Appendix A: Rsums

Whether you have a contact in industry, are going through a company’s recruiting process, or are using a headhunter, everyone will ask to see your résumé. Your résumé convinces people that you have relevant skills and talents and are worth consideration as a candidate. A good résumé is a necessary - but not sufficient - requirement for getting hired. If the person who reads your résumé doesn’t find the relevant information they’re looking for, they’ll drop you for consideration and move on to the next job candidate. This is why it’s so important that your résumé doesn’t sell you short. This appendix examines and improves some typical developers’ résumés to illustrate the techniques you can use to get your résumé in shape.

The Technical Résumé

Technical résumés are written differently than the nontechnical résumés described in most résumé books. Nontechnical jobs generally have some latitude in terms of necessary skills, but technical jobs usually require a very specific skill set. Employers aren’t interested in talking to candidates who don’t have the necessary skills for the job. This means that technical résumés generally require more specific information than nontechnical résumés.

A Poor Example

The example in this section starts with an extreme case of a very poor résumé from a junior developer. Although it is hoped that no real résumé would ever be this bad, the steps taken to improve such an extreme case are made clear and are relevant to almost anyone’s résumé. Figure A-1 shows the sample résumé before improvements.

image from book

George David Lee

Current Address:

Permanent Address:

18 CandleStick Drive #234

19 Juniata Dr.

San Mateo, CA 94403

Gladwyne, PA 19035



Objective: I am looking to join a growing and dynamic company. I am specifically interested in working for a company which provides interesting work and career opportunity. I am also interested in an organization which provides the opportunity for me to grow as an employee and learn new skills. Finally, I am interested in companies in the high-tech space that are looking to hire people.


  • Citizenship:   United States of America

  • Birthdate:   April 18, 1975

  • Place of Birth:   Denver, Colorado, USA

  • Hometown:   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

  • Social Security Number:   445-626-5599

  • Marital Status:   Divorced

Work History:

June 2002-Present, Programmer

Windblown Technologies, Inc., San Francisco, California

I was part of a large group that moved old legacy applications to newer systems and used lots of new technologies and languages to do this. The advantages to our clients was that new computers are cheaper than old computers and they don’t break as much. This way, it makes sense for them to have us do this. I did a portion of the programming on the new machines, but also had to work with the old machines. Our clients were able to see substantial cost savings as a result of our project. The group got quite good at moving these things and I was part of six projects in my time here. Another big project involved a lot of web stuff where I had to use a database and some other neat technologies. I am leaving because our current projects have not been very intresting and I feel like I am no longer learning anything here.

Reference: Henry Rogers

Windblown Technologies, Inc.

1818 Smith St. Suite #299

San Francisco, CA 94115


May 2002-June2002

BananaSoft Inc. Developer of apps., San Francisco, California

This job didn’t really work out and I left really soon. All I did was work on some HTML programming which was never used.

No Reference

January 2001-May2002

F=MA computing corp. Engineer, Palo Alto, California

My role here was to work with a group of people on our main project. This project centered around developing a piece of software that allowed you to figure out dependencies between clients and servers. The advantages of this device are that you can more quickly debug and maintain legacy client/server devices. This was an exciting and interesting position. The reason that I left was because my boss left and the company brought in a different boss who didn’t know what he was doing.

Reference: Angelina Diaz

1919 44th St.

Palo Alto, CA 94405


June 2001 – December 2001

I did not have a job during this time because I spent it traveling around Europe after college.

I traveled through:

  • England

  • France

  • Germany

  • Czech Republic

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Spain

September 1997 – June 2001

UCLA Housing and Dining Student Food Server, Los Angeles, California

My responsibilities included preparing dinner for over 500 students in the Walker Dining Commons. I started out as a card swiper for the first year. Later, I started to cook food and spend one year as a pasta chef. After working as a Pasta chef, I spend the last two years overseeing the salad production. I left this job because I graduated from college.

Reference: Harry Wong

UCLA Housing and Dining

1818 Bruin Dr.

Los Angeles, CA 91611

310-557-9988 extension 7788

June 2000-September 2000 and June 1999 – September 1999

AGI Communications, Intern, Santa Ana, California

Learned how to work in a large company and be part of a dynamic organization. Worked on a project for the human resources department which they eventually scrapped even after I had worked on it for two summers.

Reference: Rajiv Kumar

AGI Communications

1313 Mayflower St. Suite #202

Santa Ana, CA 92610

June 1997 – September 1997

Elm St. Ice cream shop, Senior Scooper, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

My responsibilities included serving ice cream to customers, dealing with suppliers and locking up. After one month, I was promoted to senior scooper meaning that I got to assign people tasks.


University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 1997-2001.

Bachelors of Science in Computer Systems Engineering, GPA 3.1 / 4.0

Member of Kappa Delta Phi Fraternity

Abraham Lincoln High School, Rosemont, PA 1993-1997, GPA 3.4/4.0

  • Chess club president

  • 11th grade essay contest award winner

  • 3 Varsity letters in Soccer

  • 2 Varsity letters in Wrestling


  • Partying

  • Hiking

  • Surfing

  • Chess

Additional References are available upon request.

image from book

Figure A-1

Sell Yourself

Most of this résumé’s problems result from a single fundamental error. Lee wrote his résumé to describe himself, not to get a job. Lee’s résumé is much more an autobiography than it is a sales pitch for him and his skills. This is a very common problem. Many people believe their résumé should simply describe everything they’ve ever done. That way, a potential employer can carefully read all of the information and make an informed decision regarding whether to grant an interview. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way. Employers spend very little time on each résumé they read. Your résumé must be a marketing tool that sells you and convinces an employer that you’re valuable - quickly. When you keep this idea in mind, most of the other problems become self-evident.


Write your résumé to sell yourself.

Keep It Short

Lee’s résumé has a number of other very common problems. One of the biggest is length. An interviewer may receive 50 résumés for an opening. From previous experience, he knows that the vast majority of the candidates are probably not appropriate for the job. The interviewer will have time to speak with only four or five of the candidates, so he must eliminate 90 percent of the applicants based on their résumés. Interviewers don’t carefully read through each résumé; they quickly scan the résumé to determine whether they can find any reason to keep it. The one question going through the interviewer’s mind is, “What can this person do for me now?” Your résumé has to look so good that the interviewer can’t possibly risk passing on you. An interviewer won’t wait very long to throw out a résumé. If he doesn’t see anything he likes after 15 or 20 seconds of looking at the résumé’s first page, the résumé won’t make it any further.

Despite the need to make an impression, avoid the temptation to lie or add items you’re unfamiliar with. Inflating your résumé can create a variety of problems. First, many interviewers will ask you about every item on your résumé; if you clearly aren’t familiar with something, it calls your entire résumé into question. Second, if you claim knowledge of a wide variety of technologies outside your experience, an interviewer may not even have to talk to you to figure out that you’re lying. Finally, if you throw in a grab bag of random buzzwords that don’t follow any particular theme, you may appear to be a jack of all trades and master of none. The net result is that your résumé becomes a hindrance to your getting a job, as opposed to a tool that helps you.

Keep your résumé as short as possible. If you have less than five years of experience, one page is sufficient. More-experienced job hunters can use two pages. Under no circumstances should any résumé exceed three pages. Anything beyond that and you’re writing a curriculum vitae, not a résumé, and CVs are not normally used by nonacademic job applicants in the United States. (International job applications may in fact require a fuller résumé, along the lines of a CV, so be sure to check and send the right kind of document.)


Keep your résumé short. Make every word count.

List the Right Information

Contentwise, Lee’s résumé is not “buzzword compliant” - it doesn’t mention technologies by name. This is a big problem, because many companies use automated systems that look for certain keywords in order to flag promising résumés. For example, when a position requires a “Java developer with XML experience,” the system prints out all résumés with the words “Java” and “XML.” Other companies file résumés by skills, but the result is the same. Because Lee’s résumé is short on buzzwords, it is unlikely to even make it into the stack of résumés that an interviewer sees. He should list all software products, operating systems, languages, technologies, and methodologies that he’s used. He should also list any other relevant topics he has experience with - for example, security algorithms or network protocols. Lee should then categorize his skills by topic, as shown in Figure A-2.

image from book


  • Languages: C; C++; C#; Java; Perl; Visual Basic; JavaScript

  • Internet Technology Experience: Extensive experience with Java servlets; JSP; mod_perl; XML and XSL; client/server architecture; HTML; CGI scripts; shell scripts; ASP; ASP.NET

  • Operating Systems: UNIX (Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, FreeBSD); Macintosh; Windows XP, NT

  • Databases: SQL; Oracle Products (Oracle RDMBS 10g, Oracle SQL*Plus, PL/SQL, PRO*C); MS SQL Server; IBM DB2; MySQL; JDBC; ODBC

  • Graphics: OpenGL; extensive knowledge of scan-conversion routines

image from book

Figure A-2

When you list specific products in your résumé, include version numbers to show that you’re up to date with the latest-and-greatest technologies. Most version numbers are omitted from the examples shown here because they would be obsolete by the time you read this, but your résumé should be updated much more frequently than a book. Always keep your résumé updated with your most recent experiences; otherwise, don’t bother using version numbers.


Explicitly list your skills by name on your résumé.

Be Clear and Concise

Lee’s résumé also needs to be formatted more cleanly. In its current form, it uses too many fonts, formats, and lines. This is generally annoying - some would say it makes his résumé look like a ransom note. It can also cause problems for an automated scanning system. Choose a standard font such as Times New Roman and stick with it throughout the résumé.

Lee’s content is difficult to read, rambling and unfocused; it doesn’t describe his contributions and doesn’t sell him as a valuable employee. This is especially true regarding his work experience. First, Lee should reorganize his content into bulleted lists. These are faster to read than descriptions in paragraph form, and they make it easier for an interviewer to absorb more in less time. This increases the chances that his résumé will be one of the few that the interviewer decides to act on.

Lee’s descriptions should be more focused. His descriptions don’t clearly state exactly what he did. He describes what the team did and the general company focus, but not his role, which is the most important part of selling himself as a good candidate. He should also use action verbs such as implemented, designed, programmed, monitored, administered, and architechted to describe his contributions. These should describe specific actions, such as “designed database schema for Oracle 10g database and programmed database connectivity using Java threads and JDBC.” When possible, he should quantify his tasks and describe the results of his work. For example, he could write “administered network of 20 Linux machines for Fortune 100 client, resulting in $1 million in revenues annually.” This is a good sell job because it answers the question, “What can you do for me right now?” One caveat is to make sure that any metrics you give are impressive. If your metrics are not impressive, omit them.

Another part of focusing the content is to decide the order in which to list responsibilities for a certain job. Generally, you want to list responsibilities from most impressive to least impressive. However, make sure that you get the main point across first. For example, if you did both sales and development at a job, you may have some very impressive sales, some impressive development work, and a few less-impressive sales. If you want to emphasize that you were successful in sales, you should list all of your sales work first, followed by all of your development work. In addition, make sure your points follow a coherent order. This often means grouping items by topic area, even if it causes them to deviate slightly from a strict ranking by importance.

Many people have trouble selling themselves in their résumés. Often, this happens because they feel that they have to be modest and avoid boasting. As a result, many job applicants end up underselling themselves. Don’t lie, but put the most impressive slant on whatever you have done. If you really have trouble saying nice things about yourself, ask a friend for help.


Present your experience in bulleted lists and cast it in the best possible light.

Relevant Information Only

Lee’s résumé also includes irrelevant items that take up valuable space. One of the first items an interviewer reads about Lee is that he’s a citizen of the United States and was born in Denver. Even though his citizenship or residence status may be important later in the game, when a job offer is about to be made, none of this information will convince an interviewer that he’s the person for the job, and just wastes valuable space. (Again, international job applications are different and may require this kind of citizenship information.) Other irrelevant information includes his birthdate, hometown, Social Security number, marital status, hobbies, and travel history - information that doesn’t make him a more attractive candidate.

Lee’s use of the word “I” is unnecessary because the résumé is obviously about him. He shouldn’t bother to mention references either. Interviewers won’t check references until they’re about to make an offer, so it’s pointless to put them on your résumé. He doesn’t even need to include “References are available upon request” because that’s always implicit. Similarly, a résumé is not the place to mention why he left earlier jobs. This question is likely to come up in interviews, and it’s a good idea to have a strong, positive response prepared, but it doesn’t belong on a résumé. Lee’s middle name should also be omitted unless he usually goes by George David.

Finally, omit any additional information that makes you a less-attractive candidate. For example, don’t put something on your résumé such as “looking for half-time position until graduation in June, and then conversion to full time.” Most interviewers would pass over someone like this and look for someone available full time instead. However, if the interviewer speaks with you and is impressed, it’s a different story.

Lee needs to look at his résumé and focus all necessary information to make it as short and useful as possible. Every word must count. For example, he can start with his address information. It’s not clear whether he should be contacted at his permanent or current address. He should give only one address, phone number, and e-mail address. Lee also lists too much information about his high school accomplishments. Old awards, accomplishments, or job tasks that are not relevant to your current job search should generally be omitted. Any job that occurred more than 10 years ago or is totally different from the job that you’re seeking should be mentioned only briefly. For example, Lee goes into too much detail about his work at the ice cream shop and the dining hall. It’s fine to mention this employment, but he won’t get the job based on his responsibilities scooping ice cream. He should provide only relevant job data. Lee should also omit the job that he held for two months because it will only count against him. Finally, Lee’s objective statement doesn’t add anything. Everyone is looking for an “interesting” job with a “dynamic” company. His objective statement should briefly state what sort of job he wants, such as “software engineer” or “database programmer.”


Include only relevant information.

Use Reverse Chronological Ordering

After improving the résumé’s content, Lee needs to decide how to order his information most effectively. One obvious way to do this is chronologically. In this case, Lee would start out with his high school education, then his job at the ice cream shop, then college, and so forth. A reader could easily follow Lee’s experience throughout his life. Even though this is a consistent ordering, it is a poor choice. Always put the most compelling reason for you to be considered for a job first, at the top of the résumé. Interviewers start reading résumés from the top, so you want to put your best stuff first, where it can convince the interviewer to read the rest of the résumé. After that first reason, continue to follow a clear and concise organization that spells out your qualifications. The end of the résumé is for the least-impressive information. Your most recent experiences are more relevant than your earliest experiences, so where you do use chronological ordering, put things in reverse order.

In Lee’s case, his most impressive asset is undoubtedly his skills. He has a wide range of relevant skills. He should begin his résumé with these skills. Next, Lee should list either his work history or education. Early in your career you should generally put your education first, especially if you went to an impressive school. Later, put your experience first. In Lee’s case, it’s a toss-up as to whether to list his education or his work experience next. He’s right on the cusp of when he should switch from listing education first to work history first. Lee did graduate from an impressive school not too long ago, and he has held several jobs since then, none of them for very long. Therefore, there’s probably a slight advantage to listing his education before his work history. In Lee’s case, his education is a single item. If he had more than one degree, he would put the most impressive one (usually a postgraduate or university degree) first.

Always Proofread

Lee also needs to proofread his résumé better. For example, he spelled “interesting” as “intresting” and used “spend” when he should have used “spent.” Mistakes make you look careless and unprofessional. Many people stop reading a résumé as soon as they find a single mistake. At the very least, mistakes make you a weaker candidate. The only way to avoid mistakes is to proofread. Proofread over and over and over. Then, let the résumé sit for a while, come back to it, and proofread some more. It’s also a good idea to ask a trusted friend to proofread for mistakes. While your friend is reading your résumé, find out if he or she thinks a section is unclear, has a recommendation on how to improve your résumé, or thinks you could do a better selling job. Your friend’s reactions may give you a clue about how your résumé will appear to an interviewer.

One final matter concerns printing your résumé. Often, you will submit your résumé electronically and printing won’t be an issue. If you print out your résumé, there’s no need to use special paper or have your résumé professionally printed. Résumés are often photocopied, scanned, faxed, and written on, making fancy paper and printing a wasted expense. A laser printer and simple white paper will always suffice.

The Improved Example

Following all of the preceding recommendations, Lee’s improved résumé appears in Figure A-3.

image from book

George Lee

18 Candle Stick Drive #234

San Mateo, CA 94403


OBJECTIVE: Developer


  • Languages: C; C++; C#; Java; Perl; Visual Basic; JavaScript

  • Internet Technology Experience: Extensive experience with Java servlets; JSP; mod_perl; XML and XSL; Client/server architecture; HTML; CGI scripts; shell scripts; ASP; ASP.NET

  • Systems: UNIX (Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, FreeBSD); Macintosh; Windows XP, NT

  • Databases: SQL; Oracle Products (Oracle RDMBS 10g, Oracle SQL*Plus, PL/SQL, PRO*C); MS SQL Server; IBM DB2; MySQL; JDBC; ODBC

  • Graphics: OpenGL; extensive knowledge of scan-conversion routines


University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 1997-2001.

BS, Computer Systems Engineering GPA 3.1 / 4.0


6/02– Present

Developer and Consultant, Windblown Technologies, Inc., San Francisco, CA

  • Lead developer on four projects generating $1 million in revenues.

  • Ported 100,000-line enterprise payroll application from PDP 11 to Sun Solaris.

  • Designed database schema for Oracle 10g database; programmed database connectivity using Java threads and JDBC.

  • Architected Web tracking application to monitor packages for shipping firm using JSP, JDBC, and an Oracle 10g database.

  • Wrote front-end Java servlet code to allow an airline to securely communicate with its suppliers via the Internet.


F=MAComputing Corp. Server-side Engineer, Palo Alto, CA

  • Improved on Internet order procurement performance by 25 percent using Apache, Perl CGI scripts, and Oracle.

  • Developed TCP/IP stack tracer to find client/server dependencies.

  • Created Web-based reporting system using Java servlets and IBM’s DB2 database.

  • Wrote Perl scripts to monitor mission-critical systems and notify administrators in case of failure.

  • Ported DOS-based C client to Windows XP for automobile production monitoring.


UCLAHousing and Dining Student Food Server


AGI Communications, Santa Ana, CA, Developer

  • Developed HR time tracking system


Elm St. Ice Cream Shop, Bryn Mawr, PA, Ice Cream Scooper

image from book

Figure A-3

As you can see, this résumé is more likely to make the cut and get Lee opportunities to speak with interviewers. This résumé is based on the experiences and skills of the same person, but it looks almost entirely different.

Managers and Senior Developers

Although the same ideas that improved Lee’s résumé will also improve a senior person’s résumé, there are other issues to consider. Senior people generally have some management responsibility, and it’s important that their résumés show they are capable of this task. For example, consider the résumé presented in Figure A-4 for a senior manager, Sam White. As you read through his résumé, try to see which of the techniques that benefited Lee’s résumé could also be helpful for White.

image from book

Samuel Thomas White

3437 Pine St.

Skokie, IL 60077



Over the past 3 decades my career has evolved from a lab technician to Web project manager. During that time, I spent some time away and earned my Ph.D. in physics. I have taught college computer science off and on for over 18 years and published numerous journal publications. I have spent the past four years as a project manager overseeing a large Web application development.

At the present, I am actively pursuing MSCE certification to better architect the necessary solutions. I have completed introductory hands-on courses in Networking Fundamentals; Windows Server 2003, and SQL Server. I am taking continuing education courses in management and in other advanced technology topics. Last March, I attended my company’s manager seminar conference.

Brief Computer History:

  • 1977: Completed dissertation, moved to Chicago.

  • 1977: I received my first personal computer. I wrote a program that implemented a rudimentary spreadsheet.

  • 1979: I started to consult for a living. I was independent and worked primarily on assembly programming.

  • 1980: Formed my company, Big Dipper Consulting. Worked on a variety of projects ranging from network debugging tools to graphics chip optimizations.

  • 1994: My first trip on the Web with NCSA Mosaic. I knew that this would be big. I started out running simple static pages, then moved onto CGI scripting. I have been on the forefront of Web technologies and have fulfilled numerous consulting contracts and led many development efforts.

Work History:

CorePlus Corporation


7/1997 - Present

Senior Web Manager

Responsibilities include: management and maintenance of Web development effort for both U.S. and Canadian sites, management for network redesign, establishing and implementing protocols, migrating from Windows NT to Solaris, leading security audit using cutting-edge tools and managing 12 employees, providing 24/7 access for both internal deploymentand overseas operations, establishing procedures to ensure constant monitoring during non-working hours in case of failures, upgrading all software as new software is released and determined to be stable, ordering computers for both everyday (email, Web), development and travel, establishing proper backup procedures, evaluating different vendors’ software packages for current needs and anticipating future needs in both infrastructure and licenses.

Pile-ON Technologies


11/1995 - 8/1997

Senior Web Developer

Responsibilities included: designing a UNIX-based Web development environment, installing necessary software including web server, development tools and source control, integrating legacy applications on PDP 11 heirarchical database to work with CGI scripts that get and set the necessary information, selecting third-party screen scraping products to receive necessary information from legacy system, implementing security procedures to prevent denial of service, spoofing and other attacks, managing three junior developers and ensuring coordination and timeliness of efforts, verifying cross Web-browser compatibility for all Web design efforts, purchasing necessary infrastructure to ensure robustness against all possible problems, built in redundancy, hiring and building development team, reporting directly to the Senior VP of engineering, coordinating with customer support, upgrading network to include newest and fastest solutions, working with consultants to integrate new products.

Athnorn Inc.


6/1990 - 11/1995

Senior Engineer, MIS

Responsibilities began by working as a C++ developer working on client/server application and doing some system administration tasks such as ensuring network reliability and integration between onsite and offshore developers. Promoted to senior engineer after two years. Additional responsibilities included designing enterprise-wide source control system and development environment spanning multiple sites, enabling dial-up and telnet connections via a VPN, managing a team of 5 developers and coordinating with marketing to ensure timeliness and quality of product, worked with contractors to implement third-party development products, evaluated and selected various vendors solutions, traveled to Europe, Japan, and the Middle East to meet with clients and assess future needs and problems, worked on moving several products to UNIX based environment, designed system to allow synchronous development across multiple time zones, attended company management philosophy seminar, attained certification in advanced use of all products, ensured compliance with corporate standards, worked with customer support to respond to common problems.

Detroit Motor Company


Corp. of Engineers


1/1990 - 5/1990

Contract Programmer Analyst

Four-month contract position which involved substantial modifications and enhancements to existing database program. This included custom generation of reports, additional ways to add information to database, and integration with existing products to achieve common functionality and data change. Also created files which allowed for much faster uploading and downloading of information. Also provided help with the LAN and WAN, technical support and full documentation of existing system. Worked on integration with legacy applications as well.

Tornado Development Corp.


6/1988 - 10/1989

Contract Programmer

Responsible for planning, development and the administration of BSD File servers. Used Oracle and SQL to do a variety of tasks mostly having to do with order tracking and HR tasks such as payroll and employee benefits. Worked to provide technical support for all users on various types of platforms. Additionally installed and maintained a variety of common applications and was responsible for troubleshooting when problems occurred.

Garson and Brown, Attorneys at Law



Computer Engineer

Responsibilities include troubleshooting, maintenance, repair, and support of LAN/ WAN networks, often had to use telephone and troubleshoot problems with novice user, updated all company software including Novell, Windows and other third-party proprietary products, designed and installed LAN in office place, maintained LAN and was responsible for new users, provided all support and coordinated with vendors

Hummingbird Chip Designs



Chip Tester

Responsibilities included testing all chip designs thoroughly using a variety of third-party products that ensured reliability and yield, worked with consultants to attain knowledge using third-party testing products, wrote scripts that automated repetitive tasks, reported potential problems to developers, coordinated all yield test efforts, worked with customer service to verify customer problems, was a liaison between customer support and development


Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1966-1970 BA in Physics

Junior Year Electronics Award Winner

Member of Lambda, Alpha, Nu Fraternity

Member of junior varsity fencing team

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1970-1977 PhD in Physics

Doctoral Thesis Work on Molecular Structure of Molybdenum compounds when exposed to intense laser bursts of varying intensity.

Skills: Attended technical courses for Microsoft Windows 2003, Extensive experience with TCP/IP protocols, security protocols including SSL and PGP, HP Openview, Java, VB, VBScript, ActiveX, ASP, IIS, ASP.NET, Apache, Netscape Enterprise Server, FoxPro, SQL Relational databases including Oracle, Informix, Sybase, DB2 and SQL server, UNIX system administration (Irix and Linux), C, C++, C#, Network Architect, Shell Scripting, CGI scripting, HTML, DHTML, repairing printers

  • Hobbies:

  • Barbershop Quartet, Golf, Tennis, Frisbee

  • Horseback Riding, Walking, Swimming

  • Reading, Traveling, Cake Decorating

  • Other:

  • Conversant in Spanish

  • Citizen of the United States of America

References available upon request.

image from book

Figure A-4

White’s résumé has the same major problem as Lee’s first résumé. It is an autobiography, not a marketing tool. This structural problem is evident from the beginning, where he gives a brief timeline of his life over the past 30 years. Writing an autobiography is a common problem for senior people with impressive credentials such as White’s. Many senior people mistakenly believe that if they describe their accomplishments, interviews will follow, but the only question going through an interviewer’s mind is “What can you do for me now?”, regardless of the applicant’s seniority. In many ways, focus is even more important for a more-senior job because you need to make a greater impression in just as little time.

Many of the specific problems with this résumé are the same as with Lee’s initial résumé. It’s too long - White should cut his résumé to no more than two pages and strive for one and a half. White should also arrange his descriptions in bulleted lists so that they are easier to read.

However, White’s main content problem is that his résumé doesn’t sell him for the sort of job he’s trying to get. White spends a lot of time describing various job tasks that are clearly junior tasks. Senior positions generally require some management and have less emphasis on technical skills. The ability to perform junior tasks won’t get you an interview for a job that requires senior tasks. When applying for a senior position, stress your management skills and experience more than your technical skills or achievements in junior positions.

White also needs to show positive results from his past leadership. In this vein, it is necessary to both describe the experience and quantify the result. For example, White’s résumé mentions “management and maintenance of Web development effort for both U.S. and Canadian sites.” This is an impressive achievement, but the size of the undertaking is not clear; nor is it clear whether the project was a success. The description in White’s résumé leaves open the possibility that the project was a total failure and he is being forced to resign in disgrace or that the project was trivial and consisted of posting a few documents to a Web server. White should quantify the results of his work whenever possible. For example, he could state, “Managed team of 7 in developing and maintaining U.S. and Canadian Web sites. Sites generate 33 million hits and $15 million annually.”

White is looking for a job that is heavy on project management and lighter on skills. He should deemphasize his “flavor of the month” buzzwords and emphasize his experience. He may even want to eliminate his technology skills inventory to make sure the reader doesn’t think he’s trying to get a less-senior position.

White’s revised résumé appears Figure A-5. Notice how the résumé explains his accomplishments much more clearly and does a much better sell job. White becomes someone who a company couldn’t afford not to interview.

image from book

Sam White

3437 Pine St.

Skokie, IL 60077


Objective: Senior Manager in Internet Development



CorePlus Corporation, Director of Web Development, Santa Rosa, CA

  • Managed team of seven in developing and maintaining U.S. and Canadian Web sites. Sites generate 33 million hits and $15 million annually.

  • Led team of three system administrators to implement full network redundancy, perform a security audit, develop backup procedures, and upgrade hardware and software for an 800-computer Linux and Windows network.

  • Evaluated all major systems purchases.

  • Purchased $400,000 of software and professional services after evaluation of seven packages and three firms, leading to 20 percent faster customer service response times.

  • Hired four developers and managed staff of seven with 100 percent retention.

  • Selected contractors to migrate Web servers from Windows to Linux. Migration occurred one month ahead of schedule and 20 percent under budget.


Pile-ON Technologies, Senior Web Developer, San Jose, CA

  • Designed UNIX Web development environment and supervised team of five in implementation of Web log visualization tools. Tools have generated $5,000,000.

  • Evaluated and selected over $200,000 of software and services to supplement Web logs development efforts.

  • Developed feature set for $7,000,000 product based on interviews with 20 clients.

  • Wrote 100,000-line C++ libraries used by three products with similar database access patterns.

  • Recruited and trained two junior developers.


Athorn Inc., Lead Engineer, Fremont, CA

  • Coordinated five developers in on-time six-month project to develop client portion of client / server application to enable department store cash registers to update central databases in real time. Product has 50,000 users.

  • Met with clients to determine future feature sets for cash register client.

  • Implemented Virtual Private Network between San Francisco Bay Area office and New York City office.

  • Installed and supported internal enterprise-wide source control used by 30 developers on 10 projects


Contractor at many companies

  • Upgraded network systems at Detroit Motors, Inc.

  • Installed and designed database applications for Tornado Development Corp.


Garson and Brown, Attorneys at Law, Computer Engineer, Palo Alto, CA


Hummingbird Chip Designs, QATester, San Jose, CA


University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, Ph.D. in Physics, 1970–1977

  • Doctoral thesis work on molecular structure of molybdenum atoms when exposed to laser bursts of varying intensity.

Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, B.A. in Physics, 1970


  • Fluent in Spanish

image from book

Figure A-5

This revamped résumé is a much more effective marketing tool for White.

Programming Interviews Exposed. Secrets to Landing Your Next Job
Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job, 2nd Edition (Programmer to Programmer)
ISBN: 047012167X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 94

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