Over the last couple of months, I have seen and received more staffing requisitions than I have for the entire year. While that sounds well and good, it means about as much as wanting to date the hottest person in town - unless you got what they want, you aren't getting anywhere. Companies are so extremely selective on whom they hire, and while that is certainly frustrating to me, and to my candidates desirous of securing employment, it is a fact that we must accept.
As usual, and still, companies are fishing (for resumes) and if they catch the perfect fish…well, dinner is served, or in real terms, they might consider bringing in the candidate. But only the best catches will get plucked from the sea of resumes.
So let's talk about a few musts for your resume, and start with a simple assumption…every hiring manager knows what an AE does; the same applies to a SW developer, etc. What I mean is, everyone knows that an AE in part engages in benchmarks, demos, customer engagements, trade shows etc. DUH! While clearly this needs to be a part of your resume, it is not the detail that tells a hiring manager important details about your knowledge and experience. It is crucial to add essential information like specific areas of expertise, tools and language proficiencies, and specific accomplishments. The real skill is doing this in as few sentences as possible (bullets are better), and not to run on about your projects, experience, and knowledge. The fact is, it is the expertise in specific domains that matters.
Here are two examples… (Of saying virtually nothing)…
XYZ Company Applications Engineering/Customer Support 2003 - present
- Manage international applications engineering teams for two global accounts. Teams located in US, Israel and India; conducted frequent travel within US and to Israel and India.
- Work closely with sales team during discovery, benchmark, pilot, deployment and growth phases.
- Grew responsible accounts from zero and <$1M to $10M and $8M annual revenue, respectively.
- Worldwide product-line lead for Design Planning - field representative for design planning products to R&D, CAE and marketing. Coordinate field engagement efforts and resources.
- Conducted tool evaluations to demonstrate capabilities and value. Resulted in integration into design flow and increased tool usage; provided post-sales support to ensure customer success.
- Program managed medium-sized engagements, which included tasks of customer expectation setting, project reviews, business/risk assessment, issue resolution and project wrap-up.
- Assisted in sales process by discovering customer needs, crafting solutions, presenting proposals and writing statements of work.
I cannot tell you how many resumes run on and on and say nothing of the candidates specific work experience. Details are the sizzle and are absolutely essential for a hiring manager to read when considering the quality of the candidate.
Try this, take your name off the top of your resume and ask yourself, would you hire this person based solely on what is on this resume? You must look at your resume from the perspective of knowing nothing about yourself. Does your resume tell your story? Never assume your 10 years of R&D experience at Synopsys alone, tells anything about you. Just because you worked in Verification as an AE for 5 years, does not automatically qualify you as an outstanding AE. But when you add what kinds of designs were verified, what tools you utilized (specify the company, the tools, what the tool does when listing tools, etc,) then the story becomes compelling.
I cannot tell you how many resumes I struggle with trying to figure out if the candidate is an AE or in R&D. Your resume must clearly state, "who you are and what you do."
And when I say list tools and languages, rank them in order of proficiencies, and state the tools as follows…for example…
Real Intent PureTime Constraints and Validation and Formal Verification Suite.
TannerEDA LEdit Pro Layout and Verification
ATOPTECH's Aprisa Timing/SI-aware Global Router
Altos Library Characterization tools from (Liberate/Variety/MX/LV)
Emulation - EVE Zebu emulator
Apache Red Hawk Power Integrity
Synopsys Synplify (Synplicity) FPGA Implementation and Rapid Prototyping
Cadence Virtuoso Layout Suite
NEVER ASSUME A HIRING MANAGER KNOWS THE COMPANY, OR NAME OF A TOOL, AND WHAT IT DOES! TALK FUNCTIONALITY!
Add clear lines about your specific areas of expertise, using words (where applicable) like… Layout, DRC LVS, Circuit simulation, Formal Verification, Synthesis or Physical Synthesis, P&R, Floorplan, etc. DO NOT LIST EVERYTHING YOU EVER DID. List the Languages you know by descending order of strength, or state your proficiencies. Say you used Spice in college, and now 10 years later you are a Functional Verification person, play to your strength. It muddies the waters and takes away from your strength - you come off as knowing everything. Speak strongly to your strengths, and make light of other areas you have worked. For the most part, a P&R company could care less about your simulation spice experience, though it might be nice to know you have some knowledge.
Remember, HR people frequently are reviewing and making "first pass" decisions. If they do not clearly see the keywords in your resume, that they have been trained to look for, your resume will not get a second look.
I am often asked how long should a resume be, and what I can tell you is this; your resume will typically get 30-60 seconds of review. If they do not see anything compelling right off the bat, they will move on to the next resume, and you will be placed in the "B" or worse "C" pile. Typically, if you have worked in 2 companies, include an Objective, a Summary, Education, and all that I suggested above, your resume should fill (give or take a little) 2 pages. If you were hiring you, what would you want to see on the front page? The answer is "What can you do for me now?"
Please feel free to call me anytime, as I am always happy to help.
Lastly, I want to thank and respond to some of the comments from my last column…
One comment was about dressing for the part…
The computer programming world reinvented dress codes for the office. I remember being VP of Marketing and Development for the biggest Internet site development company in the country in 1997. We were red hot, and I was shocked how the programmers came dressed, and the flexible work hours allowed. They strolled in at 10 or 11 in boxer shorts, and stayed till midnight. Point is, you must go with what works for the specific company you are trying to get to hire you, and if that means dressing a little better, so be it.
Certainly you always need to look your best for an interview. As for LINKEDIN, it is a helpful tool, but only one of many. What it is, is a great place to connect, but for me as a Professional Recruiter, nothing takes the place of person to person calling all day; I'm referring to calls to companies and calls to recruit candidates. We do recruiting the old fashioned way; we work it!
Last my friend Mike Demler disagreed with my statement about having your resume ready to go on a moments notice. Mike, I still stand by my suggestion, but his point is well taken. I do agree that it is often necessary to fine-tune your resume to a specific company, making sure you accentuate your specific skills that tie in to what that company needs. It is much easier to make a few modifications to an existing "ready to go" resume, than to start the process of totally updating your resume. Resumes must be ready to go, the minute opportunity calls, and if a few modifications are necessary, you can do that in no time flat.