Sunday, April 05, 2009

Crafting your resume

I've been reading and qualifying resumes for an application engineer in my group. I received hundreds of resumes. I have read every single one of them. Being on the reading side of resumes does provide some interesting perspective. Here are a couple of tips. They are really basic, but nevertheless worth repeating.
  • A objective spells it out very clearly why you are applying for the job. Tailor it to the specific job. It is the first thing the hiring manager will read on your resume. Often one of the first questions on a phone interview is "what are you looking for in this job?". The objective should answer that question. Do customize it for the job you are applying for.
  • List when you are a US Citizen or US Person. Especially when the job requirement states that US citizens are desired (e.g. in the defense or intelligence industry).
  • Send your resume in PDF to avoid the layout being screwed up when the hiring manager opens up a Microsoft Word resume.
  • Don't call it resume.pdf. I often saved the resumes in a folder to check later in the day. When you call your firstnameLastnameResume.pdf, I did not have to rename the file plus your name sticks out in the file. Keep your brand up.
  • Spellcheck. Seriously! This sounds obvious but I encountered lots of spelling errors on resumes.
  • Spend a little time on the layout and readability of your resume. When the hiring manager is reading hundreds of resumes, avoid that he or she needs to take a second pass to understand your profile and capabilities.
  • Stick with traditional resume formats, unless you are applying for an artist or graphic designer. 2 pages.
  • When a new grad, listing your courses and specific project work is a plus and a great hook during the phone interview. "In my fly-robot project, I was able to demonstrate ..."
  • When you apply for a computer engineering job, do not list Microsoft Outlook. If you have to highlight that you know how to send and read an email, you are in trouble. Similarly, it is assumed you know how to use a word processor and a spreadsheet. If you created a novel macro for Microsoft Excel, do list it. But detail that is was more than just using Outlook. That's useful.
  • If the submission process allows you to add a cover when submitting your resume, do so. A cover letter allows you to sell yourself. You can use full sentences, rather than the short form often used on a resume.
  • If you do get a phone interview, do follow up with an email afterwards. Ask for the email address. This is a nice touch and shows you really are interested in the job.

1 comment:

Dro said...

Thank you for the advice.