Resumes

3 minute read Published:

What’s on your resume? Is it just a collection of what I refer to as buzzword bingo with filler words in between? How does it stack up against other resumes?

Oh, you listed C# 3.0 on your resume? Great! Just what we’re looking for. You have experience with ASP.NET? Wow! What a match! Let me put your resume next to all the other identical copies in my big whoop folder.

When I take a look at a resume I expect to see at least one thing that tells me what you are capable of. One thing that shows what you can do better than others. No, I don’t care if you have experience with the MOSS framework or that you’ve used Ektron CMS. Show me what tasks you’ve done to better the quality of the software you were involved with.

Things that are particularly impressive to me are experience with multi-threaded programming, diagnostic abilities, and having an valid opinion about some piece of technology. Of those, I would have to say that diagnostic abilities reign supreme. Having good diagnostic skills lets you solve just about any problem that comes across your plate. Find a clever way to describe such abilities on your resume.

I could not care less the architecture or purpose of your previous projects unless you were primarily or secondarily responsible for designing such an architecture. Why bother wasting precious white space on such useless information that tells me nothing about you? I’m not interested in acquiring your previous projects. I might be more interested to see what you can do for me or my company.

Don’t worry about proper resume formatting or whatever your English courses have engrained in your brain. Nobody gives a rip about the layout of your resume. Focus on content, not form. One page, maybe two pages max. If you feel the need to stretch it out beyond that, only dedicate that space to providing valuable information as to what you have done yourself, not your prior teams.

Furthermore, don’t pigeonhole yourself into breaking up your resume into the de facto standard sections: objective, skills, experience, awards, etc. Just find some organized way to convey the information we as employers (or interviewers) need to see to set you apart. The more unique your resume looks, the better shot you have at grabbing my attention.

Remember, your resume is your advertising material. It should serve a purpose other than the circuitousness of simply being a resume. You are on the market. You are selling your skills, knowledge, wisdom, and experience. Mark down some highlights which show you off. Nobody rewards points for modesty on a resume.