I’m only in my seventh year out of college, which is not a lot, but it is enough to have seen plenty of résumés. I’ve just been reviewing some new ones and remembered that I’d planned this post.
Here are my tips on making a good résumé. These are my tips, an engineer, not a hiring specialist, so follow at your own will. Also notice that these may not be relevant to fresh-out accountants or dentists, these are things that as an engineer looking for engineers for a technical position either bother me, make me go crazy or simply I would recommend…or simply as a person who appreciates good writing skills, a little bit of both…check ’em out:
- NO CAPS LOCK. PLEASE, OH PLEASE, NO CAPS LOCK: no explanation needed, just don’t do it, nobody likes it. If you don’t understand this point, may I direct you to one of my favorite web comics, The Oatmeal: minor differences.
- If you’re doing a résumé in a language different than your native language, make sure you research the proper way to express terminology that you’re not sure about. Tip: any word that sounds very similar in both languages is not necessarily the most correct translation. For example, “compromise” in English and “compromiso” in Spanish mean different things. Note: I researched how to write “résumé” for this post.
- No need to put ALL of your personal info there. Your height and weight are not needed. I personally don’t even think your address is needed. A phone and email is more than enough. If you have a unisex name, probably add whether your male or female, most online application systems will have that option already, so it’s also not entirely essential. Extra points: if you have a “peculiar” email like g33k_10RD_666@hotmail.com, use a different email, if you don’t have another one open an account in gmail with your actual name.
- You are applying for an engineering job, your engineering credentials are what’s relevant, unless human resources needs to know for some bureaucratic reason, don’t include you elementary school, junior high, high school or your chef certifications, nobody cares, and if they care they’ll ask in the interview. Include bachelor’s degrees and above. If your high school was a technical high school, then include it.
- Don’t give specialized tools or knowledge more importance than they actually have. For example: multimeters and oscilloscopes are not particularly important because you should know them (if you’re an EE, at least), logic analyzers, RF signal generators, specialized sniffers, those are things that are actually important to highlight for a fresh-out.
- Also don’t give school projects more importance than they have. If it’s your thesis project or something that actually had some complexity outside the scope of a single subject, consider putting it there. Only include school projects if you don’t have any additional experience, ideally you should have done an extra effort in college and you would have internships, expos, competitions, etc. under your belt, those experiences are more important because they speak of more work and a willingness to go beyond.
- Review your grammar and spelling. If you’re bad at it (cause you’re an engineer and you probably are) ask a friend to review it for you. Pay them with beer.
- Make it easy on the eyes. I don’t mean you need to do some fancy graphical design, but make it orderly, make it easy to read. Have sections in an order that makes sense. Ask someone to take a look at it and tell you if they like it. Look for pre-designed formats on the internet and base your résumé on that. There are many things to say here, but mostly, use a decent format, get opinions and most important of all: DO NOT USE COMIC SANS.
- Put your sections in order of importance. Usually hiring people care more about your work experience than your studies, so put that first. Within special abilities, focus more on the important ones for the job and less on your football tournaments.
- Be truthful, do not make up that you have java experience because you programmed a “hello world” in java.
That’s it, hope my recommendations help you, or at least made you laugh.