employers to bypass reading your resume. The vast majority of us simply aren't at that level. Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 16:29
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    @MichaelEdenfield : That's an interesting perspective and one I hand't considered. One problem I see with that is when working with proprietary technology it is hard to show off and not ran afoul of some kind of NDA. So even if I developed some cool tech and made things 10x better I will not be able to put that on my resume and the best you'll get out of it is that I worked with technology X and built some things which is hardly any kind of differentiator when you have 100 resumes all listing technology X.
    – user7146
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 19:21
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    @davidk01 Mentioning that you "made things 10x better" is exactly the sort of thing to add to a resume. Just because you can't back that claim up doesn't mean you can't provide other code that isn't under NDA. As others have said, that comes later in the employment process.
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 7:16

Look at a resume as a distilled brochure that advertises highlights from your skills and experience. A combination of your github and SO profiles and a bunch of other online resources may be complete and accurate, but it isn't sorted or otherwise prepared for easy reading in any way. People who hire want you to tell them what you think distinguishes you from the rest, so your resume should be written so that you pass the first three seconds of eyeballing; if it doesn't, three seconds is all you get. Nobody can form any useful opinion about your skills in three seconds of looking at your github account page.

If you have too much to fit on your resume, great - pick the absolute highlights, and refer to online resources for more. Aim for 'impressive', not 'exhaustive'.

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    +1. Employers have hundreds of resumes to look at. They can't visit everyone's github. The resume needs to convince the employer that it's worthwhile following those links.
    – MarkJ
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 7:08
  • yes, human resources are always the ones sorting things out, it's really questionable when the domain requires a minimum of science to understand what matters. I'm in the same problem, I'm starting to lose count how many times I've been advised to edit my resume.
    – jokoon
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 7:06
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    +1 - telling me to go sift through all the other stuff just tells me that you are wholly unable to communicate effectively with others. That may or may not be true, of course, but that's the impression it creates.
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 5:25

Most HR screening these days done by recruiters and corporate HR departments is automated resume reading. A human never sees your resume/application. A computer program that searches out keywords in a plain text, HTML or Word document determines if your resume matches the specified job criteria.

If it's a match, a HR person, who knows nothing about GitHub or StackExchange, looks at your resume and double checks the computer results. They may call you on the phone to make sure that you aren't a total loser or liar. Then, they'll submit your resume to the department or client along with a stack of other qualifying resumes. (Smaller companies who don't use a recruiter usually start at this point.)

Then, the hiring manager will begin to sort through a stack of resumes, scanning them for certain keywords/buzzwords and making some subjective judgments. For example, you may have graduated from the same school so you end up on the callback pile. They then ask the recruiter or HR to setup a face-to-face or phone interview for those selected.

In the interview, that's the time you can bring up things that you do online. They'll probably Google on you and check out what you've given them after that if they like you in person. However, this can work against you in some organizations. They may think you're too dedicated to outside projects, like a blog or open source projects. They may see a Facebook entry where you're out partying or being openly religious and be offended by it. They may not like your code style or be intimidated by it. Then again, some hiring managers won't even bother to do even a Google search and base their decision on the interview alone.

So, a resume still remains as an advertising brochure for you because it's easily automated and quick to read/scan. Online qualifications are generally something that can be a deal winner or breaker after an initial interview with a hiring manager.

  • If a company screens resumes like that, it probably isn't a company you want to work for. Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 18:57
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    @CallumRogers - Almost all larger companies and many mid-sized ones use of some type resume screening software or a service/agency that provides this. That's just a fact of life these days. To avoid it, you either have to stick with smaller companies, departments in larger ones that aren't playing by the corporate rules or use personal connections to get around the screening.
    – jfrankcarr
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 5:01
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    The way you describe this seems correct for most large and medium companies. However, if this is the case, that makes them just plain incompetent. I have no better word for it at the moment. The way they do things is broken and they lose big money every single day because of that. Oh, and we developers lose too... Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 21:00

The movie superstars, who command multi-million-dollar flat fees to appear in movies, still have resumes with a headshot and recent achievements, which they send to directors/producers when they're interested in a role.

Thus, the first and foremost function of a resume. It tells me you're interested enough in the job to do the work of compiling or tailoring a resume that you think I want to look at. I can cull hundreds of LinkedIn profiles of people whose professional qualifications match the job description of an opening (including geographic location); if unemployment stats of college grads are an indication, only 4 or 5 in 100 have no job and would jump at this, and maybe only 1 or 2 more per hundred would leave their current job to come work for me. It won't be obvious who's who, unless some of those people are contacting me (though LinkedIn or otherwise) with interest in a job.

Tech-savvy features, like URLs to relevant blogs you write, LinkedIn profiles, even your user and rep on StackExchange sites, tell me you know your stuff, and more importantly, tell me exactly where to look. Unfortunately, names, even the combination of first and last, are not unique. Google my name and you find 25 LinkedIn profiles, numerous Facebook accounts, articles about Occupy Oakland and references to a US ambassador, very few of which have anything to do with me. If you tell an interviewer "just Google my name", you better be damn sure the first link is what he wants to see. By contrast, give him the exact URL to your coding blog, give him your exact StackOverflow username so he can look you up, and you have more control by leading him exactly where he needs to go.

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    Can we start sending head shots with our resumes? Nerdvana
    – Paul
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 20:13
  • When you think about it, an avatar could be kinda like a head shot. Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 5:34
  • @Paul: Only if it's a gaming company and the headshot you're talking about is along the lines of "BOOM! HEADSHOT!" :-) Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 7:37

My professional experience is limited to a few small companies with small development teams. So take this comment for what it's worth from my own perspective.

Regardless of how you perceive the relevance of your resume, the fact is that it is still highly relevant in the workplace. HR recruiters aren't the only ones who will screen your resume. In our teams, our Lead and Senior developers (usually 1 or 2), in addition to our managers are offered the chance to screen your resume and offer an opinion on whether or not they feel they want to talk to you.

That's the key point. We're not evaluating your expertise at this point. We're trying to figure out if you've done similar things to what we're doing. We're trying to figure out how you communicate those achievements and whether or not you thought they were important to you.

Reviewing your code on GitHub, your reputation and answers on StackOverflow, and other online resources is the equivalent of a research project to me. While this definitely answers questions I might have about your techincal abilities, I just don't have the time to go reading other people's code. I've already got deadlines to meet.

I could spend 5-10 minutes looking over your resume and highlighting the things that are interesting to me. Or I could spend up to an hour trying to summarize myself what I think your qualifications are. And if I have to summarize you, that means that I likely won't accurately represent you to my superiors or my team. It'll be your word against mine about who you are and what you're capable of.

You wouldn't want me judging your work by a single item in your online portfolio, right? That wouldn't be fair to you. But that's usually the amount of time I have in my professional day to make a decision on whether or not we just want to talk to you. So be fair and considerate of my time by summarizing what you think are your best selling points. If I have to go hunt them down myself, you've already raised red flags in my point of view.

Not submitting a resume immediately tells me you don't care enough about the hiring process to put in a minimal amount of work. Why would I consider hiring you if the projects I have in store for my new hire are a considerable load of additional work?


If GitHub and StackExchange are places online where you've achieve some level of notoriety and importance, perhaps highlighting these as professional achievements or hobbies will do more IN your resume.


You need to remember your audience, and broaden your understanding of what they need to make you successful.

If I were a recruiter, how would I present your github repository as validation of your skills in a corporate setting? Submitting such duplicates the work of determining what skills you have across every candidate that might be interested in you. Would you be interested in spending thirty minutes digging through repositories determining if you used a tool set, or reading on your resume that you used it?

Take some time, and learn the process. Then you will see that the resume is practically the only thing that holds the process together. It is the "unit of work" in a hiring process. Who is even going to know your name without one? Developing skill in navigating the hiring process is a diversion from skill developed in other areas, but it is probably one of the most profitable non-programming skills to have.


Create a careers resume. I find it the best way of demonstrating professional experience, education, major achievements, online presence, github repositories, etc. on a single webpage. Plus it is easy to keep it up to date and refer recruiters using a simple URL.