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Seeking resume advice


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#21 smr   Members   -  Reputation: 1607

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 04:17 PM


Yeah, TStrimple's resume isn't even really out there as far as formatting.


I have tried to make it stand out from the typical resume, while still being easily consumable.

smr, you have as many years of experience as I do. Are you still sending your resume out to get jobs? You've got to go to networking events. Code camps, dev conferences, etc. Better yet, start speaking at those events! Plan on doing a talk on a subject you're not that familiar with. This will force you to learn it to the point where you're comfortable answering questions about it and you are conversant about it.

Also, talk to people! Communication skills are likely more important to landing your next programming job than actual programming ability. However if you combine your communication skills with a solid development core, you'll never have to look for a job.


Yeah, I definitely do need to network. I actually don't feel I'm deficient at all in my communication skills. That's typically one of the things people compliment me on. I was actually offered the position to manage our development team but I didn't accept it for various reasons. The team wanted me to take the job, even so far as one threatened to quit if I didn't accept it (and nearly did), and the rest of the organization seemed to want me as well. After about three weeks of mulling it over, I did not accept the promotion. One reason being is what I've listed on the resume, but there were other issues as well. There were some office political issues I didn't want to get involved in. Additionally the fact that our development team is in the middle of a year-long death march, and no one who can put a stop to it wants to listen to reason. I haven't been told this by the former manager, but I strongly suspect that's why he moved on. I really didn't see any good reason to put myself into his situation, because he was excellent and if he couldn't put a stop to it or improve the situation behind the scenes, I had no reason to believe I would be able to do it either.

Thing is that I've found though is that I don't typically fit in with developer types. Although I've been coding since around the time I got my first pube, I really don't come off as a "computer geek." I hardly touch a computer outside of work anymore. My interests are mostly physical: running, biking, martial arts, etc., or music. I don't encounter many developers outside of the workplace, so I haven't really networked organically. I suppose there are some things I could talk about. What's a good way to find these sorts of networking events?

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#22 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 06:08 PM

I suppose there are some things I could talk about. What's a good way to find these sorts of networking events?


Meetup.com

Talks don't necessarily have to be technical. I could see a staying healthy as a software developer talk happening at our local code camp.

#23 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9166

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:43 PM

What's a good way to find these sorts of networking events?


IGDA, gamasutra, gamesindustry.biz, and this forum's FAQ on networking tips.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#24 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1302

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:41 PM

"as this is only a résumé I think I'd wander into CV territory if I did that."

Look, I know people keep telling you these sorts of things, I have no idea where this idea started that boring CVs are good, but it needs stopping very quickly. Seriously -- there have been days where I'd rather not hire ANYONE and do the work myself on the weekends than have to go through another pile of turgid lists-of-jobs-that-people-once-had.

It's not "a CV" or "a resume". It's a SALES PITCH. It's the only one you get. It's standing between you and the bin. You've got about 3 minutes before I'm interrupted by something to convince me to spend a whole couple of valuable hours talking to you. A list of jobs you once had doesn't make you stand out. Like I say, everyone has a CV like that.

Eventually someone will bully me into making a decision about who gets interview slots, and given a pile of CVs all of equal boritude I pick a couple off the stack of ones which at least feature the right skills and go "Oh, look, those ones, go away". Basically your chances of getting an interview are based on whether you're on the top or the bottom of the pile of junk on my desk. I love the rare occasion when I get a CV where I immediately say "we'll talk to this person" and the decision doesn't have to be a painful one. I mean, how else am I supposed to tell otherwise? I've got a dozen CVs of people who say they did 4 years C++ at XYZ Ltd (who I've not heard of) on a project I've not heard of and whose value or success or failure is unstated. And then all of those people followed it up with 2 years of C++ at ABC Enterprises (who I've not heard of) on a project I've not heard of and whose value or success or failure is unknown...

I don't know why you're listening to this rumour that's doing the rounds that boring is better when someone who hires software engineers is begging you to stand out from the crowd and sell yourself.

#25 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9761

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:16 AM

It's not "a CV" or "a resume". It's a SALES PITCH. It's the only one you get. It's standing between you and the bin. You've got about 3 minutes before I'm interrupted by something to convince me to spend a whole couple of valuable hours talking to you. A list of jobs you once had doesn't make you stand out. Like I say, everyone has a CV like that.

I'd have to agree with that. While I would suggest you stick to the general resume guidelines (length, etc.), the key point is to be noticed (and thereby, hired).

Use every tool at your disposal: fancy formatting, flowing prose, and above all, detailed and relevant descriptions of relevant work (not just a list, mind you).

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#26 smr   Members   -  Reputation: 1607

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:17 PM

I don't know why you're listening to this rumour that's doing the rounds that boring is better when someone who hires software engineers is begging you to stand out from the crowd and sell yourself.


Oh, no. I get it. And I appreciate your opinions on the matter. Although I'm not formally a manager (thank god I turned down THAT promotion), I too am involved in hiring software engineers, though I typically rely on the actual conversation that I have with the interviewee and the results of the test we have each interviewee complete rather than the resume. Quite frankly a resume doesn't tell me much about a person beyond their work experience, regardless of how flashy it is. If the relevant skills are on the resume, and there is adequate work experience, we'll bring them in. Anyone can represent themselves to be anything they want on paper. I don't care how many industry buzzwords you can cram into your introduction, and I don't care how you leveraged synergy with your web 3.0 solution and legacy systems to achieve paradigm shift, enabling your company optimize your flex capacitors and achieve time travel at 86.5 MPH, 1.5 MPH better than the year before. I've seen these great looking resumes that, when the candidate actually comes in, can't write a smidgen of code. Yes, we force them to code on the interview. You might not be surprised by the number of people who come through our doors who actually can't code.

That being said, I realize that anyone looking for a job has to send out resumes, and people are going to toss them out for superficial reasons. And I understand that. When you've got ten resumes to look over and ten people asking you when their pet project will be completed, you do what you have to do. I don't know what other companies are looking for in resumes, and up until now I really haven't cared. That's why I started this thread. I'm going to work on creating a more sales pitch-ey resume. Sometime soon...

Edited by smr, 22 October 2012 - 01:36 PM.


#27 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1302

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:41 PM

"'ve seen these great looking resumes that, when the candidate actually comes in, can't write a smidgen of code. Yes, we force them to code on the interview. You might not be surprised by the number of people who come through our doors who actually can't code."

Actually I still am. I can't quite understand how so many people manage to pass as software engineers for so stormingly long when their actual development skills mean I couldn't let them write code on their own unsupervised.

It's terrifying that I meet so few people who are competent and yet the entire world runs on software these days. It's going to kill us all one of these days.

#28 smr   Members   -  Reputation: 1607

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 04:20 PM

It's terrifying that I meet so few people who are competent and yet the entire world runs on software these days. It's going to kill us all one of these days.


I know! I actually had a kid fresh out of university come in two weeks ago. He got decent marks, but didn't interview well. Fair enough. He was a little socially awkward, not terribly uncommon in our field. But the kid couldn't code. I made it clear to him that he could ask me any questions he wanted and use any resource he wanted in order to complete the code challenge (aside from copying someone else's code). After about three hours I told him that I was going to go get a bite to eat and he's welcome to do the same. He just gave up at that point. He hadn't accomplished anything at all. And I pitied him. Not enough to recommend he be hired, but still, I felt bad. His university and his professors failed him when they let him graduate with a degree qualifying him to be a computer programmer when he actually cannot program a computer.

#29 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6985

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 04:43 PM

Here's another tip to help guide you, one which I always share in threads like this, but neglected to mention here already.

Here it goes. Get ready, its a bit of a mind-bender.


TIP: The purpose of a resume is not to get you a job--

"What?!?", you interject.

Sorry. Let me finish: The purpose of a resume is not to get you a job; the purpose of a resume is to get you an interview.


This might seem a bit contrary to the goal of, you know, getting a job, but it really is true. Vanishingly few people have ever been hired solely on the strength of their resume alone. As Katie alludes to, the only real purpose of a resume is to be one of the few she remembers (or better yet, sets aside in preparation) when someone comes and barks at her about not having the candidate list yet.

The purpose of a resume is not even to help your interviewers prepare to meet you, once you've secured a slot. Ostensibly, yes, it is, but in practice seems more common than not that a given interviewer will not have even glanced at your resume, and if they did, it was moments before the interview begins.

No, the point of a resume is to stand up for you and tell people like Katie that you are interesting, that you are amiable that you've been there and you get it, and that you are a valuable addition to any team, but most-of-all, to her team.


If you keep that in mind, writing a good resume just happens. Well, almost. You see, I have this theory that most people resort to vagaries and generic statements of "I was there when..." because they think the only alternative is to go into every excruciating, exquisite detail. Not so. If you accept as the outcome of a good resume to be an interview, you are freed of the requirement provide complete explanations of every project and team you ever sat on, because if the resume has done its job, you are guaranteed a chance to expound upon any point that your interviewer takes interest in.

What's more, when that interviewer finally glances your resume over, moments before the interview or as you make yourself comfortable in his chair, you've laid out a framework for some of the questions he'll ask you. Questions that you are uniquely qualified and prepared to answer.

Edited by Ravyne, 24 October 2012 - 04:47 PM.





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