Feb 5, 2009

Some Tech Resume Tips

I'm not really the best person to be giving resume advice given that mine isn't exactly impressive, but from reading a fair amount of them over the last little while I can tell you some things that I've thought of.

  1. Do not use .docx format. This is not standard. It is not supported in older versions of Office or in OpenOffice without active work on my part.
    The formats I prefer are: plain text or PDF if you want to have fancy stuff. .doc is acceptable, although OpenOffice doesn't render everything the same way as Word, so lay off the heavy formatting or I won't be able to read what you've sent me. This probably isn't the same for most people, but in the tech world there are a fair number of Linux geeks that may be reading your resume in OpenOffice. Make sure it doesn't look like ass there.

  2. Normally in my books it is OK to apply for the job if you don't have the relevant experience that the job posting is asking for, provided that you have some other way of setting yourself apart from the hordes of other applicants who also don't have the relevant experience. People are great at learning and I have no problem teaching people.
    However if the job posting says "startup", chances are they can't afford the ramp-up time. So if you don't have the relevant experience, you better have something huge to contribute in the long run.

  3. It'd be nice to have code samples of what you've done. The best is if the code is on SourceForge or Github or Google Code, so that we can actually go on there, easily browse it and see what it is that you've done. If you just send us a random code sample that has your name on it, it might be yours, but we have no real way of knowing.
    If you don't have this, have a blog and write a couple posts about coding.

  4. It really amuses me when people put "strange" languages like Scheme or Haskell on their resume. Now this always makes me want to ask about them. If you haven't noticed yet, I like to play around with languages a lot. While I don't really know enough about many of them to do some real work with them, I know enough to see whether you're full of shit or not. And I'm guessing I'm not the only person like this. So if you put Haskell on your resume, be prepared to answer questions like "how do you swap the values of two variables?"

There's one thing that really bugged me. I got this guy's resume and decided to give him an interview. At the time we didn't have an office where I could interview people, so I told him to meet me in Square Victoria right near that big sign that says "Metropolitain" at the metro entrance (there would be no excuse for not finding that!) It was November and freezing. The guy didn't show up, I waited for about 25 minutes or so after the time decided upon. So I went home, cold and annoyed. He never emailed/called me saying why he couldn't make it.
So far I was slightly annoyed, but not for long. I just thought, "whatever, no big deal. I'll just make some hot chocolate to thaw out and all will be good again."
Three months later (as in around now) he applied again. Now I can't really blame him here since the job posting was slightly different, the guy who wrote it wasn't me this time. But yeah I definitely recognized his name and this time gave him a figurative red X in the form of the delete button.[/rant]

Anyway these are my resume tips, feel free to care or not. Or argue that I'm wrong, interviewing/resume judgement isn't an exact science.


Top Interview Tips said...

think about these question and prepare over them. Why did you make choices in your life...why did you choose the school you attended, why did you take your first job, why did you leave that job, why did you take your next job? What are your strengths? What are you good at...an interview is like a sales call...you're the product...why should they hire you? What makes you so good?
these will help you at the time of the Interview.
More Interview Tips

Kunid said...

Nice post. There are quite a few others who have commented along the same lines, but of all of them I especially like the posts by Steve Yegge on the subject.


Rob Britton said...

@Top Interview Tips: This stuff is fairly standard for any type of interview, not just tech interviews.

@Kunid: Yeah I've seen Steve Yegge's post, I love that one. "Wank-Wank Institute of Wankology where I wank wank wank..." Good stuff. And so true.