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Advices from a recruiter

Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi all,

I was talking recently with a recruiter, his advices and comments sounded so good to me that I wanted to share with the community (he accepted), please note this is relevant for sure for US only so far (so don't contact this guy if you work outside USA). So here they are:

PS: I see a lot of resumes as a recruiter and would like to share these
thoughts with you. Of the aforementioned 500 resumes, many of them were
fantastic but not right for these particular jobs. I received many, many
more resumes which had horrible presentation, grave errors in style, and
a variety of other mistakes. Companies that are hiring are being
extraordinarily picky right now, and a bad resume can really hurt your
job search prospects. A good resume will never guarantee that you get
hired, but a bad resume will insure that you never even get an
opportunity to interview.

Here are some thoughts on resumes:


1)As a recruiter I ask these questions: 1) Where has someone worked 2)
What do they do? 3) Where have they studied 4) What skills do they have
5) Where do they live? Your resume should answer these questions for me
within a 5 second glance of the resume. Even consultants who have worked
with numerous clients in the last 10 years (like myself) can answer
these questions with a clean, simple resume.

2) Always include your name, e-mail address, and telephone on a resume.
Do not presume that your resume will remain attached to the e-mail. I
probably received 15 resumes that were missing contact information. I
prefer that resumes have the contact information written in the body of
the text instead of the header/footer in Word. This makes it much easier
to copy and paste when I am communicating with my engineer clients

3) Do not send a link to your on-line resume if you expect me to read
it. I am pretty good about going out and "fetching" resumes, but this
is the easiest way for your resume application to be lost in the
shuffle. Perfectly fine if you are passively looking, but if you are
doing an active job search, send me a word/PDF/Text resume.

4) Resumes should be at most 2, perhaps three pages in length. Most
recruiters in my position do not bother to read past the first page, so
whatever important information you have, put it up front and center. It
is fine to have an expanded resume if a company asks for it, but keep in
mind that neither your average recruiter nor your typical hiring
managers will read past the 2nd page in Silicon Valley.

5) If you have written your resume by adding one position on top of the
other, I guarantee you have a resume that will repel, rather than
attract employers. I have received numerous 10 page resumes listing
consulting assignments going back to 1998. Imagine trying to read
through hundreds of these in the course of trying to fill a position! I
often can't tell where someone worked, went to school, or what they do
after reading these types of resumes.

6) The best candidates I see typically have the simplest resumes. The
worst candidates invariably have the longest, most confusing resumes. A
typical example - a guy who I hired at Salesforce had 10 years of work
experience at BEA & Oracle, a PhD in Computer Science from CalTech, and
a one page resume.

7) Experiment - copy and paste your resume into a web browser and mail
it to yourself. Try it in text and other formats. This is how the
engineering managers will most likely read it on their
blackberry/iPhone, etc, so if you have weird formatting issues, I would
recommend that you re-write your resume. Fancy fonts, headers/footers, &
tables often lead to really bad resume presentation when you need it
most.

8) Keep in mind that most recruiters are buried in resumes right now,
and that if you can talk to the recruiter on the phone, this is a REALLY
good idea. Many resumes are not even being read by your average
corporate recruiter, especially if you applied on-line.


Mark Dinan
mark.dinan@dinanrecruiting.com
www.linkedin.com/in/markdinan


Best regards.


Eric LEMAITRE
CNAM IT Engineer, MS/CS (RHCE, RHCX, SCJA, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, Net+)
Free Online Tutorials: http://www.free-tutorials-online.net/
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
Useful tips.


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Monu Tripathi
Rancher

Joined: Oct 12, 2008
Posts: 1369
    
    1

many thanks for sharing!


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Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I've seen countless thousands of resumes, and interviewed at least 500 people. I concur with much of the list.

I am skeptical most people read resumes on mobile devices. Most resumes are reviewed for 15-45 seconds; it's too hard to glance over a resume on a small device.

One other item to add to this list, make sure your name is in the file name! Resumes don't normally stay in email; small businesses often just drop them into folders. I get so many attachments called resume.doc. Even initials are bad; while unique I don't know whose resume it is. I'd recommend the format Charlie_Brown_resume. Don't use spaces just in case they have some old processing system that can't handle it.

I recommend putting your name on each page of your resume, sometimes if it's a 2 page resume pages can be separated. Use a footer and have it in a light grey--it can be ignored but if pages separate they can reassembled.

Absolutely don't go over 3 pages. Longer resumes may work in India an elsewhere but they are incorrect in the US. When you send me a long resume it tells me two things. First, you don't know local business customers. Second, you can't be concise, you don't know how to get to the core issues.

--Mark
Sagar Rohankar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 19, 2008
Posts: 2902
    
    1

Thanks Eric, its very helpful information, but I don't understand this point?
Eric Lemaitre wrote:
5) If you have written your resume by adding one position on top of the
other, I guarantee you have a resume that will repel, rather than
attract employers. I have received numerous 10 page resumes listing
consulting assignments going back to 1998. Imagine trying to read
through hundreds of these in the course of trying to fill a position! I
often can't tell where someone worked, went to school, or what they do
after reading these types of resumes.


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Sagar Rohankar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 19, 2008
Posts: 2902
    
    1

Mark Herschberg wrote:Absolutely don't go over 3 pages. Longer resumes may work in India an elsewhere but they are incorrect in the US.

That's correct, here in India, HR people first weigh the resume then read them
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Absolutely don't go over 3 pages. Longer resumes may work in India an elsewhere but they are incorrect in the US


Even in India, resumes that go over 3-4 pages are frowned upon. To add to that, try not to elaborate too much on previous projects. One or two lines is usually enough. I have seen resumes that describe past projects in paragraphs and their resumes run into pages.

Speaking of resume best practices, what do you think about adding a chart / graph / visual idea of where you experience lies ? What about a time line that shows your overall experience etc ? Good / bad idea ?


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Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18896
    
  40

I have to constantly remind myself that the "number of pages" rule don't really apply anymore... but it still bothers me. And its not when 3 pages are exceeded. Its when one page is exceeded, and the candidate has no experience.

How can anyone need more than one page when there is no real world experience? Name, contact info, education, some course info, hobbies, blah, blah, blah. Many many years ago, the rule of thumb for the second page was more than 5 years experience -- now it seems to be more than 5 programming courses.

Henry


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Vikas Kapoor
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2007
Posts: 1374
Henry Wong wrote:I have to constantly remind myself that the "number of pages" rule don't really apply anymore... but it still bothers me. And its not when 3 pages are exceeded. Its when one page is exceeded, and the candidate has no experience.

How can anyone need more than one page when there is no real world experience? Name, contact info, education, some course info, hobbies, blah, blah, blah. Many many years ago, the rule of thumb for the second page was more than 5 years experience -- now it seems to be more than 5 programming courses.

Henry

Ok do you mention your projects? yes
Do you mention them briefly? yes
then there would be 2-3 projects/page.
It implies that it doesn't depend on experience but no of projects.
but it also implies that you are unstable*.
* if it's short time span.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Vishal Pandya wrote:
Ok do you mention your projects? yes
Do you mention them briefly? yes
then there would be 2-3 projects/page.


Those three lines don't add up. Briefly mentioning projects means more than 2-3 should fit on a page.

With over 10 years experience I have more than 10 companies (as an employee of them or as a consultant to them), plus speaking engagements, extensive volunteer work, patents, awards/boards, multiple degrees, and a summary and fit it all on 2 pages.

--Mark
Gabriel Claramunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2007
Posts: 375

I've actually had a 2 page resume and was asked for a full one by a recruiter
I have 10 years of experience too and mostly in consulting firms so I have many projects listed.
All the important information is in the first 1 1/2 pages, if they want to know more, they just need to keep reading
It may not have any statistical significance, but I got more responses when I've started to use the long version...
Anyway, I don't think a resume is the most convincing way to show you can do the job.

Gabriel
Software Surgeon
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
Some consider that any resume more than one to two pages is someone who is not an effective communicator and one should be able to sell him or her in one to two pages. Others may argue that for experienced job seekers, a one-to-two page resume may be too crowded. There won't be enough room to include his or her valuable "Can Do's" or "sell". A one-to-two page resume may also look too "entry-level". Both are valid arguments and one needs to find a happy medium. Times have changed and recruiters generally appreciate a 2-5 pager. Even though expectations are divided as to how long a resume should be, many industry experts agree on one thing:

You should be able to sell yourself in one page. And also, if the first page looks boring, they will typically skip the rest.”

Others take it even further and say that:


“The first 10-15 lines are the most important. They will motivate a recruiter to read on or to stop. Longer resumes need to be carefully designed to "sell" you up front – in the top half of Page 1”


So, when you write a resume, assume that your first page is going to take the most attention. In general, the first page is read and the remaining pages are scanned. Always verify it to see if your first page addresses the key requirements, sells you well, well balanced, and interesting enough to stand on its own. As a “rule of thumb” 2-5 page resume that "breathes" and is pleasing to the eye, that "sells" you up front and is easily scannable, will often work better than one crowded page with just "sell". So, don’t be tempted to write just a one page resume! Also, don’t make your resume too long with boring and trivial information.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30758
    
156

arulk pillai wrote: Times have changed and recruiters generally appreciate a 2-5 pager.

Or have grudgingly learned to accept it. If I was interviewing someone like Henry, I'd rather see a one page resume. (or two) If it's five pages, I feel like it's a statement that my time is not valuable. Now I have two choices:
1) Read it in detail - which takes a lot of time
2) Skim it and hope I get the important points.

How is this better than the candidate summarizing it?


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arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
If I was interviewing someone like Henry, I'd rather see a one page resume. (or two) If it's five pages


You already know about Henry and his ability through Java Ranch, etc. You wouldn't even need his resume .

I feel like it's a statement that my time is not valuable. Now I have two choices:
1) Read it in detail - which takes a lot of time
2) Skim it and hope I get the important points.



You have a third choice as well. If the first two pages don't arouse your interest, you can move on to the next resume because it is very less likely that the other pages will. Even if it does, it shows that this particlar candidate cannot communicate clearly or can't be bothered addressing your requirements. On the flip side, if you are impressed by the first page itself, then skip rest of the pages because you know that you want to interview him or her to learn more. If time permits, you can learn more about his or her accomplishments from rest of the pages pior to the inteview to ask relevant questions at the interview. It can also serve the purpose of marrying up your immediate or very specific requirement(s) with a particular candidate's past experience or accomplshment.


In a nutshell, you should be able to short-list the candidates just based on the first two pages. The remaining pages may help you workout an inteview plan or break a tie if two or more candidates are in the same caliber.


Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30758
    
156

arulk pillai wrote:You already know about Henry and his ability through Java Ranch, etc. You wouldn't even need his resume .

Well yes. That's why I said "someone like Henry." Clearly Henry himself would be a bad example.
Joe Harry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9427
    
    2

Worthy discussion. Thanks for sharing this!


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Sagar Rohankar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 19, 2008
Posts: 2902
    
    1

Yep, its good discussion, but my (silly)doubt is still unanswered??
Sagar Rohankar wrote:... but I don't understand this point?
Eric Lemaitre wrote:
5) If you have written your resume by adding one position on top of the
other, I guarantee you have a resume that will repel, rather than
attract employers. I have received numerous 10 page resumes listing
consulting assignments going back to 1998. Imagine trying to read
through hundreds of these in the course of trying to fill a position! I
often can't tell where someone worked, went to school, or what they do
after reading these types of resumes.

Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18896
    
  40

Sagar Rohankar wrote:Yep, its good discussion, but my (silly)doubt is still unanswered??
Sagar Rohankar wrote:... but I don't understand this point?


I think the point is that resumes should have some thought about organization. To simply just add new roles to the top is silly. You need to go back to summarize some of the old stuff. Merge some of the points of the old stuff. etc. Updating a resume is not as simple as adding more new stuff.

Henry
Sagar Rohankar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 19, 2008
Posts: 2902
    
    1

hmm, convincing. Thanks Henry !!
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Updating a resume is not as simple as adding more new stuff.


That summarizes it nicely and is very true.
Ayub ali khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 20, 2005
Posts: 382
    
    2
this is really a good discussion !!
Updating resume is a continuous process, when applied for a particular role, it always pays off if the key matching skills are mentioned on first page.


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Anand Hariharan
Rancher

Joined: Aug 22, 2006
Posts: 257

Mark Herschberg wrote:
With over 10 years experience I have more than 10 companies (as an employee of them or as a consultant to them), plus speaking engagements, extensive volunteer work, patents, awards/boards, multiple degrees, and a summary and fit it all on 2 pages.


This is interesting. Whatever volunteer hours I have put in, I did them as myself (i.e., I didn't represent my employer or any church group). How would an (for-profit/non-NGO) employer evaluate a potential employee's volunteer work?
 
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