Archive for April, 2010

Don’t confuse “qualifications” with “skills assumed of everyone”

April 20, 2010

When employers are looking for candidates, the fact that you can tie your shoes and not pee in your pants are just assumed. You’d never see a job for a computer professional advertising:

  • Able to get to work on time
  • Knows to go to bathroom and not wet self
  • Can tell ass from hole in ground

So why do candidates put these sorts of filler bullets at the top of their resumes in sections called “Summary of Qualifications”?

  • Able to work well with others
  • Strong work ethic
  • Attention to detail
  • Quality-oriented
  • Dependable
  • Responsible
  • Results-oriented
  • Problem-solver
  • Interested in improving efficiency
  • Able to find innovative solutions
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and the Internet

If you are a professional in the computer field, every one of those bullets is assumed . Those are the price of admission, not selling points. Putting such vague mundane “qualifications” as the first thing in your resume says to the reader “I am completely average.”

Instead, tell about what makes you awesome, not average. Instead, your summary of qualifications should have bullets more like these:

  • Eight years experience in web development, using Perl, Java and Ruby on both Windows and Linux environments.
  • Expert in SQL databases, especially data migration between MySQL, PostgreSQL and MS SQL Server.
  • Designer of seven different e-commerce websites both with HTML/CSS and Ajax.

Bullets like those give specifics. They apply specifically to you, not just anyone like “detail-oriented” does. They make the reader take notice and want to know more. The details grab the attention.

What schools should be teaching IT students

April 18, 2010

This past Friday, I spoke at POSSCON on what schools should be teaching IT students. Here are the slides from the presentation.