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Resume length

Danish Shaukat
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 16, 1999
Posts: 340
Hi !
What should be the ideal number of pages in a resume. My resume has got three pages, but i find them insufficent. I am mentioning almost every important project that i do in any company.Reason for this is that i am a fresh graduate and don't have two or three jobs to mention.
Regards
Danish
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
In the US, those with less then 2-3 years experience shouldn't be more then a page (unless you've got unusual things like patents or papers).
What percentage of your projects are "important?" Remember, here important means "conveys the right message to the employer." This sounds a bit like the customer who says, "all the features are priority one."
--Mark
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

A single page for ppl with less than 2/3 yrs experience? How do you write project details in a single page? Contact info, skillset, previous employers?
For a fresheer, 3 pages resume is sufficient.
- Manish
shankar vembu
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 10, 2001
Posts: 309
Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
A single page for ppl with less than 2/3 yrs experience? How do you write project details in a single page? Contact info, skillset, previous employers?
For a fresheer, 3 pages resume is sufficient.
- Manish

i agree with mark. i have 19 months of experience(i am back to school now btw). my resume is 1.5 pages in length(contact info + skillset + work details).a resume should show the most in a few pages.u somehow have to condense it.
anyways,the length of my resume has increased to 2 pages now cos i include course details also that i have taken in school. of course this is necessary when u apply for part time jobs in the univ.campus.
shankar.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
A single page for ppl with less than 2/3 yrs experience? How do you write project details in a single page? Contact info, skillset, previous employers?
For a fresheer, 3 pages resume is sufficient.
- Manish

You write project details in a few sentences. If you need to 2-3 pages to explain just a few projects the hiring manager will likely skip your resume, or, at least, not notice the important stuff. Moreover you convery a very bad message: I don't know how to communicate important information concisely.
Some sample resumes:
http://www.jobweb.com/Resumes_Interviews/resume_guide/sampleres.html
http://www.csam.iit.edu/student/resume.html
http://www.psicomp.com/resumes/resFrank.html*
http://www.psicomp.com/resumes/resHannah.html*
http://www.psicomp.com/resumes/resJill.html
*A little long b/c of font/layout, but the level of detail is about right.
--Mark
Jamie Robertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 09, 2001
Posts: 1879

Anything over 2 pages, you're resume is likely to be "filed". Your resume is not supposed to tell a future employer everything you've ever done in your life in computers, but is supposed to intrigue the hiring manager to interview you to find out the details.
How to add more meat to your resume without adding length:
Don't use an "all purpose" resume that reads like a "this is your life" show hosted by Guy Smilie. The hiring manager will probably be swamped with work that you are supposed to be hired to do and will not take the time to read your 'book'. Writing a resume specific to each and every job posting allows you to leave out details/tasks not relevant to the job your applying for and expand on the tasks that are directly related to the position.
Remember, people are lazy, so keep it short.
Jamie
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60782
    
  65

The previous posters counselling brevity are right on the money, at least for the US job market.
Any resume over 2 pages will likely get deep-sixed immediately. If you need 3 pages to write about your few months of experience, you are either communicating badly, or are over-estimating what is important for potential employers to know.
I have 25 years experience in the software industry doing extremely varied projects and my resume fits nicely on 2 pages.
One very typical mistake that I see (and have made myself in the past) that makes resumes longer than they need to be is to try and describe the project you worked on rather than what was significant about your contribution to it. No one cares what your project/product did. They care how YOU hepled to make it successful and what you learned from it.
hth,
bear


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Thanks Mark for all the links and info.
Two pages resume sounds fine to me for 2/3 years experience, but 1 page is.... well, a way too short! At least I have seen my HR discussing 5/6 pages resume when hiring a prooject leader or a senior software engineer, so I think it's a bit different here in India.
- Manish
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Save the detailed explanations for your interview. A resume is meant to be a brief overview of your experience, not an autobiography. Anyone with less than 3 years experience (even IF they have a degree and certifications) shouldn't need more than a page.
And no one NEEDS more than 2 pages. Rather than list EVERYTHING on your resume, you can mention those less relevant (or less recent) experiences when you have to answer behavioral interview questions.


A good workman is known by his tools.
Derek Grey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 204
Originally posted by Marc Peabody:
Save the detailed explanations for your interview. A resume is meant to be a brief overview of your experience, not an autobiography. Anyone with less than 3 years experience (even IF they have a degree and certifications) shouldn't need more than a page.
And no one NEEDS more than 2 pages. Rather than list EVERYTHING on your resume, you can mention those less relevant (or less recent) experiences when you have to answer behavioral interview questions.


hey Marc,
What do you mean by " behavioral interview questions"?
For entry level resumes, is it necessary to include coursework too?
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
San Tiruvan:
Behavorial Interview Questions - are often referred to as "Managerial Type Questions". These tend to be non-technical in nature, and can be asked of any candidate for any job position.
Some examples:
- Why do you want to work here?
- Tell me about a project that you worked on and your contributions?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- How do you deal with conflicts?
- Tell me about a project you failed on?
- Tell me why you went to the college you went to?
In general, you want to have 3 or 4 stories that illustrate your capability for reasoning, solving a problem, and personal growth.
I am cutting for time today - but do a search under my last name in this forum and you will get a better understanding of what I mean.
Also, refer to Martin Yate's "Knock 'Em Dead Interview Questions and Answers". Can get on amazon.com . The title may be wrong - but close enough that you can do a search on.
I gotta get running.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)


John Coxey
Evansville, Indiana, USA
Derek Grey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 204
Thanks a bunch for the info John.
I'll do the search.
Derek Grey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 204
Hello again John,
I did a search and found your advice here and here.
They are great and reminds me of those GREAT times (BOOM times).
Definetely did give me a much required jump start too. Your resume is also going to be a great help in designing my own.
But I have one question. Both those posts are prior to 9/11 where the only concern was recession (which is somewhat similar to the situation you mentioned - in 1995 when job seekers were the initiaters etc.). Do u think the job opportunities are the same today? Or could your suggest other tactics that I haven't been using.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15957
    
  19

Actually, after finally managing to cut my resume DOWN to 3 pages or less, I read something that said that now that resumes are considered as objects to be scanned and rejected by machine without necessarily ever being seen by a human being a short resume wasn't always an asset. If it's short, you probably left out some of the "magic buzzwords" that will get you past the first wall for weeding out the competent in HR.
THEN they can reject you for the length of your resume. :roll:


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
San Tiruvan:
- Job market is defintiely tougher today than it was in April 2001. But note, that the market had already started to decline in April 2001.
- I managed to score a MAJOR gig with Hewlett-Packard US$150K/yr teaching Java, JSP, Servlets in June 2001. But that ended up going down the tubes after 6 months. Shame, because I had a bunch of fun with the job, even though it involved 80+ hour work weeks.
- I took the entire summer of 2002 off - and went flyfishing in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and managed to pay bills by tying flies and guiding folks on their fishing trips.
- I scored a new gig (current job) in Nov 2002, with the help from a JavaRanch member. Job pays about half what Hewlett-Packard did - but we may/may not get some serious bonus $$ thrown in which would sweeten the pot quite a bit. One of my big benefits now is that we only work 40 hours a week. We go home at 5PM (not 5:10PM either).
- I also teach at a technical school 2 nights a week - and pull down an extra US$1500/month doing that.

========
That being said. Yes, there are Java jobs out there. But you gotta look hard for them.
The people who are having the most trouble right now are the H1B folks (economy, feelings about war, and the 9/11 mess). Next in line are the recent college graduates with no experience - they too are finding it extremely difficult to land work.
If you have 2 or 3 yrs Java experience under your belt, then you can find work - but it's a lot harder now than it was 2 yrs ago.
I remember when I put my resume out in July 2000 and had like 50 phone calls the first day. Sure miss the good times.
-----------
So what am I doing to prepare for the future?
I am in the process of converting our current programs from Visual Age for Java to WSAD v4.0 then to WSAD v5.0 (Great transferrable job skills). Also in process of upgrading code to latest versions of WebSphere Application Serverl.
I teach school at night --- teaching networking and telecommunications -- basically learning as I go (although I had telecom courses at Lucent).
I am starting nursing school next year - where I fly every other weekend between Indiana and Syracuse, NY. Only place in USA where I can do clinicals on weekends.
Will graduate in 2007 with Associates in Nursing (can sit for RN degree).
Then will go for Bachelors in Nursing. Then do a year or two of ICU (Critical Care). Then go for CRNA (Nurse Anesthesiologist).
----
Those are my plans.
----
If nothing else, I will do nursing on the side, in addition to current profession. Am hoping to make the switch (eventually) to full-time CRNA school (very competitive to get into) 5 or 6 yrs from now.
When I get CRNA degree - takes 2 yrs full time study - then I will say bye bye to Java and then do the travelling CRNA gig.
CRNA's get about US$150K-US$200K/yr. Can go to www.gasworks.com (seriously) and look at the pay rates.
If nothing else, it's just something else to keep me busy for the next few years.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
[ April 09, 2003: Message edited by: John Coxey ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
Actually, after finally managing to cut my resume DOWN to 3 pages or less, I read something that said that now that resumes are considered as objects to be scanned and rejected by machine without necessarily ever being seen by a human being a short resume wasn't always an asset. If it's short, you probably left out some of the "magic buzzwords" that will get you past the first wall for weeding out the competent in HR.
THEN they can reject you for the length of your resume.

This is somewhat true. Large companies will scan in resumes and have their own internal resume database (I know IBM did this, at least for college recruiting). A small company is unlikely to do this. Bottom line: know your audiance and act accordingly.
--Mark
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi John,
I think you will not quite say bye bye to Java though. As you gain the lingo of healthcare profession, you will end up train people who develop programs for hospital.
Think this way if all of us IT veteran join the nursing program and ends up as RNs. Where do the hospital put all the Philipinas and all the third world country people already employed there.
Just my 2 cents!
MCao
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hello,
I agreed with Mark known your audience and act accordingly.
I don't know much about you folks, I rather stick with small company who thrive on nich market nowaday.
I logged in 6 days a week and 12 hours a day with a tiny ethnic company as engineering consultant. Off course, the paid is a lot less than during the drunken and orgies last decade.
Regards,
MCao
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

I have an interesting story to tell you guys -
I was discussing this resume length issue with one of my friends, and his brother who is fresher told us that recently when he had gone for an interview, he was told that his resume was "too short" (one and half page), and the HR could not get a good idea abt his profile from it so the HR asked him get a more detailed resume done so that they have a better perspective. He made a 3 pages resume, and the HR was happy!!
So probably, And no one NEEDS more than 2 pages. is not a gospel!!!
Like I said, it is different here in India, most often the resume is scanned for profile (as in - the projects you have worked on against the requirement of the company, if they have spelled it out), also your previous company's reputation makles a huge difference (but that should be true anywhere!) and elimination takes place based on your detailed profile.
Excluding unrelated projects for brevity doesn't help either, as one of primary tasks of the resume scanner/HR is to add up project duration and tally it with the total experience.
I have about 3 years experience (40 months), and I have done 10 projects in this duration for 2 companies besides 3 independent contracts; I did try, but I am unable to fit my resume in 2 pages.
- Manish
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Manish makes a good point. Generally speaking, Indian resumes (meaning for people working in India) differ from US resumes. When many H1Bs came to the US, they created resumes similar to what they did back home. Even without names and locations, its pretty easy to spot which resume is which.
For US resumes, people write a few sentences to a paragraph, or maybe some bullet points, for each job.
For Indian resumes, people write a paragraph or two per project at a particular job. They also tend to list the buzzwords used in the project (e.g. EJB, JDBC, RMI, Swing).
Naturally the latter tend to be longer the the former.
(I'm not commenting on which is better, just pointing out differences.)
--Mark
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

My previous post applies to the US culture. I don't know ANYTHING about writing a good resume in India!
Harry Kong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 06, 2002
Posts: 41
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Manish makes a good point. Generally speaking, Indian resumes (meaning for people working in India) differ from US resumes. When many H1Bs came to the US, they created resumes similar to what they did back home. Even without names and locations, its pretty easy to spot which resume is which.
For US resumes, people write a few sentences to a paragraph, or maybe some bullet points, for each job.
For Indian resumes, people write a paragraph or two per project at a particular job. They also tend to list the buzzwords used in the project (e.g. EJB, JDBC, RMI, Swing).
Naturally the latter tend to be longer the the former.
(I'm not commenting on which is better, just pointing out differences.)
--Mark

It sounds like the difference between resume and CV.


SCJP 1.4
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Harry Kong:
It sounds like the difference between resume and CV.

Well, I don't know much about European CVs, but in the US, CVs tend to be more academic in nature. I understand your point, about the CV being more detailed. But typically CVs include publications and talks. The details on the CV projects talk about contribution to the body of knowledge as a whole. The resumes that go into detail just talk about things like

Use JBuilder, oracle and JSP to implement web pages providing access to employee records. Used LRU caching policy to provide quick access. Logged all events to XML file.

This gets very detailed into the implementation, whereas academic CVs talk about the research and implications, touching on methods only when novel or complex. (Although I have only limited experience with such CVs.)
--Mark
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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