When I was taking somebody’s interview for the first time on my own at Google, it turned out that the candidate used to follow my blog and I was totally nervous. It was the first time I was on the other side of the table, and was fully conscious of what all I hated about interviewers and was going to do myself. “Why do you want to join Google?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” I thought that most of such questions were so well rehearsed that if you were picking people up based on the answers to those, you might as well pick people up randomly. The answers show nothing about the individual.
Since then, I have gone even further on the other side of the table. Then, I at least had the excuse that I was merely following the procedures of the organization. Now, I am on my own and randomly picking people up is not an option! So, consciously or unconsciously, I am developing cues on my own. They are of course not going to be correct all the time. It would be interesting to hear people’s views on some of these things. [But please don’t take anything written here personally].
- When I see everything from C, C++, Java, php, perl, html, ajax, asp .Net, Database etc. etc. in skill sets, I generally leave such profiles out. Unless there is a very strong looking project, or exceptional academic performance in the profile. If one claims expertise in everything, I am absolutely not sure which ones can he/she actually do.
- If there are projects with fancy sounding names, but no description, I am generally skeptical about the profile.
- Cover letter/e-mail does not matter, except if it is written in a bad language, in which case it is a negative. Flamboyant cover letter is not a positive.
- Something that sounds like an attempt to glorify things unnecessarily is a put off. Not just in resumes, but elsewhere too. Scanning social networks is a common practice. Somebody’s profile somewhere said that they work for a “leading software company” in a field where they were supposed to put the name of the company. It just made me skeptical. Heck! Working for a small company is not at all a negative for me. If anything, it is a positive. But not being comfortable about it tells me that you are doing it out of compulsion. I think even if I were a big company, I won’t feel good about it. As a small company, it makes the person a no-no.
One practice with resume, that is very useful (which I always practiced, but never thought consciously about) is to ensure that the contact number and e-mail id are on the top. Leave all the personal information for the end of the resume. But not these. Believe it or not, it is indeed painful, when you are trying to schedule an interview, to scroll down just to find that phone number.
And one thing that I strongly believed in earlier and continue to believe in is that length of the resume does not matter. Content is the king, with some intelligent placement of the things, of course. If you have content worth 3 pages, write a 3-page resume. If you have content worth only one page, do not strive to get into a second page. If you do have a 3-page resume, just ensure that the most important and eye-catching things are on the first page. You won’t be penalized because you exceeded the golden limit of 2 pages!
By the way, if you have been wondering about recessions and jobs and start-ups, my guess is that it is a good time to join or do a start-up. There is sufficient risk in the economy anyway, why not take a little more and be in a start-up!