Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Resume Tips

I spent yesterday and today looking through close to a hundred resumes in order to fill 3-4 developer positions. I'm not a big fan of throwing out a resume on a technicality, like a misspelled word, so I actually read through every single one of them (with help). Part way through this ordeal, I came to a conclusion: If I'm going to show people the courtesy of reading through every resume, then I expect them to respect my time and effort. So here are some tips to help people do just that:

1. Keep it short. I lost count of how many resumes had 12-16 pages, and these were for developers with 7-8 years of experience. There's no reason that resume should be more than 2-3 pages, max.

2. Do not list every inane detail of what you did, just give an overview. For example:

  • Sent a status report to my manager to update him on my status
  • Called methods using C#
  • Compiled code

(these are all real examples, unfortunately)

3. Don't capitalize words randomly. I guess this is a weak effort to emphasize key points:

  • wrote stored Procedures in order to optimize code Performance
  • wrote Business Objects in c++

4. User proper spelling and grammar. I can overlook a single misspelled word, but I saw literally dozens of resumes that each had at least 4-5 mistakes. Make sure your sentences make sense, use consistent verb tenses, and are complete. Not doing this consistently shows me that you're not a detail-oriented person, and therefore not someone I want to hire to write code.

and most of all,

5. DO NOT LIE! And if you do, at the very least do it well. Everyone at one point or another has probably done some harmless "resume padding", but outright lying is not acceptable. Especially if you reveal your own lie. A requirement for the job we're hiring for is at least one year of experience with NUnit. One resume put "3 years of experience with NUnit" in the summary section, but later in the detailed experience for one of the jobs, wrote:
I used NUnit for the first time in this position, which gave me an opportunity to learn something new.

The problem was, that position only started 4 months ago. So either this person was a liar or they can't do simple math. Either way, I don't want to hire him.


  1. I just got a new job recently and I followed most of these steps to the letter. I paired my resume down to one page plus a cover letter.

    One thing I felt was important is a hand-written thank you note for a follow-up after any interview.

    Also...and this is my big secret...when I finally started getting interviews I didn't bash my current company. I said they were a great group but I needed a better platform to grow and learn. I also told them that I wouldn't leave one imperfect situation for another.

    That one change and -poof- two offers in one week.

    I had been looking for a new position for over a year.

    Thanks for the advice and I'm glad I don't (currently) need it.

  2. I'm glad you found it useful. Over the next two weeks, we'll be conducting interviews, so I'll have some tips on the interview process coming up, too.

  3. Incredible post and great tips.Very impressive.