John, a veteran IT project manager and software developer from California, wants to know why is resume isn’t getting him in the door for more interviews. In this, the last of our three-part series where recruiters and hiring managers sit down with John to provide their feedback, two managers and a senior recruiter from Seattle-based cloud company Azaleos took a look.
Our full series on John’s resume critique:
- Part I: Karla Baierl, Hiring Manager for SysLogic
- Part II: Erik Wieland, IT Services Dir., UCSF Dept. of Medicine
- Part III: Azaleos’ Vice President of Engineering, Program Management Director and Senior Recruiter.
The managers were Vice President of Engineering Patrick Naughton; Director of Program Management John Allan; and Senior Recruiter Christine Novak.
10,000 Foot View
As had other reviewers, the Azaelos managers stressed how John could easily expand his resume to two pages, and that he should work with more than a single, general document: They’d like to see a product manager resume that pulls in all his relevant PM experience, and a separate one for software development positions.
“New graduates list everything they want to do and that dilutes what they want to do,” says Novak, who conducted a video-conference interview with John to discuss the marked up resumes submitted by Naughton and Allan.
Down to the Nitty Gritty
Naughton, vice president of engineering, layered on a few more comments than Allan, so we’ll dive into his critique first:
Here are the comments, by the numbers.
1: What type of role do you want?
It can be confusing for a hiring manager to determine whether John wants to be an IT project manager or a software developer.
2: Adjectives like “progressive” are meaningless.
3: The summary should address two points.
- An explanation about why Festivalware was being relaunched as a .NET platform.
- The circled summary could be a separate paragraph titled “notable achievements.” In it, John’s master’s degree in computer science should be listed among the three bullet points.
4: Not sure, wants more of a full summary.
5: Asks for a description of V&V.
“If V&V is only known to people at this company, then you need to say what it is,” Novak explains.
6: Describe in greater detail the tasks and accomplishments achieved during the two years at the New Jersey company.
“You were there for two years and you only did one thing?” Novak asked.
7, 8, and 9: Removed extraneous words.
10: Change the word “connectivity” to better lingo, like “downtime.”
11: Include impact of event: What happened at the festival and how many people attended?
12: Two of John’s jobs overlapped, based on the time period.
“A better way to explain this overlap is to explain you worked at two companies, and one was a start-up you founded. It shows this guy knows how to work his ass off and is ambitious,” Novak says. “Also, when you’re VP of engineering at a startup, you’re doing everything still, and that means you are still writing code.”
13: Hadoop skill needs more explanation.
“Hadoop is a specific system. Patrick and John both wanted to know which company you used it at, because none of your jobs would have required it. Did you really use it, or were you just exposed to Hadoop?” Novak asks. “You want to be seen and you want your resume collected, but you also need to be prepared to talk about it. If you don’t really know it, then don’t put it in your resume.”
Allan, Azaelos’ director of program management, offered several similar observations and added others.
1: John’s summary is too wordy.
2: Either underline all of the resume or not at all.
3: Poor font choices.
Use one font style and only bold your name, the names of employers, and the locations where you worked.
4: Based on previous experience, surprised Johnmoved up as a vice president. How large was the team you supervised?
5: Is the name of the organization you worked for really all in uppercase letters?
6: What is “provenance data?.”
7: JPG should be JPEG.
8: Questions the way object-oriented is referred to in reference to BASIC and Pascal.
9: Questions the description of SQL Server 2008 as a developer environment.
10: Correct spelling for SQL is upper case letters.
11: Questions where John used Hadoop, a similar issue as Naughton’s.
12: Too much information in introduction and not enough in work experience.
“Both hiring managers wanted to see more meat about each job,” Novack observes. As a measure of privacy, Novack advises John to remove his address from his resume, especially if he posts it online. She noted a telephone number, email address and city and state of residence are fine.
Throughout the three resume critique sessions, John repeatedly heard that he needs to elaborate on his experience and use a two-page resume. These hiring managers also wanted him to move his bullet point accomplishments, or reiterate them, under his professional experience at the companies or organizations where they occurred.
“Everyone wanted to see more about my accomplishments, what I did and where I did it,” John says. “Azaleos wanted to know where I did Hadoop and why. I did this for a system I worked on at [Dice deleted name of past employer], but I didn’t list it next to the company.”
John did receive some conflicting advice about his resume summary. In Part II, UCSF’s Wieland called it one of the best written summaries he’d ever seen, while Azaleos’ hiring managers felt it was too wordy or could be restructured.
Nonetheless, John plans to revise his resume based on the comments he’s received, and this time forgo paying a resume writing service as he did to largely create the one he used here.
If you’re interested in having your resume critiqued by recruiters and hiring managers, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We won’t use it until we speak to you personally, and will keep it confidential until you agree to participate.