Topics include: programming, Apple, Unix, gadgets, large-scale web sites and other nerdy stuff.

In praise of the one page resume.

2008-04-02 16:35:59

Steve Yegge has written up some great stuff about how to get hired. In particular, he's talking about how to get hired by at Google, and probably when he is interviewing you. But I think the advice would work at a lot of places, including where I work.

We've been interviewing a lot of candidates recently, so I'll offer my little bit of advice to the job seeker: cut your resume down to one page. I don't care who you are, or how much you've accomplished in your life. If you can't express your life's work in a one-page summary, you either:

  1. Have an overinflated opinion of yourself and what you've done.

  2. Have no idea how distinguish the important from the trivial.

Either way, I won't want to work with you, for you, or have you work for me.

I was ranting about this today, holding up as an example a nice, clean 1-page resume of a college intern. "This is brilliant. One page. Everybody should have a one-page resume."

Paul said, "what if you're Steve Jobs?"

I don't care who you are. In fact, if you are Steve Jobs, this is your resume.

I'm Steve Jobs.

If you want to get all wordy, you could probably get away with:

I invented the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone, brought the music industry weeping to me at my feet, and am in the middle of taking over Disney. Who am I?

Back in reality, you might be saying, but I did all these things and I learned all this stuff. Guess what? You've either had a lot of jobs, and you've done one or two really interesting/difficult/awesome things at them, or you've had a few jobs, and you've done slightly more interesting/difficult/awesome things.

You should be able to summarize each interesting thing you've done in one sentence. Furthermore, I claim that you can't really do much more than 1 interesting thing per year. If you claim that you can, I think you and I have very different ideas about what "interesting" means. This summary sentence should be like a newspaper headline, something that will make me think "Gosh, that sounds really interesting, I must ask them more about it." Then we'll be able to talk about all the details about what made that thing hard or fun or really terrific. Your resume is bait, to get me on the hook.