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smr

Seeking resume advice

28 posts in this topic

Okay, so I'm considering getting back into the job market and I've determined that my resume could use some attention. The problem is that I am not exactly sure what qualifies for a good resume. I was wondering if any of the community who may be in a position of hiring, or anyone for that matter, could lend me some pointers on how to improve my resume.

[url="https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1dUgAPLTrg6joWxnRJLQrTuS4nSLZ-yOn36Lz5--ORqw"]My resume[/url]
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Does this really belong in Breaking Into the Industry? I'm not really trying to get into the games industry.
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You want resume advice for what industry, then? What job?

Edit: This is the forum where people get resume advice. Edited by Tom Sloper
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I am looking for general resume advice -- is it easy to read, am I featuring the right information, are there any glaring mistakes, would someone who is considering resumes consider mine or would it be thrown out due to some factor other than having not enough experience, such as it being incoherent or having poor grammar or something.

Primarily I'm seeking employment in applications development and plan to send my resume to employers seeking senior level application developers. Now, I'm not saying that if a job came along that were in the games industry and I were qualified, and it had good compensation and reasonable work/life balance I wouldn't be interested, but I'm not counting on it and am not going to spend any time seeking those positions.
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I think you could do with trimming that down a bit.

You have plenty of software development experience, so why do you still have 'Data Entry' and 'Hardware Technician' on there - let alone a 12 year-old IT certificate?
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[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1350494378' post='4991179']
I think you could do with trimming that down a bit.

You have plenty of software development experience, so why do you still have 'Data Entry' and 'Hardware Technician' on there - let alone a 12 year-old IT certificate?
[/quote]

Good point. So you're saying that because it's not relevant to the jobs I'm applying to, I should just trim it off the resume? Is it a mistaken assumption that one must list all of his former employers on his resume?
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[quote name='smr' timestamp='1350495593' post='4991190']
Good point. So you're saying that because it's not relevant to the jobs I'm applying to, I should just trim it off the resume? Is it a mistaken assumption that one must list all of his former employers on his resume?[/quote]
To take an extreme example, a software development company isn't going to care whether or not you flipped burgers for a living during college.

If you were fresh out of college, it might be worth listing that sort of job purely as employment references (i.e. can this person show up at 9am every day, and follow orders?). But given the depth of your development experience, I'd stick to relevant experience in the field.
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Thanks very much for your help! I've made some changes and I think it looks better already.
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No one cares where you went to high school, and of course your references are available upon request. It could also use some formatting.

Here is my resume which I am reasonably happy with. I've remove a few companies to keep it at two pages, and I'll have to do some more shuffling to fit in my latest company.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/13579584/TimothyStrimple-20120820.pdf

The skills section gets changes based on who I'm sending the resume to. I emphasize the skills that the company is looking for. At this point my resume is more of a formality anyway. My last four jobs have been through networking.
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[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1350496254' post='4991195']
[quote name='smr' timestamp='1350495593' post='4991190']
Good point. So you're saying that because it's not relevant to the jobs I'm applying to, I should just trim it off the resume? Is it a mistaken assumption that one must list all of his former employers on his resume?[/quote]
To take an extreme example, a software development company isn't going to care whether or not you flipped burgers for a living during college.

[/quote]

That, sir, is purely untrue.
You wouldn't believe the insane amount of people being hired off ties that they may not have foreseen. I understand the need to trim, but seriously, you never know when a cheap-ass job is going to net you an interview. I've seen buger-flippers net an interview based on the fact they had survived that hell for 3 straight years alone. Other applicants with surpassing amounts of years in the industry were not even contacted... attitude counts, and an educated guess can go through looking at what you did before.

That said, yes, you need some trimming...
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[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1350617845' post='4991658']
That, sir, is purely untrue.
You wouldn't believe the insane amount of people being hired off ties that they may not have foreseen. I understand the need to trim, but seriously, you never know when a cheap-ass job is going to net you an interview. I've seen buger-flippers net an interview based on the fact they had survived that hell for 3 straight years alone. Other applicants with surpassing amounts of years in the industry were not even contacted... attitude counts, and an educated guess can go through looking at what you did before.

That said, yes, you need some trimming...
[/quote]


So you're saying leave random crap in your resume because the person hiring might have a personality quirk?
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Wow! I have to say your resume is really nice! I never thought to play with the formatting in that way; I assumed that a resume was supposed to be boring and essentially follow a rigid format. There I go assuming again.
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Yeah, TStrimple's resume isn't even really out there as far as formatting.

Your's is pretty dull, formatting wise, to be honest. Lists of bullets probably get lost in the pile with the others. Remember that people are visual, your resume will often be parsed and scanned by a computer, so you don't want to go too crazy with formatting, but when you finally do get in front of a human you wan't them to associate your good traits with the overall look of your resume (You're not a name just yet), so that they can pull you back out of the pile easily.

Also, a general critique I have is that the content is pretty dry -- each bulleted list is just a list of dry facts. Ad more detail if you can, be specific about specific things. On my own resume its not uncommon for a bulletpoint to be 2 lines (a line in my format is about 2/3rds of the usable area, less .75" margins), and a couple are even 3 lines. Don't waste space on when you got promotions, just include whatever title you held when you left that job (or highest, most-relevent title if you switched job ladders, say from test to dev, or dev to management).

Also, don't be afraid to show a little personality -- don't go overboard here, as there's a risk of not being taken seriously, or offending by not being business appropriate, but a paragraph or two about who you are and what you're about, that says "Hey, this is a guy I could enjoy knowing and working with" is all the better. Use common sense, don't share anything here that you wouldn't share with any of your past bosses. Try to keep it somewhat relevant -- for example, if you're a developer, and your hobby is building robots, or some other technically-inclined thing, that's a good candidate. Your underground fight club is probably not :)
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[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1350621376' post='4991671']
Try to keep it somewhat relevant -- for example, if you're a developer, and your hobby is building robots, or some other technically-inclined thing, that's a good candidate. Your underground fight club is probably not
[/quote]

Who's been talking about my underground fight club?
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[quote name='tstrimple' timestamp='1350618503' post='4991661']
[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1350617845' post='4991658']
That, sir, is purely untrue.
You wouldn't believe the insane amount of people being hired off ties that they may not have foreseen. I understand the need to trim, but seriously, you never know when a cheap-ass job is going to net you an interview. I've seen buger-flippers net an interview based on the fact they had survived that hell for 3 straight years alone. Other applicants with surpassing amounts of years in the industry were not even contacted... attitude counts, and an educated guess can go through looking at what you did before.

That said, yes, you need some trimming...
[/quote]


So you're saying leave random crap in your resume because the person hiring might have a personality quirk?
[/quote]
I'm saying you can't be the judge of what may be relevant to a position you're applying for.
It's more than a quirk. Someone with even a slight background in sales or servicing may bring something to the table that the employer needs but has not listed specifically in the job description.
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[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1350667917' post='4991838']
I'm saying you can't be the judge of what may be relevant to a position you're applying for.
It's more than a quirk. Someone with even a slight background in sales or servicing may bring something to the table that the employer needs but has not listed specifically in the job description.
[/quote]

But there's an opportunity cost here -- a line spent chatting about your McJob is a line not spent talking about the relevant stuff you've done. A resume is not an infinite space. The rule-of thumb I've heard is that you get one page to start, and an additional page for each 10 years in the work force. You don't have the luxury of simply throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Absolutely everything on your resume should be there with a clear purpose.
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Let's remember that not all applicants are created equal. Someone who's not got a lot of job experience needs material to fill the page. Someone who's got a ton of industry experience can afford to omit his McJobs from before his time in the industry.
In other words, "it depends."
As usual.
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Your CV is short. Which is sort of an advantage. But it does not sell you. World+dog has a CV that looks like that. Sorry.

Tell me why I should hire you and not one of them. Right here. In this thread.

And then turn that into a sales pitch at the top of your CV. Which is why having space on it because it's short is an advantage. You've got room for some sizzle.

Like this; My current job. I could describe it something like this;

"Jan 2011 - current. Worked at XYZ. Developed in some custom languages not used anywhere else. Wrote analysis tools in C++. Fixed bugs."

Or this;

"I've been working in a small team where at times I am single-handedly responsible for the safety, security and reliability of services used daily by a quarter of a billion people and which forms the vital infrastructure for major governments. I self-manage splitting my time between developing mission critical monitoring tools, resolving service issues in real-time to an SLA and engineering solutions for handling the problems encountered in delivering tera- and peta-scale computing environments."

Both are [i]completely[/i] true. But one of them makes people say "Gotta interview her!"
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Thanks everyone for your help! Anyone who's read my résumé already can see that I haven't done a lot of job changing. I've really only ever had two jobs that required a résumé or an interview in the last ten years. I was able to walk on to my current just by just calling up and asking if they still had my old job available. So my job seeking skills in this area are definitely rusty.

[quote name='Katie' timestamp='1350676300' post='4991893']
Your CV is short. Which is sort of an advantage.
[/quote]

Yeah, in the USA typically we send out résumés instead of CVs, which are shorter (typically one or two pages) and don't get into the gory details of what was done for the employer. That's what the interview is for, presumably.

[quote name='Katie' timestamp='1350676300' post='4991893']
Tell me why I should hire you and not one of them. Right here. In this thread.
[/quote]

That sounds exhausting! I think I'm just going to go back to the drawing board with the résumé and see if I can be more creative with it. I definitely see the benefits of being more elaborate with the job descriptions, but as this is only a résumé I think I'd wander into CV territory if I did that. But I'll try it and see what happens.
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[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1350621376' post='4991671']
Yeah, TStrimple's resume isn't even really out there as far as formatting.
[/quote]

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, [b]talk to people[/b]! 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 [i]look[/i] for a job. Edited by tstrimple
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[quote name='tstrimple' timestamp='1350683091' post='4991947']
[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1350621376' post='4991671']
Yeah, TStrimple's resume isn't even really out there as far as formatting.
[/quote]

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, [b]talk to people[/b]! 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 [i]look[/i] for a job.
[/quote]

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 [i]organically. [/i]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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[quote name='smr' timestamp='1350685063' post='4991967']
I suppose there are some things I could talk about. What's a good way to find these sorts of networking events?
[/quote]

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.
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[quote name='smr' timestamp='1350685063' post='4991967']
What's a good way to find these sorts of networking events?
[/quote]

IGDA, gamasutra, gamesindustry.biz, and this forum's FAQ on networking tips.
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"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 [b][size=5]SALES PITCH[/size][/b]. 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 [i]hires software engineers[/i] is begging you to stand out from the crowd and sell yourself.
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[quote name='Katie' timestamp='1350848474' post='4992529']
It's not "a CV" or "a resume". It's a [b][size=5]SALES PITCH[/size][/b]. 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.[/quote]
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).
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