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Resume thing...

I don't want to jump on the bandwagon and harrang Joel about his resume tips -- as with everything here, I take it as free advice from someone who knows what he's doing.  The one thing I am curious about, regarding today's tips, was the suggestion, "come across as a human being, not a list of jobs and programming languages."

Here's my question: does this apply to the average HR person, or does Joel have a unique perspective being a business owner, programmer, and manager?  I'm only been on a few interviews in my time post-college, but meeting the HR people and then the actual tech-persons are two different experiences.

Is coming across as a real person effective when dealing with HR types who have been trained to scan over hundreds (or more) resumes a week?  Thoughts?

Andrew Burton
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I've heard from so many headhunters say to keep the fluff out of resumes - don't tell them your bobbies or how many kids you have or what car you drive, etc.  So Joel may be right, but don't get carried away with it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Well, coming across as a person in your *cover letter* is probably a darn good idea: even if it winds up in the hands of a drone (whether HR or management).

Anyone is likely to read one paragraph. It's almost instinctive. However, if you're able to hook him in the first paragraph, you need to remember to keep hooking him with each successive paragraph.

The trick is to make him eager to see what you've done by reading your resume from beginning to end.  Once you get him to read your resume, you might be better of with "just the facts".

Jeff Watkins
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Joel is right about that in cover letters.  I was trying to relocate to a different area and you know the ads that say "LOCAL CANIDATE ONLY!"  If the company looked like something I was interested in I applied anyway.  I would put some personal information in my cover letter saying why I wanted a job in the area and how quickly I could come in for an interview, etc.  That along with tailoring the cover letter I got a non-canned response back from most all of them. 

Bill Rushmore
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I think the real problem with resumes are that there are a variety of audiences. What Joel says is pretty much dead matches how I look at resumes. However, those criteria tend to be exactly opposite of what headhunters, HR people, and other screeners tend to look for.

In my experience, and talking to a friend of mine who worked at an IT staffing firm, the larger corporate resume review process wants scannability and professional appearence. Who knows what critera they use entirely, but they are certainly not the same ones I use. I think resumes with personality and straight talk end up in the circular file, whereas long-winded, formal resumes get through...

I think the trick is finding a way to sneak your talent past the screeners and still leave it recognizable for the people with knowledge who will be looking at your resume (assuming those people exist at the place you're applying, and if not, why apply there unless you're desperate...).

I've been taking to making the resume clean, boring, and scannable, but then sneaking a webpage address with a custom resume (and a link to my site) in. It's likely that the people who are actually considering adding the person to their group are going to do the legwork of checking it out, giving you a direct channel to them that doesn't have to pass HR/staffing firm approval.

Rob Meyer
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It's not a singles add.  Don't put fluff in either the cover letter or the resume.

But fluff is not the same thing as humanity.

Richard P
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

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