Showing posts with label MWMY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MWMY. Show all posts

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Great Resume Rewrite

I spent all day writing.

But it had to be done.

My work. My way. My resume.

Because MWMW ("My work, done My way") is the Golden Key to happiness. (But we'll blog about about that another time).

I don't have very many regrets in life, but one of them is that I didn't reject the irrational advice and conventions that got imposed on my resume through the years, both by well-meaning and trusted advisors, recruiters, employers, and so forth. That will never happen again. Because from now on, it's MWMY. You know what I'm talking about:
  • Ridiculous and contrived stylistic conventions, such as omitting the subject of a bullet point, because that subject happens to be yourself, repeatedly.
  • Boilerplate text, cliches, corporate-speak, and management buzzwords. 
  • Evasion, manipulation, and "spin."
  • Arbitrary length prescriptions.
  • A bureaucratic tone attempting convey objectivity and solidity, but in reality conveying stodginess and stupidity.
So I took out my resume, started right from the top and rewrote it straight the way down. I found I had to do in in several passes. Each time I came back to the top and restarted, it got better. And it just keep getting better and better.

I mentioned before, in my post where I resolve to do this rewrite, that I would report back on the results. To quote myself, which seems fun:
Contrarian resume is coming. I'm going to be 100 percent grammatical, spelling out the first person for every one of my many accomplishments. It's all about me, as indeed it should be, being my resume, so "I" and "me" are going to be a major element. (I'll report here later with the final count, so be sure to check back here in a couple of days.) I also will pay no attention to length at all. I will only concern myself with showcasing relevant experience. If I fall one word over to another page, that's the way it's going to be distributed. If it takes 10 pages, so be it. I'm going to highlight my short-term projects, as well, by explaining that the instability was the clients, not mine. I might even mention that I resent them for it.

In short it's going to be fresh, honest, clear, relevant, personal, non-deceitful. It's going to be a blast to write it.
So this is fun time;  review time!

And, there are all kinds of interesting results and things to reflect on, as well! For instance, have you ever noticed how easy it is to just glibly throw out a statement about something you're going to do, and then, later, you find out that "the devil is in the details?"  This coming note is a great example of that, and a good illustration to pass on to management about how surprises often arise, despite our best intentions and often things are not as simple as we always assume.

I realized, in attempting to count my use of "I", the following:

  • Simple word-finding/word-counting doesn't work well on the document, because "I" is a letter component of many words, and gets caught by the count programs in places where it should not get counted.
  • Me, however, also needs to be counted.
  • So also, do contractions, such as:
    • I'm
    • I'd
    • I'll
I ended up hand-counting about 60 self-references using variations of the 1st person-pronoun. So that's pretty good. I imagine that would raise a red-flag with the scanning software that started me down this pathway. 

The length of the resume, including all the relevant material I wished to include ran well over the conventional recommendations.  I hit 4 pages, double the conventional Whiz-dumb. 

Just to establish that these conventions are commonplace, and held even by the best of people, here is what Cracking the Coding interview says -- a book I highly recommend, by the way, not for it's resume advice, but for it's approach to career development and interview questions:

In the US, it is strongly advised to keep a resume to one page if you have less than ten years experience, and no more than two pages otherwise. Why is this? Here are two great reasons:
  • Recruiters only spend a fixed amount of time (about 20 seconds) looking at your resume. If you limit the content to the most impressive items, the recruiter is sure to see them. Adding additional items just distracts the recruiter from what you'd really like them to see.
  • Some people just flat out refuse to read long resumes. Do you really want to risk having your resume tossed for this reason.
If you are thinking right now that you have too much experience and can't fit it all on one page, trust me you can. Everyone says this at first. Long resumes are not a reflection of having tons of experience; they're a reflection of not understanding how to prioritize content.
As you saw in my former posting, I'm a contrarian about this advice. Does that mean that I'm not reasonable about it? Far from it! Here is the logic of the way I think, formulated into a response to the above:

Yes, I'm in US, and I do indeed wish I could be in the UK instead, where a Curriculum Vitae is commonplace. But since we're stuck with the US, and I agree with your assessment that recruiters, and for that matter, the actual people hiring spend only 20 seconds or less, "looking at [my] resume." I will note a point or two. 
I tend to think that far less than 20 seconds is spent. Probably between zero and seven seconds. I base this estimate on the kind of queries I receive by email from recruiters who have "searched" my resume. Further support for this estimate comes from the number one, almost universal first question which hiring interviewers always ask: "I know I have your resume here, BUT would you please describe your recent experience for me first, before we get started discussing the details ..."  
If I limit the content, as you suggest, the recruiter (or hirer) is still NOT going to see the most impressive items. He's never going to see them. Adding additional items will NOT be a distraction, because there has never been attention focused on the document in the first place. 
Furthermore,  if someone "flat-out" refuses to read a "long" resume -- and I challenge the notion that ANYTHING over a page or two can be, by any stretch of the imagination, considered "long," I want them to toss it. 
I'm interested in working with people who are able to  read, like to read, and, frankly, are not burdened by supporting detail and explanation. By the way, will the analysis documentation and specification of the software I produce be less than a page or two? Does it show a failure to properly delimit, prioritize and hierarchically organize if my documentation is longer than a page or two?
Finally, I would like to address the issue mentioned about prioritizing content. I agree that prioritizing content is extremely important. And for this reason, I do employ the reverse chronological method which is common and conventional. Experience becomes increasingly irrelevant as it ages, and so this approach allows a natural and organic tapering of emphasis. The reader can decide for himself at what point the experience becomes no longer relevant for consideration. Yet he can, if he wishes, follow the logic of the career path back from it's origins. Since this convention has a rationale, I will retain it.
After adding myself back into my resume and adopting a human tone, my resume is such a pleasure to read. I read every word of it out loud to myself before sending it on to the recruiter. The honesty of the whole document is just so refreshing. For instance, here are two of my favorite snippets:
  • When this naughty Government Sponsored Entity got caught cooking the books, I was brought in to provide a rules-engine based effort to re-cook those books, by reposting every trade from the bond model to the sub ledger and general ledger.
  • Naturally, my on-shore team had to re-develop everything “delivered” by the offshore team. 

I Remain,