Resume Writing 101

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 | Random Morsels

I spent the morning today reviewing resumes for summer intern candidates and all I can say is oh my LORD. They need to teach resume writing classes. I have never seen so many BAD RESUMES in my LIFE. I know these are all engineering resumes so expecting impecable presentation may be a bit much to expect. But at LEAST try to keep in mind your audience. I had to weed through hundreds of resumes and I can probably count on one hand the ones that stood out to me as good enough to catch my eye and deserve a call. Its really rediculous… In case you’re curious what my resume writing lecture would cover here’s my take:

  • Objectives – They’re STUPID. Unless you’re giving your resume to someone very specific and you’ve tailored the objective to the job you’re applying for its a waste. The only ones that were useful were the ‘Seeking and Internship for Summer 2007′. The rest for just silly. “I want to work in a dynamic team environment where I can solve world peace and create great yadda yadda yadda’.. PLEASE. I laughed out loud
  • Legibility – We’re not talking serious professional page layout but you’ve GOT to keep in mind that the people who are reviewing these are wading through literally hundreds of resumes and if I have to dig to find the good stuff I’m not going to bother. Clear section titles. Well formatted entries. Bullet Points.. All very good things
  • Relevance – Keep an eye on the job you’re trying to get. Relevant Job Experience, Skills, Relevant Education, etc. are the first thing I look for – show me. Other things such as languages, community service, etc. are really great and I definitely favor people with both however if I can’t find the job skills then the rest doesn’t matter. I’d love to hire international peopple who work to end world hunger in their free time but we’re lookign for software engineers so you have to show ya can do that or it doesn’t matter. Same deal with work experience bussing tables or as a resident advisor – all admirable to be sure but only second to relevant skills. I passed over a bunch of resumes of people who looked cool and interesting cuz I couldn’t tell if they knew what a compiler or C++ was. Sad.
  • Direction – You should work to tell a story or direction with your resume. What are you interested in professionally and where do you want to go with your life. The number of resumes that I saw that were Acronym soup with no clear indication of what ineterests them other than making a salary boggled my mind. If you’re intersted in Web technologies thats GREAT – but if you’ve got XSLT, XML, CSS, etc on your resume just to fill out a list of required acronyms I don’t care… What do you enjoy DOING? The ones that really excited me were the ones where they were clearly picking jobs and personal projects related to things they clearly personally enjoyed – some were totally geeky shit but I don’t care as long as they were clearly pasionate about the geeky shit! 🙂

I could keep going but you get the idea… Clear and to the point and I’ll spend time looking for more. I know this isn’t the strong suit of engineers but PLEASE – if you want a job then spend time on presenting yourself well.

Uggg… My head hurts..

1 Comment to Resume Writing 101

Palm Springs Savant
May 28, 2007

I can totally relate. I spent a week reviewing resumes on and off for some new positions and I was fed up. Ended up turning it all over to our recruiter to handle. So much trash out there. And this is the future of America…scary at times!