Tech Resume Affirmation

I came across an article about tech resumes that just brought an indescribable amount of relief to me.

As I’ve written before, I’ve been re-crafting my technical resume after I realized it wasn’t articulating important points that I wanted to convey. I would be in an interview, trying to express some point about my work history or skill set; in the back of my mind I would be mentally flipping through my resume to figure out where the supporting text [to what I was saying] was; and I would realize it simply wasn’t there!

I went through two full rewrites until I got to the point where I was happy. I had looked at dozens of professional resume writing companies and their sample products on the Internet, and after a few days of this I decided I could come up with a comparable layout and text on my own. Finally I was done, and I brought it to my “GTD group”. (Someday I’ll blog about that. Suffice to say it’s a group of friends who keep each other on target with their life goals.)

Now, I hope that I’m reasonably open to criticism—at least as much as the next guy—but one of my friends swore up and down that there was far too much text in the resume, and that if I didn’t cut a substantial further amount out of the resume, that no HR person would ever read it. I was frustrated because I had cut a huge amount of material from the previous draft, to the point of leaving out entire jobs I had done, trying to focus on the most important highlights of my IT career. I felt like cutting any more material in order to create more “needed white space” (as he put it) would literally be cutting out job qualifications.

I tried to politely indicate that I was open to tightening some of the language here or there, but I wouldn’t cut any more substantial material just for the ego of an HR clone. His immediate response was a catty “Well then I guess you don’t want a job.” I finally blew up at him and cut the conversation to an in with a loud “I guess I don’t.”

Anyway, this article I’m reading reaffirms what I thought: trends in IT hiring are leading to fewer HR people actually reading a resume, and that automated keyword generating search systems are becoming primary drivers. In other words, cutting out keywords and work experience only decreases the likelihood of my resume coming up in an HR search.

I still think it’s important to have a succinct, readable resume. I’m not going to re-fill it with a phone-book like appearance that my 2nd draft had, just to up keyword search probabilities, but it’s nice to get a little re-affirmation of my instincts. This whole resume-writing experience has created a huge 500 lb. demon of anxiety over the last two months.

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One thought on “Tech Resume Affirmation

  1. Bryan

    I think resumes are old school anyway. Soon enough you’ll be able to just match each of your skill keywords to a corresponding number and then encode it into one really large prime. This along with your SSN and credit score will be stored in a global searchable database. HR won’t need to know your name anymore. (The length of your “job number” in bytes will also determine your starting salary and benefits.)

    And hey, maybe your newfound interest in search engine optimization may be more useful in the future than you think.

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