Resume Assistance

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    • #5427

      Hello 🙂

      I am currently working for a major automotive company, but the position is only a contract position and it ends in about a month. My manager would like to make it a full-time permanent position and is working on selling it to his managers who ultimately will be making the decision.

      In the event that he can’t convince management that security is important I will be out of work so I have started searching for a new job. I am mostly happy with my resume, however, I have a couple of questions.

      The first is that I can easily make it 3 or even 4 pages long and still relevant, but I assume this is too long for someone still just getting into the field and usually longer resumes are used only when applying for executive level positions (and even then 4 pages may be considered a little too long). So how long should it be? Is 3 pages too long? Or am I just worrying for nothing. I can work it down to 2 pages, I’m just wondering if that’s necessary.

      The second question is about including personal interests on a resume. Do you do it? If you’re an employer does it affect your decision at all? Most people who include it say that it shows employers that you’re well rounded but I get the feeling that employers don’t care if people can play the guitar or speak Japanese or whatever unless the position requires that. My personal interest section is a little bit more practical:


      • IT Security (IT Security mailing list)
      • Security Focus (Security Focus mailing list)
      • Security Now! (Security Now! podcast)
      • SANS NewsBites (SANS mailing list)
      • Schneier On Security (Crypto-Gram mailing list)
      • AEON Security Blog

      Clearly this doesn’t show that I’m well rounded but it shows that I keep current in the field. Is this something I should just abandon completely?

      Let me know what you think 🙂

    • #34288

      nihongo ga wakarimasu ka

      One page is typically ideal. You have to remember that the people that are reviewing resumes are often sifting through a large quantity of them. They’ll skim the first page and then move on. If you place some good information on subsequent pages, it may never get seen. There are obvious exceptions for, say, professionals with decades of experience.

      I’d leave the personal information off of it. You need to get a lot of important information in a limited space, so cut out as much fluff as you can. You should also include a cover letter that’s more of a personal introduction, and you could work some personal details into that if you feel it’s important that you make those points.

      ganbatte kudasai

      Edit: I meant to welcome you in your other thread, but I was too ashamed that I couldn’t think of a witty pun involving your name, so, welcome!

    • #34289

      This is how your approach should work… Sell yourself dang it. Forget about conventional ways (should it be 2 pages or 3). One, you’ve got your managers backing which means you’ve got a foot in the door. What you’d want to do is make a resume that makes BUSINESS sense to them. To do so, you need to highlight HOW security and a security based business role makes sense.

      E.g.: “Configured, deployed and maintained a security system that protected mission critical information.” or “Discovered and validated vulnerabilities in the customer database application which led to an immediate business impact and risk assessment analysis to minimize costs”

      You DON’T want to bore them with stuff they will already (usually) know, but you WANT to emphasize why it makes business sense to them. Think as a manager now, not as an employee. Because you stated the manager is backing you, the likelihood of you being able to play Bach on a Violin while eating Doritos would be pointless.

      Let’s look at it on a different note here and I’m borrowing from someone but can’t remember who, might have been Joe McCray… Think of it as a summary report. It should contain enough information for an executive to read while he’s on the toilet. Short, sweet and to the point.

    • #34290

      Something I was told a while back was to not concentrate on the job description.  Like Sil said, you have to make a business case for your employer to hire your.  You can do this by highlighting your accomplishments, rather than day to day tasks.  If you saved the company money but running a particular project, this is much more important to a recruiter.    I list all the interesting projects I have worked on, and make it a point to explain the impact of these, like Sil indicated. 

    • #34291

      Thank you both for your advice I appreciate it.

      sil, I suppose I wasn’t very clear in my first post so I will try to clarify it a little bit.

      My position didn’t exist before I started in May. My manager has been trying to convince his managers that security is absolutely necessary in a corporate environment and after a few months of discussion finally they approved a contract position so my boss could try to sell the position further.

      So basically it’s the position, rather than me, that needs to be sold. I have very little involvement in this process aside from doing my job as best as I can. Aside from my manager and the IT manager (who both definitely want to keep me) I don’t actually know who is involved, I only know there are another 2-3 people involved in the decision. I give my manager as I can to support the sale, but that is the extent of my involvement in this process (aside from just doing a good job each day).

      Anyway, hopefully that makes things a little more clear. The resume isn’t for my position here since as long as my manager can sell the position the job is mine. The resume is to submit to other companies so hopefully I can find something else very quickly in the event that my position is scrapped. I’m trying to avoid being unemployed for 2-3+ months.

      That being said, your advice in general is much appreciated and selling myself is certainly the approach I try to use when writing my resume for any job. Thank you for the response. Also, I like the idea of a resume being a “summary report” I’d never really thought of it that way but it’s definitely a good way to look at it!

      dynamik, I agree that it should be short, but I don’t think two pages is unreasonable. The way I see it, if they like my first page after quickly skimming it they will likely take a quick look at the second page too. Maybe I’m wrong here though. I know you don’t have a lot of time to make an impression but lets say it takes 10 seconds to skim each page, I don’t think 20 seconds is too much time if it’s a candidate they like.

      I will certainly leave the personal information out. I am starting to think you’re right about that, it’s not that important and it will help to reduce the length a little bit. I always write a cover letter but I don’t usually write them too personal beyond what is relevant for the job I’m applying for.

      Thanks for your response, I appreciate it. And no worries about not posting in my other thread lol 🙂 Thanks for the welcome!

    • #34292

      Alright, so I’ll expound a little now… My resume is a horrific 4-5 pages and is a combination of a bio along with detailed information (not bullets) about the work I do and have done. I chose to do it this way because 1) I get to include a cover-like intro with my interests, accomplishments and goals. 2) I get to give them a concise view of what I do and have done including equipment and or software in that environment.

      In my personal interests side (if I can call it that) I list my personal interest as it pertains to security which is job related. For example, where I am now, I created a VoIP based IPS out of fiddling, learning and trying to stop toll fraud. This is something that interested me personally, yet my company benefited from it. It shows more than say: “Interested in automobiles so I took mechanics class” know what I mean?

      So being I know a little more, I would say, it all depends on the position you’re targeting and who is getting the resume. The intro/bio/cover page should cover what it is you’re looking to accomplish and what have you done. Your work history in my opinion should be concise, e.g.:

      Intrusion Analyst 2005-2010
      Company Company

      Analysis of anomalous traffic, etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc etc., etc., etc., etc., .etc

      Environment: Snort IPS, Cisco 7xxx, Tipping Point IPS, Loglogic, nAble

      This allows you to detail what it was you did under what platforms and what software you used. Now, you’ll need to know who is getting the resume and how should it be done. For this, you could create two resumes… One bullet-point style and one technical if you have go beyond say a recruiter. E.g. meeting with an IT department director or manager: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, I have a technical resume which details more of my work if needed” and have that one on hand. Otherwise, if you send a purely technical resume to a recruiter, you’re likely to get the “deer in headlight” effect and have your resume overlooked/thrown away

    • #34293

      I read an article about this not too long ago.  Had to dig through my email a bit but I found it.

      Recruiters, professional resume writers and other career experts give out tons of advice on how best to write a resume  that will stand out from the competition. Their intentions are noble—they want to help people land jobs—but the problem with their advice is that it doesn’t always apply to IT professionals and the nature of the work they do, says Shana Westerman, a recruiting manager with IT staffing firm Sapphire Technologies.

    • #34294

      thank you

    • #34295

      Thanks for the advice sil, I think your approach is definitely better than what most people seem to suggest. It makes much more sense (especially after reading the very good article yatz posted).

      I really like the idea too of creating a more technical resume for the IT manager as well, I think that is something I will definitely be doing from this point forward.

      Going to be spending the entire day on my resume/applying for jobs tomorrow so I will definitely be working all the good advice into my resume 🙂

    • #34296

      I hope I’m not late. Do listen to Mike Murray and Lee Kushner’s Defcon presentation Career Mythbusters: Separating Fact from Fiction in your Information Security Career They made some great points and some of them will be useful for your interview too.

    • #34297

      Thank  you Equix3n-, I will give that a listen when I have some time 🙂

      I’ve submitted a bunch of resumes the past couple of days and will be submitting many more over the next few days.

      Thanks for all the advice 🙂 Hopefully it pays off and I find another job (or my current employer decides to extend my contract to a full-time position).

    • #34298

      I thought I would throw in a couple more things that might help.

      1) Reduce your margins.  There isn’t a rule you can’t reduce your page margins to say .5 inches (or 1.25cm).

      2) Only include relevant work experience.  I’ve seen a lot of people include various odd jobs on resumes.  If you are applying for a position in IT, they don’t care that worked the copy center during college.

      3) Under education.  Include any relevant course work if your degree isn’t directly related to position.  Don’t include your GPA, but if you graduated with Honors or Magna Cum Laude mention that.

    • #34299

      Thanks for the advice everyone, I have an interview scheduled for tomorrow, hopefully it goes well 🙂

    • #34300

      I know you are targeting a specific job, so the proposed ideas are probably good enough. But if you go in the wild, my opinion is quite different from the others…

      I am a consultant with 11 years of experience developing web applications in Java. My resume has been reviewed and reviewed again by many head hunters. And today, my resume is 17 page long, group by projects. Here is why:

      – Computers (no human!) search for resumes in huge databases. They are looking for keywords. They must all be in your resume. For example, “Scanning techniques”, “Scanners”, “Scans”, “Scanning Tools”, etc

      – When your resume gets finaly into the hands of a real person, they want to know 1) if you have experience with what they are looking for; 2) How much experience you have; 3) What you have accomplished with it. Like sil mentioned, it must make sense, business wise and not just technicaly.

      – People also like to see 1) You have lots of experience in what they are looking for and 2) You have lots of experience on other but related topics. For example, they are looking for a Windows Server 2008 admin, but they are happy to see that you have set up an active directory in the past.

      I have personaly reviewed many, many resumes and what stands out, is someone who go further than just doing its normal job. I mean someone who isn’t afraid of learning new things.

      In a 2-3 page resume listing what you know in a bullet format, how can an employer differentiates the one who “barely” knows something from the expert? For example:


      • Windows Server 2003
      • Windows Server 2008

      Compared with:

      Windows Server 2003:

      • Installed the operating system on 17 servers
      • Configured it to interact with…
      • Set up patch management…
      • Tighten security to protect against…
      • Wrote scripts to manage xyz on the server
      • etc

      Windows Server 2008:

      • One line description of a task 1
      • One line description of a task 2
      • One line description of a task 3
      • One line description of a task 4
      • etc

      (I am not a server admin, so my example may not reflect reality… )

      You get my point? These things take a lot of space, but if you compared the two list above, a manager will easily pick the second one for the first interview…

      Again, I have have reviewed many, many resumes so far and this work well for me.

      Good luck for your interview!!!

    • #34301

      Wow, 17 pages!!! That’s huge lol

      Thanks for the advice and for the good luck 🙂 Interview is in less than an hour, will let everyone know how it goes 🙂

    • #34302

      Well the interview went alright I guess. It was quite short, though it was a phone interview so it was basically just to determine who to bring in for a more in depth interview. He told me I’d be contacted within the next two weeks if they wanted to interview me in person.

      Hope I get the call 🙂

    • #34303

      @MatP wrote:

      Hope I get the call 🙂

      Ya know… I remember I had this one interview I had 3 years ago with this COOOL ass company. The initial interview went a little something like that… Brief intro thingie followed by – for lack of wanting to get too far into it: Interviewee Survivor.

      Yes ladies and gentleman, in order to make it through, one had to answer one, call, then another, then another, then another …. Went on like this for some time with this COOOL company.

      COOOL employee: “So on a scale of 1 through 10 where 10 is you wrote the book, how do you rate your networking skills”
      Me: Ten
      COOOL employee: And the ISBN is?
      Me: Huh? Ah you mean LITERALLY WROTE A BOOK. Well in that case a 9…

      Was an interesting interview however it was for hardcore systems clustering/admin/stuff which is not my forte although I’m familiar with HA, distributed computing, clustering. Just not on COOOL‘s PhD style terms. Needless to say… A lot of other things happened in the background where they came back and said… “Oh you… How about security digs…” California, etc., and this went on for some time. (5-6 weeks to be exact). I forgot what exactly happened at the end, they could have told me to piss off or I could have said no thanks, but I ended up using that as a bartering tool to get what I wanted at my existing company. Which was for MGMNT to STFU and let me do my job how I like doing it, courses, raise, etc., etc.

      Nowadays I think that I’ve somehow made wrong choices in not making moves, but sometimes there is more to this than money, otherwise I’d register an LLC and work for myself. I get to do a lot where I’m at… Good luck with the wait and try not to forget sending a follow-up thank you email if possible: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, etc, etc., shmooze shmooze. shmooze. I hope that I would be a good fit shmooze shmooze shmooze. I guess I should have emphasized that before in my previous post. Follow-ups help from time to time. Don’t be afraid to send a “thank you for taking the time” message and know something… Even if you DON’T get the job, you never will know what tomorrow might bring…

    • #34304

      @sil wrote:

      Even if you DON’T get the job, you never will know what tomorrow might bring…

      This is an excellent point. I was in the running for my current position, but I came in at #2. They told me they’d hold on to my resume and let me know if anything comes up in the future. I had to switch jobs in a short time-frame, so I pretty much wrote it off. A few weeks later I get a call out of the blue, “When can you start?”

    • #34305

      Sil, that’s hilarious!

    • #34306

      Wow, interesting story Sil! Not that I really have the experience to suggest this one way or the other, but I’d say as long as you’re happy with your job and what you’re doing then why make a move? Sure it could be good for your career short or long term but having a great career isn’t the only thing life is about.

      Anyway, I always send a “thank you” letter after an interview. Thanks for the advice though and the words of encouragement. It’s much appreciated!

    • #34307

      Don’t worry too much MatP. If you don’t get a call, then they are poor employers (I always call back, even if they didn’t get the job).

      Nothing happens without a reason! Who knows, you may meet the woman of your life in another position!  😉

      COOOL employee: “So on a scale of 1 through 10 where 10 is you wrote the book, how do you rate your networking skills”
      Me: Ten
      COOOL employee: And the ISBN is?
      Me: Huh? Ah you mean LITERALLY WROTE A BOOK. Well in that case a 9…

      LOL !!!  ;D Imagine if you would really have written a book, they would ahve been the ones saying: “Huh?”

      Nowadays I think that I’ve somehow made wrong choices in not making moves

      If you have chosen freely, than I believe it is better sometimes to make bad decisions than to make no decisions at all!  😉

    • #34308

      @H1t M0nk3y wrote:

      Don’t worry too much MatP. If you don’t get a call, then they are poor employers (I always call back, even if they didn’t get the job).

      Nothing happens without a reason! Who knows, you may meet the woman of your life in another position!  😉

      Yeah, I’ve never understood the whole “we’ll call you back if we want to interview you again”. I’ve always thought it to be more courteous to call back regardless.

      I’ve also had people tell me they call back regardless only to not call. Of course I call them. Twice the person who guaranteed me they would call me by a specific date went on vacation instead without calling me. I’d say that’s a little rude. Coincidentally both were government positions 😛

      As for meeting the woman of my life, I’ve already done that 🙂 But you’re right, there is a reason for everything and any time a door closes a new door is opening.

    • #34309

      ….or, for your sake, hopefully you fall into the situation I found myself this past February/March.

      I phone interviewed for a job over 800 miles away. The interview lasted about 30-45 minutes and seemed to go well. I never know if I hit it out of the park ’cause you know self doubt…..

      Anyway, three days later, I get a call from the HR contact telling me the offer would be in the mail the next day…

      Good luck! These things always work out for the best in the end… it synchronicity….

    • #34310

      Hi! So I haven’t been around to visit in some time but I wanted to say thank you again for all the help you’ve offered. I am finally starting my new job on the 29th! Can’t wait to be back to work either.

      Anyway, hopefully I’ll be around to comment/contribute a little more frequently.

    • #34311


    • #34312

      I’ve just gone through all the Posts & this has been really informative for me… thanks to the original poster who had the question in his mind & posted it here & thanks to you all I now know what I need to put in my Resume.

      I have been struggling with preparing a resume for the past few days now & I just found out the difference the Resume of a person in IT field compared to others. I’ll incorporate most of the things mentioned here & hopefully will be able to come up with a good descriptive & to the point resume. Thanks again everyone 🙂

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