Résumé Reviews

This week, I am working on résumé reviews for my apprentices.  It’s interesting, as they’re getting feedback with regards to content and layout.  I’m curious to see what others have to say.

These are some of the things I usually advise:

  • Put your skills in a section up top.  This section makes it easier to get past the Buzzwords Bingo that HR seems to play in an HR screening.  It also makes it easier for an overworked hiring manager to filter out candidates.
  • If you have a career change, don’t be quick to discard the previous experience.  While it may seem irrelevant, there are people skills, soft skills, and general business skills that are most likely relevant.
  • Only put content on there that you feel comfortable being questioned about.  If I as a hiring manager see “Dependency Injection” in your skill set, I will ask you about it, especially if I suspect you aren’t strong on it.  You never know if it’s an HR person or a hiring manager reading it – so be prepared for questions from both ends.
  • Don’t list your GPAs unless you are just graduating college and do not have significant work experience.
  • If you graduated so long ago that you feel your graduation date is going to make you dismissed by age, it is fine to leave the years off the résumé.  Be prepared to include them on the formal job application and background check paperwork.
  • Be consistent with headers, alignment, and wording.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.

What are your résumé tips that you give juniors who are just getting into the field?

Chinese New Year!

This week’s post is a departure from geekery in a nod to culture.

恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái)

February 19 marked the start of a new year – the year of the Wood Sheep.  While we did not do anything super special to celebrate on Thursday, we were able to catch a Lion Dance today, despite the disastrous white snowpacolypse on the highways.

Lion Dance 2015 at Li Wah

Lion Dance 2015 at Li Wah

It was great to enjoy family time and give my sons exposure to some of their heritage.

To those of you who follow along and celebrate – may you have a prosperous year ahead!


I’m feeling extremely irritated today.

Conference room squatters…
and those of you who create calendar conflicts because you’re too busy to check the calendars you have access to…
people who don’t know how to drive on highways with semis…
people who don’t know how to merge on highways…

One of my geek idols put it properly in his PAX East 2010 Keynote

(which I caught in-person!)…


Seriously, let’s all agree to be nice to each other so that our days are happier.

(Look… I took my pic with him! That’s him in person and not a cardboard cutout!)

Sarah & Kevin Dutkiewicz and Wil Wheaton

Sarah & Kevin Dutkiewicz and Wil Wheaton

Hackathon and Conference Planning

These are my thoughts currently…

  • The NASA Space Apps Challenge is on April 10-12.  It’s now about 2 months away, and we still have no idea what the challenges are.  Why is this unnerving?  How can I boost community involvement when I don’t have current data to work with?  I need to sell this thing with past years’ experiences. I hope the challenges that are posted can reel in more involvement.
  • The Stir Trek call for submissions is closing soon.  Soon enough we’ll have to vote on submissions, narrowing our suggestions to 5 per track from a group of 20-40 submissions per track.  Why does this seem so daunting each time?
  • For as many conferences as I’ve organized, I have very little to do with the hackathon (Space Apps challenge) other than community promotion.  But yet, this one weighs heavier on me than any other conference in the past.


On Technical Paths…

Today, my apprentices had the opportunity to listen to others talk about the various paths in the technical realm.  While I missed this discussion, the topic did make me reflect back on my own path.

The path I took went like this:

  • Programmer – hobbyist
  • Editor – national student publication
  • Internships – programming
  • IT support in academia
  • Tech support/management for an Internet provider
  • Systems support/database administrator/programmer for manufacturing
  • Web development for an electronic media company
  • Published author and tech editor of a technical book
  • Independent consultant / conference organizer / speaker / community advocate

If you had told me that my career would take this path, I wouldn’t believe it.  However, it’s truly been a labor of love, and I look forward to the journey ahead.