Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interview Phase Two, and How I Write A Resume

>Job Hunt Update: I got an email today that asked if I could come in for round two of interviews next week! I believe that there are only two rounds of interviews, but I suppose we'll see what happens after this one. Since my resume presumably was one of the factors which got me an interview (I had a friend who works there deliver it too), I've decided to share my resume techniques. Maybe they'll be helpful to someone, and maybe someone can help me improve as well.

Resume Writing, My Style

I don't remember the last time I actually sat down to write a resume from scratch. My resume has kind of evolved and grown since I started college. Recently though I did have an opportunity to sit down with my brother Bob and help him with his resume.

Bob is a really smart kid. He got into computers way before I did, speaks fluent Spanish and is very responsible. And if that weren't enough, he just graduated from high school. Bob isn't very wordy though. His emails and essays make Hemmingway look verbose.

Before and After

So, here below is a before and after of his resume. The one of the left is the one he created himself, the one on the right is the one I helped him with.

Here are the differences:

Things Wrong With the First Resume

  • Duplicate information

  • Vague, tangentially related objective

  • Only one work experience entry

  • List formatting runs together

  • No spacing between sections

  • All fonts, except his name, are the same size

  • One third of the page is blank space

  • Non-work related interests

  • No reason why visiting a foreign country is relevant

  • Soft verbs and interest

Improvements In the Second Resume

  • Single line address format saves valuable vertical space

  • Name top and center makes it the most noticable page element

  • Different fonts for each level of information

  • Included all past, current and planned education

  • Each skill or activity line starts with an adjective or, if appropriate, a verb

  • Name software or other tools you know by name

  • Title 'Work History' as 'Experience' and include related non-work activities

  • Include real numbers in job descriptions where the demonstrate added value

  • For jobs/positions without official titles, use a descriptive title that says what you did

  • When possible, use verbs with positive connotations in the job title, otherwise use them in your job description

Other Notes

I'm sure there are other considerations that could improve the resume greatly. I'd love to hear your suggestions. One obvious thing would be to tailor it for the specific job you're applying for. In my brother's case, he doesn't have much to work with yet.

In my case, I have more jobs than fit on the resume, since I like to keep it at a single sheet. I include the most relevant jobs and projects I've done, and reword job descriptions to emphasize portions of my responsibilities that could relate to the job I'm applying for.

A good resume is only half of the package for job application; you also need a great cover letter. With the job I'm currently doing interviews for, I found out who I would be interviewing with initially and directed the cover letter to him.

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