Posts Tagged ‘CV’

Resume bloopers

May 24, 2008

Below are some real examples from resumes I received, modified to protect the innocents. Each one is follwoed with my take on the quote.

1. Although I have no academic degree ,I authored multiple papers for master and undergraduate students. The papers got excellent grades and I was paid well.

  •   I’m dishonest, cheated for a living, and dim-witted enough to write about it in a CV.

2. My high school average grade is 107.

  •  It is actually possible in Israel , but not very relevant if you are over 22.

3. While working in ACME Corporation I also started a startup with two friends.

  •  I cheated on my former employers , failed miserably and now you have the opportunity to let me do it again.

4. English as a mother tonge.

  •  Excellent control of the spell checker as well.

5. Programming language : Basic, Logo, Turbo Pascal, C,C++, LISP, Visual Basic.

  • Someone once told me to mention every technology I have ever heard of.

6. Operating Systems : DOS, Windows 98,Windows 2003.

  • Not many people pratice DOS these days and I’m unique.

7. Army Service: Sniper. Finished first in Class.

  •  You’d better hire me, or else…

Best Single Tip on Writing Resume for Top Jobs

May 9, 2008

The Tip: Write your achievements,  not your whereabouts.   

Reading thousands of resumes in the last eight years, I get very frustrated from the candidates inability to market themselves. While there are hundreds of on-line sites that give great tips, people seem to be ignoring them completely.

When I read a CV I expect it to answer the following questions:

  • How can I know the candidate would succeed in his role?
  • Why should I hire this specific candidate?
  • What is his past record?

The simplest way for a resume to answer these questions is by describing previous achievements. Think about it as what you want to write on your professional gravestone, if the worst  thing happens.

Bad example:

2000-2004: Software developer in Lucid Multimedia, part of the tools team, wrote in ASP.NET(C#) ,SQL Server, NHibernate.

Average example:

2000-2004: Software developer in Lucid Multimedia ,owned the development of an ORM module between SQL Server and C# business logic.

Good example:

2000-2004: Software developer in Lucid Multimedia, I lead the development of an ORM engine that reduced development time for new forms by 40%.

Excellent example:

2000-2004: As a developer in Lucid Multimedia, I lead the development of an object relational mapping engine that reduced new forms development time by 40%. I developed the engine in 3 months, and I improved the performance of top queries from 5 minutes to 20 seconds.

Can you see the difference?

For top jobs, I do not care too much about the candidates’ set of skills. These should be mentioned, but can be described in a short paragraph in the end of the CV. It does not mean much that a candidate was a C++ programmer for five  years. I know plenty of poor C++ programmers. Maybe he is just one of them?

Maybe during these five years he was reading TechCrunch and browsing Jdate in the search of a more promising future. Facts on achievements are much better. The candidate needs to briefly explain major achievements, show all signs of excellence and why his previous employer would miss him after he quits.

For some reason, I get a lot of objections when I try to help people improve their resumes. The most common ones is:

“My work cannot be measured in quantitative manner since I’m Psychologist\Software Team Leader\Business analyst \Milkman”

My belief is that in any subject matter there are ways to explain the achievements in a clear factual way, at least to readers who come from the same domain. The trick is to find the right angle.


  • 2000-2003 I supervised the treatment of five children aged 3-4 with severe social skills difficulties. I managed and mentored a team of assistants, speech therapists, and art therapists in a highly demanding and intensive environment. All five kids are now studying in regular schools to their parent’s satisfaction.

Business Analyst:

  • I coordinated $100,000,000 budgeting process in a multinational consumer company. Initialed a new process for budget preparation, across departments. As a result the budget was ready in November instead of December, allowing the management to have proper preparations.
  • Internal Guru and the Go-To-Girl in building highly complex Excel planning modules. In 2 weeks I prepared a sales compensation plan which is used in 30 countries across the company.

Team Leader:   

  • Three members of my team have become team leaders within two years.
  • Improved the relationship with QA peers by conducting open weekly meeting. Product quality and atmosphere have greatly improved.

Remember – the facts don’t have to be numeric or printed on paper. Fact checking will be done later during the interviews and reference checking. At the resume stage, the reader trusts what he reads.

If it is hard to find measurable indexes of success, at least try to give more details on what you have been doing.

What was the size of the project? How many people did you manage? How much money was involved? How many customers were served? How does it compare to the situation before you started?

The best thing is if you can show samples of your work. I love it when people add a a link to web site they built or an open source project they lead. It makes it very easy to check their professionalism.

To summarize, don’t be shy about your achievements, you need to market yourself. The best way to do it in an honest fashion is to give the facts which highlight your contribution to your last employer.

Why Do Recruiting Companies Act As Spammers?

May 8, 2008

In Israel, recruiting companies send tons of non relevant CV’s  that need to be to filtered  out. After I spent hours defining the exact features of my beloved employee, they disregard everything I carefully crafted.

For example, When I asked for a veteran, C++, team leader I got a visual basic junior programmer with two years experience building his high-school site.

When I asked for .Net C# UI expert who worked on enterprise software, I got a free lancer with lots of networking experience who wrote an amazing SMTP proxy.

The easiest thing is to blame the recruiters for their laziness, lack of technical understanding and false summaries they attach to the candidates resume ,without even interviewing the.

However, the real problem lies in the existing compensation mechanism in the market. The recruiters get paid for “success”, which translates to a one month salary for each candidate that is actually recruited. Of course, if you get the same candidate from multiple sources, the first source gets all the compensation.

Not really the same context, but funny

The best way to for the recruiter to make money ,in this case, is to send as many CV’s as he can to all the customers without any filtering, as soon as he can. Let’s say the recruiting company gets 1000 CV’s per month, and it’s trying to recruit 100 open jobs. Their best option is to send 100,000 emails right when they get the new CV. Every minute of thinking, summarizing, interviewing or spell checking can result in losing all the capital from this CV.

Since they don’t get punished for sending too much twaddle, they are “just” optimizing their income.

Maybe it is time for a new reward mechanism. How about the following idea – I’m willing to pay $1000 for every relevant candidate resume. However, I’ll deduct $200 for every non relevant CV they send my way.

Assuming it takes 10 worthy candidates to recruit one, they would get $10000 if they don’t send any “noise” my way. If the ratio of signal to noise is 1:1 they will get 10*$1000-10*$200=$8000. If they send five bad resumes for each good resume they will get $10000 – $10000 = 0$.

This method makes sure I will get CV’s quickly and accurately. Seems the big problem is how one judges what a “worthy” CV is, but there is a simple answer. The companies usually don’t send the candidates contact details until you ask them to reveal his contact details.

It is fair to assume that if you ask for a candidate details, you think he is worthy candidate.

It is going to be hard to change the industry standard, but I believe it would be good for everyone. Today, the hiring companies think they save money, while it is actually spent on filtering and interviewing which should have been done by the recruiters. What do you think?

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