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Writing a Good Technical Resume? 137

Posted by Cliff
from the skills-to-know dept.
SuperMallen asks: "As a newly minted hiring manager, I've spent the last few weeks plowing through the large pile of resumes for one of my open positions. The varying formatting and quality of the resumes has stunned me. People do everything from a short list of jobs and positions to essays on each and every project they ever thought about in a job. Everyone seems to subscribe to the 'here's a giant pile of technologies I'm familiar with at the top' school, but I usually ignore this and go straight for their past work history and glean from there. Surely the Slashdot community can help point out what makes for good formatting and content in a technical resume. I'd love to also see some good sample resumes people have used in the past, and any good websites or book recommendations on how to write these effectively, so we can all spend less time reading and writing bad ones."
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Writing a Good Technical Resume?

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  • Hmm (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Write "Karma on /.: karma_value"
  • I know your pain. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onion2k (203094) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:02AM (#16434399) Homepage
    I've had occasion to read through stacks of Curriculum Vitea (I'm English) in my job. It's truly a soul destroying task. I don't have any links to samples but experience has taught me one universal truth: Long lists of skills mean nothing. People put everything they've ever heard of. It comes to the interview and it goes along the lines of "You know Perl well? No, but I walked past the Camel book in a library once.". If there isn't any mention of using the skill then the chances are the candidate hasn't ever used it professionally. I've updated my CV to put jobs and key projects with a description of the skills used in each first now.
    • by WasterDave (20047) <davep&zedkep,com> on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:27AM (#16434473)
      I've had occasion to read through stacks of Curriculum Vitea (I'm English)
      Then lern to spel propper. It's "vitae".
      Long lists of skills mean nothing
      You know that. I know that. The candidates know that. Unfortunately the droid at the employment agency doesn't. They are given a list of buzzwords to match and a pile of CV's. Any CV's that match the buzzwords get their addresses tippexed out and are faxed through to you. Daft, innit?

      Dave
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cperciva (102828)

        I've had occasion to read through stacks of Curriculum Vitea (I'm English)
        Then lern to spel propper. It's "vitae".

        Also, it's "Curricula Vitae", not "Curriculum Vitae", unless he was reading a CV which arrived in multiple volumes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by WasterDave (20047)
          Oh, very nice. "+1 - Well aimed pedantry" ... or is that the thing involving sheep and Wellingtons?

          Dave
          • by itwerx (165526)
            Oh, very nice. "+1 - Well aimed pedantry" ... or is that the thing involving sheep and Wellingtons?

            Heh, cute! Wish I had mod points to give you a +1 Funny. :)
      • by hdparm (575302)
        Well, he said "English" - word in question is Latin. Just a typo, probably. As to the buzzwords problem - I don't think that's as bad as it used to be. Employers have finally figured that this was such a huge waste of everybody's time. At least in NZ, major job site mostly contains straight forward job ads, with clearly listed requirements.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MattBurke (58682)
        Indeed. I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to do one-off CVs for agencies with stupid stuff anyone familiar with the work would take for granted like "pc hardware" and "vi" listed in the huge list of acronyms at the top (there only for the sake of matching on agencies searches).

        The worst thing about dealing with agencies is their tendancy to treat skills as objects - 'you've "got" linux and bind but you haven't "got" vi so I won't put you forward for this role' - ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mouse42 (765369)

        Long lists of skills mean nothing

        You know that. I know that. The candidates know that. Unfortunately the droid at the employment agency doesn't. They are given a list of buzzwords to match and a pile of CV's. Any CV's that match the buzzwords get their addresses tippexed out and are faxed through to you. Daft, innit?

        Yes, very true. Due to this, I usually modify my resume for each job. I first evaluate the company, and try to surmise who will be reading my resume, and then modify it to fit.

        If I'm be

        • It's nice to be able to do this, but it gets old after you've done that for the 300th time without much in the way of results.

          I have a somewhat lengthy list of skills on my somewhat dated resume (I really should update it), but I don't put anything on there that I don't know relatively well, and I've had the strangest items on that list result in promising job interviews.
          • by mgblst (80109)
            I think you really need to focus on one area, and pursue that. That was my big breakthrough - don't go after everything, in the hope of catching anything (it is not like looking for women on a Friday night!), but send out a couple of well researching applications.
            • I ended up breaking my resume up into five base versions (Unisys mainframe, IBM mainframe/COBOL, UNIX programming, PC hardware/software support, and a generic application programmer resume), each concentrating on a particular set of technologies and/or basic types of experience that were somewhat related to each area.

              That saved me quite a bit of effort when customizing things later on to fit a given position.

              When one has been working in the technical arena for a while, especially if one has help multiple po
      • Perhaps there should be two sets of listings on the resumé, titled "Buzzwords" and "Skills I Actually Have."

      • by Senzei (791599)

        You know that. I know that. The candidates know that. Unfortunately the droid at the employment agency doesn't. They are given a list of buzzwords to match and a pile of CV's. Any CV's that match the buzzwords get their addresses tippexed out and are faxed through to you. Daft, innit?

        I have at times seriously considered putting a list of every acronym and technology that might remotely be related to what I am applying for at the top of the resume under the heading "Buzzword Bingo". I think if I ever get on

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I write Perl, and I work writing Perl.

      And ever since I got to about 4 or 5 CPAN modules released, I haven't needed a resume at all since.

      Generally it's just enough to say "My CPAN id is $foo".

      It also works in reverse as well, in situations where I've been hiring or interviewing Perl people, my first question tends to be "Do you have a CPAN id?".

      If so, you can immediately go see what standard they work to when they expect their peers to read their code.

      If not, they general apologize or mumble something about
      • That was a bit like interviewing the Sybase "expert" with four years Sybase experience (provided by an agent, of course) who mumbled something about tempdb when I asked him to describe a couple of system tables. The interview ended in a "we call you, don't call us", of course.

        Depending on the job and the application you must not necessarily be the product wizard, but if your resumee states four years of Sybase experience you better heard about sysobjects, sysdatabases and another couple of systems tables a

      • by Mouse42 (765369)

        And ever since I got to about 4 or 5 CPAN modules released, I haven't needed a resume at all since.

        {sigh} I wish it was like that all the time. I figure my work speaks for itself, right? I am a web designer, and I thought the quality, quantity, dates, and clientbase should successfully demonstrate my skills, so my resume gives a list and explaination of my knowledgebase, along with a list of website links and notable description for each.

        Invariably, I am asked for my previous employers. Eh? Look at

      • If they don't know what a CPAN id is, well then they almost certainly aren't getting the job :)

        I have no idea what a CPAN id is. I'm guessing from context that it's what you use if you're submitting a module to CPAN.

        I've also spent countless hours over the last several years using Perl to write the kind of automation scripts it was designed for, countless more using it as a CGI back-end to link web sites with databases, and obviously a fair amount of time looking up and using CPAN modules in relation

        • by DrZaius (6588)
          A CPAN id is your username for uploading stuff onto CPAN.

          I would say it depends on the level and expectations of the job. As a senior perl programmer, I probably wouldn't hire you because you're not involved in the culture of perl. You do know what CPAN is and were able to take a decent guess on what a CPAN id is, so I probably would hire you.
      • Every Perl programmer knows the way to job security is to write piles of horrible undecipherable code, so your current employer will be afraid to fire you because they can't find anyone to take over the mess. The only reason anyone hires new Perl programmers any more these days, is to take over the horrible mess left by their previous Perl programmer who got hit by a bus. Anyone hiring Perl programmers to write new code is crazy.

        -Don

    • Most recruiters, job engines, etc wouldn't even forward you the resume if it didn't match certain keywords. So people that want to get their resume in front of someone have to put every conceivable keyword on there, in the hopes that their resume will at least get to some decisionmaker. You can safely ignore that list, it's an unfortunate consequence of trying to get hired in today's market. A classically formatted resume will never get past the computer filters.
      • The parent is spot on. In today's recruitment business, there may be as many as three filters before you even get to the guys who are technically knowledgeable: a recruitment agency/job board if you use one, the HR database at the company you're applying for, and the HR weenie who's pulling out things that pass their automated filters to pass to the technical guys. Exactly none of these steps is likely to involve anyone technically competent who understands what the buzzwords and abbreviations mean. Java is

        • Perfect example is my current position: I'm basically on contract to provision, deploy and migrate a dozen or so complex web sites to a new ISP and hosting setup. Content of sites? Unchanged. Design? Unchanged. Implementation of firewalls? Check. Load balancing? Check. Server hardening? Check. DB server configuration (with DBA)? Check.

          Sample questions from agency re this specific position:

          • So we're looking for someone who is good with HTML.
          • What about CSS? Are you comfortable with CSS?
          • Have you used Dreamw
    • by KDan (90353)
      One of the main things I look for in a technical CV is evidence of technical work *outside* of the office. I've found that someone more junior but who plays with techhnology as a hobby will be significantly more performant than someone who is apparently more experienced but only does it as a day job.

      Daniel
      • by Cassini2 (956052)
        When hiring a minimal work experience, projects outside of school and work is often a strong indicator of talent. It also really reduces the list of applicants.

        Often, the students that like technology enough to play are the students that you want in a technology project. Engineers need to want to do the work; they need to like the field. If you can find an applicant that likes the material, then that is the person you want to hire. These people will be motivated employees.

        On the other hand, it is also d
        • For some jobs, I add a 3-4 line "Things I do for fun" section to my resume, highlighting relevant technical and non-technical hobbies and volunteer work not listed elsewhere.

          It just might get me the interview if I'm on the bubble, and it may help me know which hiring managers see me as a person not just as a skill set.

          The key is keeping it relevant and short, and remembering that the entire section is expendable if space is an issue.
        • by dodobh (65811)
          So if someone puts: *Wrote Perl6 interpreter in Haskell*, that wouldn't be considered?
    • by gosand (234100) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @12:34PM (#16436915)
      Long lists of skills mean nothing.

      Hmm, well, not exactly. If you only put down the skills that you have that are your best, you may miss opportunities. I have gone over many resumes, interviewed a lot of people in my day (probably 50) and have been a hiring manager. I like seeing a list of their skills grouped by their level of understanding of the subject. If using Linux is a must-have skill, but I don't need a guru, I might be willing to look at someone who has a decent understanding of it. I have talked to people who said "yes, I have used Unix". My next question is always "What shell do you use?" If I get a blank stare, I already got my answer. But it is much easier for someone to learn MORE about Unix than to have never used it at all. I don't have a problem with people putting everything they've ever used on their resume, as long as they qualify it. Oh, and aren't stupid about it... listing all the versions of Windows you have ever used is silly. I put on mine "MS Windows - 3.11 through XP" That covers it.

      Yes, that can maybe be gleaned from job descriptions and whatnot, but things like programming knowlege can't always. I have a CS degree, and used to do programming. But I have been involved in QA and testing for my whole career of 13 years. I still have the various languages I am familiar with on my resume, with the caveat that my experience with them is fairly low. Of course, I still get people asking me about programming jobs, probably because they don't even READ my resume and probably have someone keyword matching on it.

      I can tell you, finding technical QA people is difficult, so I make sure to point out on my resume that I do have a technical background. It makes a big difference when interacting with the programming team to have a CS degree. I can read Java and pretty much figure out what is going on, but I wouldn't want to have to write anything in it. I know enough to leave that to the experts. But if my job involved writing some Java, it wouldn't be too far of a leap for me.

    • by dasunt (249686)

      The list of skills is more beneficial when the hiring process is composed of non-technical people.

      Technical people will look at the resume and (hopefully) look at the experience to see what skills the potential employee has.

      Non-technical people will look at the skill list and check off skills they believe they need.

  • Specify the format (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:12AM (#16434425)
    Well, first of all you should realise that every applicant is just trying to please you. So if they write the CV in a certain way, they do it because they expect you to like it that way. How do they know? Well, they go by the few clues that they have, the most important ones being the job announcement and the company website.

    > People do everything from a short list of jobs and positions to essays on each and every project they ever thought about in a job.

    If you think that the variety makes it difficult to compary CVs, you can specify a certain structure. The easiest way to do that is a web front end for entering the CV information, with some guidelines on how many details to give. Just look at the CV generator at monster to get the idea. For applicants that can be a pain (unless you use e.g. monster), so you may lose some, but if it makes your work easier, it might be worth it.

    > Surely the Slashdot community can help point out what makes for good formatting and content in a technical resume.

    That depends on what you are looking for. I like to see a clear (and appropriate) structure, because structure is so important in IT. Many HR people look for fonts and spelling etc, but I always found that a bit superficial. Instead have a look for good command of the english language, which is not at all too common :-).

    Oh, and BTW: all these requirements also apply to the job ad. You get what you deserve. So if your job ad is a huge unformated pile of bullshit bingo and TLAs, don't complain about the declining quality of resumes!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cervo (626632)
      I think it would be cool if the world had a standard XML resume format. Companies could have applications and using the XML tags each company could only view the information they want. Also each company could reformat the resume so that whatever they want to see is emphasized and those details they do not care about are hidden. A nice web front end with AJAX and all that web 2.0 stuff would probably sell many higher vice presidents (unfortunately).

      But a killer app would be a WYSIWYG resume builder that
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by mrmtampa (231295)
        The HR-XML Consortium http://www.hr-xml.org/ [hr-xml.org] has developed a whole suite of human resources dtd's and schemas. Monster and Dice are using them. My resume is built using the JobPositionSeeker-v1.0.dtd. It contains all the usual segments and includes a skills table which I print as the last page of my printed copy. I created xslt scripts for producing html and text versions. It makes it easy to keep current (but I don't).
    • If you think that the variety makes it difficult to compary CVs, you can specify a certain structure. [...] For applicants that can be a pain (unless you use e.g. monster), so you may lose some, but if it makes your work easier, it might be worth it.

      It might be, but IME it almost certainly isn't. I had this discussion just the other day, funnily enough, while talking to a recruiter I'd linked up with a friend looking for a job. I was explaining that the friend had decided not to bother applying, because

      • by SimHacker (180785) *

        Of course a nicely formatted resume could mean that they paid someone to do it for them, just like they paid someone to do all their homework and write all their papers through college. But at least they know how to delegate!

        -Don

  • by PaulHurleyUK (732613) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:16AM (#16434433) Homepage
    Insist on all CV's being submitted as XML data files, then you can sort them out easily ... http://xmlresume.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    Paul.
    --
    Paul Hurley [paulhurley.co.uk], Completely Pointless

  • by cperciva (102828) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:18AM (#16434435) Homepage
    The ideal resume structure depends upon the job for which one is applying. A resume I recently used was slightly under 200 lines of (up to) 78 characters of ASCII text; its sections were "Education" (2 degrees, 5 lines), "Scholarships" (3 entries, 3 lines), "Awards" (5 entries, 5 lines), "Employment" (3 entries, 8 lines), "Research" (8 entries, 60 lines), "Other activities" (10 entries, 20 lines), "Publications" (10 entries, 25 lines), "Software written" (3 entries, 15 lines), and "Grep bait" (3 lines). Obviously, this was heavily weighted towards pointing out my research abilities; this makes sense, since I was applying for a job doing research.

    If I had been applying for a position as a programmer, I would probably have swapped the positions and lengths of the "Software written" and "Research" sections. If I was applying for a scholarship, I would have listed more of the awards I've received. If I was applying for a job at a company which didn't have a reputation for applying computers to the task of filtering resumes, I would have omitted the "Grep bait" section.

    It's not rocket science: Decide what job you want, decide what you would like to see on a resume if you were hiring someone for that job, and then write that resume.
    • by BruceCage (882117)

      That's sound advice, from what I've noticed structure plays a very important role in creating a solid resume. When I applied for a summer internship I set up a resume by comparing sections used in resumes I found Googling, eventually it contained the following three sections: "Objective", "Education" and "Skills" (e.g. Operating Systems, Databases, Programming Languages, Methodologies). If you do have any previous working experience (unlike me) you should obviously list that too.

      I based my resume on the f

  • filters suck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeFM (12491) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:19AM (#16434441) Homepage Journal
    The problem with resumes these days, IMO, is that you have to both make a resume that'll get through the automated filters many companies use and still be grabbing to the human that eventually will read it. Filters throw out anything without the right keywords so you have to cram your resume with lots of keywords. Obviously, like web pages that are stuffed with keywords, this leads to resumes that are long and ugly. Then you feel your resume is to long and repetitive so you feel the need to trim out details in your work and education history.

    I always feel the need to explain not only what I know but also how well I know it and how recently I've used it. This is helpful I think but leads to a resume that some people throw out as simply being to verbose.

    Then my girlfriend says my resume is ugly so she wants to spend a lot of time picking the right fonts, paper, etc despite the fact that the nicer looking version is actually harder to read. I hate resumes. Why don't we use one of the available XML-based formats for passing around resumes.
    • by amelith (920455)
      > The problem with resumes these days, IMO, is that you have to both make a resume that'll get through the
      > automated filters many companies use and still be grabbing to the human that eventually will read it.

      This is an important point and if I'd had some points I'd have modded you up.

      I'd also mention that your CV will be read by lots of people e.g. recruitment agents whose knowledge of what the tech buzzwords mean is very similar to the automated filters. These people are gatekeepers between you and
  • taught me that short and to the point works, under 2 pages, is preferred. Incidentally, my English professor shares this same attitude about good writing (using the book "On Writing Well" by Zinsser).

    My experience bore this out. Of course, a resume is only to get a foot in the door. You can use (or prospective future employees) can bypass that step and use contacts to land an interview.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)
      Yep, that's the best policy if you're looking for a 'generic' resume, which fits the bill for most scenarios. A good job to fit your skills, however, should require a targetted resume.

      In general, though, a CV is essentially a big business card.
  • In my experience you can't just write one CV/Resume. You always have to tailor it. Try to submit one that company A loved in the past to Agency/Company B and they'll complain it shows "too much of X, and not enough of Y". Tweak it to their specs and the next lot will complain it has "too much Y", then the next will say "where's the Z section?", and you'll go and add that in, to which the next will say "Sorry, because you included Y and Z it's too long, we only check the front page" (which is the reason f
    • Cha ching. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Travoltus (110240)
      That's why I made our company post resume format requirements in our job listings. We also warn the applicant that we'll be calling in 2nd interviewees to prove their knowledge in person.

      The number of incoming resume's shrank by 83% and now we mostly have qualified applicants. The problem now is choosing which one has the coolest sounding Mumbai or Hyberadad address.

      (Just kidding on the address thing.....)
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:33AM (#16434505) Journal
    She helped me put my resume together, and it's never let me down. The format is:

    Identification & contact details. (address, phone etc)
    Date (so they know the resume is current)

    Summary blurb. (Use this as your "hook" if you have anything to brag about.
    "On our last project I was instrumental in our team's successful cure for cancer, elimination of world hunger and the establishment of Unreal Tournament as the nation's premier sporting event."

    Bullet point listing of key competencies.

    * Brain surgery
    * Microsurgery
    * Lisp coder
    etc

    One or two paragraph summary of experience, most recent first.

    August 2005 - Current:
    Crowd controller for Rammstein.
    Acting as a human buffer to crazed fans, I successfully protected the band from encroachment and injury on 37 separate occasions. A strong commitment to workplace safety was demonstrated by my use of a rubber-shielded baton, while my leather and vinyl attire coordinated well with the band's homo-industrial stage antics.

    July 2004 - August 2005:
    Speech Writer for Tourettes' Debating Team.
    etc

    The key is to get ALL of this up to a couple of your most recent gigs on one page. That'll give the reviewer a good chance to assess you and shortlist you without having to wade through reams of paper, so keep it al brief and to the point.

    Once you've got that part done, you an start listing other experience and qualifications on the following pages, then finish up with references. As well as a list of names and contact info, it's a good idea to include a couple of juicy quotes from referees.

    References
    "T Person was the most effective human speed-bump this company has ever employed. His great bulk would have been enough to stop a rocket propelled tank."

    Good luck...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alex (342)
      As someone who sees a lot of CVs and has hired a lot of staff, I couldn't agree more with this.

      Keep the summary short and concise - a few lines ideally.

      Give more details about recent jobs than old jobs (I'm more interested in your recent experience, than your job as a barman when you were 18).

      A good piece of advice I heard a few years ago - if you've got the experience - focus on the experience (ie if you are sysadmin, wanting another sysadmin job - focus on what sysadmin stuff you know), if you haven't got
      • by honkycat (249849)

        Fitting it all onto less pages by taking out all the white space and using a smaller font is cheating, and has a side affect of makeing your CV harder to read. If your CV is hard to read - there is a risk that people won't, most hiring managers will be faced by a pile of CVs you want yours to be the one that stands out, being well presented and easy to read is at least as important as the skills on the CV.

        This bears repeating. One of the worst resumes I've ever seen was from a guy who might well have been

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tyldis (712367)
      Recently hired someone...

      12 applicants and 2 of those did as the ad instructed (written and snailmailed application, without diplomas and crap, only a cover letter and a CV).
      Most had a messy CV which I have a hard time reading and comparing with others.
      One hadn't updated his since 2001.
      The worst one was almost 60 pages long and included a huge essay detailing his life. Most pages were just 'diplomas' from every course or training he ever attended. It seemed as if he asked everyone who ever taught him ANYHIN
      • by syrinx (106469)
        I want a CV/resume like parent is suggesting plus a SHORT letter, max 1 page with:
        * Who you are
        * What you currently do
        * Why you want to change employer
        * Why you suit this job
        * What your goals are


        I don't know.. I agree with you mostly, but when I look at resumes I pretty much completely ignore whatever they've put down as their "goal" -- everyone knows the real goal is "to get your company to exchange your currency for my services", I don't reall
        • A hypothetical college grad wanted a job that would lead to leadership roles within a couple of years. His stated objective:

          To be technical team lead within 24 months

          This tells me several things:

          This guy doesn't want to merely sling code his whole life, he wants to lead.
          I should look elsewhere if I know my company can't do this, because he won't be happy and will likely leave.
          I SHOULD consider this guy even if he doesn't meet all my other requirements, PROVIDED his resume demonstrates leadership, because i
          • by tyldis (712367)
            I think most employers are reasonable and do not only want the one with the best skills, but also want someone who fit the organization. The more information you provide the more likely you are to find a job that makes you happy and which you want to keep for a while.

            I hired the one who had skills over a certain threshold and who I believe will stick around for many years. Skills kan be developed, but replacing people every 1-2 years is hard.
      • I want a CV/resume like parent is suggesting plus a SHORT letter, max 1 page with
        Seems to me that your asking for a CV, then are expecting to recieve a resume; it was my understanding that a CV was a much longer detailed document. "Curricula vitae (CVs) provide a detailed statement of your qualifications. They are only used in certain positions and industries in the US, although the CV is the default choice in the UK and Commonwealth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9sum%C3%A9_serv ice [wikipedia.org] I'm not sure why a
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)
      Leave off references. They might keep your resume on file (depending on how many applicants they get, etc.) and more often than not seem to not check references in my experience. Maintain your reference list seperately, so that if they really want to check them, they can - and not all companies even ask for referneces when hiring. Just denote that references are available upon personal request.
  • Just do something like this Aleksey Vayner [ivygateblog.com].

    (Yeah. I know its old news by now. Still makes melaugh)
  • Make it one page with a short work history (past 5 years only) with dates, places and company names. In the opening blurb, condense your professional interests, accomplishments and goals into a short paragraph.

    Graphically organize this information so that it is easy to digest at a glance, bolding important words as appropriate for the situation. Be honest and do not embellish or pad your experience, education or knowledge.

    Since blinky LEDs and tiny batteries are cheap these days, you could always attach
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GoofyBoy (44399)
      I can't tell if you are joking or not, but forget about the
      "keep it to one-page advice".

      If you can only fill in one page, then keep it to one page.

      If you need 10 pages, fill 10 pages, but try to put the really good and recent stuff on the first page.

      Think long and hard if you want to work for a company that rejects you based solely on the number of pages you submit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pipingguy (566974) *
        I disagree. If I'm looking at a stack of resumes and I'm busy (i.e., not a HR professional) I'll not likely pick up one that weighs a lot. A heavy CV usually indicates too much information (possibly padding) and someone who cannot (for ego reasons or whatever) summarize their own experience and qualifications.

        Put a web link or note mentioning extra information instead. If the interviewer is interersted s/he'll call you for more details.
        • Re:One Page (Score:4, Insightful)

          by GoofyBoy (44399) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @10:51AM (#16436093) Journal
          >If I'm looking at a stack of resumes and I'm busy (i.e., not a HR professional) I'll not likely pick up one that weighs a lot.

          Your job is to find the right person for the job. Again its not clear how the weight of a resume has anything to do with this. Do you also filter by the orientation of the staple on the resume?
          For me, do I really want to work for you if my coworkers were chosen by this arbitrary method? What does it say about your skills as a manager?

          "Hi! I have no technical skills, no experience I can share, but I work here because I lucked out because I have a one page resume. Good thing too, because I would have lost to at least three other more qualified people but they never even got looked at because they had a hefty five page resume. Nice to meet you."

          >A heavy CV usually indicates too much information (possibly padding) and someone who cannot (for ego reasons or whatever) summarize their own experience and qualifications.

          I can do both of those things, pad and fail to summerize, with a one or two page resume.

          >Put a web link or note mentioning extra information instead.

          You can't be bothered to turn the page of a document right in front of you, yet you find it ok to ask a person to go to an computer and type in a potentially long/complex text (URL)?
          • by honkycat (249849)
            It's a VERY rare thing that an applicant actually has a legitimate reason to fill 10 pages of a resume, excepting cases where an employer specifically asks for a detailed job history. A couple pages is more than enough space to give general information about skills and objectives and give some detail for the most recent / relevant jobs. A resume is not a life story, it's a sales pitch. Submitting a 10 page tome indicates either unfamiliarity with the purpose of a resume (really, if you've GOT 10 pages wo
          • >>> Do you also filter by the orientation of the staple on the resume?

            I would. If the staple(s) are on the wrong edge, or opposite edges away from the vertices, your candidate lacks attention to detail OR is a moron.

            The filtering would however be Bayesian.

            >>> You can't be bothered to turn the page of a document right in front of you

            As the applicant it's your job to summarise your skills and experience. If you provide a good summary then providing a link to further information seems a good
      • > If you can only fill in one page, then keep it to one page.
        > If you need 10 pages, fill 10 pages, but try to put the really
        > good and recent stuff on the first page.

        Have to disagree. Not that one page is a firm rule, but ten pages is excessive. The main purpose of the resume (at least in the US) is to get an interview or call. Ten pages of detail doesn't help you do that. Pare the older/less relevant stuff down to a series of short summaries, and add "ask me for more details". If you're in the ba
  • I have an oddball background (some people have it worse). I've tried about 9 different formats and I always get a 50/50 love-hate response. That part's probably normal and I'm being paranoid. :)

    I always find that, on forms like Monster's, there's always one or two required fields I can't correctly/honestly fill in the way they want it. I tend to find the automated formats "unflattering," but there you are.

    It's a hot job market, though. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way, but that's because it's a very compe
  • Interview matters (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blwrd (455512)
    I'm not in position of actually hiring people, but every now and then I've been asked to interview the employee candidates. The managers then base their decision (more or less) on my opinion. In the (hopefully clearly structured) resume, the candidate claims to have knowledge on specific technical areas, let it be programming environments, languages, databases or whatever.

    My job as a interviewer is to determine how truthful the resume is. This is done by discussing the competence areas with rather low le
  • LaTeX (Score:2, Informative)

    by A-Rex (602166)
    You probably want to find or make a good LaTeX/TeX template and use that. Every computer science master student does that here at least, and the companies loves it.
    • by phliar (87116)

      Yes, LaTeX is nice, and in a past life I wouldn't have expected anything else. (Academia -- paper CVs being handed around is how things were done.)

      Now, though, I really don't want to have to keep track of any more paper, my desk is already piled high. Nothing beats a simple URL sent in email. (HTML attached to email (not HTML email!) is second.) And just plain HTML, no flash/backgrounds/blink/... Don't set fonts and sizes, let the reader's browser select the fonts to use. (Nothing pisses me off more than

  • I recently graduated, and my school's job placement program required resumes in a very particular format - which looked like crap. However, I guess it does standardize things a bit when they send off fifty of them to a company that asks for "everyone in CS with a 3.4 or higher gpa".

    I think the best way to get better resumes is to in your job posting either give a format or give specific items you'd like to see. I knew when I wrote mine that it had to get past a million filters - so even if I only spent a co
  • One question I always ask in interviews -- "Tell me about some code that you wrote that wasn't for work or school." As an example, I wrote "voting fraud" program to You need to show that you'll be a great employee because you love the job. If you're going for an IT position, you should be proud of your home network. If you're a coder, you should talk about the program/package that you wrote just for fun. Whatever you do, on your resume have examples of how you do it for the love of it -- Write about yo
    • by pci (13339)
      While I understand why you want to inquire about how much they love IT; personally I would never base my hiring for a position on the size of a candiates home network or what other projects they code for on the side.

      My reasons are this:
        - For some people IT is just a job, just like working at Mcdonalds with a better paycheck and a different skill set.
        - Anybody can build a home network now, for under $1500 I can buy two new computers and a switch.

      • For some people IT is just a job, just like working at Mcdonalds with a better paycheck and a different skill set.

        I love the challenge of tech work, but I love the fast-paced nature of retail also.

        Give me $50,000/year to hand out burgers and frys and I could be happy. Of course in my spare time I'd be slinging code :).

        Substitute other relatively-low-paying jobs like teaching, less-skilled nursing, some less-skilled skilled trades, for McDonalds and there are probably a number of happy computer programmers
    • Agreed
  • In a lot of cases, people know languages/technologies very well that they do not use at their job. Basically, if you follow the procedure of only accepting technologies used on in the job history, once someone gets their first job that will define them for the rest of their career. Most computer science (and even other subjects that require programming) college graduates used C++ or Java while at college (in the past 10 or so years). In addition to using it for many years at school, they also use it on t
  • Even if employers may ignore the skills at the top, those skills will do a lot to get your resume found by search engines. If you end up near the top of a results list for some common search term and your resume is suitably impressive, people are, at some point or another, going to contact you with job offers. This is obviously a good position to be in. Never be a supplicant if you can avoid it.

    As for what to put on it, a short paragraph about each job is pretty standard. Obviously, you want to highlight

  • by Cassini2 (956052) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @11:26AM (#16436375)
    The biggest resume mistake that I have ever seen is when everyone in some college / university program takes a course where *EVERYONE* has to format the resume exactly the same way. The result is that the entire classes resumes look almost identical.

    After I read the first two of those resumes, every single one of them gets weeded out.

    You really need to do something on the first page that clearly gives me a reason to hire you. When reading through a stack of resumes, I am looking for a reason to hire you. Why are you better than everyone else? If you can't give me a reason to hire you in the first page, then you are out. I am not reading the second page.

    Incidentally, I went to one of these photostat resume courses once. I did a resume on blue paper. I was held up as an example of the worst possible resume you could write. That resume netted me a job interview with a prestigious high-tech company at the time.

    Lesson: avoid having the exact same resume format/content that your classmates have.
  • I work at our school on the network staff, we deployed a new network wireless network over the summer, and I'd say I'm pretty good at linux administration. I do things like install big brother network monitor for my machines in my dorm room, just because I can and take my CS assignments and make huge projects out of the basic labs and when 11 pages came out of the printer, I told my boss that there were 3, doing some development work for the school, etc. Basically, I'm really enthusiastic. I don't think
    • by dodobh (65811)
      I suggest that you go for as broad a spectrum of skills as possible. Any good administrator should be able to write code, debug applications, set up a network...

      These aren't separate skills, they are part of a spectrum. If you do things right, don't worry about the first job you get. I suggest trying for a small shop where you get to be the jack of all trades. Take it for the first couple of years. Then with _that_ experience, go for a bigger company.

      While you are at it, join your local LUG (or other IT gro
  • by josepha48 (13953) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:42PM (#16437485) Journal
    I used the format described at http://sourceforge.net/projects/xmlresume [sourceforge.net], which seems to be down right now or not accessable.

    I found that you should have a section called 'technical skills' to list all your skills. You can call it skill proficiency, but only if you are proficient in ALL the skills. I switched the name when I got burned in an interview at yahoo, because I put mysql and was expected to be a f'n DBA in mysql, and expected to know all date time datatypes. I'm a developer who has worked with mysql, but have always had dba's that dealt with that crap!

    I have also found that using 1 sentance bullet points, which in the xmlresume format they call 'achievements' I think, at least that is what I am using. each line says clearly how you used technology X. Also I think you should use 'active voice' I think it is called ( or is it passiv, I forget ), like 'I created blah blah using C/Java, blah, which resulted in more sales of the product.

  • Basically, this is how my resume looks:

    Education

    This section just has the schooling and special certs I've got, with the dates of accomplishment and any other pertinent information (GPA, magna cum laude, etc), in table form.

    Experience

    This is a list of past/current employers and the dates of employment/contract, listed with what the job entailed. If you've got a lot, just list the most significant ones and note that you've done so to give a better picture of your overall experience (letting them know that ad
  • I can't believe I missed this story!

    Anyhow, I hate to quote another site, but I had read this [eweek.com] really good article from eweek about tech resumes. It was awesome. It was such a good article, I could have sworn it was covered here. 10 Ways to Tweak your Tech Resume.

    So here's the short version of my story. I liked my job as an admin at an ISP in NY. We decided to sell our house and move down south to SC. I knew getting a job wasn't going to be a huge problem, but my resume needed help. Al
  • I'm surprised no one has linked to Joel on Software yet. Our pal Joel has written some good stuff on sorting resumes [joelonsoftware.com] as an employer, and what job applicants can do to get your resume read [joelonsoftware.com].

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." -- Albert Einstein

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