The DENNIS System: Resume Tips for Senior Developers | by Jacob Bartlett | September 2023


Swipe right on your dream job

photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I’ve worn the hat of hiring manager for many positions, leaving an endless trail of crumpled resumes in my wake.

The recruiting process can be likened to dating on Tinder: before setting a date to test compatibility, a hiring manager will swipe left on the vast majority of profiles after just a few seconds of evaluation.

I’ve identified six principles that will transform your resume from a simple left swipe into a long-lasting and successful relationship.


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The DENNIS system was originally designed by Dennis Reynolds of It’s always sunny in Philadelphiadetailing his repeatable, reliable and somewhat psychotic approach to seduction.

I’ve repurposed the system to help you woo hiring managers and make sure they’re lined up in your inbox, begging to give you a job.

  • D: Lead initiatives
  • E: Adopt LaTeX
  • NOT : Name recognition
  • NOT : More lists
  • I: Impact is king
  • S: Short stays are dangerous

Here’s one of my favorite interview questions:

In your last company, what would not have happened without you?

As a senior, you need to be proactive, not reactive, and this question quickly comes to the heart of whether you can get things done.

If you can show ownership of a critical project, it says: “my company trusted me to deliver” – a strong signal that you are capable.

Even though senior engineers are individual contributors, the best work of the best engineers is rarely code. Here are some concrete examples of leading high-level initiatives that I have seen:

  • Driving the adoption of an RFC process now used for all modifications to internal and customer-facing interfaces.


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