Dear Job Seekers:
I read a lot of hardcopy resumes and resumes that people like you place on USENET. Let me give you some hints about writing resumes.
First, let me tell you how I read all these resumes:
Second, let me tell you the things I RARELY read:
The kind of people I want to hire instinctively know how to write a good resume because they are effective at communicating. They don't need to tell me they have good communications skills -- I can tell from the resume and its organization.
I give each resume perhaps 5 seconds of my time. In other words, you have 5 seconds to impress me to read further about you. So, let's go through the things that I scan:
|B.S. in CS & Math|
|Recent Graduate's Resume|
|BS/CS seeks Unix Job|
|Unix Person Seeks Employment|
If your title is similar, I won't bother to read further, because you have done nothing to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Furthermore, you have shown no imagination or initiative. Why would I hire you? One of the best titles I have seen recently was similar to:
|Experienced Ada Engineer to Relocate in Silicon Valley|
Why is this so good? This person thought about the title and told me in eight words that he/she a) has experience, b) wants an Ada job, c) is only interested in Silicon Valley jobs. Not only can this person communicate effectively, he/she is decisive.
|A position combining software, hardware, and systems design, development, and support.|
|Seeking a challenging position as a software engineer developing system or application software in a UNIX/C environment.|
The first is terrible -- this person just wants a job, doesn't matter what kind or where. The second is not much better, except that the scope has been limited to UNIX and C. The following is better:
|To find challenging work in product oriented research where I can leverage my broad hardware and software skills in revolutionary ways.|
This person has obviously thought about what kind of job he or she wants. It should be in product research (not development) and it should be state-of-the-art research. But, it hasn't focused on what area, for example Project Management software or PC-based statistical packages.
I realize that it is hard to come up with a good objective statement in a general forum like Usenet. It is much easier when you are targeting a resume for a specific job opening. Still, you are going to face this dilemma many times over. Here is an example of a good objective statement:
|I desire to work for a leading-edge company designing state-of-the-art user interfaces for graphics workstations. The position should lead to software product management and should offer possibility of learning software marketing.|
This will get me to read on, because you have shown thought about where your career is going and that you are interested in a broad range of topics and desire to take on new challenges. Yet, at the same time, notice that this objective statement is still very general -- it could be more specific (e.g., UNIX-based workstations, X-Windows, SunView etc).
I want your experience section to show me that
If you have experience, tell me those things that you have done that will convince me that you have organization, leadership, and communication skills. After all, that is what it takes to make an effective software engineer. If you have no experience, as is typical of most recent graduates, show me with examples from school how you demonstrate these skills.
Finally, the experience section is the place to assert your personality and creativity. Be creative and don't mimic every other resume you see.
Ed Matthews firstname.lastname@example.org Verdix Corporation Headquarters (703) 378-7600 Chantilly, Virginia