I’m currently conducting interviews to find a replacement for myself at the company I work for, Precidia Technologies. The position is network administration and I’ve received dozens of resumes over just a few days. Here are my thoughts:

  • Don’t apply for a network administration job because you’ve installed Windows and have connected to an ISP. Familiarity with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are not relevant! If you’ve never looked at an Ethernet trace, this is not the kind of job for which you are (currently) suited.
  • Don’t attach a file named “resume.doc”. When I have twenty files all named the same, some are going to get lost. Name it something smart, like “Resume-BrianWhite.pdf”.
  • Don’t send a Word document unless you know it’s okay to do so. Not all of us run Windows and not all of us want to shell out hundreds of dollars for that particular word processor. Sure, I can open it in ABI Word, but your resume is not going to look it’s best and it’s really important that it do so. When in doubt, send a PDF. (Okay, some people will complain about PDFs, too, but in the absence of other information, I still think it’s the best choice.)
  • Don’t attach a separate cover letter when sending via email. Just write in the body of the email (in plain text). When trying to find someone I’ve looked at before, I’m only going to read that text; I will not be opening attachments. If I can’t find you, you’re lost.
  • Don’t refer to yourself in the third person. Maybe this is just a personal preference, but to me it sound like someone else sent it on your behalf and that’s not impressive.
  • Good writing says nothing; bad writing says everything! You’re not going to be working in a vacuum. If you can’t communicate effectively, you’re not a good candidate. If you’re not a native English speaker, get someone who is to edit it (that’s “edit”, not “read”).
  • Show that you can solve problems. Anybody can do something new. Fixing it when (note: that’s “when”, not “if”) it doesn’t work is what really counts.

For someone else’s notes on what they look for in resume, see Joel’s guide to sorting resumes.

An Amusing Anecdote:

A acquaintance of mine runs a MotoPhoto store and told me he’d recently been considering an applicant for a job. Upon googling him, he found the potential employee’s personal weblog, including comments bragging about how he had screwed his last employer (Sears) and told customers to “f*ck off” when the manager wasn’t around. He didn’t get hired.

The moral of this story: Every public thing (and even some private ones) you have ever done can be used in your evaluation for a job. Be the kind of person someone would want to hire, not just during the interview but every single day.