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MAEnthoven

Resume/Portfolio/Blog Critique

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Unfortunately, I missed this latest round of gaming internships and am now working at the same internship I've been with the last two summers. This summer, however, I got a promotion and now have a much more engaging project that I get to make real decisions on. It's still not in the gaming industry, however, which is where I really need to be.

I'm hoping someone can review my personal website:
http://www.MatthewEnthoven.com

Things I want to highlight:
- LootCouncil_Lite. This World of Warcraft addon is now at over 5,000 downloads. It's been a huge success that numerous guilds have been using on a weekly basis.
- Northwestern University. Most employers know this is a pretty prestigious University, and so I obviously want to show it off as much as possible.
- Promotion. Unfortunately, I'm having some trouble discussing exactly what the project is. Because it's a new product, I can't discuss any details at all.

Things I'm working on:
- Another World of Warcraft mod that plugs into the SimCraft application/framework.
- Designing a Starcraft 2 level once the game is fully released later this month.

I'd appreciate all comments! I've been trying to break into the industry for over a year now. I'm now going to be a senior, so I'm done looking at "just internships."

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The website itself looks good however I would change your resume a bit:
- remove the hours / week by the companies you have worked for, unnecessary info
- also change you programming skills section because you have Maya, MS Word, ... in there make a different section with a title like "Software skills". It's kind of confusing or if you have programmed in MS Word do something like "Visual Basic (MS Word, ...)" for clarity

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Quote:
Original post by MAEnthoven
- Northwestern University. Most employers know this is a pretty prestigious University, and so I obviously want to show it off as much as possible.

While Northwestern is a prestigious university, your portfolio will almost always have a bigger impact than the university you attended. There are plenty of stupid people that graduated from prestigious universities and plenty of geniuses that never graduated or even went to college.
Quote:
- Promotion. Unfortunately, I'm having some trouble discussing exactly what the project is. Because it's a new product, I can't discuss any details at all.


Can you talk about any of the technology you're using? Usually there's ways to highlight your work without saying what it is.

"Designed systems to be used in Company X's new product line," or, "Used X-new technology for an unannounced product."

It's much more important to focus on deliverables than the promotion itself. It's not that you were promoted, they want to know why you were promoted or what you did after you were promoted that will benefit them.

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While it appears that you have recently joined your current position I would add more detail to some of the tasks in your resume.

Quote:

Main programmer and designer on new product operating on the Force.com platform.


Can you tell us more?

Quote:

- Programming languages used are Java, Apex, javascript, HTML, and XML.the company’s internal hybrid-language.


This can be folded into your skills section or you can qualify one of the above tasks. E.g. Developed widget using Java...

Quote:

Profesional Services Intern - 40 hrs/week Summer 2008, 2009
- Main resource for Enterasys Phase 3 project.
- Managed all project code implementations from launch (June 22nd) until go-live (September 18th).
- Solely created configurators and commerce extensions for Enterasys A, B, C, D, I, G, and S series.
- Designed, coded, tested, and debugged customer software modules for other company projects.
- Programming languages used were javascript, PHP, XSL, HTML, XML, and the company’s internal hybrid-language.


While there is a lot of information here nothing really stands out (as I'm unfamiliar with many of these systems). If an item can be reworded into:

<verb> something using language that benefitted the company in this manner.

Is there a situation where you did something really interesting or took the initiative? Anyways, for example:

Added configurators and commerce extensions for Enterasys A, B, C, D, I, G, and S that applied tax law foobar and reduced amount of time for data entry by 50%.

Created a customer module that integrated to the main system using XML import.

This will give the reader a better idea of what you really did rather than merely listing what roles you held and what languages you used.

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Random comments in no particular order. All of this is intended as constructive criticism; please bear this in mind if I seem harsh.

Quote:
Programming languages used are Java, Apex, javascript, HTML, and XML.the company’s internal hybrid-language.


Neither HTML nor XML are programming languages in their own right. Further, proper spacing after the "." and a capital "T" in "the" certainly wouldn't hurt. Frankly, if you sent that resumé to me with a mistake like that I would introduce it to my shredder right away. Yes, people make mistakes. Should they make a mistake like that on their resumé? No. Does reading that strengthen my confidence in you? No.

Quote:
Profesional Services Intern - 40 hrs/week


Like what I said above. In this case, you should run a spell check too.

Quote:
Programming Skills: Experience with Lua, Maya, Java, C++, OpenGL, javascript, XML, XSLT, PHP, HTML, Visual Basic, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Scheme, MySQL, C#, and Cocoa/Objective C.


Again, XML, HTML and their relatives do not belong. I don't really understand what Word, Excel (this one's a maybe) and PowerPoint are doing here. Are you referring to macro/extension development, or the fact that you've got experience using these tools? If the latter, why list it under programming skills?

Quote:

Game/Add-on Development: Sole designer and programmer for _____ popular World of Warcraft add-on, LootCouncil_Lite. Over 1,000 downloads in first week of release. Developed two windows games, Tower Wars and Nth Dimension. See my portfolio for more information.


I'm no native speaker of English, but in my opinion this would look a lot better with an "a" or a "the" in the empty space I marked. I really don't want to nitpick, but if I were to see a resumé with this many mistakes I wouldn't look at it any further.

Quote:

Northwestern ACM Club and Programming Team: Competitor in TopCoder algorithm design competitions and International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) for Northwestern University (programming in Java and C++).


And how did you fare in these competitions? If you did well, write about it. Right now it sounds like you participated, but it didn't go so well and you decided to omit the results. If that's the case, I suggest you remove it altogether. (Algorithm design is tricky stuff - it's nothing to be ashamed of if you didn't do too well!)

Quote:
- Consumer Insights


Maybe it's just the fact that I'm not American, but that doesn't mean anything to me. What was the course actually about?

I also took a quick glance at your blog and, honestly, it looks like you write more about playing games (and matters surrounding the games you enjoy) than about actually making games. Writing about things that interest you shows that you have an opinion, which is good, but from my quick look I couldn't find much that was relevant to a possible employer in the game industry.

Now, the good. First of all, your website is clean and perfectly adequate as long as you're not applying for a web design job. It's easy to find what you're looking for. Second, it's great that you've completed a few games. That will demonstrate to an employer that you have the ability to motivate yourself into getting the job done. It's also great to hear that your add-on has seen such success, which I take as an indication that you can produce software that customers will actually enjoy using.

I'm sorry if I sounded overly harsh at any point in this post. Again, I'm trying to provide you with constructive criticism only.

Good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by loom_weaver
Quote:

Main programmer and designer on new product operating on the Force.com platform.


Can you tell us more?
I really don't think I can, which is part of why I tried to ask specifically for help on this. How do I talk about what I'm doing without breaking confidentiality?

Quote:
Original post by loom_weaver
Is there a situation where you did something really interesting or took the initiative?
I was trying to highlight that I was the sole (and sometimes lead) programmer on the project. It was an internship, so I was hoping that would stand out. I get a lot of responsibilities for just an intern.

Quote:
Original post by Windryder
Random comments in no particular order. All of this is intended as constructive criticism; please bear this in mind if I seem harsh.
I love harsh/blunt criticism :-D

Quote:
Original post by Windryder
Neither HTML nor XML are programming languages in their own right.
This has been particularly frustrating for me. My career office insists that I should list HTML / XML as part of my "programming skills" or the languages that I interact with. I fully understand that HTML / XML aren't actual languages, but I guess I agree with the career office that they should be on my resume at least somewhere, especially with the amount of interaction I have with them.

Quote:
Original post by Windryder
Further, proper spacing after the "." and a capital "T" in "the" certainly wouldn't hurt.
Not sure why this didn't come through correctly on your side. I looked at what you quoted, and that's not what appears on my screen. It should read like this: Programming languages used were javascript, PHP, XSL, HTML, XML, and the company’s internal hybrid-language.

Quote:
Original post by Windryder
I don't really understand what Word, Excel (this one's a maybe) and PowerPoint are doing here. Are you referring to macro/extension development, or the fact that you've got experience using these tools? If the latter, why list it under programming skills?
Extensive experience with Excel is pretty much a requirement to being an Industrial Engineer in terms of both macro/extension development and a wide array of plugins. This section was previous titled "Computer Skills: ," but was changed due to not having enough impact in getting across "Hey, I'm a programmer."

Quote:
Original post by Windryder
And how did you fare in these competitions? If you did well, write about it. Right now it sounds like you participated, but it didn't go so well and you decided to omit the results. If that's the case, I suggest you remove it altogether. (Algorithm design is tricky stuff - it's nothing to be ashamed of if you didn't do too well!)
I've done fairly well. I qualified last year for nationals, but haven't made it beyond that. And yeah, it's brutally tricky. I don't really do it to "compete" - I more do them as a hobby. I kept them on there because I probably spend 8-9 hours of my week in these competitions, and I felt like that was a significant amount of time.


Quote:
Original post by Windryder
Quote:
Consumer Insights

Maybe it's just the fact that I'm not American, but that doesn't mean anything to me. What was the course actually about?
It's a pretty typical marketing class.


Quote:
Original post by Windryder
It's also great to hear that your add-on has seen such success, which I take as an indication that you can produce software that customers will actually enjoy using.
I wish I could highlight its success more throughout my portfolio. It's now the #1 add-on for its category with over 2,000 "guilds"/gaming groups using it.

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A short anecdote: I had written several (some popular) WoW addons also. However, I found them extremely difficult to market to potential employers. There are very few Lua only jobs in the industry; most list Lua as a plus but you'll primarily be working in some sort of tool or C++. I ended up dropping all the addons from my portfolio and showed that I could augment C++ with Lua. Shortly thereafter, I had several hits and ended up landing my first industry job.

Depending on what exactly you wish to do in the industry, you may consider doing something similar. Consider that many potential employers don't understand WoW addons, let alone guilds, raiding, etc. The UI designs, programming logic, and techniques are more interesting. Try showcasing that instead of the number of downloads.

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