Edward Capriolo

Tuesday Feb 27, 2018

Resume Design Tips

While I was a student at THE Westchester Community College I had a work study job at the Career and Transfer Center. This was one of the best jobs I ever had. I wanted to summarize some of the skills I learned and fine tuned after years of resume reading and writing.

Tip #1: No matter how proud you are of bash scripts do not mention it more than once!

Job 2 - Company 2 - 200x - 200y

  • Wrote bash scripts

Job 1 - Company 1 - 200x - 200y

  • Wrote bash scripts

First, you want to show career development. Second, you do not want to waste space. Third, you should not be bragging about shell scripting. Forth, do not mention the same technology twice. Fifth, see next tip.

Tip #2 Talk about the effect not the tech

Job 1 - Company 1 - 200x - 200y

  • Wrote bash scripts

Is it affect or effect? (sub tip: have a friend read it over) Regardless. Agile stories have a certain format:

A user story typically follows a simple template:

As a <type of user>,
I want <to perform some task>
so that I can <achieve some goal/benefit/value>.

Your bullet points should have a consistent format. Do not:

  • Use "I": I wrote bash scripts
  • Write sentences with periods

Focus on what you did and how it changed the business. The technology should be an afterthought.

Example bullet point:

Streamlined deploy automation using shell scripting resulting in faster setup of customer portals

In this case "faster setup" should be a clear win, but you can also embellish more if you believe the description is too abstract.

Streamlined deploy automation using shell scripting resulting in faster setup of customer portals saving operations three hours a week

With this description you transform a lame bullet point into a clear example of how you saved time and money. Everyone likes saving time and money. 

Tip #3 If you talk about it, be about it

Job 1 - Company 1 - 200x - 200y

  • Wrote bash scripts

One huge red flag is when I probe people on bullet points and they clearly do not know much about the things they say they are experienced in. This is what a bad dialog might sound like:

Ed: "From your resume, I see you wrote bash scripts. You mentioned it 3 times can you tell me why used bash and not perl?"
Them: "They were just small scripts, cleaned some data."
Ed: "Can you name a feature of bash that made you chose it for this task?"
Them: "...(clearly grasping) You do not need to compile it."

In short: do not list it if you can not speak to it. Do not list it if your co-worker did all the work. Do not list things that you only have small knowledge of. If I find that a candidate lists multiple things that they did not do, I trust other bullet points on the resume less. Every once in a while it is safe for a candidate to say "I forgot the implementation", but if the candidate is pleading the 5th to every bullet point they are fairly exposed in terms of trust during the process.






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