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obnoxious addition to a resume?

I am working on my resume these days (the company I work at is going under soon) and put something in it that some found objectionable.

I added this to the start of my work experience at my current job:

--------

Non-trivial fact: I was hired as employee #5. I saw the hiring of dozens of fine people and their subsequent laying off due to cut-backs. My services always remained in demand.

--------

I added this because, while I have 8 solid years of experience as a programmer, I don't have a degree. I know this puts me at a handicap in today's job market, and I'm trying to fix this.

I was a little worried when I added the paragraph though most people haven't had anything bad to say about it. But someone I know who works in human resources (in the hi-tech field) said that it was arrogant and offensive and should be removed.

My question is this: do you think this will improve my chances at getting a job interview or decrease them?

JobHunter
Saturday, June 21, 2003

It is the "Non-trivial fact:" part that is a bit over the top. The rest of it didn't bother me however.

Marc
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Agreed with Marc on the "Non-trivial fact" part, and I'm wondering about the rest.
Does "I was employee #5 and I outlasted everyone" tell a recruiter anything more than the simple longevity at the job?
I'm also thinking - often the first few employees at a company got there via networking (read: "Who's your buddy?") This also translates to them being the last fired.

So I'm not really sure it's worth the question marks it raises...

Philo

Philo
Saturday, June 21, 2003

I was brought over by a buddy. He was fired over a year ago (and not gently either). But I don't think I want to add that to the resume too...

JobHunter
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Philo may be right. I had not thought of it that way.

It may be a bad idea to point out that you survived a long time at a failing company. Some people might get the impression that a failing company must have mad bad decisions and pointing out they had decided to hold onto you might not be the best idea.

I guess this just goes to show why there is no easy answer to these questions. Philo read something completely different into it than I did.

Marc
Saturday, June 21, 2003

First, get a degree.
Second, potential employers won't criticize your resume or your interviewing skills for fear of being sued.
Third, the nontrivial fact statement means nothing. Maybe they kept you because you were cheap.

Tom Vu
Saturday, June 21, 2003

That's weird.

pb
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Come on Tom, you make it sound like getting a degree is like picking up a gallon of milk.

It is always a good idea, but it isn't a short term solution to unemployment. It might be good long term, but it doesn't put diner on the table for the next four years.

Hmmmm, Milk....
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Tom: So you think that it will get me more interviews?

As for getting a degree: 2.5 more years to go at the rate I'm going. But like Hmmmm pointed out, that won't cover my bills in the meantime.

JobHunter
Saturday, June 21, 2003

For the most part, getting a degree is like picking up a gallon of milk. In the US there are thousands of universities and only about 30 are respectable IMO. The rest are mills where you can barely show up and get a piece of paper that HR requires. If you are really above average and motivated you could easily get a degree at night  and work during the day. Of course, if you are smart and motivated you would either already have gotten your degree or started your own business. Anyway, try to signup for as many classes as you can take at night and then drop (so you get your money back) the ones you don't think you'll pass... you only need a 2.0/4.0 to get a degree.

Alternatively, just make up a resume and see what happens. It doesn't hurt to try.

Tom Vu
Saturday, June 21, 2003

JobHunter:

>> My question is this: do you think this will improve my chances at getting a job interview or decrease them?

Unfortunately, in business culture, the job hunter is infinitely on the defensive to prove himself worthy to a skeptical audience. HR culture demands that you be given negative benefit of the doubt in every-single-way. So ANY honest or blunt statement about the shortcomings of a past employer are *always* interpreted as your shortcomings.

So, drop that paragraph. Unless you run into an interviewer who has an axe to grind with that company, it will go against you. And the way THIS economy is, that paragraph probably describes many of the companies out there....

On lacking college - at 8 years experience, it probably doesn't matter unless you interview at an entity managed by people with a stick up their rears about credentials. Engineering snobs are one example. Many large companies are like that. Smaller organizations will want to know what you've actually accomplished. Just follow the standard advice given about resumes - stress benefits to the employer, cost savings, etc.

Tom Vu:

>> For the most part, getting a degree is like picking up a gallon of milk. In the US there are thousands of universities and only about 30 are respectable IMO.

Lame attempt at a troll - not only JobHunter but those graduates of any university that you don't approve of. Are you really a recruiter or someone else on the sidelines of tech work kibitzing negatively, perchance?

Bored Bystander
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Tom:

>> Alternatively, just make up a resume and see what happens. It doesn't hurt to try.

I missed that. Don't feed the troll, kids.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Get a degree?  Haven't you guys seen some of the recent salary surveys?  Why spend thousands of dollars to earn a pay cut?

SomeBody
Saturday, June 21, 2003

JobHunter, just stay on the positives. You were hired when the company had x employees and stayed with it through growth to 100, then remained with it during contraction.


Saturday, June 21, 2003

Sorry, JobHunter, but that bullet point has the smell of "I am a self-righteous arrogant know-it-all prick" all over it.

Just state the facts.  Let them draw the conclusions.

But don't feel the need to list facts that lend themselves to meaningless or even negative conclusions.

If I'm a HR droid, and I'm reading that bullet point, what conclusion am I going to draw from it -- that's relevant to the decision to accept reject?  It doesn't tell me anything about your skill set.  And by itself, it's rather weak evidence that you're a good worker and well-liked by your former coworkers.

If it's this latter point you're trying to make, surely you can cite other and better tangible evidences than just this one.

Alyosha`
Saturday, June 21, 2003

> And by itself, it's rather weak evidence that you're a good worker and well-liked by your former coworkers. <

Might it work better as a reference? List one of the owners/old bosses as a reference, and they can praise your greatness.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, June 21, 2003

Maybe the problem wtih 'non-trivial fact' is that it may or may not be trivial to the person that is reading it, depending on their priorities.

Konrad
Monday, June 23, 2003

Why do you want to turn your "developer: 8 years experience working on ..." resume into a "recent CS graduate from xxx" one?

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, June 23, 2003

Don't use any of it. Staying a long time in a failing company will be seen as one of the following:-

1) you were not able to see what was going in
2) you tried job hunting and failed miserably (thankfully you were not fired)
3) you are very good at office politics and hence were not fired.

none of these things are selling points. Early arrival and hence development of early critical systems is a different matter and should be emphasised.

BDT
Monday, June 23, 2003

JobHunter --

Why did you feel the need to start that line with the phrase, "Non-trivial fact"?

I would think  it would go without saying that everything on your resume is non-trivial.  If something was trivial, why would you put it there?

It doesn't leave a good impression, but I am curious to know your rationale for using that phrase.

programmer
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Thanks for all the replies!

Boy, that paragraph sure rubbed some people the wrong way (though I'm glad that for some it wasn't such a big deal, as I had already sent out 2 copies of my resume with it). I have removed the paragraph.

As to why I started it with "non-trivial fact"; I wanted to bring extra attention to what I was saying there. Though obviously that opening is a stupid thing to put in a resume, because nothing there should be trivial (my resume is 2 pages long and hopefully only containing totally relevant info).

With that paragraph, I was trying to bring positive _non-experience and non-technical_ aspects about myself to the foreground. I guess that there are much more positive ways of putting it.

And like many pointed out, there are definately a number of negative ways that the situation about my employment at that company can be interpreted (not there because of merit in the first place, too dumb to leave, etc).

I'm very happy about the feedback that I got here!

JobHunter
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

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