Résumé advice



  • I'm trying to update my résumé, as my old one didn't seem to be getting me through the HR funnel. So I'm wondering what the 'best practices' are these days.

    Lots of advice online suggests you shouldn't go over two pages, but when you have 15-20 years experience, even culling all job experience down to bulletpoints, I'm still at around 4 pages, and that's before I fill in my Skills and the initial "I am awesome hire me kthxbye" paragraph...

    Anyone who's been jobhunting recently have any tips on résumé size/layout/length/girth/curve/etc?


  • mod

    I generally follow a few guidelines:

    • Keep 2 base resumes on hand: a long version with lots of detail, and a short version with minimal detail. The long version should include everything (helps make sure you never forget any details) and the short version should basically be tailored to post in a public profile or send out at a moment's notice.
    • Include less detail for older jobs. Those are on there basically just to show the length of your experience, so the details aren't as important.
    • Try to make a tailored version of your short resume for each position you apply to. Not every job has the same requirements, so you shouldn't be submitting the same resume for every posting.


  • @abarker said:

    * Include less detail for older jobs. Those are on there basically just to show the length of your experience, so the details aren't as important.

    Yeah, I had stripped it down to bullet points for stuff over 10 years ago, I might see if I can condense that further...

    @abarker said:

    * Try to make a tailored version of your short resume for each position you apply to. Not every job has the same requirements, so you shouldn't be submitting the same resume for every posting.

    That actually does make sense, but sounds alarmingly like "work". I suppose it should only take an hour or so to 'tune' the resume for a specific job, though...


  • mod

    @tar said:

    That actually does make sense, but sounds alarmingly like "work". I suppose it should only take an hour or so to 'tune' the resume for a specific job, though...

    In my experience, once you have two or three, you can usually start reusuing them. The job postings you'll be interested in won't vary too widely.



  • Do I need my Date of Birth on my resume? Or my Nationality or Gender? I've never included these before, but the 'template' that I'm following on the internet does.

    (I'm tempted to remove all of them because they're making the resume longer and I'm just over 3 pages now...)


  • mod

    Aren't those all protected categories anyway? I'd trash them.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tar said:

    Do I need my Date of Birth on my resume? Or my Nationality or Gender? I've never included these before, but the 'template' that I'm following on the internet does.

    I've never put them on mine; that's the sort of thing that HR will care about once you're hired (and then only from legal and statistical perspectives) but otherwise is nobody's business but yours.

    Aside from that, think mostly about how you can make your CV provide evidence that you've got the skills for the job you're applying for. It's one thing to say that you've got, say, experience of using C# and WCF, and another entirely to show that you've got a track record of doing just that.



  • @tar said:

    Lots of advice online suggests you shouldn't go over two pages, but when you have 15-20 years experience, even culling all job experience down to bulletpoints, I'm still at around 4 pages, and that's before I fill in my Skills and the initial "I am awesome hire me kthxbye" paragraph...

    The normal thing to do is to have a full-size resume like that, but cut it down for each job position you apply for. When you go to interviews, bring copies of the full-size resume if you need them for reference, or want them handy in case the interviewer asks.

    I personally just deleted old stuff selectively. Odds are it'll never matter that I write C and C++ code for a MUD back in 1998, so why keep it on there? Nobody hiring me is going to give a flying shit that I did IT support at a small hospital for awhile, so I went ahead and removed that. (Although in day-to-day practice it was SUPER valuable experience.) Etc.

    I guess the rule of thumb is ensure everything on your resume is a talking point you will need to talk about at an interview-- and by that same logic, avoid too many duplicates.

    EDIT: also, in this world of LinkedIn, you can just keep the long version as your LinkedIn profile (there's no length limit there), and employers still have it handy for use whenever.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    I'd trash them.

    Done.

    Also I condensed all my work experience bullet points into paragraphs. I'm not sure if it's less readable now though, but I can fit more information on each page that way...

    ###AWSOMESOFT MAY 2010—JUN 2012

    • Did some awesome stuff.
    • Reticulated several splines.
    • Made the intern sad.
    • Basically became CEO because I was so awesome.

    :fa_arrow_down::fa_arrow_down::fa_arrow_down:

    ###AWSOMESOFT MAY 2010—JUN 2012
    Did some awesome stuff. Reticulated several splines. Made the intern sad. Basically became CEO because I was so awesome.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @tar said:

    Basically became CEO because I was so Awesome.

    FPTFY



  • @tar said:

    Basically became CEO because I was so much better than Lyle

    FPTFM



  • Alright, done some wrangling and got it down to (two lines shy of) three pages...

    I have participated in knowledge sharing Shared knowledge by writing design and API documentation.

    Stupid past me, with his attempts at padding for length with overly verbose language.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tar said:

    witing

    :coughs_politely:



  • Typo'd—it wasn't a copy/paste from my resume fortunately.

    (Although LibreOffice doesn't seem to do the sqiggly red underline thing, which should give me cause for concern...)

    EDIT: Oh I didn't have a language selected, that's better now... (Or worse...)



  • @tar said:

    I'm trying to update my résumé, as my old one didn't seem to be getting me through the HR funnel. So I'm wondering what the 'best practices' are these days.

    Sometimes, if they have a phone number, I call them to confirm they got it. Often, that leads to scheduling an interview, or better insight into why they haven't responded.

    @tar said:

    Lots of advice online suggests you shouldn't go over two pages, but when you have 15-20 years experience, even culling all job experience down to bulletpoints, I'm still at around 4 pages, and that's before I fill in my Skills and the initial "I am awesome hire me kthxbye" paragraph...

    I had a professor in college who said, "don't stop writing until you look like a winner."

    @abarker said:

    Try to make a tailored version of your short resume for each position you apply to. Not every job has the same requirements, so you shouldn't be submitting the same resume for every posting.

    That's a task of linear complexity, proportional to the number of positions applied for. I prefer to send everyone the whole thing (which is exactly two pages at the time being), to indicate that I have experience in their requested technologies, as well as a few other technologies, and to tell a bit about my personal projects. That gives them a broader picture of who I am and what I can offer their organization, rather than providing a list of buzzwords to match against the list they have requested.

    Arguably, a cover letter is a better thing to tailor per employer. However, in this age of Dice/Monster/et al., I find cover letters longer than a couple sentences to be an even larger time investment.



  • BTW do you use LinkedIn? Because I get probably 2-3 recruiters a week contacting me through it, and I've put no special effort into tuning the keywords or anything.

    If you don't use it, you should.


  • mod

    @Groaner said:

    That's a task of linear complexity, proportional to the number of positions applied for. I prefer to send everyone the whole thing (which is exactly two pages at the time being), to indicate that I have experience in their requested technologies, as well as a few other technologies, and to tell a bit about my personal projects. That gives them a broader picture of who I am and what I can offer their organization, rather than providing a list of buzzwords to match against the list they have requested.

    At first yes, but:

    @abarker said:

    In my experience, once you have two or three, you can usually start reusuing them. The job postings you'll be interested in won't vary too widely.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Generally speaking, it might not be your Résumé that is the problem. You might instead be failing to tick off the particulars correctly.

    The job description will have a collection of particulars; skills that you must have, that they'd really like you to have, or that would be a bit of a bonus. Your application had better make sure that each mandatory skill is satisfied, and as many of the other ones too, and for preference they should be satisfied with a statement that uses the evidence in your CV (or referred to by it) to back up your assertion that you have the skill.

    It's truly a box-ticking exercise — you can be quite open that that's what you're doing — but it's also a box-ticking exercise for HR too, so you want to give them every reason to tick the boxes and put you on the pass-to-hiring-manager pile. Your #1 goal is exactly to get past HR to the actual hiring manager. Your #2 goal is to interest the hiring manager enough that they'll call you to interview. Or even to offer you the job outright on the basis of your submission (which is what happened the past few times for me. :smiley:)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    BTW do you use LinkedIn?

    That is a good point. I actually have not thought about LinkedIn since about 2007. I should see if I can dig out my old profile there...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    My long form resume has a blatant buzzword bingo section at the end. Literally lists of every software package, language, OS, library, etc. that I can say I know. That version is like 5 pages, and I'm not even 30.



  • Lots of good advice here already. Reiterating that it's a good idea to tailor your resume for the position you're in.

    One thing I started doing to make that easier is that I have a section at the top that's a grid of skills/programming languages/buzzwords and categories for length of time using that thing. The bottom bracket for me is 0-2 years experience, and I put anything in there that I've read about/made a toy project with/given myself an excuse to put a buzzword on my resume.

    Then I just customize by looking at the buzzword list from the job ad and rearrange the order of the items in the grid so that whatever is in the job posting is at the front of its relevant section. So if I have skills 1-10 in the 3-5 years of experience box, and skills 4,6 and 9 are desired, then the order of those skills in the box is 4,6,9,1,2,3,5, etc.

    Basically, I thought I would try something I thought was obnoxious because I was tired of applying for jobs I was clearly qualified for and not getting interviews or calls. So I just decided to make it painfully simple for HR/recruiters to do their brain dead list checking.

    That has worked very well for me. I always get great feedback from the HR person because they've never seen it before, and they love it because they don't actually have to do their jobs. And I've gotten interviews for 100% of the jobs I've applied for with this format.

    Having the skills list + experience up front allows me to really trim the rest of my resume. I don't even need a bullet list for the oldest jobs because I've already pointed out that I have 9 years experience with SQL, etc. So the oldest ones are title, company, dates employed. Only one I go into detail with at all is the most recent position. My entire 9-year career fits neatly on 1 page. It's not even a crowded layout. But it's also a very clear, effective description of what I'm capable of doing.

    The other component of customizing to the job is the cover letter. Read the ad carefully, reuse as many of their own words as possible. Are they looking for a senior level data science guru-postle who loves swimming nude with the meerkats and smells faintly of lavender?

    Then bite the bullet and say that you think you could be a really great fit for the company because you are a senior level data science guru-postle who swims nude with the meerkats and smells faintly of lavender, and you really get the feeling that's who they are looking for.



  • I once got this advice from an HR gal about long resumes: instead of describing each job experience, describe each expertise and explain where, how you used them. For example:

    Instead of the traditional way:

    Company A: yadda yadda yadda Java yadda yadda yadda web.
    Company B: yadda yadda yadda Oracle yadda yadda yadda SQL.

    Write:

    Java Development: yadda yadda Company A & Company B
    Leadership: yadda yadda yadda Company D yadda yadda yadda SQL

    This way you can highlight your most sought expertise and introduce the less ones in those descriptions. It also help HR people to filter out based on expertise instead of companies they never heard of.

    Another thing, place it online (Google Drive, Office 360, etc) so HR can download it in whatever they want (usually .docx)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    BTW do you use LinkedIn? Because I get probably 2-3 recruiters a week contacting me through it, and I've put no special effort into tuning the keywords or anything.

    If you don't use it, you should.

    Yeah, as do I. Often not from the same country I'm based in. You want to hire me but you can't read? That's encouraging.

    But yeah, linkedin is good especially if you are hunting - I know if I put something up I'd have at least 5 calls within a week (whether or not that actually led to an interview is another thing but at least i'd get the calls).



  • @glathull said:

    .. skills 1-10 in the 3-5 years of experience box, and skills 4,6 and 9 are desired, then the order of those skills in the box is 4,6,9,1,2,3,5, etc.
    [snip]
    So I just decided to make it painfully simple for HR/recruiters to do their brain dead list checking.

    Exactly this. The person making the first pass is likely to be some clerk who only cares about doing what they were told to do. If you miss one of required bits - goodbye.

    EDIT: That's even assuming you've gotten past automated screening. Point's the same tho.

    Careful about listing/gridding every possible thing you've done. When I've been involved in hiring, that has left me cold, like I've been spammed.

    If you've got a bunch of solid stuff that you've done for 3-5 or 5+ years, I assume you can use MS office - to be extreme.

    Obviously, if it's something they've asked for* throw in your e.g. 2 years of experience, but you don't have to go on to include in detail every other thing you have 2 years in.

    Ratio up or down depending on your age/experience.


    *Assuming you've actually got the experience, of course ;)



  • Question: the resume template that I'm currently using has most of the text in black, with some accents and highlights in gray.

    I'm considering changing the gray to something a little more colourful (something like a fairly dark red/blue/green depending...), so that if printed out in B&W they'd still look gray, but there's a little bit of added visual interest.

    Is this a good, idea, or is it too gimmicky? Would you throw my resume directly in the trash unless it was B&W only?


  • sockdevs

    Stick with black & white; the most important design aspect of a CV is readability, and colours sometimes just get in the way ;)



  • Even something like this?

    (Obv, not in Comic Sans, of course...)


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Silly tar. You're supposed to use Papyrus!



  • I don't have that installed!


  • sockdevs

    If you must use colour, do so sparingly, and use as few as possible. I'd stick with darker blues myself.


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