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Resume Assistance

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MatP

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:06 am

Resume Assistance

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:

INTERESTS

• 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 :)
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dynamik

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:42 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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!
Last edited by dynamik on Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
The day you stop learning is the day you start becoming obsolete.
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sil

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:46 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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.
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Ketchup

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:35 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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MatP

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:57 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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!
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sil

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:29 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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
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yatz

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Post Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:35 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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

http://www.cio.com/article/598404/IT_Resumes_Think_Twice_About_the_Advice_You_ve_Been_Given

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.
"Live as though you would die tomorrow, learn as though you would live forever."

CCNA, MCSA, MCTS, Sec+, Net+, Linux+, CEH
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kaitooboro

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Post Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:10 am

Re: Resume Assistance

thank you
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MatP

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Post Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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 :)
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Xen

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Post Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:12 pm

Re: Resume Assistance

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.
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MatP

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Post Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:37 pm

Re: Resume Assistance

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).
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mallaigh

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Post Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Resume Assistance

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.
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MatP

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Post Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: Resume Assistance

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

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Post Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:23 pm

Re: Resume Assistance

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:

Experience
:
  • 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!!!
OSCP, GPEN, GWAPT, GSEC, CEH, CISSP
(aka H1t.M0nk3y)
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MatP

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Post Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:13 am

Re: Resume Assistance

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 :)
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