Hiring managers (or whoever reviews resumes) typically divide resumes into different piles, usually an A, B, and C pile. Having a strong, well thought out, "easy to quickly get what you do" resume, may decide which pile your resume gets placed.
Pile A always gets looked at first, and if there are enough good resumes in PILE A, guess what, they may never get to the resumes in the B pile. All they usually know about you is what is on your resume. Don't make the mistake of ASSUMING someone can interpret your resume. TRUST ME, THEY CANNOT.
Imagine for a moment that in addition to all the work you have laid out for you in a day, you also have the additional responsibility of looking at 10-100 resumes a week. How much time do you think you will spend on each resume. Well, I can tell you that it can be many seconds to a few minutes, rarely more only happens when the resume is good enough to merit delving further, and ultimately placing it in PILE A. So here is some good advice that all of you should take to heart today, not later!
Always have your resume updated…you never know when that day you hoped would never comes, comes. You will want to be ready before the others who had your same fate, are ready to start sending out their resumes, and get the head start. Perhaps you will hear about something uniquely special, and want to get your name thrown in to the mix immediately. Perhaps I will call you and say "look at the opportunity I have,, lets move on it now…it may get filled quickly, so lets get it in fast".
The point is, you always want that precious document ready to go, so if you need it, it is ready to go with some quick polishing.
Write your resume to your strengths…not what you want to be or hope to be. Understand, that a formal verification expert can probably learn functional, but USUALLY a front- end synthesis guy won't be the best person for a back end P&R guy. Again, the point here is don't try to be everything, zone in to your strengths. And to you fresh grads, and teaching assistants, do not write your resume as if you have done everything. When the hiring manager QUICKLY reviews your resume, they have no idea of your real strength.
Companies use recruiters who know the value of sending a qualified resume. My resumes submissions get reviewed and considered, because when I send someone in they are (for the most part) the right fit for the right job. My submissions merit a good review and consideration. And that is because I make sure the resumes are right for the position. They get looked at because I send in the right type of candidates for the req, and hiring managers appreciate that I will not waste their time.
I cannot tell you how many resumes from GOOD PEOPLE come across my desk, and after all the years in this business, I cannot decipher whether the person develops or supports tools. (And believe me when I tell you, the best of engineers also are dazed and confused by the same). I cannot tell you how many resumes come across my desk, that do not say words like Place and Route, or Synthesis, or Layout, or Formal Verification, etc. They list technical jargon delving 10 levels down, so that unless the person reading it had EXPERT knowledge in that chip, (technology), they would have no clue what you do, ESPECIALLY HR or an unskilled recruiter. I cannot tell you how many resumes come across my desk that don't list a programming skill, or language. Don't you think that putting Verilog, or C or PERL or TCL etc is important? COME ON! The clearer your resume lists your skill sets and knowledge base; the more information you provide that is quickly understandable…- the more of a shot you have of getting in that A pile.
When writing a resume, think about the various specs you have either written or read, and write your resume as if you are answering them. I don't mean a separate resume for each spec, just think about how most specs are written. They might say Synthesis developer with knowledge of front end tool flows. They might say 3-5 years of Verilog, or C/C++. Think of the things you know and get them clearly on your resume. Don't bore the crap out of everyone with endless details of your project, no one cares! A typical spec asks (for example) for … an experienced IC front end tools developer with 3-5 years synthesis experience, expert knowledge of Verilog and VHDL, and coding in C. If you have all those skills in your resume beforehand, that will tell the story for any Synthesis developer req you answer, Obviously the same holds true for all front and back end skills.
In my opinion the worse resumes are from fresh grads. They make you think they know everything. They have done RF EM Analog simulation, P&R, Layout, Digital simulation, Synthesis and Formal Verification. They go in to list every Cadence and Synopsys tool they ever touched. If you must go there, list your proficiency from expert to knowledgeable, even familiar is OK.
FOLKS think about this. most of you (there are exceptions) have a detailed knowledge or could be considered "considerably knowledgeable, even expert" in very specific parts of the flow. You are USUALLY either front end or back, though some might have worked with, in both. Just remember, even if you have worked in numerous parts of the flow, always try and focus in on your strengths. It is OK to detail a "working knowledge" of, or a desire to…but hiring managers, for the most part, want people that can get to speed fast, and make an immediate contribution. That is always the candidate they will look for first, and always the one that makes the A pile, the Pile you always want to be in!