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How much to put in a resume

So I'm curious. How much detail do you guys put in your CV/resume? Mine runs to two pages and I am starting to have to cut things because there isn't enough space to fit it all into two pages. I've got skills with estimates óf how much experience I have, a few lines about the companies I have worked for and responsibilities, some stuff about my education and... holy whatever, I'm bumping into the bottom of my second A4 sheet!


Monday, January 26, 2004

I'd suggest you tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying.  If you are trying to get a COBOL job don't list "Macromedia Flash (3 years)".  Getting rid of unnecessary filler information is a good start.

The further away you get from school the less school information you need.  Once you've been employed it is doubtful anyone cares that you made the Dean's List or were a member of the Young Professionals of International Business group (now President, that's a different thing).

It's suggested that one not have more than a full sheet of information on a resume.  For more advanced jobs such as senior management or a very demanding and specific job postings more may be better, but often if you can't describe why you're qualified in one page you're not long for the "Good" stack.

And don't forget to use the width of the page.  Bulleted lists can run two or three times across the page, and dates and locations can be on the same line.  Use different text styles to denote different information types.

Lou
Monday, January 26, 2004

Most won't read beyond the first half-page. Just use common sense, if you were hiring what would you want to see in the first half page of a resume?

Steve
Monday, January 26, 2004

In my opinion (as someone who has both job hunted and been on the other side of the interview process) 2 pages is perfectly fine for software developers who have been working for 8 or so years (and above, of course).  Any more than 2 pages is pushing it, and if you're going to go over one page make sure you format accordingly and give easy access to a skills summary that is tailored for the job you're applying for.

Don't listen to the one-page Nazis.  Software development is varied enough that your standard bullet-point resume is usually insufficient to get a good feel for your true experience.  But on the other hand, do whatever you can to avoid wasting the time of the person reading the resume, even if that means a lot of resume customization for each job you apply to.

Mister Fancypants
Monday, January 26, 2004

I would add the second page.  Most employers will skim the entire resume, asking: where has he worked?  what technologies has he used? what sort of projects has he done? and maybe, where did he go to school? 

If your greatest strength is that you are highly experienced and have worked on many different types of projects, why undersell that by editing that down to an arbitrary one-page format? 

Ran
Monday, January 26, 2004

It depends on the company you applying to. If your resume will go to an HR department, they'll basically do a keyword search for the skills the job requires (Java, .Net, etc). Ours would actually use a yellow highliter to mark the words they found and a pink highliter to mark mistakes (misspelings, etc).  If the resume didn't pass their filter the hiring manager never saw it.

Keep it short and emphasize the skills the job requires. Putting the keywords in bold might help if you have a really good fit.

Tom H
Monday, January 26, 2004

Beyond the standard Chronological resume style one can use a Skills focused Resume. It sounds like it may be more appropriate if you have experience at many places that is either repetitive or similar and would benefit from grouping.

Lou
Monday, January 26, 2004

Build the LONGEST resume you can build.  Provide all type of details about your jobs you were responsible for.  Adminstrated a CVS server?  Add it!  Put it all on.

THEN...

Sleep.  Drink.  Eat.  Be Merry.  Go away for a couple days.

THEN...

Ask yourself:  "Now what the heck would I like to be for the next 2-5 years?"  With the answer provided, take a look at the resume, and those things that FITS what you WANT to be will stand out and make itself known.

T.J.
Monday, January 26, 2004

> Beyond the standard Chronological resume style one can use a Skills focused Resume.

On a two-page resume I tried to do both: http://members.rogers.com/xwells/resume3.doc

Christopher Wells
Monday, January 26, 2004

> Adminstrated a CVS server?  Add it!  Put it all on.

I realize this is a joke, but there are actually times where putting that on your resume may help.

If you're applying to a small startup company where they are just growing to the point where they need a configuration management solution but are still small enough that they won't be hiring someone to do such fulltime yet, you'd be surprised how interested they'd be in the fact that you have experience in this area.

As always, the message here is to  make your message fit the company you're applying to.

Mister Fancypants
Monday, January 26, 2004

It's been a couple years, but the main advice I was given was think of the first 1/2 page as the table of contents.  List key skills and length of experience.

That'll hopefully appease the one-page nazi :).  If that 1/2 page passes the "glance" test, then the 2nd page of info provides detail they might want to know (did product ship? employee of the month?  team lead? etc).

Chris Kessel
Monday, January 26, 2004

He wasn't joking.

Start with a resume packed with everything you've done, everywhere. Then, before sending it off to a specific place, cull out anything that doesn't fit.

That's not a bad strategy. It's better than re-tweaking it every time, because you won't forget things that way.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, January 26, 2004

> He wasn't joking.


Yeah, sorry, my bad.  That'll teach me to skim posts.

Mister Fancypants
Monday, January 26, 2004

A quick note on my "no two page resumes" comment.  I've known people to be quickly scanning resumes after a job fair or a meet-and-greet where many resumes are collected.  These people are simply there to spread the good word about their company, collect resumes, and leave.  Often they are also tasked with removing the worst of the resumes from the stack.

I've seen it done, I've had entire conversations with people while they were doing it.  It will likely happen at a quiet bar late at night.  The stack will start off being 6 inches tall.  The reviewer will do a quick sort based on a few criteria:
Does it look professional/neat?
Did they say something really stupid?
Is it paper-cliped?  Paperclips catch on everything and suck for resumes.
Is it stapled?  Staples tend to catch on things and may make me spill my beer, gone!
Did it accidentally get beer on it? gone!

But if this is a targeted thing, or it's high level, or if there won't be a billion entries, you're likely okay handing in a multi-pager - just be aware that some people really hate them (and some automated scanning solutions will totally wreck a two pager).

Lou
Monday, January 26, 2004

I've never bought the "one page resumes only" thing.  I try to keep mine concise, but when printed, it's a bit over two pages.  The last time I used it (about four years ago) I was getting an interview rate of about 40%.  (Admittedly during the boom.)

The thing about the "one page" rule is that these days, most people want resumes in an electronic format anyway.  I go in with the assumption that only the first few paragraphs will be read, and organize it accordingly, but I don't otherwise restrict anything in terms of length.

Steven Burnap
Monday, January 26, 2004

I don't know about where you live, but where I live almost all IT recruitment goes through agencies which means that you can't tailor it to a specific job, because if you do they won't consider you for other things which you are also suitable for.

Some comments:
"The further away you get from school the less school information you need"

I've got where I got my degree and what it was in, that's it.

"Software development is varied enough that your standard bullet-point resume is usually insufficient to get a good feel for your true experience"

That's exactly my opinion, but there is stuff in there where I think "Don't want to do /that/ again!" but then if I don't put it in I can't justify how I have another skill which I would like to use, or responsibilities which I took on, or whatever.

"I would add the second page"

It is adding a third page I am worried about!

"Beyond the standard Chronological resume style one can use a Skills focused Resume"

That's basically what´I have - a skills summary with how uch experience I have with each, then a chronological work/project history.

"Ask yourself:  "Now what the heck would I like to be for the next 2-5 years?""

Bingo! You are absolutely right! Thanks TJ. You get the job ;-)

Chris Kessel - that's basically what I have now, but I am still hitting the end of the scond page. I guess that is what comes of being in this industry for over ten years.

"Did it accidentally get beer on it? gone!"

Okay, I'll consider some kind of laminating ;-)


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

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