Stupid Resume Tips

By | December 11, 2011

There has been a recent discussion on resumes on Twitter and the Midnight DBA blog/show. In January the Colorado Springs SQL User Group will also be hosting SQL Saturday #104 and will have resume writers and mock interviews as part of the activities.

Inspired by this I decided to dust off and update my own resume using some of the tips I’ve heard mentioned.

In this short blog post I’d like to mention some of the things (as someone who has been in a few hiring circumstances) in my immediate disqualification list:

The Resume

  1. Misspelling. This is a resume and should have been put together with great forethought and editing. If you misspell something I assume you do not have good attention to detail right off the bat. Use spell check, read, re-read, etc.
  2. Don’t make it more than two pages. I don’t have time to wade through fifty 10 page resumes. If you feel like you need more detail put a link to another document I can read online if I’m interested. This is really an exercise in how well you distill information.
  3. Don’t list obvious skills. If you can write code I’m pretty sure you know or can figure out how to use Microsoft Word.
  4. It’s beneficial to you to tailor your resume towards the job. In other words don’t list your experience in construction, but if you do, show how it might be relevant. This is not required, but shows initiative and may get you put into the consideration pile.
  5. Be consistent in font/style. ‘Nuf said.
  6. Follow up with a phone call or e-mail to make sure I received your application. This insures I know your name. It may even give you a second read.

The Interview

  1. Show up 15 minutes early. This not only looks good, but also gives you time if you can’t find a place to park (speaking from experience).
  2. Dress up. Now I know some place will penalize you for this (game design firms for one), but my opinion is that this thinking is flawed. It’s an interview. It shouldn’t matter if the dress code lets you go pants-less in your cubicle. This, to me, says that I took the time to look good and make a good impression.
  3. Be personable but to the point. Try not to stray off topic.
  4. It’s ok to be nervous, some of us are for you (sometimes I feel like I’m more nervous that the interviewee is).
  5. Be prepared. Something that is helpful for me is to have a 1 page cheat sheet that I can take notes with. This cheat sheet contains pointers to the questions I might anticipate (“where do you see yourself in 5 years”, “why do you want this job”, “what was your most difficult customer experience and how did you handle it”, “do you have any questions for us”, etc). Nobody is going to see your sheet, plus you can take notes as well.

There are tons more tips out there. These are just the ones I’ve compiled over the years.

Hopefully these tips help you land that next fat salary.

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