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resume advice

Min Huang
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 17, 2004
Posts: 100
i am in the process of revising my resume. i realize i don't have a lot of skills listed, but the ones i do list, i know well. i wonder if this hurts my resume?
i see a lot of people who put all sorts of buzzwords on their resume just to get attention (apparently reading a chapter about JSP in a book qualifies you to list JSP as one of the skills you know), but i don't like to do that. i only like to list skills/technologies that i know well or am quite familiar with. the ugly result is that it appears that i have a smaller skillset than others.
anybody have any thoughts/advice?


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Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

I'd like to see lots of opinions on this.
This is part of the reason why I like certifications. It shows that you've done more than read a chapter... at the very LEAST you read the entire book!
You can list different categories on your resume to separate proficiencies and limited exposures. That way you can still list those buzzwords without claiming to be an expert. One thing I added to my resume (for the job I have now) was a one-line listing of technologies I was studying at the time. This gave me a chance to ask another thoughtful question in the interview, "Would you say that the technologies I am currently studying would be valuable to -company name-? Maybe you could suggest other things that would be better for me to focus on at this time."
[ April 17, 2004: Message edited by: Marc Peabody ]

A good workman is known by his tools.
Warren Dew
blacksmith
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Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    2
I think if you are looking for a permanent position, everything that is not applicable to that position is a minus. The ideal resume for a position is one indicating that the person already has a lot of experience doing that exact job.
Contractor resumes are different; it's generally recognized that contractors do a variety of things and end up with a variety of skills on their resumes, so nonrelevant skills don't count against you as much.
Tim Baker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 04, 2003
Posts: 541
I didn't just list technologies, but I qualified them. There's no harm in mentioning things you only know a little, as long as you say so. Sometimes they will be glad if you have a little experience with something, it means they don't have to teach completely from scratch if they give you the job.


Kim Jong II (North Korea's Dear Leader) said:Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Not quite true Warren. I list ALL previous experience and more than once it's led to interesting talk during interviews when it turned out the interviewer had worked for the same project (at either some other time or for the client). Draws a bond between you right there.
Of course in a small country that's more likely to happen than in the US (unless you stick to a small geographic area maybe), but here at least there's a lot of "crosspollination" and many people know each other or at least projects and companies at least by word of mouth.


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Jeffrey Hunter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2004
Posts: 305
I list ALL previous experience...

I agree. You are essentially selling yourself when it comes to running the resume gauntlet, and just about any monkey who can read a technical manual can learn how to code, so sometimes it's important to look at yourself in a more general sense. My point here is, don't sell yourself short because you think that job at JC Penney doesn't mean anything (of course, there is a point where you will mature in your career and will no longer list such experience), but any experience counts when you're jumping into the arena for the first time. Like I said, your selling yourself...your story, and your collective life experiences which define you as a person.
Secondly, don't be afraid to exaggerate. When it comes to selling yourself, you've got to be better than the next guy. See, it's sort of like a game -- we've all seen those "software engineer" wanted ads listing an obnoxious amount of "required experience" in languages and operating systems you've never heard of. This usually cuts down the list of responses, but the employers really don't "require" all that junk when it comes down to it -- if they think you can do the job, that's all that counts. So, if you've breezed over an article on Swing, or JDBC, and understood the basic concepts, list it. But be warned, it's just like poker, you've got to be prepared to back up your play. This means hitting the books hard to avoid getting blind-sided by some JDBC guru at the interview.
Min Huang
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 17, 2004
Posts: 100
thanks for your replies. i will list a section of items that i am familiar with on my resume.
now i have a difference question: do people list their skills in software engineering methodologies and the like on their resumes? is that useful? i mean, let's so i am familiar with design patterns or i follow strict coding conventions, which already separates me from a lot of programmers i know. should i list that in my skillset? is that something people care about?
under what section or heading should i put that?
Jeffrey Hunter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2004
Posts: 305
I think it would definitely be advantageous to list Object-Oriented methodologies as a component of your toolbox.
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Things like XP and RUP are great to list. LIST THEM! (if you've experience)
I've heard that some people may have such a hatred or disposition against certain methodologies that they might frown upon seeing it/them on your resume. I think it's ridiculous but it could happen. Heck, someone once posted here that an HR told him that they saw SQL on the resume but they were really looking for experience in Sequel. Stupid happens.
Design Patterns might be worth listing even though it's hard to measure one's expertise on the topic.
As far as strict coding conventions, I would not mention that. Your strict coding conventions might not be the strict coding conventions of the company you are applying for. They won't want you if you're not willing to do things THEIR way. It might be worth listing: "Willing to adapt to the coding conventions of the organization".
If you want to show that you can write clean code, just print a few pages of what you've written and include it in your career portfolio. As an added bonus, this gives you hard evidence when/if you are asked if you've used JavaDoc.
Min Huang
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 17, 2004
Posts: 100
that's funny. a little over a year ago i saw a job posting from LAPD on monstertrak.com. they wanted a .NET programmer with 6+ years of experience. $15-$17.75/hr, depending on experience.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
that's nothing.
I saw an ad for a Windows 2000 Adv. Server admin with certification and 10 years experience as a Windows 2000 admin back in 1999 (when Windows 2000 had been out for maybe 10 weeks...).
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Some comments...
I've never been a big fan of laundry lists on either side of the table. That said I did give in at one point and throw a bunhc of buzzwords into the summary section of my resume (at least in one version). Recruiters still tell me to throw in more buzzwords into the job descriptions. I did that because large companies and small companies do things differently. Small companies track resumes manually. Large companies often have resume databases and do keyword scans, so without the buzzword, you won't even get noticed.
I rarely see people list RUP, design patterns, etc on resumes. When I do see it, it stands out, as I know this person isn't just caught up in the most recent technology fad. I highly recommend it. One guy noticed something like that on my resumes and made the same comment. He also noted he had a junior guy apply who also included a list of books he's read in the past 2 years. That might be a bit much, on the other hand, it also would stand out and show that you value education.
--Mark
Marcus Beale
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 13, 2004
Posts: 33
Some people have advocated listing buzzwords on your resume, which is fine. I think that you should only list buzzwords that apply to your work you have done. DON'T just list buzzwords you have heard. Buzzwords are funny, some people have no clue what they mean, others understand them intemately. It's easy to tell one from the other, don't look like a fool at your interview by listing things you don't fully understand. That includes swing etc.
Having said that, it's import to list your experiences in buzzword terminology. Understand how your experiences can be converted into buzzwords. I'll never forget an interview I had with Microsoft back in 1999. The HR person was asking if I had experience at ECommerce. I came right out and told them it was a buzz word and asked them what exactly did them mean. The HR person looked at me very strangely and basically assumed I had no clue what ECommerce was. You say ECommerce, I say webpage server with a JSP enginee with business logic server with a MySQL backend. I didn't get the job.
Another thing to mention, don't list buzzwords if you don't want to do that in your new job! I have some oracle experience installing and using the application server. However I never want to use oracle again, so I don't list Oracle9iAS on my resume.
If you are having problem formating your resume, go to the book store and buy a resume almanac. I got Adams Resume Almanac for 13 bucks at the local bookstore. It was worth about 8 times that amount. If your in school you can probably look at all kinds of sample resumes at the career center, but I still recommend getting your own copy.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: resume advice