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January 19, 2008 / jnolen

Bonus Resume Tips

While I'm at it, a few bonus resume tips that may be of service to you, no matter the job you're applying for.

  1. Don't waste space on an objective. The interviewer doesn't really care what you want, and everyone writes the same thing anyway. Instead, give me a one- or two-sentence description about why I want you.
  2. Pre-seed Google. Your potential employer is going to Google you. Make sure there is something there that you want him to find. Being a non-entity on the net is not a good sign.
  3. Do not tell me that you're a team player, a fast learner, have great attention to detail or have excellent written and oral communication skills. It may be true, but everyone says that and, consequently, no one believes it.
  4. One page.
  5. No, seriously, one page. It's fine if you can't fit your entire work history on there. Especially in technology, I only care about the last five years anyway. I will greatly appreciate the brevity.*

* I once read the resume of a gentleman applying for a developer position that went on for more than twelve pages. His work history went back to 1973. When he was a shoe salesman.

4 Comments

  1. Jens Schumacher / Jan 20 2008 5:04 am

    Not sure if I agree with your 3rd point. Surely it is important to point out that you do have good communication skills or great attention to detail. The important part is to proof it and give an example.
    If you don’t mention it at all, some people might think you are lacking those skills.

  2. Przemyslaw Bielicki / Jan 20 2008 12:17 pm

    Hi Jonathan,
    I think that in many case people don’t distinguish the difference between a CV and a Resume. You’re right that Resume should be one page long – and that’s it – no matter how long you’ve been in this business (in the worst case scenario just change the font size to 4pt :)
    But you’re the technical guy – this makes the world of difference. Most of the time if you send your CV/Resume to some company it takes some time before your papers arrive to an engineer. You papers are read by HR staff at first and they are looking for such “keywords”. It sucks of course but that’s the truth in many many cases.
    I totally agree with your concerns and your requests but on the other hand you have to remember that when you interviewed me in Poland in October 2007 you wanted to hire me – and my CV was 3 pages long ;)
    Cheers,
    Przemek

  3. Chris / Jan 30 2008 11:52 pm

    Hey Jonathan,
    I have to disagree with the objective thing there. I think this is a great point to start with. I love to see that someone wants to run their own software company one day – that’s if they have the guts to say something other than “want to utilise my skills to deliver solutions on-time”.
    I agree most objectives suck. But then most resumes suck all over.
    People who don’t have an objective cannot have a meaningful employment because they don’t have a “career path”. Only real objectives are relevant though and something like “I want to earn money to travel” is a breath of fresh air!
    One page is great but I’m happy with two to three as long as people recognise I’m only going to read past the first page if I’m going to talk to the candidate.

  4. Steve George / Feb 10 2008 6:46 pm

    3. Have to agree with Jens, you do have to tell me you’re a team player, but you also need to prove it. It will certainly get asked about at interview, immaterial of what’s on your CV.
    4. This is somewhat culture specific. In the UK we only have CVs (no Resumes) and they should be two pages. I dislike single page Resumes from US employees as they are too short for me to get a sense of the person ;-)

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