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Deconstructing the Résumé
In the previous chapter, we told you what makes a good résumé, and it was things like conciseness, structure, accomplishments, and so on. But seeing a bunch of A1 résumés does you only so much good.
In this chapter, I’ll show you two mediocre résumés and one great one. We’ll walk through what’s good and bad about all three. You will develop a more trained eye to evaluate a résumé and will be better able to apply this thought process to your own résumé.
Though names and some identifying details have been changed, these are all real résumés from real candidates.
Please note: Due to limitations of page size, we will not review the length of the résumé or the formatting. Additionally, for brevity reasons, we have included only excerpts of résumé sections.
Deconstructing the Résumé 79
Résumé A: Bill Jobs
Seeking a full-time position as a software engineer where I can contribute to the success of the company.
University of Maryland: Aug. 2008 – Dec. 2010
Master of Science, Computer Science (GPA: 3.93/4.0)
India Institute of Technology: Aug. 2002 – Jun. 2006
Bachelor of Engineering, Computer Science (GPA: 3.7/4.0)
Database: MySQL, Oracle Server: Apache, Tomcat Source Control: SVN/CVS
Platform: Linux, Windows Vista/XP, OS390
University of Maryland. College Park, MD ( Jan. 2010 – Sept. 2010)
Implemented back end using Java Servlets. Implemented Servlets to manipulate weather buoy data and generate XML
for Fusion Chart to visualize data.
1. This objective doesn’t add anything. All it speciﬁes is that the candidate is looking for a software engineering position, which should be obvious.
2. The candidate has seemingly listed every technology he’s worked with. Most companies don’t care at this level, especially the “top” companies.
3. This extensive list also raises the question of how comfortable he is with them. Will he be able to tackle questions of these topics?
4. These descriptions are very vague—I can’t get a good handle on what exactly he did. What was the goal? What did he accomplish?
80 The Google Résumé
(Résumé A continued)
Wrote Java scripts to provide rich and dynamic user interface.
Assisted in setting up Tomcat server on Linux.
Around Circa, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA. ( July 2009 – Jan. 2010)
Web Developer, Intern
Designed and implemented SMS service, which allows user to access available online services such as search, connect, and registration through mobile. Implemented the back-end logic using Java Servlet.
Designed and implemented real-time analytics using JSP Report Maker and Fusion Chart that generates reports and provides visualization of real-time data. Implemented Hibernate mapping and Java classes to provide clean interface for interacting with database.
Utilized JQuery and AJAX to provide dynamic and interactive user interface. Designed and created MySQL database and also wrote PHP script to populate the database with test data.
Built Restful API, which allows our IPHONE application to interact with the backend.
Developed blog poster using PHP for posting blog on company web site.
Remote Method Invocation System
5. Additionally, setting up a piece of software is hardly an accom-plishment compared to other graduate work.
6. He’s listed a lot of items here under his job. When you list this many, it almost certainly means that you have a lot of junk mixed in.
7. Again, the descriptions are vague. Language like “Implement the back-end logic, which generates a diagram based on a sequence of rules” could be a bit clearer.
8. On the bright side, Bill does know to focus on his accomplish-ments rather than his responsibilities, which is good.
9. Bill’s project descriptions are excellent. They provide just the right amount of detail to be useful, without over-
whelming the reader.
Deconstructing the Résumé 81
Based on classical stub-skeleton design for communication between client and serv-ers, this system takes description of remote object interfaces in form of Interface
Deﬁ nition Language (IDL) and generates stub and skeleton which provides commu-nication support to invoke remote object.
Distributed Hash Table (Language/ Platform: Java/Linux)
Successfully implemented Distributed Hash Table based on chord lookup protocol, Chord protocol is one solution for con-necting the peers of a P2P network. Chord consistently maps a key onto a node.
Information Retrieval System (Language/Platform: Java/Linux) Developed an indexer to index corpus of ﬁ le and a Query Processor to process the Boolean query. The Query Processor out-puts the ﬁ le name, title, line number, and word position. Implemented using Java API such as serialization and collections (Sortedset, Hashmaps).
Won Star Associate Award at Capgemini for outstanding performance.
Received client appreciation for increas-ing productivity by developing Batch
Stat Automation tool.
10.The one thing that would make this slightly stronger is for Bill to list the dates of the projects.
11.He’s listed an award, but he hasn’t explained the signiﬁcance. What is Capgemini? What’s the award for, and
how competitive is it?
12. Bill mentions that he increased productivity, but by how much? Quantifying his accom-
plishment would help.
82 The Google Résumé
This is very much a mediocre résumé. It’s well structured and easy to read, but I have trouble understanding a lot of his work experience. More elaboration and context behind his accomplishments would make them more real.
Résumé B: Steve Gates
To work in a mutually beneﬁ cial environ-ment where I can utilize my experience and hardworking nature to overcome obstacles and ensure on time quality deliverable at the same time learn in a highly competitive environment.
Project Management and Delivery Strong verbal/written communication Schedule estimation and administration
New partner engagement and relationship management
Cross-group collaboration Contract negotiation
Microsoft Corporation. Redmond, WA (2007–2010)
Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Windows
Managed release cycle of shell
1. Again, this is a ﬂuff objective. Most objectives are. Don’t list an objec-tive unless you need to.
2. Oh, well, if Steve says he has strong verbal/ written communication, it must be true! Unless you have just oodles of space and nothing to do with them, I’d suggest leaving off these “soft skills,” since they’re completely subjective.
3. Steve’s bullets are, by and large, responsibili-ties. The difference is in stating the outcome. “Managed release cycle and reduced alpha-
to-market time by 23%”—now that’s an