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Jared Richardson’s talk titled “Build Teams, not Products,” in particular, was one of the best presentations I’ve ever witnessed. It was just one of those talks where all the points seem tautologic...
-Yev Bronshteyn
..."Ship It!" is in the style of the other Pragmatic books and is an easy and focused read. I finished it in two days and have already gained a wealth of insight that I can apply immediately. Hig...
-Anil John
More practical advice from the pragmatic crew. This is another excellent book from the guys at Pragmatic. In this book Jared and William cover pragmatic project management with down to earth advic...
-Jack D. Herrington

Writing a Great Resume (Nov 22)

I've been filtering resumes recently and one I had to read this morning inspired me to write this. I hope it helps a few people improve their resume. Remember that the resume is what gets your foot in the door. If people don't ever get to meet you, you're not getting the job! Be sure your written ambassador is the best it can be.

There's nothing wrong with them, ~unless~ you think they make you competent. Treat them as a gentle introduction to the topics, and they'll supplement your resume.

Place all your certifications as the top item on your resume and be very sure it (and you!) won't get much respect.

No Paragraphs

I just read someone's description of work at their last job and I don't understand what they did. I think I started to understand the work details after the fifth time I read it.

Instead of prose, use terse, bulleted lists that a resume reviewer can quickly scan and understand your work history. If I'm forced to read a sentence more than once to understand it, you're wasting my time and your chance at making the cut.

For the record, a bulleted list of sentences isn't what I'm talking about!

Work History and Multi-page Resumes

I'm sure you did great work 10 years ago, but I don't care. I assume you've forgotten it all anyway. If you feel the overwhelming need to list your work from years ago, make it brief. The older the job, the fewer the details.

If you want to provide detail, make it about your recent work. That's what I'm most interested in learning about you.

Many developers I know insist on providing multi-page resumes. "But Jared, I did this much work and I'm proud of what I did." I believe you, but as a person filtering resumes, I don't care. Sorry! If I'm running through pages of candidates, I'll go deeper on a two page resume, but on a seven page resume? I'll skim the first page and move on.

When you provide page after page on your resume I assume you don't know how to boil down things to their essence. You'll create wordy code, long unreadable docs, and contribute to overly long meetings. Are these fair assumptions? Probably not. Will I make them anyway? Yes.

Listing Skills

Adding a skills block is fine, but please differentiate between what you know at a detailed level and what you're merely familiar with. Tech you used five years ago doesn't fit in the current skills block. Don't make me read through your resume and figure out what's current and what's old.

Sum Yourself Up

Do you like to work with a variety of technologies and projects? Would you rather dig in on one project and stay there for a long time? What do you really enjoy doing? If you don't know, you can't tell me (and that's another problem completely!).

When I hire someone, I want them to hang around for a while. If you don't tell me where you'd like to be placed, I have to guess. And that's a risk for me and the company I'm hiring for. Save me the trouble and let me know you understand yourself.


Your resume is your one chance to get your foot in the door at a company. Ask other people to read and critique it. Be sure it's short and easy to read. Design it to be easily skimmed and understood.

A good resume is unusual. A great one is truly rare. Be sure yours helps you stand out from the crowd!

Category: Misc

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