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The Almighty Buck

Resume Tips For Jobs 573

JerseyTom writes "SAGEWire reports that with the economy speeding up, more and more people are freshening up their resumés. They've printed an article by Tom Limoncelli, co-author of TPoSaNA, that offers specific advice for geeks writing resumes." 'Course, I'm not sure how much I believe the economy speeding up - but still good information.,
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Resume Tips For Jobs

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  • Don't... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:38AM (#4359212) Homepage Journal
    1: Try and sound interesting in your Hobbies / Interests section, you'll just come across as a twat. Be honest. And DON'T mention Stanley Kubrick. Everyone does that!

    2: Go too far ahead in 'Career Objectives'. Think 2 or 3 years, not 10!

    3: Forget to spell check the thing.
    • Re:Don't... (Score:4, Funny)

      by interstellar_donkey ( 200782 ) <pathighgate.hotmail@com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:48AM (#4359304) Homepage Journal
      1: I'm not sure I agree with you. I would think that any prospective employer would be thrilled to know about my stamp collecting, model car building, awards for being a top notch bird caller, and my highly developed talent in the fine art of taxidermy. I think they would see that that makes a highly dynamic and professional person. But your right. My unhealthy infatuation with Stanley Kubrick might be a bit overboard.

      2. Yeah, I've made that mistake. Aparently "In 10 years I hope to be dating your daughter, forcing her to have childern and selling them to white slavery rings" is just too ambitious for a future boss on a resume. I've switched that to 'I hope to finally finish the original Zork in 2 years'.

      3. I'll try to remember.

    • Re:Don't... (Score:4, Funny)

      by forged ( 206127 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:17AM (#4359518) Homepage Journal
      Don't overdo [petemoss.com] your resume either, or else you will look like a moron [petemoss.com] with absolutely no credibility [petemoss.com]...
    • Re:Don't... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlackMesaResearchFac ( 593320 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:20AM (#4359545)
      Dont... 1: Try and sound interesting in your Hobbies / Interests section, you'll just come across as a twat. Be honest. And DON'T mention Stanley Kubrick. Everyone does that!

      I would agree, unless your hobbies/interests include computer related issues.

      This can be especially useful in interviews. In my experience, they like to hear about the wireless LAN you have at home running off a Linux box you built from scratch, etc.

      This tells them you're not just some 'tard that went to college and got a degree in computers because everyone lied to you and said there would be guys lined up with bags of money after you graduate. You actually have genuine interest...or so they'll think...

      • Re:Don't... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Violet Null ( 452694 )
        I would agree, unless your hobbies/interests include computer related issues.

        On the other hand...

        I have been told by headhunters that you should not put computer-related items in your hobbies, because it makes you look like a stereotypical geek, and turns prospective employers off unless they are also geeks (which is rare).

        Bottom line is, I don't think there's a right answer on this one. Go with what feels best to you.
    • I get a lot of conflicting information about tuning IT resumes for this tech depression.

      Is there any statistical analysis of what works and what doesn't? (Probably not because too few people are being hired to produce good data :-)

      Heresay is nearly useless if it is all over the map. How about advice from people who have recently gotten hired, at least. Posting successful resumes (minus address, etc.) would be nice.
      • Here's mine [lesher.ws].

        Hired less than a year ago. Got interviews from about 20% of the cold contacts I made; got offers from 5 out of the 6 interviews.

        Looks like I followed >50% of the recommendations. The best one in the thread so far is to analyze all the competencies you list, and break them up into categories (I use three, from "very strong/good " to "experienced" to "familiar"). That was picked up at every interview but one.

        It helps an interviewer tailor his/her questions. For example, if I say "familiar with C++", an interviewer can feel comfortable asking about public/private/protected, extern "C", etc. If I say "very strong C++", I'd better damned well be able to answer questions about things like vtbl layout, partial specialization, the current state of the standard, etc.
        • Oh, and another thing: my "Education" section is the best way I've found to honestly document that fact that I don't have a sheepskin. Over the years, I've had several people read it, ask about the degree, shrug, and make the offer anyway. Be honest.
  • by youngerpants ( 255314 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:39AM (#4359214)
    Last time I had to update my CV, it took about a week in order to get all my skills in an easy to read, yet eye-catching format.

    I never realised all I had to write was

    404 Error; Page not found.

    Right then, lets send this baby off :)
  • Resume Tip #1 (Score:4, Informative)

    by suman28 ( 558822 ) <suman28@NOSpam.hotmail.com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:39AM (#4359221)
    Don't write a 10 page essay about your previous jobs
  • I'm not sure about the economy speeding up, but I freshened up MY resume because I got laid off. I would hazard a guess that many people are doing the same. They've either been laid off, or are still worried about losing their jobs in the near future.

  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <.ardrake79. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:40AM (#4359228) Homepage
    "SAGEWire reports that with the economy speeding up..."

    What economy are they referring to? Certainly not the American economy...

    • by mdemeny ( 35326 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:46AM (#4359287) Homepage
      "SAGEWire reports that with the economy speeding up..."

      What economy are they referring to? Certainly not the American economy...

      I believe that speed he referred to is akin that that 'slight' acceleration you feel just after jumping out of an airplane. We're really heating up now!

      • "SAGEWire reports that with the economy speeding up..."

        What economy are they referring to? Certainly not the American economy...

        I believe that speed he referred to is akin that that 'slight' acceleration you feel just after jumping out of an airplane. We're really heating up now!

        So when you hit terminal velocity shortly before you hit the ground, that'd basically be the point where the recession/depression occurs?
      • Re:Speeding up? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bjcubsfan ( 471972 )
        I revamped my resume because of the exact opposite reason. The economy is not speeding up, so I need to compete better with my fellow nerds.
    • Re:Speeding up? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:49AM (#4359311) Homepage
      What economy are they referring to?

      Probably referring to 'the economy speeding up', ie. a faster and faster rate at which everything is getting cut back...


    • hm... perhaps picking up speed going down?
    • "SAGEWire reports...

      No they don't...... :)

    • Even McD's is experiencing slow times, so don't bother to impress them with your tech knowlege for that fry cook position. They do prefer "team" oriented people.

      The only economy I know of that is speeding up is China, it's practically on fire. Granted, they have a long way to go to "up", they're getting there fast. Last I heard, over 6% in Q1 2002, and 10% Q2. Got time off and can dip into some education funding or fincial aid? Learn chinese, or at least memorize this song. [montypython.net]

      • O'Canada! (Score:3, Informative)

        by MSBob ( 307239 )
        As ususal everyone failed to notice that the Canadian economy grew by a healthy 4.3% (annualized) in the last quarter.
        • by sv0f ( 197289 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:29PM (#4361946)
          As ususal everyone failed to notice that the Canadian economy grew by a healthy 4.3% (annualized) in the last quarter.


          (1) It bears mentioning that 4.3% Canadian is only 3.5% US.

          (2) This is almost solely due to the unexpectedly strong sales of Rush's new CD.
  • by StupidKatz ( 467476 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:42AM (#4359253)
    Have you people no feelings? Snarfing down the last slice of poor web server without even asking me? What has this world come to, when 250,000 rabid, click-happy web surfers pounce on any server that comes to their attention?

    I wanted to read the article too! ;)
  • by bytesmythe ( 58644 ) <.bytesmythe. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:43AM (#4359262)
    Is the speed with which this site was completely and totally overwhelmed (do I smell smoke?) an indication of the number of Slashdotters who are out of work, or looking to switch jobs?
    • While I now have a job (after 8 months of looking in 2 cities), I keep an eye on the economy.

      After the last 2 years, in seeing and going through lay offs, I am very concerned about long term stability within the marketplace. I am doing what I can to ensure I keep this job, and as I watch the economy, I wish to death that it would recover to open up more jobs for people I know who need jobs. I am not only talking about the IT sector, but other areas, as well. I took a bartending cert class months ago, because I was getting desperate for any job. The service industry has been hit hard, too.

      Here in AZ, the chip industry is in a nose dive. It saddens and concerns me to see the economy in such a bad state. I could care less if our National GDP stayed the same, as long as more jobs opened up for everyone out there. And no, I don't think this 'war' is going to help the economy, either.
  • Be specific (Score:5, Informative)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:44AM (#4359272) Homepage Journal
    I was recently recruiting at a career fair, and I got tons of resumes from people willing to do almost anything. Because they were willing to accept almost any job, their resumes were very generic, starting with an objective like "to find a job where I can use and develop my skills." I doubt those resumes will ever get them a job.

    On the other hand, the resumes that were clear about what the person really wanted were very interesting. Sure, in some cases, we didn't have any position that matched those needs, but for the positions we did have, the hiring managers received a handful of resumes that matched the positions they were looking for.
    • So, in other words, your job history and skills is meaningless, since they are not read.

      Confirms my suspicions.

      • Re:Be specific (Score:4, Insightful)

        by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:40AM (#4359720) Homepage Journal
        No, job history and skills are very important. Let me put it another way: The objective tells the employer what you want to do, and the rest of the resume proves that you can, indeed, do that.

        So when you list ten different programming languages that you know, find some way of emphasizing the one or two that you really like the most (or expect to get hired to use; I doubt there are many SML jobs). Whether you list "Prefered languages" on a separate line, use bold for your favorites, or something else, that's up to you. I generally assumed the first two languages listed were the favorites.

        When you list work experience, mention the aspects of the job that most reflect what you want to do. I've seen some resumes that use bold on key aspects here and there; while some people won't like that, it was helpful for me.
        • Re:Be specific (Score:3, Insightful)

          Whoa there. What if you don't have a favorite programming lanuguage, operating system, or color? On my resume, there are 3-4 languages which I put under a "core" category and 3-4 more which get labelled as "secondary," but none is really a favorite. Different languages for different tasks. Favortism is often accompanied by Zealotry. I want to be a software developer, not a C/C++ programmer.
  • by Space Coyote ( 413320 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:45AM (#4359277) Homepage
    Was excited for a second there, reading the headline, I thought Apple had fired Steve Jobs. Oh well, maybe next time :)
  • Contract 2 Perm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dazdaz ( 77833 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:45AM (#4359281)
    What I would like to know, is what tips are best for those who've done contract work and are looking for permanent careers. A lot of company's are stupid or nieve over what contract work actually is, say you take on a 3 month contract and then another 3 month contract and then another, and then apply for a permament career, a lot of recruiters assess your commitment based upon short term contract work, this absolutely sux folks! You often have to explain this in great detail, assuming you even get an interview, the economy is worse that any statistic will report.
  • by null-und-eins ( 162254 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:45AM (#4359282) Homepage
    Here is another good resource from your friendly folks at USENIX (Advanced Computing Systems Association).

    http://www.usenix.org/publications/login/2000-7/ fe atures/resume.html
    • It seemed at least somewhat ok up till this line:

      There are far more jobs out there than there are people to fill them

      This was not the case in 2000, when it appears to be written, either. Or even close.

      Ok, so we *do* want a managers clueless view on what we should put in our resumes, but that was a bit on the strong side. What if I use his tips and get someone that knows what he is talking about reading it? :)
  • by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:52AM (#4359330) Homepage

    You probably shouldn't mention the cube at all.
  • by uberstool ( 470348 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:52AM (#4359336)
    I know how to maintain a load ballanced
    webserver and transparently redirect
    traffic to offsite mirrors with expandable bandwidth.
  • some tips - (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EnderWiggnz ( 39214 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:54AM (#4359347)
    DO NOT put an "Objective" section at the top of your resume, they're all bullshit, never relevant and only limiting, and when you hand someone your resume, your objective is simple - TO GET A JOB FROM THEM.

    You have 2-4 inches to catch someone's eye - if you've got a college degree put it there, and next, put your most relevant work experience.

    customize your resume for the job you're applying for.

    • I disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

      DO NOT put an "Objective" section at the top of your resume, they're all bullshit, never relevant and only limiting, and when you hand someone your resume, your objective is simple - TO GET A JOB FROM THEM.

      Put an Objective on there--but make it relevant to your career search. Do you want a long-term job that will last you to retirement? Do your plans only focus on the short-term now? Do you want a part-time job to support you while you go to school?

      I'd recommend a general objective, instead of customization per company. Use the cover letter for that--to display your interest in and knowledge of the company. Your resume should be static, so it feels honest and trustworthy, and they don't think that they're lying.

      (So call Apple or MS or Be or whomever "the greatest" in the cover letter, not the resume...)

      Oh, and keeping it consice sounds good to. One page is a good limit for a physical resume; if there's extraneous stuff (education breakdown, career breakdown, hobbies) that are relevant but not essential, pt them on the back or leave them out.

      • you are really, really, really mistaken on every point you've made.

        The objective section is totally useless, and takes up the most valuable resume real-estate with bullshit that tells nothing to your potential employer. NOTHING.

        as for customization, if your a geek, and applying for a network heavy job, wouldnt you want to emphasize those skills, as opposed to your SQL skills?

        as for the old "resume only takes up one page rule", that is only true for your FIRST resume - our college one, where you dont have anything worthwhile to put on it.

        if you've been working for any amount of time, you sure as hell better have more than one page work of "experiences" and job-related skills.

        • by mjhans ( 55639 )
          Ever hired anybody? Ever sifted through a pile of even 10 just resumes a day, especially while you're trying to code something on your own?

          Yes, you have 1" to catch my eye. You don't catch my eye with education (the piles are already sorted by BS, MS, etc) You don't catch my eye with experience; I want to know what you want to do, not what you did (you are, after all, hiring for the future, not the past). If you sound interesting, I'll read what you've done.

          You ESPECIALLY don't catch my eye with a multi-page resume if you've worked any less than 10 years. This means you're a babbling idiot who can't summarize properly. This means you'll write lousy memos, ramble on at meetings, and aimless documentation (all of which I've seen, amazingly enough all with multi-page incoherent resumes). The memo part is key. People won't listen to you if you can't write a good memo.

          Yes I have 10 years experience. Yes my resume is 1 page with a clear objective. Yes when my dot bomb went under I was somehow only out of work for roughly a week (admittedly after taking a month of voluntary vacation), fending off offers from both coasts, where everybody else is suffering.


          - Matt
          • EnderWiggnz writes:
            DO NOT put an "Objective" section at the top of your resume
            mjhans writes: Yes, you have 1" to catch my eye. You don't catch my eye with education

            While mjhans has quite a little ego on him, I just need to get it on record that he knows what he's talking about, and EnderWiggnz does not. I can't believe that EnderWiggnz's bad advice is modded up. I'm currently hiring, and I'm going through about 50 resumes each day. The resumes with generic objectives (like "get a job that uses my talents") and the resumes with education at the top (WTF?!?) get trashed pretty quick. I want to see an objective that clearly puts you in my market, or else no objective and a recent job right up front that clearly puts you in my market.

      • I'd recommend a general objective, instead of customization per company. Use the cover letter for that

        I'm not quite sure how relevant this is in today's market -- if you are sending in a resume electronically or submitting via a career fair, cover letters are generally not accepted. Period. In these situations, if you have expectations of the type of job you want, it's important to use part of the resume to tell the recruiter/company exactly what you're looking for.

    • by PDHoss ( 141657 )

      You have 2-4 inches to catch someone's eye...

      Please note: the preceding tip would not be applicable if you are applying for a position (ahem) as "Male Porn Actor."


  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @10:54AM (#4359350) Homepage
    you can always add "did volunteer work rating messages submitted to a public web site. Work involved reading posted comments, deciding quality and relevance of posting, and moderating accordingly. Also did oversight work rating moderators performance."


    "managed a wide area information distribution network involving the exchange of compressed aural and adult entertainment products. Work involved maintenance of clandistine anti-detection systems and frequent network reconfigurations for various Internet service providers".

    • you can always add "did volunteer work rating messages submitted to a public web site. Work involved reading posted comments, deciding quality and relevance of posting, and moderating accordingly. Also did oversight work rating moderators performance."

      Perhaps you could add "Rated people poorly who made comments that were over my head by moderating them down despite the fact they were insightful, funny, or full of usefull information. Continue to do this because I am an idiot"

      I like that idea.
  • by oddjob ( 58114 )
    I'm getting laid off today...
  • ... unless you're looking for a job as a lawyer or at the sales department.

    Don't forget, you must lie and the employer must believe, right before the end of the interview you tell that you've lied in your resume and all over the interview.

    The job will be yours. For sure.

  • Resume Building (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thomas57 ( 566284 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:00AM (#4359395)
    I'm currently building my resume, and as a App Developer it is tempting to lists all the projects I worked on. In my case diversity was the thinking. To counter the overload of projects, I instead listed just the most complex projects, and also listed the other roles that I had played at the company. Uber g33k? Yeah but, I don't have to sound like one all the time.
  • Mirror of article (Score:3, Informative)

    by LRandomfactor ( 35091 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:00AM (#4359402)
  • by bytesmythe ( 58644 ) <.bytesmythe. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:02AM (#4359412)
    I have switched jobs a couple of times recently. I've noticed a couple of things that have changed since I first started job hunting.

    First of all, it is no longer sufficient to simply mention that you are a programmer. It isn't even sufficient to mention that you know C++. I've seen requirements that specifically want 2+ years of experience using Visual Studio. This is the most idiotic thing I've ever seen, but that doesn't stop companies from putting that in the job description. And we all know how HR departments are. If you don't have exactly what they're looking for, you don't get called back.

    Another thing is the certification hang-up. I've known people with certifications that don't know sh*t, but that won't stop them from getting a job before me, because I don't have any certifications. Hiring managers (particularly those who are non-technical) are fooled into believing that certifications somehow equate to a higher quality employee. It doesn't matter that this isn't true; it can easily keep you from getting a job.

    Thirdly, the "Jack of All Trades" background is getting harder to place. Employers want someone with large (sometimes unreasonably so) amounts of experience in particular (sometimes obscure) areas. It used to be that having a generic background was a good thing. It meant you could easily adapt to new technologies, and had a wide range of experience to draw on for coming up with novel solutions to problems. Nowadays, employers don't want you to solve anything. They want to purchase a solution-in-a-box and hire a technician (not really a programmer) to implement it. Finally, employers are looking for more on your resume than "I wrote some software". They want to see how you drastically reduced the running time, or saved a bunch of money, or lead a team on to beat a tight deadline, save money, and make the manager look like a champion. Remember: they aren't hiring you to just get a job done. They are hiring you so that they can pad their own resumes with accomplishments that you pulled off. So, make sure that the things on your resume support what your potential manager would want on his resume.

    After all this, I would like to mention that I am starting to feel burned out, and am looking towards getting back into academia. I'd rather do research than spend the rest of my life feeling like a corporate flunky.

    • I don't mean that spitefully, but judging from your take on the work world, it seems obvious. You see, what you point out as reasons for critisism, many would point out as simple facts that exist in a professional environment. I personally (from my perspective specifically) do not find it the least bit odd that companies are placing more value on specific skill sets as they need them rather than a "jack of all trades". Of course the person that you will report to wants to hire someone who is going to make them look good. They are judged based on the quality of the staff that they hire. I also have a beef with certification whiners. My take on the topic is simple. I don't go out and get certifications for the sake of getting them. If someone that I am trying to get work from (as a consultant) is looking for a particular cert, then I spend the few hundred bucks, take the stupid tests and get the piece of paper. It's still nothing more than a piece of paper, but it is also a marketing edge. I have found that most of the people who whine about certs being "useless and trivial...no real indicator of skill" are usually afraid to go take the test becuase they are unsure they could pass it. I'm sorry, but if it's so trivial and meaningless and so easy that someone with know real knowledge can get the thing, then go get the cert if that's what the hiring managers want to see. It has nothing to do with being a corporate flunky, it has to do with marketing your self. Short of starting your own business, you will have to work for someone. That being the case, you submit your self to their rules. It's their field, their game, their ball, their money, their equipment, their risk. You may be a hell of a player, but like it or not, the company doesn't live or die at the hands of some whiney prima donna. So, all that being said, I again must agree with you that academia is a fabulous place for you.
      • You are definitely correct that I do belong in academia. I would like to address a couple of things you mentioned, though.

        I personally (from my perspective specifically) do not find it the least bit odd that companies are placing more value on specific skill sets as they need them rather than a "jack of all trades".

        The thing I find odd is that people with highly particular skill sets can be disposable. Also, they don't necessarily have a "programmer mindset". Too many specialists are useless outside of their pet framework. It would seem like having a rich, varied background would be an asset no matter what. The fact that it isn't seems like an indication of shortsightedness, which is something I strongly dislike.

        Of course the person that you will report to wants to hire someone who is going to make them look good.

        I do tend to be cynical, but I didn't actually mean for my point about this to come across that way. I know it should be obvious that a boss will want to hire people that makes him/her look good, but many people don't always realize this. The thing that I find disturbing is not when the employer gets credit for hiring you and being a good manager, but for the work that YOU did. I firmly believe in giving credit where credit is due.

        I have found that most of the people who whine about certs being "useless and trivial...no real indicator of skill" are usually afraid to go take the test becuase they are unsure they could pass it.

        This is definitely not the issue I have. ;) I can probably pass any test I can study for. I'm very good at taking tests. The issue to me, again, is one of shortsightedness. I think that this lack of foresight is one of the roots of the problems in our current economic situation. This is why I am so against certifications. If they were meaningful (so that they could be used in a non-shortsighted manner), I wouldn't have a problem with them at all.

        I have many other points I'd mention, but they become increasingly irrelevent to the discussion, and more particular to my personality quirks and schizophrenic idealism, so I'll just leave it at this. Thanks for your reply. :)

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      Thirdly, the "Jack of All Trades" background is getting harder to place. Employers want someone with large (sometimes unreasonably so) amounts of experience in particular (sometimes obscure) areas. It used to be that having a generic background was a good thing.

      I have heard the opposite from a training institute instructer and IT placement specialist (although they may be biased somehow).

      They said that mostly small companies are hiring, not larger ones at this point in time. These small companies *do* want a jack-of-all-IT person because they don't have a big enough staff for specialists that we are used to (DBA, programmer, network specialist, help desk, etc.).

      Thus, I am getting conflicting information.

      I would also like to see a forum/story on making a *backup* career for oneself being that IT tends to be very recession-sensative.
      • No some parts of IT tend to be recession-sensitive. The thing is to pick wisely. I can't speak for the coding side of the house having never been there. But I know that in the last few years of slow down. I as a datacomm, network infrastructure, security kind of guy have seen *no* slow down and in the past year have seen a lot of new interest. (Mostly having to do with the security side of things.) The reason so many folks in "IT" are having problems right now is because a large number of them got some kind of a cert during the bubble years and thought they were good to go. Had no love for the profession had no depth had no real understanding. And where in the I can run a windows/*nix server crowd. Well the herd go thinned. Get a good solid deep background then learn as much as possible about *every* aspect of IT and you too will be recession proof.
  • by back_pages ( 600753 ) <back_pages AT cox DOT net> on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:02AM (#4359415) Journal
    by deciding to go to grad school. I'm in my early 20s, with no meaningful work experience in the field, competing with droves of laid off, older, more experienced workers. Even if I find an entry-level position, then I have to compete with everybody else who graduated last May. It's vicious.

    I'm not asking for much. I just want a chance to live at least as well as I did with no income at college (meaning: don't starve, basic cable, internet, and shelter), not default on my loans, and most importantly to me gain experience toward building a better career. I'm looking for an opportunity, not compensation.

    Screw the job market. I'm going back to the college life, late nights, late mornings, parties, beautiful women everywhere, lots of beer, and no drug tests. In a few years, I'll have at least a Master's, but that's only if I completely fail to achieve a PhD. Screw the job market. Screw the job market. Stay in school. A teaching assistantship + college lifestyle if far superior and better for your future than developing an ulcer at 23 trying to get an entry level job.

  • Hobbies... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tim12s ( 209786 )
    "Slashdot Reader" is probably a bad thing to put on your CV as a "hobby". I'd imagine (...whistle... makes sure boss aint around...) that alot of people spend alot of time on slashdot.

    "Slashdot Poster" is probably a v.bad thing to put on your CV... unless you've got alot of karma.

    Indicating your Slashdot Karma level on your CV (Character Recordsheet) is probably a good thing... but this also implies Slashdot poster... which is a good thing... but it implies that you're a slashdot reader... so you're buggered.

    I'll probably get modded down as flamebait for this. Have at ye fowl moderator.
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:06AM (#4359449) Journal
    Want to look good to the idiots in HR? LIE. And I mean LIE. I've seen H1Bs and absolute total slackers (high-school dropouts, even) do it for years, and they get some pretty cushy jobs.

    Do you have more years experience in a language/program than it existed? Yes, you do have 9 years of Java experience and 550,000 lines of code written, 15 years of HTML, 4 years of Windows 2000 Professional, etc.

    Did you never graduate, or even go to college? No problem -- just put on your resume that you graduated with a BS in CS from RIT, Georgia Tech, or whereever.

    Lie liberally -- the companies hardly check anything unless you're going to be CTO or something, and if they do find out you're lying, it's not like you're going to get arrested; simply move on until you find a company that buys it.
    • very true. I screwed myself out of some money by being honest about my lack of college degree. They're not going to pay any attention.

      Lie like a bastard and suck down corporate funds. They'll screw you any chance they get, so you should screw them also.
      • CHRIST!

        This is utter bullshit.
        Fact of the matter is, if you don't have a degree, you -better- be able to show a damned good reason why.

        I've applied for jobs that require an MS in CE, and -gotten- them. I don't have a degree. What I -do- have are provable skills in the required areas.

        And screwing a company just because they'll screw you isn't the right attitude...oh, wait, you're a slacker who'd rather bitch and whine than actually develop the skills that companies actually want...
  • ...so that it sounds like an achievement.

    e.g. Was a member of a team that selected a new problem management tool


    Selected a new problem management tool

    Do this on every line and use bullet points.


  • by silversurf ( 34707 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:21AM (#4359554)
    I can't tell you how many resume's we see that have *gross* spelling errors or serious grammar issues. Plus, we get a ton of resume's without cover letters. I know some companies don't require this, but when you read that a job description says "send resume and cover letter to..." then it's a good idea to include it.

    People aren't handing jobs out anymore and there's alot of competition for them now, even for really qualified and experienced people, so that means you have to compete for the job, which also means you have to actually put effort in to getting it.

    We just filled a sys admin job where we interviewed almost 30 candidates. We actually had guys showing up in shorts, torn jeans and t-shirts. I mean come on folks, even though many west coast jobs aren't "tie required" most employers like to see candidates who look presentable.

    Just check your work. If you don't care about the job you're applying for, don't waste everyone's time.

    • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:15PM (#4360100) Journal

      I can't tell you how many resume's [sic] we see that have *gross* spelling errors or serious grammar issues.

      Plus, we get a ton of resume's [sic] without cover letters.

      People aren't handing jobs out anymore and there's alot [sic] of competition for them now, even for really qualified and experienced people, so that means you have to compete for the job, which also means you have to actually put effort in to [sic] getting it.

      Is this supposed to be humorous, or are you just a manager?

  • This is a shameless advertisment of my bosses free tips on how to get a job in general. If you're looking for a job in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, these tips might be of help to you. Of course you'll have to be able to read german.

    Tipps & Tricks zur erfolgreichen Stellenbewerbung [kuehnhanss.com]
  • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:37AM (#4359696) Homepage
    I first wrote a real resume (i.e., not just a high school assignment) about 10 years ago. I spent a lot of time worrying about the format and language. Up until recently, every time I updated it, I assiduously read tips given by job-hunting and other professionals. I spoke with friends who were technical writers and document design specialists. Earlier this year I read a few books on it and asked all my professional friends and a few unprofessional friends and finally, and after much ado the conclusion I came to....

    The advice is often useless.

    Well, not totally useless. But very, very subjective. Some people will tell you to put in an objective. Others will tell you it's irrelevant. Some people will tell you hobbies are irrelevant; others will tell you it shows a holistic person who'll have more to give to a job. Some people will tell you being holistic is important; others will tell you that focus on skills relevant to the job is all that matters. Some people will tell you to use action buzzwords; others will tell you those will get you dismissed as a charlatan. You get the idea.

    My guess is they're all correct. Resume design is an art, not a science. Every person looking at your resume is looking for different things from a slightly different perspective. I've come to the conclusion that there's no set of tips you can follow to get you a resume that will get you in the door. You just have to design and refine as professionally as possible, think a little bit about your audience, and hope the message you intended to send gets across.

    And sometimes I think that your own judgement may be as important as someone else's. If you walk into an interview with a resume you are confident in, that's a good precursor to success.

    This [canncentral.org] is the result of my thinking. Feel free to send/post critiques of the thing. Or job offers, for that matter.

    • Resume advice! (Score:3, Informative)

      Know your audience. The type of job you are searching for should form your resume. It should also emphasize your strengths.

      Sadly, when employers hire these days, they can truly pick among the best. Out of fourty people who applied for a temporary position I'm hiring for, seven are so talented and well fit that I'm almost down to tossing a die.

      Anyhow, you should also make a good application. Write briefly about what skills in your resume you think will enable you to do a good job.

      That's all I can tell you. The rest is probably position specific. Tailor yourself to the position as far as possible.
  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:39AM (#4359707)
    At my company we run Exchange 5.5 and all resumes are sent to a public folder. We just went through a lay off. So just in case I needed some tips I copied the entire public folder into my personal folders in MS Outlook. You should be able to do the same thing in Lotus Notes or any other email system where resumes are sent to a central location.
  • by garoush ( 111257 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:41AM (#4359725) Homepage
    My three advices

    Speaking of advices, here are mines:

    1) Advice to IT people: if you can build me a website that can handle a /. effect than make sure you put that down on your resume.

    2) Advice to SAGEWire IT people: your website site needs some tune up.

    3) Advice to Hemos and /. team: next time you may want to send a friendly reminder to the site that is about to be /. so that they can prepare.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:41AM (#4359729) Homepage Journal
    From the hiring party's point of view, a resume is a way of weeding out applicants. If you've ever hired before, you've likely come across this scenario:

    You have 100 applicants for one position. You have limited time to sort through them all. So when you see a resume that has an error in it, or is three pages long, or doesn't speak specifically to the job you're hiring for, you can it immediately, with out even bothering to read it.

    If a job applicant can't even take the time to tailor the resume to the job I'm offering them, then why should I bother reading it? If the applicant doesn't take the time to spellcheck something as critical as a job application, then they probably will miss other important details on the job. Sure, not everyone is a good speller. But everyone has the ability to correct their spelling.

    If a resume has a generic objective statement, it's going in the circular file. Employers want to know that you've actually taken the time to show them in your resume how your goals and your skills match what the company is looking for. You don't have to lie or exaggerate, you just have to articulate your goals and skills in a way that they can understand, given their own organizational leanings.

    One of the best things you can do is to have someone else read your resume. Have a friend who isn't afraid to be critical read it, checking for errors and overall flow. Writing is as much a skill as programming, and if you are a good writer, it's always helpful to have someone check your work.

    Electronic methods are great for employers, because they allow for huge keyword-based searches. But the object here is to get your resume noticed, so that it gets read, so that you get called in for an interview. While the resume is a filtering tool for the hiring company, for you it's sole aim is to land you that critical first interview. From there, it's all about your opportunity to sell yourself, and the resume is practically meaningless.

    So where possible, send a hard copy of your resume, along with a cover letter tailored exactly to the company you're attempting to get a job with. Research the company, show them that you're actually interested in what they're doing. This shows the hiring party that you don't just see this as another potential job out of 500 that you're applying for.

    If you can't send hardcopy, try to use an electronic cover letter (depending on which online resume service you're using, you may or may not be able to do this). The cover letter is helpful because it is seen *before* the resume. In essence, it is your opportunity to intercede and present yourself as a valuable hire, before they even see your qualifications.

    Finally, getting a job through want-ads, either online or off, is the worst way to get hired. It's all about connections - if you know someone at the company, even distantly, attempt to use that connection to obtain an informational interview first. Make a personal connection with someone in the department you'd like to be hired for, and your odds of bypassing the "needle in a haystack" hiring process are much higher.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @11:41AM (#4359733)
    Something a lot of people out there need to do is build up a solid network of friends and contacts, moreso than anything else. A solid recommendation from someone inside an organization will go farther than anything else; there is more than a grain of truth to the fact that the good jobs never make it to a forum like Monster. Especially so in today's economic climate.

    It's worthwhile to keep business cards. It's worthwhile to go out of your way to socialize with people in your industry. Go to trade meetings when you can. Hell, get involved in some open source projects where you can meet some people.

    Learning to sell yourself is the biggest thing. A resume is part of that, but it's only a part. Unfortunately, the /. crowd do not represent the demographic who sell themselves best :).

  • for my site

    CV Wrting tips and more [thebigchoice.com]
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:13PM (#4360071)
    Over the years I have interviewed at least 50 people for jobs. I have been working in QA for the last 8 years, and usually the companies have had a policy where people from different groups (development, QA, management, etc) interview someone, and then put their heads together to see if they are worth hiring. After all, you usually have to work with all kinds of different people, and although technical skills are a must, if you can't get along with the people you work with, you aren't worth much.

    Avoid spelling mistakes and typos. Come on folks, this is a resume. If you misspell something, then your chances just got cut in half. Once we were interviewing for a documentation person, and she misspelled 3 words on her resume. She had no chance after that.

    A good tip about experience with different things is to rate your experience. I know on mine, I broke up technical experience into three categories: experienced, some knowledge, familiar. That way when you say "familiar with dbase" you can expand on that in the interview to tell them exactly what "familiar" means.

    Know what you say you know. We were hiring someone into our QA group, and we were testing on Unix servers. We had to have someone with Unix experience. One guy had the word "unix" in several places on his resume, but when we got him in the interview, he couldn't even answer my basic questions. (what is your favorite shell in Unix?) He asked me what I meant. He didn't know what shell scripting was, but he thought he could learn it. Then came the blunt questions "how well do you know Unix?" He said "pretty well". Guess what, for proclaiming to know Unix and not knowing a damn thing about it, he got to see the door.

    Don't put the standard, tired, canned crap on your resume (Objective, hobbies, etc). Believe me, they all start to look the same. What you say in your objective really doesn't help at all, it can only really hurt you. If your objective isn't worded for the position you are interviewing for, then HR may not even pass your resume on. And if I want to know your hobbies, I'll ask you about them in the interview. And printing your picture on it is dumb. Being "clever" for the sake of being clever probably won't help.

    Show that you know how to use your experience, put down some quick details about projects that you have worked on (# of people on the project, the type of project, etc) Don't go into too much detail, but don't just say "coded in C". Be specific, but not boring. If you read what you wrote, would some questions about it come to mind? (and not - what the hell does that mean?) Pretend to have been interested in past projects, even if you weren't. Nobody wants to hire someone who is just there to get a paycheck and doesn't care about what they are doing.

    Be honest. Really, that is about it. Don't blow smoke up anyone's butt, don't interview as someone you are not. Be yourself, that is who they should be hiring. If you aren't right for the job, then it is because you aren't right for the job, not that you didn't put on the right game face.

  • by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:19PM (#4360151) Journal
    The first person to see your resume, sadly, is a non-technical, low-paid, ... The problem here is that this person doesn't know the difference between UNIX and Solaris, or that if someone knows Solaris 2.5 then they are hirable for a Solaris 2.6 job. Luckily, this person only reads the top part of every resume, so you make sure that you have an Objective and a "Skills" section that are caveman stupid. Don't say "Solaris 2.6", say "Solaris 2.x" or just "Solaris" (people have forgotten about Solaris 1.x by now).

    The last time that I was looking for work (5 -6 years ago), most high tech jobs were still advertised in the newspaper and faxing resumes was standard practice. So the first stage was for a human to look at them. These days, for better or worse, most jobs are advertised via the web and resumes are e-mailed. I see the potential for an even greater problem than that quoted above in that the first filter is probably automated and may have been written by an idiot. I suspected (and various things that I have read confirm) that a basic automated keyword search is often done as a first pass; I imagine that the results are weighted and that only the upper 25% or so get passed on. Sure, some enlightened people will maintain and add to a keyword list, but many probably won't. The dilemma that one faces is that one knows nothing about how the search criterion are qualified. I try to sprinkle my resume with variations (e.g. Win 2K, Windows 2000) but often wonder if I come off looking somewhat erratic as a result. I also worry that when I say Intel 80xxx, it won't be recognized, but it seems silly to enumerate the whole damned family. Just in case scanning/OCR is employed (yech), I use an 11-point Arial font (KISS for OCR).

    Does anyone have any insight to the filtering process?

    Also, what format should one use to submit a resume when it has not been specified? Currently I submit in lowest common denominator (i.e. Word) format and also submit a PDF. I suspect that some people are afraid of Word docs because of the virus potential, but may have an Acrobat reader. Some people suggest RTF, some suggest plain text, some suggest HTML. I read the other day that because some people are afraid to open attachments, period, your resume should in-line text in the body of the e-mail, which looks like crap.

    Again, does anyone have any insight?

  • by tizzyD ( 577098 ) <tizzydNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:25PM (#4360225) Homepage
    Having been a CTA and CTO for many companies including IBM and many start-ups, I wanted to share a few ideas for good resumes.
    1. Make it look nice. If it looks like crap, I think your code looks like crap. Marketing is critical here.
    2. Don't include every technology you've ever touched. If you do, I love calling people on their tech knowledge. You've used Intermedia, interesting. Tell me, what's the function of a stemmer and how does it work in Intermedia? Don't be too agressive. You cannot know everything.
    3. If you put multiple tools or editors down, make sure you know them. I used to ask people what they liked about a Visual Cafe over JBuilder, and, more importantly, why. If they used BEA and Websphere, great, tell me why I would use one or the other. If you can't do that, then you don't know the tools.
    4. IMHO Certifications quite frankly are crap. They show you can take tests, not that you understand the tools or languages. Mention them later, not at the top.
    5. A style note: use verbs!!!! Developed, Created, Architected, Designed, Coded, Documented etc. Do not use sentences. I was responsibile for is a banned phrase.
    If you have any other questions or comments, just let me know. Hope it helps.
  • Job Woes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geomon ( 78680 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:29PM (#4360258) Homepage Journal
    The current job situation in the IT industry reminds me of the energy industry nearly two decades ago. At that time, I was graduating with a bachelor's degree in geology and was looking forward to employment in an oil or mineral exploration company.

    Then the price of oil dropped to less than $20 a barrel.

    The immediate fallout was that oil and mineral companies put a hiring freeze on new undergraduates. Several of them were holding on to their graduates and PhDs in the hope that oil prices would recover leaving them with a core exploration group to field when it was needed.

    It wasn't long before energy companies started laying off the people with masters degrees and, soon, the PhDs. In short, there was blood in the streets. The old joke was renewed: "Why did the guy with a bachelors in geology fail to get a job at McDonalds? Because he didn't have his PhD."

    I couldn't stand the idea of going back to school. I was tired of school (starvation) and wanted to start working again. I gathered up all of my networking contacts and pressed them hard for any job available. None of them were offering jobs in geology. So I started looking in other related industries.

    I figured that if I could get inside of Exxon or Shell, then I could post for internal positions when they started arriving. My foray into the petrochemical industry started with a job in a small formaldehyde plant. I was the only operator with a degree. Heck, I was the only one in the plant with more than a high school education. That experience, however, gave me an in-road into another field - industrial hygiene. I went from plant to factory performing routine studies of industrial exposure to workplace hazards.
    After a few short years, I had learned enough about the field that I considered certifying as an industrial hygienist.

    But I found an ad in a local newspaper that was offering a job as a well-site geologist who had industrial safety training. Because I had taught industrial safety as a hygienist, I got the job. It was a lateral move with fewer benefits and was a contract position. But it was in geology, a field I had long given up hope of getting a job.

    I was eventually hired on permanently and have been here for the last 10 years. I now have more work than I can perform myself. I will have to farm the excess out to people who have more education and work experience than myself.

    The point? Don't stop working just because you've graduated and can't get entry-level work in your field. The IT field will eventually shake out the deadwood and under-qualified. If you continue to keep your skills up, the day will come when your skills are not only needed, they are hard to find. This translates into greater job security than if you were to have taken the first job you could find in your field only to be laid off 8 months later.

    Don't give up.
  • rpg (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:38PM (#4360347) Homepage Journal
    everybody hates job-hunting, so my advice is to make it like a role playing game. you "roll up" a resume and send it off to do battle with various hr creeps. if you "win" (get the job) you gain some experience and skills that you add to your character.

    right now my resume looks like this:

    name: frymaster
    class: paladin (web)
    level: 6
    alignment: /dev/urandom
    str: 12
    int: 16
    wis: 15
    dex: 17
    char: 9
    hp: 45

    +9 vs. enterprise applications
    +4 vs. venture capitalists

    exercise stock options
    exorcise stock options
    dispell windows
    summon libraries
    banish end user
    read documentation

    hide in office (+20)
    comment code (+10 elvish)

    java, php, elvish
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:40PM (#4360367) Journal
    An engineering friend of mine is trying a different approach. Rather than learning to smile better, lie better, and shave better, he is using technology itself:

    He is putting a timed spring on the back of his resume. (Actually, it is kind of a flipper, penguin-like even.) When they toss his resume in the trash, it pops back out onto the top of the desk at night. It has multiple reloads so that it can pop back out multiple times.

    If it works, I am going to buy a set.
  • by andy@petdance.com ( 114827 ) <andy@petdance.com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:47PM (#4360426) Homepage
    A topic close to my heart, since I'm in the middle of looking for a programmer [perl.org].

    First off, nobody should look for a job without reading Nick Corcodilos' [asktheheadhunter.com] excellent Ask The Headhunter.

    Second, think like a hiring manager. Remember that the hiring manager has 50 resumes in a folder that HR has dumped in his lap, or worse, 50 emails that have been forwarded from HR.

    Tell me, as a manager, exactly what you can do for me. This might mean some extra work on your part customizing a copy of your resume, and of course writing a job-specific cover letter. DO IT. Don't skimp here.

    I want to know exactly what the applicant can do to help me out. Make a thumbnail sketch of what you are. The top of my resume [petdance.com] looks like this:

    16 years professional software development, most recently specializing in Perl, PHP and ColdFusion, including
    • Project leader and senior software engineer for TITLEWAVE [titlewave.com] online library collection and e-commerce site (1 year)
    • Developing object-oriented Perl and PHP, including interfacing with Oracle and MySQL (8 years)
    • Creating intranet database applications with Cold Fusion, Access & VBA and SQL (5 years)
    • Creating flagship software products in C/C++ (5 years)
    Five lines sum up my background and experience, and highlight my key skills. Compare this with the standard meaningless "Objective" heading. Besides, "To obtain a position as a developer that will utilize my skills & experience" is just cargo-cult resume writing.

    Other little notes from my resume sins file:

    • Do not discuss money. If the ad asks for a salary range, then specify it, but then leave it alone.
    • Put your name and contact info on every document, probably on every page. Stuff gets mixed up once it comes out on paper.
    • Don't try to hide your small amount of experience by omitting dates. I won't be fooled.
    • Tell me why you are better then the other 90% of the resumes I'm getting.
    • I take filling this position very seriously. I expect you to do the same. Cookie-cutter cover letters get round-filed.

    Ask The Headhunter makes the key point that managers WANT to hire you. They want to find someone that they can hire so that we can all get back to doing real work. Make it easy for me to see that you are the person for the job.

  • by Courageous ( 228506 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @01:09PM (#4360659)
    I've reviewed a lot of resumes. A lot. One piece of advice; write a cover letter, very brief (a paragraph!) that is costomized _specifically_ for where you are applying. Furthermore, I suggest that you touch up your resume for every job.

    The point of the cover letter: to get the interviewer to read the resume, and to positively bias them towards what they read there.

    The point of the resume: to get the interviewer to want to interview you.

    Don't oversell any one point. It's a waste of energy. The point of your resume is not to get the interviewer to want to hire you. The point of your resume is to get the interviewer to want to interview you.

    For tech jobs, make sure you have a "buzzword" section. Little to no prose is acceptible in this section. We interviewers have short attention spans. It's common for us to use a yellow hiliter and simply hilite your technical skills. It's quite possible that we can make the decision to interview you on your cover letter alone. To wit:

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I noticed that XYZ widget company is looking for a skilled senior XXX engineer. I've long had an interest in your company, and I'm enthused with the work that you've done, particularly in the area of ZZZ research. I have up-to-date skills in XXX-A, XXX-B, and XXX-C. Let's schedule an interview to see how it would be possible for me to contribute to your team.

    --[Signed, hotshot]"

    Anyway, hope this helps.

  • by Fig, formerly A.C. ( 543042 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @04:45PM (#4362526)
    The article was titled:

    Resume Tips For Jobs

    Here I was, thinking Steve had quit and needed help on his resume!

    I had so many good suggestions, too!

The absent ones are always at fault.