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Resumes, and why I hate reading yours.

By on Mar 6, 2014 in Business |

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I recently moved from development into management of a large team of developers and over the course of my time here we’ve changed out a few people and hired for newly created positions.  I love growing the team, I love talking to great developers, I love technology!

I HATE reading resumes. I really do.  There are plenty of brilliant men and women who seem to disengage the brain when it comes to their resumes.  If I have to read another misspelled, grammatically incorrect, bullet point ridden, boring, boring, BORING resume that tells me next to nothing about you; I think I will slip back into the coma I fell into the last time I had to hire someone. Yes, it’s great that you worked on “Windoes Serer 2012.”  It is also fantastic that you are “having many experience on” some technology or other.  I grew up over seas.  I get English isn’t everyone’s first language, I have met brilliant people from all over the world, but for the love of Pete, this is your first impression, at least run it by a recruiter, or even a high school student, most could improve some of the stuff I see.

I am not going to claim that I have the corner on the market of resume advice, but I will tell you what I’m looking for. So, in no particular order:

Longevity:

I want to know how long you worked at your prior jobs, if you have a ton of short engagements I can guarantee I will raise an eyebrow.  If you’ve been contracting for a while, that’s completely ok with me, just call it out so you don’t look like you are constantly getting fired or flipping out.

Accomplishments:

If you are a database developer and you tell me you “designed tables” I have to snicker. OF COURSE you did.  What did you accomplish?  What made you proud of the work you did?  Yes, I want to know the technologies that you used as well, but what did you specifically do that mattered?  You automated processes? Great! So what? You automated processes which previously had taken three days to manually run and now take 15 minutes?  And you identified that project on your own?  Hmm, maybe this guy (or gal) is worth really taking a look at.

Bullet Points:

Don’t.  You don’t throw out good writing skills just because it is a resume.  Bullet points are fine, but maybe give me a short paragraph outlining in plain English what you accomplished (see above) and then 3-5 call-outs in bullet points.  When I get a resume that is riddled with only bullet points, they cease to get attention and muddy the waters.  Nothing stands out.

Page Count:

I am not going to tell you that a one (or two) page resume is the right way to go, but I can guarantee you that, that 17 page “masterwork” you lobbed my way isn’t going to get looked at unless you are very funny, or it has pretty pictures in it and a $100 bill attached.

In my way of thinking I have about three pages of time for you.  If within those three pages I don’t feel like reading on, you’ve lost me, your resume is going into the recycle bin.

Summary Statement:

If it is short, confident, clearly outlines who you believe yourself to be professionally, or what you are looking for, it adds a lot of value.  If it is insecure or arrogant, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.  If your summary statement takes up most of the first page of your resume, I think you don’t know what the word summary means.

So in summary: BE CREATIVE.  BE CONCISE. BE HONEST.

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Heidi Kristensen / E+

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