Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Resumes: Make it Quantifiable

In my work, I get the opportunity to interview potential employees. My primary duty is to make sure that they "know their stuff."

As I've reviewed resumes, I've discovered that the best resumes aren't always written by the best candidates. Many very good candidates have resumes that make me dread the interview. Then the interview goes quite well.

One of my favorite interviews was with a candidate who had put together a resume that made it sound like his last internship consisted of paper-shuffling and coffee delivery. His descriptions of his school work made it sound like he did well in his classes, but hadn't really worked on any really interesting projects.

When I spoke to him though, it quickly became clear that he'd left out all sorts of neat details about his projects. The project that had sounded like shuffling papers turned out to be incredibly complex, and he had been quite successful. He had completely left out the details of quite a number of interesting things that he had done, while filling up his resume with the usual fluff put in by candidates with no real skills.

A resume is not the time to be humble! It's the time to be honest - let the company know why you would make a great employee. Emphasize the successes you've had in your career and education, and point out the interesting and difficult parts of each project. Then find the most exciting items, and put them first. Take the least exciting items, and throw them out.

There are different standard formats for resumes - find the one that lets you highlight the interesting things you have done and learned the best. I, personally, use a chronological resume that focuses on my biggest projects and accomplishments. Check out some of the different formats here:

I especially like the quote on that page:

“Neglect not the gift that is in thee.”
1 Timothy 4:14

No comments: