Resume Tips

Quick Disclaimer: Although this post is intended to be humorous, the following examples are all based off of actual resume problems I have seen. Numerous times. On multiple resumes. Good grief.

Before I get started, if you are actually working on your resume, I strongly recommend the two following articles/blog posts.  The advice they give (including the fact that no hiring manager cares about your "Career Objective" statement) are spot on.

In no particular order, I give you:

  1. If your resume is over 7 pages long, showing your work history back to 1991, and you have never held a job for longer than 3 months at a time, I am unlikely to follow-up and schedule an interview. I have absolutely no problem with a short job here or there, or gaps between jobs. We have all been hired into jobs we hated, or ended up unemployed. Meticulous documentation on your inability to hold a steady job for over a decade is something else entirely.
  2. If you made it through high school or college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher… good job! Feel free to add it to your resume (although it is not likely to affect my decision one way or the other). If you wrapped up your education with a GPA around (or under) 2.0… I would stay away from broadcasting that information.
  3. Please please please… do not list every computer program you have ever used (or list versions that never existed). Although it boggles my mind, I cannot tell you how many resumes I have read that look like:

    Programs Used: HP Photosmart Print Driver, Windows 3.1, Windows 3.1.1, Windows 95, Windows 95b, Windows 97, Office 4.2.1, Mac OS 6, Oregon Trail, Sheet Metal Scrappings Collector 6.9.1, Adobe Reader, America Online 4.5.6, Prodigy 2.1, CompuServe 3.5, eWorld, Novell Netware 1.6.8, Packard Bell Software Updater 4.3

    Where do these lists even come from? Are you running an inventory on the broken computer in the garage? If you haven't used a computer since 1997, maybe Microsoft isn't the place to apply.

  4. Same goes for hardware. I don't have any interest in seeing a model listing of the D-Link router you have at home. If you are a Cisco CCNA/CCNP, or are a Data center Server Engineer of some sort… a few models are okay. If not, please don't tell me the model number of the Global Village 14.4Kbps modem you had in high school.
  5. Same goes for protocols randomly interspersed with cabling types. Seriously… what does it demonstrate when you fill up space on the resume with: TCP/IP, SMB, Apple Talk, Banyan Vines, IP, UDP, CAT 5, FTP, EIEIO, DNS, Gopher, ARP, FDDI, ABC, COAX, POP, IMAP, DHCP? I suppose it shows that you are capable of copying the index of a Network+ book, but it doesn't do a whole lot for me. Any guesses as to how many people with this information on their resume can actually name the applicable port number, the location of the protocol in the OSI model, the purpose of the protocol, or how something like DHCP works behind the scenes?
  6. Office equipment: For my senior-level support position, the fact that you know how to use a copier, a fax machine, and a papercutter… is somewhere between meaningless and absurd. I'm not even sure that someone hiring for an office worker position needs that information.
  7. Padding your resume: I know it is a common practice to add a little "oomph" to your resume. Out there on the Internet is a copy of my first resume, where I listed experience as a "Landscape Maintenance Technician" (misspelled no less). In other words, I picked weeds every other weekend for a nice old lady in my neighborhood.

However, if you have never actually installed a copy of Windows Server, but you list your experience as "Senior Architectural Consultant who singlehandedly designed an international multi-site Active Directory and Exchange deployment for a Fortune 100 company, with a fault-tolerant backup plan and a 5-nines uptime SLA"… Odds are that the discrepancy will come up in the interview. You will look pretty silly at that point.

When hiring for a position, I want you to succeed.  I really do.  Stay away from the above mistakes, run the 'ol resume through a spell-check before submitting, and let me see a well-rounded individual with a clear record of career progression and passion for technology.  That is the best way to get a follow-up phone call from the recruiter.

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