Preparing CV/Resume

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#1
I asked a question about preparing a CV here and Bryan Goodrich asked in the chat box. I thought it would be good to have a broader question on CVs/resumes that had a permanent, searchable location (hence this thread).

bryangoodrich said:
Any suggestions or ideas on what I should include on my resume/cv? I'm going to start looking for jobs...
 

noetsi

Fortran must die
#2
The real question you should ask is, What is the purpose of my CV/Resume? Private organizations, the vast majority of them anyhow, are looking for very different things than academics and they won't be impressed by much of what thrills academics :p They usually want to know if you can do practical things they are interested in (of which creating useful presentations for non-academic audiences is vastly important, far more important than most skills learned in graduate school to them). :p
 

hlsmith

Not a robit
#3
I know you like to use profanity, so try to keep it to the necessary minimal amount.

noetsi, brings up a good point, when applying you may end up with countless versions of your CV. I would recommend setting up a system for naming them and tracking which you sent where. This will help you when you interview.
 

noetsi

Fortran must die
#5
I know you like to use profanity, so try to keep it to the necessary minimal amount.

noetsi, brings up a good point, when applying you may end up with countless versions of your CV. I would recommend setting up a system for naming them and tracking which you sent where. This will help you when you interview.
Yeah although I was generally too lazy to take this advice. At the least you should have a CV for academics and a resumee for work (mine are very different). Usually you want to limit resume's to a page because most are not going to look beyond a page. Knowing the company you send a resume off to is good advice, but not always easy to do unfortunately especially if its a large organization.
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#6
I think the aim of my inquiry was to get some ideas about what to include or how to market yourself. Of course, if you're applying an academic CV it's going to be a lot different than a business resume. The problem is, it is hard to market yourself to a business if you have no insight about the recruiter, because it's the person that's interviewing you that's going to make the real decisions. Yet, that person may no jack **** about your skill set! I don't mean like, "she doesn't know that I know statistics." I mean, she doesn't know statistics! lol

Seriously, my supervisor is putting together a job description for a position they want me to fill based on what I say. So suppose she interviews 5 great candidates, she wouldn't know how to interview them adequately or to parse the resumes for content because it'll be filled with Greek as far as she's concerned. I know that this isn't a unique case. People realize they need capable professionals that can perform business intelligence, but they don't actually understand the content of what that entails. How do you market yourself to that common denominator? You can't throw out there that you can do mixed effects models. They'll be like "huh?"

As for my resume, I'm thinking of doing a two column one similar to this: http://www.latextemplates.com/template/two-column-one-page-cv

I was thinking, it might be interesting to see how a word cloud of skills would look on a resume. I can weigh them myself by how important I think they are, but it could put a lot of information into limited space while still conveying information in a way that engages the reader, no? Would it look too unprofessional and turn them off? I'll try it out later. I've got the work experience (left column) and education sections done. I still need to know what would even go into the cloud and how to separate them. Do I give a computer skills vs stats skills section? How technical should I be? Would they really care in business that you can do logistic regression ("huh?!") versus just linear regressions in general? Would they even know wtf ANOVA is? lol On top of that, I've got a ton of GIS and spatial analysis or geostatistics abilities to offer, too. At this point, it's just how do you market technically unique and specific skills to an ignorant population?!
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#7
I had a few more thoughts

(1) I'm putting my LinkedIn url on my resume

(2) I think a word cloud, if done well, could both be a good marketing tool and present that you have some design/visualization skills. Could even color code 2 or 3 difference classes of words for different skill sets and give a legend :p

I want it to be one page and just provide the eye an easy trace to what it wants to read. Part of that will be good figure ground: controlling the display hierarchy to draw the eye to what is of first importance, then second importance, etc. The whole left side is going to include work summaries and the right side will give an overview of education. But what else would be good? Businesses don't care about your publications, generally. Do they really give a **** about your honor societies? I'm not an HR person. I don't do hiring, so I'm not sure what recruiters are really interested in seeing beyond the basics (work and education). I'm willing to be bold and unconventional! I mean ****, today a boring black and white resume is just another piece of paper. You gotta do something that markets you, and you certainly don't see good marketing as plain boring. Hmm, maybe I should put hot chicks on my resume. Sex sells lol
 

noetsi

Fortran must die
#8
I don't even know what a word cloud is for a resumee :p

I can only give my experience in the "real world." as a data analyst (it would be way too grand to call myself a statician although I ran most of the formal statistics in the organizations I worked at which is a comment on the state of stats in the US....). I think that it is a safe bet that no one who reads a resume will have any sense at all of statistics or what a statistician should know. As such they will essentially ignore any technical comments. One can try to list a wide range of different statistics run (and software which they may know of - but most likely not R) and hope that they are impressed by the quantity.

Alternately you can put what you know in practical terms. Rather than say you ran logistic models you can say you determined what were the key causes of failure in a system (or better can be linked logically to if an action makes money). Rather than say you run ARIMA say you ran analysis which determined whether a course of action led to more or less successful outcomes. The more complex the statistics the more you need to make the results concrete.

Two very useful skills based on my own experience to go with statistics (other than statistical software obviously) is 1) the ability to present your data in writing and orally to non-technical audiences and 2) SQl or other data extraction expertise. In every organization I worked at statistics or financial analysis required you to run sql to get the data before you ran any analysis. I suspect that is true of the vast majority of non-academic organizations.
 

hlsmith

Not a robit
#9
If they don't give a limit, I would throw the kitchen sink and more at them (in a aesthetically pleasing and concise way). Biosketch versions don't in my mind tell that much at all.

Do you know who will be interviewing you for your local job opportunity. If it is just a HR person, I would play up your already existing relationship to the project/department.
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#11
hlsmith, recruiters do NOT want to look at your life history. In business, they want to immediately know your worth to them and how to separate you from the other dozen or 500 candidates that are applying. A one page infographic is really where it's at lol

Noetsi, you make some good points about being able to describe what you've done, but you also need to water that down to line items they can read off easily. I just hate trying to make a list of software and **** as if that's the best thing. And btw, my last two jobs were partly sold on the fact that I'm an R user. It makes me stand out. If I knew SAS, I'd just be another SAS user they can look toward to point-and-click their way through the Enterprise Guide (which I hate that thing). Instead, they see me as an untouchable they can drop their problems on and produce analytics mathemagically lol
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#13
I decided to play around with some the visual hierarchy and figure ground (i.e., how things stand out). The content is far from complete. I'm just trying to control your eyes! Thoughts?

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/72101655/Mock Resume.pdf

You can see how I've used color and size to control what is important (visual hierarchy) while using alignment and space to create implicit modularity within the two column structures. Then the text boxes generate explicit modularity. In cartography, my professor taught us to do the "squint test." Look at the page with your eyes opened at different levels and see what stands out as you close and open your eyes. That's the visual hierarchy. It's what is distinct and guides your eyes.

My cartography class also taught me that what you create on the computer could be entirely different when you print it out, so before you ever feel confident about your design, print it out! You'll find the colors mean entirely different things when you put them on paper. You'll usually go through a number of color prints just to get it right. Even on a digital copy, the display matters, because Google pdf reader opens up the link for me, and it looks a lot different than when I view it in my local pdf reader. These are all things you'll want to be aware of if you take design seriously.
 

bugman

Super Moderator
#14
bryan, as for formatting (and I dont want to drop names here but), hadley wickhams cv looks great and is to the point. It might pay to look at the style of that one ( I can post you the link idf you like)
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#15
If you're going to drop the suggestion, you might as well drop the link! He's got a few different versions of his massive CV out there. Which, btw, there is no "to the point" when it's several pages long! lol
 

hlsmith

Not a robit
#17
Not a fan of those quasi-green text boxes on your resume. Reason, the mind is expecting one thing, then it is not there and has to interprete data in an unfamiliar looking format. I am big on pretty much giving the minds eye what it expects, otherwise it cannot run on autopilot, it stahls out and then digests in a less efficient manner. I am not on LSD, just trying to convey why it wouldn't work for me. I like being spoonfed.
 

noetsi

Fortran must die
#18
I am a fan of simplicity because I think employers have limited respect for overly cute or complex resumees. They are going to think 1) this person is trying to make up for a lack of qualifications or 2) way too cute/silly
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#19
@hlsmith, yeah whenever you do any explicit design structure, it should be limited. I could just keep the borders for each of those blocks, but that serves not additional purpose because alignment is sufficient (and implicit) to distinguish the block of text as subordinate to the job description. I never intended on keeping it. I was just toying around with the design.

@noetsi, I'm a fan of simplicity, too, except if you look at most resumes, they're designed to draw your eye to like 3 things: title, sections, bullets. That's it. Either you have too many bullets so that nothing stands out, then you have them as explicit design structures that should be the most **** important thing on your paper! Otherwise, you're relying on what? Section titles to keep the reader's interest? Even if you don't like my resume, the visual hierarchy is pretty direct: title, sections, job description, degrees. Even if you don't like it, you capture that information within seconds. You can put down my resume and know my degrees and what I've done. I'm even considering turning down the significance of the sections so. While they will stand out due to size, color always draws the eye more than any other contrast design structure (unless the text is really just that dominating in size!).
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#20
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/72101655/Mockup.pdf

Take this alteration. I turned off the coloring on the title and the sections to a light grey. Leaving black alone made them appear bold due to their size and really stand out. So I de-emphasized them by making them lighter shades of grey. They still stand out, but if you do the squint test now, you're basically only going to notice the job descriptions (increased font from 12 to 14) and the degrees (increased font from 10 to 11, but I would prefer 12; it messes up alignment at the moment). Oh, and I took off those blinding green boxes :p

Now the visual hierarchy is clearly the name, job descriptions, degrees. Those are, after all, the first 3 things I want them to see! I think this format presents that information in a way that even if they only looked at it for 3 seconds, they would get that information at a high level and can start formulating their own idea about me.

Something nobody probably notices, but I also changed the figure ground on the job summaries by italicizing the location. That summary are small details that do not get emphasized because it's something a recruiter would easily overlook. However, if they do look, then that use of italics will make the location stand out amongst the text. The alignment used on the dates (jobs) and degree types (education) not only defines the modularity of each block in those sections, but provides that information in an easy to identify way, if they want to look at it. Again, alignment is the figure ground whereas it does not stand out in the visual hierarchy. These are two of the most important design principals you can leverage. If you don't like italics, another option is a slightly different font. It will stand out to the eye, but if done well, the reader probably won't know why it stands out to them!

Ugh, and again the Google pdf reader makes it look terrible lol If you're giving a hard copy, you want to control the print job! Make it look how you want on print. Otherwise, you have to be careful about the digital version they're going to see, as an electronic document may not appear to them how you anticipate. That viewing is both machine and software specific!