I figure there is plenty of information out there about how to write a good resume, so I thought I'd do the reverse: Tell you how to write a bad one.

Tip #1: List every language you've ever written a line of code in (even if it was just commenting code). You've wrestled with some of the most obscure programming languages known to man; you're not going to be scared by some trivial C code! Check these out:

Languages: Basic, E*, C, C++, Modula-2, Miranda, SR, Prolog, Java, Pascal, AREXX, SQL, Perl, JavaScript, Assembler, C#, VB, J#, Python.

(* BTW - anyone remember the "E" language that was popular on the Amiga for a while? 150 bonus nerd points if you do!)

Tip #2: You've been using computers since they were known as abacuses, and you'll make sure that no matter what the reader's favorite OS is, you're all over it:

Platforms: VMS, Vic20, C64, C128, Amiga (all versions of Workbench), MSDOS, Windows3.1 / 95 / Me / 98 / NT4 / 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista / CE, SunOS, Irix, Linux (all distributions), HPUX, BeOS, Mac OS9 / OSX.

Tip #3: Don't forget the buzzwords - typical newbie mistake! How is the reader going to realize that you "know XML" if you don't tell them?! Ever used a browser? - better list HTTP! The key here is to not leave anything out - you don't want to lose the opportunity just because you forgot to list a protocol variant.

Technologies/Concepts/Methodologies: SOAP, XML / XSL / XSLT, HTML, xHTML, DHTML, Web Services, WSDL, OOP, Functional Programming, AJAX, Web2.0, TDD, Extreme Programming, CGI… [wait, let me catch my breath…..], Cookies, HTTP, SSL, FTP, SMTP, Client/Server, TCP/IP, SSH, Telnet, WWW.

At this point, the hiring manager should already be sold. You know pretty much everything there is to know about anything related to a transistor, and some things about vacuum tubes as well. The only thing left is to sprinkle with some real world experience:

Tip #4: Tell them what you did in your last job. No… I mean, really tell them!

Previous employment: Developed the software that drives Cyberdine System's worldwide operations. Responsibilities included: Requirements gathering, writing specs, coding, testing, leading a team, project management, scheduling, code reviews, sales, marketing, and legal matters.

It doesn't matter that it was a team of 50 people. You worked as a team, you can all take credit for it.


Okay, perhaps that's enough, I think I spilled some sarcasm on the keyboard… But I'm hoping you get the point. I read a lot of resumes that just blindly list every skill they've acquired in 10 years in the industry. It's a great achievement, but it's not helpful when reading the resume.

Think to yourself: If you were hiring for this job, what would you want to hear?
Got any Dos/Don'ts you want to share? Throw in a comment.