Making a first impression

When applying for a job, the standard thing to do is to submit a resumé and that becomes the first impression that a potential employer has of a candidate. Many years ago I came up with a basic, clean format for my resumé and periodically have updated it (luckily not lately), just in case I needed it. While I’m not sure a resumé ever helped me get a job (I was referred by a friend to the one job that I landed where I submitted a resumé), I’ve been in the position that I’ve had to read resumés of potential candidates. I look for a number of things on resumés to see if the candidate is worth pursuing. These include the basics like:

  • Does each job tell me what the candidate did?
  • How much experience does the candidate have in a particular field? Lately, it has been iOS and Objective-C.
  • Has the candidate worked on a team? What was the candidate’s role on the team?
  • Has the candidate switched jobs a lot?

And the not so basics:

  • Is the resumé clean and professional looking? I like to see PDF resumés as I don’t use Word and formatting gets messed up with Pages.
  • Are there spelling errors?
  • Is proper grammar used? While no one is perfect, I know that I spend a lot of time on the 1-2 pages of a resumé; I expect others to do the same if if grammar isn’t a strong trait, then the candidate should ask for help in reviewing it.

Some people will say that I’m too nitpicky, but I’m in a field where attention to detail really matters. I recently saw “Got familiar with xxx” as a bullet item on a resumé. That strikes me as someone that didn’t spend enough time wordsmithing or didn’t have a good grasp of the language.

There are also some things you should leave off a resumé. In the current era where everyone has an app or two, I see people list how many apps they have. One went as far as to say he worked on 50 apps. Going back to my list above, I looked for how long this person worked at a company and then did a rough calculation that he put out 1 app every 9 days of employment. While the candidate might have thought that the quantity of apps was important, it turns out to be a negative in my book as 9 days isn’t enough time to write a quality app (granted some apps were probably cookie cutter and different content put in).

I remember in the past my father making sure he put his resumé on the right paper stock just to make a good impression. He put so much effort into his resumé that when it came time for me to do a resumé, I tried my hardest to make it my best work. In modern days, people rarely send in paper resumés, so they have to do different things to make a good first impression. I wish more people would spend time polishing their first impressions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.