Monday, July 6, 2009

The Resume

It's time to update my resume again.

It's starting to get too long: I've never given much thought to keeping it at a single page, but the HTML version is now at five printed pages, covering 17 years. One solution is to drop older entries, but I'd really like to keep my Fidelity experience listed: it was a major part of my career, and shows I've been something other than an individual contributor.

There's also the matter of the number of entries. When I first entered the professional workspace, my recruiter told me that the average job span was two years. I've kept pretty close to that, at least as a full-time employee, although my contract jobs tended to be a year or less. However, a bunch of short gigs raise red flags, even when listed as “contract.” That's always been a peeve of mine, since the sign of an advancing career within the same company is a new position every couple of years. I simply do it with different companies.

The skills section doesn't need too much editing. I've always taken the attitude that I should be able to stand up to an experienced person quizzing me on any skill that I've listed, and when sitting on the other side of the interview table, I tend to do just that. The database section needs some work — Teradata? what's Teradata? Actually, it's been long enough that I don't think I can call myself a “database programmer” anymore, so maybe I should just merge it into another category.

And then there's the readability issue, in particular the issue of whether I'm writing for a human or a search engine. Search engines have been good to me: I've seen many hits in my access log from people using them, and gotten more than a few follow-up emails (which is impressive, given how I don't provide an easy email link on my website). But ultimately, it's a person who's reading, who can get bored, who can throw it in the trash based on font choice or layout. HTML has some decided negatives here: no matter how much I tweak the CSS, I'm not going to match the layout that I had with Word.

One thing that I don't plan to change is the structure of the entries: early on I decided that my resume would speak to what I've done, rather than how I've done it. That causes problems with a lot of recruiters: they want to see buzzwords everywhere, on the belief that hiring managers want the same. And perhaps some hiring managers do want that, but I've decided that I don't really want to work for those managers. I'd rather work for someone who wants the same things I do.

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