What skills would impress you on a resume?

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#1 Yamis  Icon User is offline

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What skills would impress you on a resume?

Post icon  Posted 29 April 2011 - 11:16 AM

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Alright so I'm a 2nd year CS student with the advantage of having been programming since around 12. I just landed my first internship which I will be starting shortly. So I started wondering what I could be doing to make my resume look more attractive to companies. The obvious answer is more work experience and thats #1 on my list of things to do.

So the question I pose to you is this what are things that when you see them on someone's resume that they would jump out at you and give you the impression that the person is someone you would like to interview. Preferably things that I could achieve within 2 years but long term goals are good too.

btw this is my first post here and I'm pretty sure this is the right area if not many apologizes.

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#2 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 12:16 PM

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Things that would make me think this guy knows his stuff are:

  • Knows at least three different languages, preferably not of the same type. For example: C#, Python and Clojure. Well rounded.
  • Has submitted a patch or some sort of code to a recognized open source project.
  • Has created an open source project that is used by other developers. (Massive points for this one)
  • Has a technical blog where he regularly posts.
  • Is in high standing with some online developer community.
  • Has worked with a team for more than a year. Being able to work with a team is priceless and much harder than most students realize.


The important thing is to be do more than what your school requires you to do.

If you only finish homework and do nothing else for the four years of school it generally takes, you're going to have a really rough awakening when you realize there are literally hundreds of 'you' out there.

This post has been edited by Sergio Tapia: 29 April 2011 - 12:18 PM

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#3 marinus  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 12:39 PM

Expert in Assembly Languages :D

This post has been edited by marinus: 29 April 2011 - 12:43 PM

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#4 Vextor  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:11 PM

Wire fighting skills.

No, seriously I think Sergio hit the nail on the head. But, it's worth mentioning that his suggestions are, for the most part, what I would consider bonuses on a resume. The exceptions being functional in some language(s) that apply to your job and the other being able to work in a team. Seriously, teamwork is really #1 on that list. It's rare that someone will be working by themselves and for a company at the same time.

I think it's also worth noting that there are plenty of employers that are going to expect you to be able to adapt quickly to a project with the understanding that you may not know all of the tools they are using. I think it's worth emphasizing somewhere that you can and are willing, if not eager, to learn new tools, systems, languages, etc.

Take full advantage of internship's too. They are really going to help you get your foot in the door with a "real" job when you're ready. It's probably going to be a place to learn a bunch of new things that you may not have exposure to already. (I say real job, btw, because while you are working at your internship and may even be getting paid, people tend to treat you differently and your exposure and experience is much different).

Good luck!
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#5 muballitmitte  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:34 PM

Usually when hiring junior developers employers don`t have too high expectations because (i) they will pay them less and (ii) usually there`s a training period in which the guy does nothing but work on dummy projects (or maintaining older ones) and interact with the senior staff. So if I, as an interviewer, see a guy with some internships together with details of projects he worked during that period will definitely like him because he might say Well, school taught me this and that, but I gained precious experience in a real life project at that company.... Most interviewers like to hear that. No one expects too much experience, but if he can also show some open source projects (like Sergio Tapia suggested) it`s a plus because from that code anyone can clearly see his level. If additionally the guy has some prizes at student programming contests (many of those around) his changes are very high. Also, a junior it`s good too write on a CV some programming languages (you show you are familiar with different programming paradigms and such), but some in a lame attempt to impress list virtually every language they`ve heard of. Major turn off.

This post has been edited by muballitmitte: 29 April 2011 - 01:37 PM

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#6 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:50 PM

I agree. I see "Java, C#, SQL, Oracle, Ruby, XML, HTML, JSON, Python" in a CV and alarms go off all over the place.

Expect to be dragged through a tiring process to verify if you are truthful or just a liar on paper. :lol:
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#7 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:56 PM

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Projects that failed.
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#8 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:01 PM

+1, but that is a touchy subject. On the other hand, I don't imagine a student having many failed projects.
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#9 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:07 PM

Java + JavaEE.
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#10 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:17 PM

View PostAdamSpeight2008, on 29 April 2011 - 03:56 PM, said:

Projects that failed.

Amend that - things learned from projects that failed.
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#11 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:27 PM

I would say work experience and contacts/references. Now don't get me wrong, it doesn't matter if they have experience in the field, it's just that if they've worked before (even at McDonalds) for more than a year, then I know not only have they been part of a team, but they've gotten accustomed to the frustrations and joys of teamwork, and they've probably been outside their social bubble long enough to not say something bad enough to get them fired. If they list their contacts with their job titles/degrees, it makes them a little more credible than someone who has, say, their mom as a reference.
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#12 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 03:49 PM

Mobile development and cloud computing are growing trends. Look into these technologies. Android and Objective-C for the iPhone are great skills to have and very marketable. Java EE is great for enterprise grade applications. I'd highly recommend working with it, and the associated frameworks like Struts, Hibernate, JBoss, etc.

Functional Programming is great and growing in the workplace (I've used it, Raynes has an FP job, Programmist does some FP in the workplace). I'd highly recommend at an academic and personal level. However, not all companies utilize FP, so I wouldn't make it my top priority in terms of job hunting.

What city are you planning on working? Check out the job listings there. Where I live, the .NET framework is really pushed, so job-hunters in my city should learn languages like C#, VB.NET, and ASP.NET. Do you see ColdFusion listed a lot? Take some time to pick that up.

Hope this helps some. :)
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#13 Yamis  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:38 PM

All very good to know. I'm glad to see that I've got a couple of those already. I have non-programing work experience + I was the member and then leader of the programming team for my high school's FIRST robotics team. For languages so far I only feel comfortable putting down c\c++\java + sql on my resume but I'm working on bringing my skill in others up to speed. I've been focusing on Haskell for the whole functional thing and after that I'm thinking python would be good.

Joining an open source project has been something I've been planning on doing for a while now and I'm going to begin searching for an interesting one immediately. I think I'll hold off on trying to start up my own open source project for a bit though. I definitely get that just doing school work will not take me to the level of programming ability I hope to achieve and I make sure to read books and write my own side projects.

muballitmitte would Topcoder count as a student programming contest? Although I'm doubtful that I'm going to win a Topcoder contest soon. I have seen some inter-college programming competitions and I suppose I could start a club or group or something to try to get involved.

Thank you all very much!!
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#14 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 07:40 PM

I don't think there's any magic combination of stuff that'll get you in the door. Do stuff that grabs you, and present yourself well. If there's an open source project that you think needs working on and you have something to contribute to it, do that. If there's a coding contest that grabs you, enter it. Write little tools that you want, that make your coding easier. If you like teaching, help out with tutoring kids in your favorite languages. Do what's you.
If you look for a magic recipe that'll help you stand out, remember: everyone else will be getting about that same recipe, and you'll stand out like a penguin in a penguin factory. If you find the things that you do because you do them, you'll be able to show yourself off well.

One thing you should consider, though, is finding a volunteer group that's doing something you like, and volunteer with them. Doesn't have to be writing code, but put in a month, and if you like it, put in at least a year of regular work with them.
That's always going to look good, for all the reasons mentioned above, and you'll probably get a lot out of it as well, both personally and a nice recommendation as well.
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#15 Vextor  Icon User is offline

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Re: What skills would impress you on a resume?

Posted 29 April 2011 - 09:32 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 29 April 2011 - 08:40 PM, said:

I don't think there's any magic combination of stuff that'll get you in the door. Do stuff that grabs you, and present yourself well. If there's an open source project that you think needs working on and you have something to contribute to it, do that. If there's a coding contest that grabs you, enter it. Write little tools that you want, that make your coding easier. If you like teaching, help out with tutoring kids in your favorite languages. Do what's you.
If you look for a magic recipe that'll help you stand out, remember: everyone else will be getting about that same recipe, and you'll stand out like a penguin in a penguin factory. If you find the things that you do because you do them, you'll be able to show yourself off well.

One thing you should consider, though, is finding a volunteer group that's doing something you like, and volunteer with them. Doesn't have to be writing code, but put in a month, and if you like it, put in at least a year of regular work with them.
That's always going to look good, for all the reasons mentioned above, and you'll probably get a lot out of it as well, both personally and a nice recommendation as well.


Penguin factory? I want to go there! :)

I think getting recommendations is definitely another good one too. Having someone speak on your behalf looks really good!
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