Writing Resume, tips I
AdviceThe key to good resume writing is to tune the content to the needs of hiring pipelines. In most cases, there are three audiences for an engineering resume, and your resume & cover letter will progress through the pipeline in this order:
- A less-technical 'source', HR rep, or head-hunter.
- A technical hiring manager.
- Very technical experienced engineers.
If your resume does not successfully do all three of these, you are likely missing out on good opportunities.
The next big point is that your resume must accomplish this as quickly as possible, with as little content as possible.
What it means is that your resume should be formatted and presented in a way that makes it easy to locate and understand the key points. Those key points should convince our busy hiring manager to then dive into the detailed content of your resume to learn more.
Sections / Topics for Your ResumeThe first decision you need to make in designing your resume is what sections or topics you will list in your resume.
Here's a list of what I consider to be required resume sections, in no particular order:
- Contact Information
Objective or Summary Statement
- You should have one of these, but not both.
- Technical Skills
The Golden Rule of Resume WritingIt is this: you should be able to discuss, in detail, anything that is on your resume. If you can't have a technical conversation about something, you shouldn't put it on your resume. Period.
Technical SkillsYour technical skills list is one of the most important sections of your resume.
In fact, I would say it is the most important section, excepting your contact information (for obvious reasons). Your list of technical skills will frame the rest of your resume. Your technical skill list is that need be specific.
a good example. Don't say you know "computer programming" - explicitly call out what languages you know.
Being generic in your skill list makes it seem like you are attempting to hide a lack of proficiency, and it makes it very difficult for the hiring manager to determine whether or not you are a good fit. In most cases, as discussed above, this will result in a dismissal of your resume.
Focus on important, relevant, hard technical skills for the job you want.
EducationListing your education is always important, but the importance of the details wane the longer you have been out-of-school. If you are a fresh graduate, you should absolutely list:
- Degrees (and anticipated graduation date)
- Relevant Coursework
ExperienceThe experience section is one of the most important. It's a bit of your story.
Reading about someone's experience tells how they spent some part of their time and the potentially you have.
Further, the manner in which you detail your experience, whether professional, academic, or hobbyist, will shape the story it tells - just like a good novel.
- Work / Professional / Industry
- The usual stuff - your previous jobs.
- Academic / Research
- I think it's often useful to separate this from industry experience, especially if it's part of any graduate school work you did.
- Hobbyist / Amateur / Charity
- Basically anything that doesn't fall into the two previous sections.
There are really only two approaches to this:
and some rules-of-thumb that I think are helpful:
- Start each item with a verb.
- Examples: Designed, Programmed, Wrote, Led, Developed, Managed, etc.,
- If you are using bullets, keep each to a single line where possible.
- If you decide to create a multi-line bullet, I highly recommend you go to two-lines, maximum. Larger than that, and you are likely trying to pack too much information into a single point.
- Avoid collisions. Don't be redundant.
- Example: If one bullet says, "Led design team" for some product's development, and the next bullet says, "Managed deliverables" for the same product, you've got a collision. The former implies the latter.
- Be specific about the technologies / designs you worked with - demonstrate knowledge about the projects you list.
Note that each sentence starts with a verb, he is specific, show knowledge, and avoids collisions:
a good example of bullets.
Because there is necessarily so much verbiage in your experience sections, it will be the hardest section to get right. When updating your resume, you will more than likely spend the majority of your time editing and refining your experience section. If done well, though, I assure you it's worth it.
Cover LettersWhile I look at every cover letter that comes with a resume, they are definitely not required. If you are looking for job opportunities by personally contacting managers or recruiters, a cover letter is a requirement.
A cover letter provides context,can tell a hiring manager a lot about how great you are.
A Cover letters are a great way of sharing a detailed description of what you are looking for, explaining why you are looking for a new job, and even just communicating your awesome personality. If there are aspects of your work history that you know will raise questions, you can also head those off in your cover letter.
If you are providing a cover letter, be absolutely certain that your spelling and grammar are perfect.
Lastly, there's what I call 'soft skills'. You should put them in your cover letter.
a some example of soft skills
These are things like "quickly master new technologies", "fast learner", " communicator", "team player", and so on.
Applying to a JobIs recommend that you always distribute your resume and cover letter as PDF files.
Here are a couple of tips:
- Be sure to still upload your PDF resume, though, as nearly all of these systems allow the hiring manager to download the "original PDF file".
- Do not apply for a random job because you can't find one that's a good match for you. I see this all the time.
the full hiring process may take a while, can take a month or longer sometimes. but if you aren't call back quickly, start the process and keep your spirits up