Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Lost Art of Resumé Writing

What ever happened to resumé writing guidelines? You know: keep it concise, 1-2 pages, to the point with only relevant information?  Evidentially that is all out the window now with the latest breed of contract vendors.  Resumés are now novels: 8-10 pages, longwinded paragraphs with no useful information, copy/pasted and duplicated responsibilities.  Spell checking? Grammar checking? Bahahahahaha.

We have been trying to hire people for test automation for over a year (off and on) so I have had the, um,  pleasure of pouring through stacks of resumés.  Back in the day, I would have tossed every resumé that I get now straight into the trash can for wasting my time. This really surprises me with all the unemployment, but I guess I have to put up with this since that is all that gets submitted.  Here are my major peeves:
  • Too long with lots of unimportant information
  • Buzzword compliant to get search hits
  • Spelling and grammar optional

The Resumé is Too Damn High Long:
Let me break this down for you.  I don't read past the 3rd page unless you have a shit ton of experience with short terms at different companies.  Ok, I lied, I DON'T READ PAST THE THIRD PAGE, period. All the rest is wasted ink and paper.  Be real; you aren't applying for CEO.

And who the hell came up with this new thing of writing a 10 line paragraph describing the company's general business objectives before putting your job responsibilities.  Do you know what I am talking about?  Here is an actual example:


Merck, West Point, PA                                                            Jan’10 to Present

Merck is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines in over 20 therapeutic categories. The project consists of design, development and implementation of portal -Merck Product Services, to provide services for its clientele.  The portal was developed using a Vignette Portal that was integrated with Apache and Tomcat servers. The portal includes custom applications such as Registration, eHealth Seminars- an online seminar event scheduler, Shopping Cart – an online application that physicians use to request online, prescription samples and medical journals, Customer Service modules, Message Board.  The Portal provides group based access permissions to various user groups, custom styles, grids navigation trees and secondary pages.

Responsibilities:

- Watch paint dry
- Blah blah

WTF is that??!?  Was the resumé not long enough already?  What does that have to do with what kind of experience you have? Who came up with this shit?  Someone who doesn't have to read 20-30 resumés a day, that's for sure.  I don't give a rat's ass what the company does; I want to know what YOU did. And all these resumés are already reviewed by the contract vender and they allow (or promote) this shit.

And I haven't even gotten into the other information like Summary/Expertise lists a full page long and the absurdity of the Technical Skills list.  Yea, that's next...


Lies, Damn Lies, and Resumés:
Here's the deal. STOP LYING!  In your technical skills, quit putting things just to get search hits.  Selenium is the current buzzword that is a must for all test automation resumés these days, but looking at your work history you never list Selenium ANYWHERE, so you have never used it!  STOP LYING!  When I get you on the phone for the initial job screen, I'm going to know you are just a lying bastard.  We always phone screen to weed out the liars and idiots, so you won't get an interview anyway and I will be sure to bitch at your vendor about the lies.

So let's break down a real example of a Technical Skills list:


TECHNICAL SKILLS:
OS:                         MS-Dos, MS-Windows 9x/95/98/2K/NT/XP pro, UNIX, Linux 6.x/7.x/8.x
Languages:              FORTRAN, Pascal, C, C++, Java, EJB, Visual C#, Visual Basic, Dot Net  
                               Framework, Lingo, Lisp/Prolog
Databases:              Cobol, FoxBASE, Fox Pro, SQL, PL/SQL, T/SQL, Microsoft Access, ORACLE, 
                               DB2, MS SQL Server Management Studio, SSIS Packages, WebLogic, IIS.
Testing Tools:          Quicktest Professional, Loadwinner, Winrunner, TestDirector. 
Web:                       Html, Dhtml, Java Script, Shell Scripting, ASP, PHP, XML, XSL/XSLT, WAP
ERP Tools:              SAP-ABAP
GUI Tools:               Visual Basic 5/6, Swing, Developer 2000, Forms 6i, Report 6i
Other Applications:   MS-Office, Visual Studio, Dream weaver, Hyper Studio, UNIX tools,
                               Visual Café, Photoshop, Director8, Adobe InDesign.


First, let me congratulate this person for not just throwing Selenium in the list for fun, but, WOW, this is what I am talking about.  First off, we start with OS.  MS-DOS, really?  I mean really?  No you haven't.  I used to use MS-DOS and just doing a couple commands in the Windows CMD prompt is NOT using MS-DOS. Is this resumé from 1990 or what?  Then they list every Windows version ever made. Why?  Then UNIX. Ok, that is passable but saying Solaris or HP-UX or something would be more specific.  Now for Linux: WTF is Linux 6.x/7.x/8.x supposed to mean?  You do know Linux is the kernel and, as of this writing, the latest stable version is 3.1.2.  There are a bunch of distributions out there: Debian, Ubuntu, Slackware, RedHat, Fedora, SuSE, etc.  So WTF is Linux 6.x/7.x/8.x???  Just proclaiming our ignorance are we?

Now for Languages.  Are you seriously trying to tell me you program in all these languages? I thought not or you would be applying for a software developers job and not a test job. What you probably meant to say was you have tested some applications that were probably written in these languages with a few of them being what you used in college for your programming class. FORTRAN? Really?

Let's speed this up.  When did IIS become a database?  Isn't WebLogic by Oracle which you already listed?  Why does anyone list MS Office? Are you applying for an administrative assistant position?  MS Office should be a given these days for what little you will actually use it for.  Now the other applications listed here, I just have to ask why?

Also, in the Summary/Expertise section, I just love the ones that proclaim to be Experts in just about everything. NO YOU ARE NOT! Get over yourself.  I kid you not, I once read a resumé where the applicant stated he was a expert in every one of the 20+ areas he listed.  I threw the resumé in the trash without finishing reading it.  But, after going through and rejecting about 30 other people, this resumé was submitted again, so we actually did a phone screen on this person.  Yes, that is as far as he got. Once on the phone, it was fairly easy to tell he wasn't much of an expert at anything but lying.


Proofreading Is So Passé:
You do know that your resumé represents you to your perspective employer, right?  I just love the resumés that state they have excellent communications skills but then proceed to have a shit ton of grammar and spelling errors.  I know for 99% of the resumés I see nowadays that English is not their first language, but come on.  All are written in MS Word which contains both a Spelling and Grammar checker.  They could at least start with that, then get someone to proofread the thing.  Geez.

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