Paul Hammant's Blog: Three Tier Resumes
It’s time for every software developer looking for a job, to rework their resumes to clearly call out their In-browser, middle tier, and persistence skills and experience. Well, at least developers aiming at web-programming roles (which I’ll assume for the rest of the post). What I’m seeing while reviewing resumes for clients, is candidates with a jumble of keywords, that don’t make it easy for me to assess them.
Developers should have to have a clear explanation of what they know or implicitly don’t know in the browser.
Feel free to drop references to dead technologies. I myself was fairly good with ColdFusion in 1997, but have long since excised it from my CV. If you’re particularly fond of some old COBOL-era technology call it out in the incredibly brief section you devote to that 1994-95 employer, but not at the top in summary.
I’m personally sick of seeing resumes that cut off at a certain year, and leave me with no knowledge of what a candidate worked, or where they worked on prior to that year. The US has a ton of folklore about short resumes being best, which I personally don’t care for. I always want to see a more European-style curriculum vitæ, and seven or more pages are not going to shock me. So if it’s me getting the resume for a client, then I want the full version. If you get in front of me, be aware that the agent may have cut down your resume for you. Have a fuller one that you printed yourself for me (just in case), I’ll be very pleased.
As a great differentiator, candidates should find a way of explaining how experienced they are with a technology. Some suggest a number of years with each technology, but that feels artificial as it would normally be an elapsed time, rather than an indication of total immersion with it. I sometimes ask a candidate to say where they are scale or 0 to 10 where 10 would be one of Anders_Hejlsberg or James_Gosling etc. The answers are telling and not always correct. Interviewers will make sometimes embarrassing attempts to verify candidate’s technology knowledge, and will sometimes come to the conclusion that a candidate’s self-professed “9” is actually a “3”. Similarly, or a self-professed “5” is actually a “7” for the humble candidate. I’m not sure anything like that should go on resumes, as Recruitment Agents will fill databases with it, and employers will ask for a “minimum level” thereby destroying the usefulness of the interview to verify it. Somehow though, candidates should find a way to succinctly describe their expertise in plain English.
Also, don’t pout that you’re being tested on some whiteboard/paper/computer medium - it’s what we have to do to compare you to other candidates in a stream. If you feel it’s beneath you, try to bite you’re tongue or hold back your contempt. If you can’t then that’s fine too, it allows us to eliminate you much more quickly.
To .Net developers and their recruitment agents specifically
Microsoft didn’t invent “MVC” a few years ago. It’s a design pattern from 1978. Microsoft found a way, belatedly, to scotch-tape it on to the ASP.NET platform and it’s full name is ASP.NET MVC Please stop writing MVC on resumes when you mean ASP.NET MVC. Recruiters too please. I know it’s a mouthful. Complain to Microsoft if you want something shorter or more categorical.
Update: Aug 4th, 2012
A former colleague reminds me that some older developers have been advised to trim work experience older than a certain period, as it will allow employers to discriminate based on age. Whilst I agree that could be true at the reading of resumes stage before inviting people in for formal interviews, it’s not really going work in a face to face setting. At least you should have sipped from the fountain of youth to be able to pull it off. It feels like bad advice, that potentially recruitment agents are perpetuating. Of course I’ve not been looking for a job for many years, so I don’t really know. One day I’ll find out first hand perhaps!