The resume that wasn't (update pg. 2 / contract work?)

guarguar Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
For reference, here is my previous thread.

This is something I've been trying to remedy for a while, but I feel that it isn't something I'm going to fix on my own any time soon. So I'm back, again, to ask for everyone's help. My resume is terrible and no amount of critical thinking on my part has yet produced something I feel confident in providing to potential employers.

th_resume.png

I've talked with a friend and had a look at her resume, and even though we went to the same school and completed the same program, her's looks vastly better than anything I could scrounge up. I've been following some of the other job threads, so I've seen a few other resumes, and I know that I should be tailoring what I have to each job that I apply to, but to be honest, there isn't much I have to work with. I understand the importance of accomplishments over duties, but save for the few projects I have listed, there isn't much I can think of that would be relevant. And then there's the whole 'vast periods of time between jobs' issue. It's just an ugly situation, and I don't think I can turn this toad into something pretty.

guar on
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Posts

  • Moses555Moses555 Registered User
    edited September 2009
    My advice:

    I'm assuming you want a job in software, so lets focus on that. Your best qualifications for that are probably around your education, so spend more effort on that. Include your major or overall GPA if they are > 3. Expand on those projects (How did you create a cluster of PCs to process images? When you worked with a group, what role did you play, or what were your responsibilities?). Consider adding a list of relevant courses for the jobs you are intestested in.

    What sort of jobs are you targeting?

    Moses555 on
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  • futilityfutility Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    • Add job titles the fact that you were a manager at an icecream shop looks better and should stand out rather than just stating you worked at one
    • Give landscaping a description looks sad all on its lonesome
    • When do you expect to receive your certification


    maybe add references available upon request to bottom (centered) just to give it a nice finish

    futility on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Why did you choose not to elaborate on Harris Teeter or your Landscaping positions?

    Depending on how wide a net you are casting, listing commonly needed programs you have mastery over (Quickbooks, MS Word, Excel, Peoplesoft) can be a huge plus. If you ever, even once, had a leadership role at any of your positions it may be worthy of note providing you mention it in the proper way ("Chaired numerous group projects" or "Managed new associates and assisted with training.") etc.

    Enc on
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Switch to a "career skillset" format rather than chronological. It's obvious you're hiding unemployment gaps with it, but it lets you highlight your strong points. You do this especially if you have two skillsets, which we can argue you have. Your first one would be "Coding Experience" or "Technical Experience" or something. The other would be "Customer Relations" or something (and would include your retail experience.) You would still have dates, but they would be deemphasized.

    Next, get more goddamn creative. Landscaping has nothing under it. Did you "Manage 4-5 independent projects daily with no supervision or direction?" Perhaps you "Directed a crew of 4 other employees to accomplish short-term, daily projects as well as long-term seasonal projects?" Maybe you just "Worked within a team of 3 other employees..." to do the same as previous. You should be able to come up with that stuff, and if you can't you can hire someone to do it for you.

    Edit: Have two resumes. One which emphasizes your pure tech/coding experience. The other one you would use for things like tech support in a call center, and would also emphasize your customer relationship experience.

    Darkewolfe on
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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Enc wrote: »
    Why did you choose not to elaborate on Harris Teeter or your Landscaping positions?

    Depending on how wide a net you are casting, listing commonly needed programs you have mastery over (Quickbooks, MS Word, Excel, Peoplesoft) can be a huge plus. If you ever, even once, had a leadership role at any of your positions it may be worthy of note providing you mention it in the proper way ("Chaired numerous group projects" or "Managed new associates and assisted with training.") etc.

    Error here. Never ever ever ever say "Chaired numerous group projects." Put a number on that puppy. "Chaired seven group projects" or, "Chaired at least one group project a month."

    Put quantification on goddamn everything.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • ZeonZeon Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Get rid of the bullshit jobs, those make your resume look like crap and take up way too much space. Signs Now was for 9 months and then you have a huge gap in your employment history. Frosty's Icecream is a general bullshit retail job, its not interesting. I see right through your attempt to spice it up, and its still not interesting. Whats Harris Teeter? I have no idea what that is, but its your current job and you mention nothing at all about what youre doing. This is the most important part, your current or past job (if youve just recently been fired). If im hiring someone, i want to know what theyre doing right now, how it applies to what they want to be doing, and what skills theyre bringing with them. Sure its only been 5 months but if you cant think of anything great youve done in 5 months, i wouldnt hire you.

    You also need a softskills section, preferably right at the top. List all the softskills youre great at, whether its team work, learning, teaching, whatever. I know it sounds retarded, but think of it this way: If someone is hiring for a job and they know the person they hire is going to be working in a team, theyre going to see "Team Player" at the top and automatically read the rest, because you hit exactly what they were looking for, right at the top. Also, try and work the Computer Skills section into your job history or project history, because right now theyre also taking up valuable space.

    Also clean it up using bullet points and get rid of the spanning text everywhere. The entire middle/bottom section of your resume (The important section in your currently horrible layout) is almost impossible to read because your eye doesnt roam to the next relevant section. The way you have the text layed down, your eye naturally jumps all over the place, making it really hard to concentrate and pull relevant information for that mass of text.

    The best part of your resume is that its one page. Keep it like that, but expand on all the awesome things youve done, and dont be afraid to cut the garbage out of the education or previous jobs sections, because honestly, id rather hire someone straight out of school with no experience than someone who thinks their 12 hours a week at mcdonalds working drivethrough is amazing experience and hypes it up on their resume.

    Heres my example: http://unicorns.googlepages.com/resumesample.png

    You can steal my layout if you want. Notice how i sacrificed almost 50% of the page yet its still highly readable? Notice how i didnt include the fact i was a security guard for 2 months, or working as a hotel desk clerk (Which also included HR work, hiring/firing, etc), or working in a hardware store? None of those things are relevant to any new jobs id want to take. I also left out education, because i have none. Seeing "Graduated Highschool" wont impress anyone, id rather someone be curious enough to call me for an interview or just call to ask why its not there, rather than bin my resume because they arent looking for anyone without a degree. At least ive got my foot in the door at that point.

    If you really, really, really cannot write a solid resume on your own, there are resume writing services (try asking at the unemployment office in your town, they can direct you) that will talk to you, find out what youre good at and what youve done, and type up your resume right there. After that, you can just tweak it every time you get a new job or do something special. It generally costs between 50 and 100 dollars, and if you really suck at this, its probably worth it.

    Zeon on
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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Zeon, out of curiosity, what kind of hiring do you do?

    Darkewolfe on
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I read Knock 'em Dead Resumes (awesome book, they also have a great one on over letters), have gotten a lot of input from others, and ultimately came away with a good idea of how to write a resume. I've even gotten compliments from people who see it. I've gone ahead and edited the resumes to be pretty anonymous so that I can post them here.
    24y30y1.jpg


    2drt6dh.jpg
    (some entries aren't aligned anymore, what with the anonymizing I did)
    The first one is my go to layout and, depending on the job, I tailor what information I give and in what order it is given. The second one was made especially for a very specific job with very very specific requirements across a wide spectrum. I prefer the header on the second one much more. I wound up with about 8 different versions of resume 1 with different personal statements and what not.

    Notice the specific detail in job descriptions, that it fills the white space without seeming too full (the second one is border line, but they really needed a ton of info), the lack of "references available upon request" (but always have a separate reference sheet with you), the lack of a mission statement (instead we have a personal statement), the lack of dates on the second layout (not only are dates not important for that to a degree, but it would also work against me given a lot of this was done while in school, thus making me seem young before you meet me [which I am, but I wanted to avoid that]) and since it bears repeating, detail.
    I'm 23, never had a full time job, and recently graduated from college with a degree in Theatre (ensue the HR lulz). It's all about choosing the right words, fluffing but not lying, and recognizing the skills that you have and presenting them in the best way possible. You do have skills, and defining them is really something you can do better than us. What I love about my first layout is how I've worked in a skills section that allows me to go into with just enough depth to what my experience is outside of Job X.

    Improvolone on
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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    With that little experience, it would be my recommendation that you absolutely don't need a two page resume. If that's workin for you, though, hell, go for it.

    Darkewolfe on
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    With that little experience, it would be my recommendation that you absolutely don't need a two page resume. If that's workin for you, though, hell, go for it.

    I think this is to me but only out of confusion, those are two different resumes that I've used, not a single two page resume. From what I've heard and read, only serious professionals can get away with a two-page resume for the vast amount of major accomplishments they might have had.

    Improvolone on
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  • MctittlesMctittles Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    One other thing is that it's not set in stone how a resume has to be. Spice up header a bit with some graphics to make it more noticeable (but don't go overboard!). Some employers might like the extra effort to be creative. Again...just slightly creative, enough to make them look twice.

    Mctittles on
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    ...graphics?

    Improvolone on
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  • MctittlesMctittles Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    ...graphics?

    For sure. Black and white of course, but I've seen it done and looks nice. Unless you are submitting a form or something...

    Mctittles on
    I see what you did there last summer.
  • NaeblissNaebliss Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    This guy came to my school and lectured about making resume's for technical jobs. He works for microsoft and gives good advice. Here is his video presentation on resume's. He also has one on interviewing.

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  • futilityfutility Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    Mctittles wrote: »
    ...graphics?

    For sure. Black and white of course, but I've seen it done and looks nice. Unless you are submitting a form or something...

    only if it's a design job. I tend to giggle a bit at applicants who toss in excess stuff. Especially head shots. I HATE THOSE!

    futility on
  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I would avoid anything flashy on the resume, especially graphics. I'm gonna go against Xeon and say emphasize your computer related experience section. I'm a recent Comp Sci grad as well, and I structure my resume like this:

    Education: Major, GPA, Minor, maybe a very short list of your key classes, date of graduation, degree type.

    Work Experience: Everywhere you've worked for more than a few months that you think will give you a good reference. If it isn't related to your field or particularly impressive, don't waste more than 1 line on it. I'd say give your current position and you management position more attention.

    Skills: Basically a list of every programming language, technology, software package, and buzzword you've come into contact with through school or work. This include obvious stuff like MS office. You don't have to tell them you barely know anything about them on your resume, that's what a phone conversation is for. The point is you want to come up as a hit when they run their little database search for whatever obscure little skill even if you only worked with it for a week. At least you will get a phone call and a chance to make a good impression.

    Smurph on
  • ZeonZeon Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Smurph wrote: »
    I would avoid anything flashy on the resume, especially graphics. I'm gonna go against Xeon and say emphasize your computer related experience section. I'm a recent Comp Sci grad as well, and I structure my resume like this:

    Education: Major, GPA, Minor, maybe a very short list of your key classes, date of graduation, degree type.

    Work Experience: Everywhere you've worked for more than a few months that you think will give you a good reference. If it isn't related to your field or particularly impressive, don't waste more than 1 line on it. I'd say give your current position and you management position more attention.

    Skills: Basically a list of every programming language, technology, software package, and buzzword you've come into contact with through school or work. This include obvious stuff like MS office. You don't have to tell them you barely know anything about them on your resume, that's what a phone conversation is for. The point is you want to come up as a hit when they run their little database search for whatever obscure little skill even if you only worked with it for a week. At least you will get a phone call and a chance to make a good impression.

    I guess ill have to agree with you. I actually thought about it for a minute, and i guess in tech fields having a quick list of software youre capable of working with would be a plus. However it would still be a good idea to show practical examples of scenarios where youve used these software skills (Im talking more specifically programming languages at this point, no one is super interested in the time you set up a single linux box) Saying you developed an app that tracks billable hours that was actually used is more impressive than simply listing the name of a programming language or database app.

    As to what kind of hiring i used to do, at the Hotel i was tasked with interviewing and hiring a few of the maids as well as additional front desk help. At my current job (And i further redacted the resume i posted above just now, incase anyone noticed that, since i dont want this to possibly be public knowledge in the office), i was asked a few times to review resumes of potential hires for my department to get a short list of people to bring in. My fulltime position though has never been a hiring manager or anything like that.

    Zeon on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    As a rule of thumb, don't include un-related job experience unless if was in a management role. A real, formal management role.

    It just looks lame.

    Also, I am not too sure what exactly what kind of job you are going for... BECAUSE your resume doesn't say it... but I am always skeptical of the "Operating Systems" thing. To me it's like "ok I needed something to put in this space, so how about OS's, ok, great".

    If you are trying to be a network admin I suppose then it would be relevant, but you can certainly do without listing every goddamn version of Windows.


    And also the distinction between VC++ and regular C++.... I don't know because I'm not a C++ guy, but is that not more of less the same damn thing plus or minus a few libraries?

    To me, the worst thing you can do to a tech resume is pad. Any programmer worth his salt is going to spot padding and ask why you felt necessary to do it.

    Jasconius on
  • PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I would totally hire you to mow my law. :P I wouldn't hire you for a web or database job though, which I guess you'd rather have, but only because I read your other thread. You need to be more explicit in your goal with the resume.

    From my point of view: you've got a BS in CS(no idea what you actually studied), you're currently working on getting a certificate I've never heard of and the pursuit of which is apparently the second most important thing about you, you spent four years in school and all you did in your free time is cluster eee pcs to do basic image processing(???) and make a mysql/php model database(doesn't make sense).

    Okay so what I would want to see is your skillset and examples of your work. Describe your focus while getting your BS. I assume the mysql/php thing was a dynamic website but it's not clear, what was it exactly and what did it do? What was your role on the team? The cluster thing, you can word it differently, right now it sounds useless. Why do you need a cluster of slow netbooks to perform basic image processing? Make it sound more impressive and like it saves someone time performing a task. That kind of stuff is at least half my business: hey I can save you x man hours a month for $xxxx. Surely you worked on more projects during that time?

    Depending on the job you can pretty much drop the work experience section, I wouldn't care since it's all irrelevant but some more corporate type jobs would want a work history, with references.

    Best of luck.

    PracticalProblemSolver on
  • EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I have a question. I did two years of university and have nothing to show for it. How to make this look good?

    EskimoDave on
  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    EskimoDave wrote: »
    I have a question. I did two years of university and have nothing to show for it. How to make this look good?
    You really can't

    Unless you did something like get deployed or joined the Peace Corps or something after those two years of uni

    Rent on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    futility wrote: »
    Mctittles wrote: »
    ...graphics?

    For sure. Black and white of course, but I've seen it done and looks nice. Unless you are submitting a form or something...

    only if it's a design job. I tend to giggle a bit at applicants who toss in excess stuff. Especially head shots. I HATE THOSE!

    Eh, even for design jobs, unless the graphics are incredibly relevant and communicate critical information in a manner that couldn't have been done better with words you should avoid them.

    I mean, that's kind of the mark of a good designer - not throwing shit on a page just because it looks awesome. Granted, a good resume from a graphic designer most likely will not have been laid up in Word because design agencies are going to expect to see a good grasp of typography but at the same time they aren't going to have been laid up in Photoshop because design agencies also want to see evidence that the applicant isn't ridiculous.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I would not take Zeon's advice to get rid of your "crap" jobs on a resume.

    The hiring people will see that you had those jobs while you were in college. "Gaps" in your employment history don't really count if they're from one summer to the next.

    tsmvengy on
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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Zeon wrote: »
    Get rid of the bullshit jobs, those make your resume look like crap and take up way too much space. Signs Now was for 9 months and then you have a huge gap in your employment history. Frosty's Icecream is a general bullshit retail job, its not interesting. I see right through your attempt to spice it up, and its still not interesting.

    This seems like bad advice to me. Any work experiance is good experiance. The jobs don't really need to be interesting, they need to be practical and show your abilities. I'd show all of them but be sure to elaborate on any specific skills or qualifications the job added to your abilities. As someone who has hired for retail and white collar, seeing the random little jobs looks good and is expected. If you have 20 of them, that would be a problem. But four or five positions is generally what most applicants have, several of which are mundane, non-interesting jobs.

    The key is to showcase your abilities in your work history, not just where you have been. The more qualifications, skills, and management experiance you appear to have, the better your resume will look.
    Zeon wrote: »
    dont be afraid to cut the garbage out of the education or previous jobs sections, because honestly, id rather hire someone straight out of school with no experience than someone who thinks their 12 hours a week at mcdonalds working drivethrough is amazing experience and hypes it up on their resume.

    Working at a McDonalds and such while going to school looks great on a resume to me. It shows that you can perform well in school and work at the same time. If you had a bunch of jobs that were low-wage slave types that you jumped between frequently, then don't show them as you'll appear to be an inconsistent drifter. I'm usually quite leery of people who went through college with no work experiance. Most of them are out of touch with business expectations and professional people skills.

    Enc on
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    To you, but not to a lot of people. Working fast food or any non-skilled minimum wage job only proves to an employer that you have blood, drink water, and breath oxygen to survive. Not that you are a good worker.

    Jasconius on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I'd rather spent 45 mins to word the job description of burger flipper in a way that sounds like I had responsibility than have a lot of white space on the resume. If you can replace it with something better, awesome. Any job where you've had responsibility though is worth noting. If I sold concessions at a ball park, I handled $X in cash on a regular basis.

    Improvolone on
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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    When you're just out of college you put that shit on your resume because:

    1. It shows you have had a job and didn't get fired from it. That at least means the person scanning your resume can assume you can at least follow orders from people and gets something done.
    2. If you don't put them on, your resume is basically a blank page.

    I agree with Zeon that you shouldn't try to hype menial shit too much, but you should consider putting job titles on there if you were a manager at one of those places - that shows that someone saw that you were not a moron and could put some responsibility on your shoulders.

    tsmvengy on
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Also, not working during college isn't a bad thing, but working during college is a better thing (as long as your grades stayed up). I worked a little during college but if it came up, one of my reasons for leaving a job was that it was my final year in school, I was doing extra courses during the summer, and I just needed the time to focus on my other work and projects.

    Improvolone on
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  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Something about that format makes it difficult for me to read

    Hmm maybe I should post my resume too

    Shazkar Shadowstorm on
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  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I'd say what really hurts the OP's chances is an utter lack of any internship or co-op related to software engineering. I would say probably 85% of the people I graduated with had done some kind of intern work at some point, even if it was as an assistant to a professor or basic IT stuff at some local insurance company. It shows that you were actually hired at some point to do software related stuff, so any future hiring manager won't be the first person to hire you. I know some people who actually did internships after graduating before starting a real full time job. This is something I would look into. With your resume you may not be beating out other CS grads for jobs but you should be able to beat out some sophomore for a decent internship and then maybe flip that into a job.

    Smurph on
  • guarguar Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Smurph wrote: »
    I'd say what really hurts the OP's chances is an utter lack of any internship or co-op related to software engineering. I would say probably 85% of the people I graduated with had done some kind of intern work at some point, even if it was as an assistant to a professor or basic IT stuff at some local insurance company. It shows that you were actually hired at some point to do software related stuff, so any future hiring manager won't be the first person to hire you. I know some people who actually did internships after graduating before starting a real full time job. This is something I would look into. With your resume you may not be beating out other CS grads for jobs but you should be able to beat out some sophomore for a decent internship and then maybe flip that into a job.

    This is an awesome suggestion, save for one thing. I'm not sure how common paid internships are, or even how much they pay, but it would have to be pretty significant to what I'm making now (olol minimum wage) for me to consider it.

    I'm also reworking my resume and will post the results whenever I manage to finish it.

    guar on
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Paid internships can range from $12 to $28 per hour.

    Demerdar on
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  • guarguar Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    That is pretty significant.

    guar on
  • CyvrosCyvros London 1965Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I've got a quick question: should referee details never be on a resume? I've been taught that they should be (books, plus my mother used to be in HR), but everywhere online now, it's 'don't put your referees on your resume'. Have things just changed, or does this differ between industries/job types?

    Cyvros on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Things have changed according to the Knock 'em Dead books and dozens of articles on Lifehacker. No one is calling your references untill you've already been interviewed. I'm sure your mom will even say that.

    Improvolone on
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  • CyvrosCyvros London 1965Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Ah, thanks. Saves me some space. I've got another question - I'm currently doing a grad cert, and have a base BA. This would imply that I have done my high school (over here, the Victorian Certificate of Education). So do I need to list that I've done my VCE?

    e: One more - multiple phone numbers. Can I list a landline and a mobile (because my mobile's off while I'm in class)?

    Cyvros on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2009
    I can't see why that would be a problem. Make sure you have a professional and courteous voice mail on both phones though.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • guarguar Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Here's a revised copy:

    th_resume2.png

    ed: Is the formatting better? Still a bit too cluttered?

    guar on
  • DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User
    edited October 2009
    What are people in here's opinions on the objective statement? I've heard both "don't bother with one, that's what your cover letter is for" and "definitely, that lets them know right away what you're all about".

    DeathPrawn on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I think it's a dated concept, especially in modern professional work. I could be wrong but to me the objective line hearkens to a scenario where a hiring manager is pouring over numerous applications for a variety of positions such as in a department store or other retail venue.

    Generally speaking, your cover letter should knock that out.

    Jasconius on
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