Rip My Resume a New One!

Any critique, constructive criticism, or downright flaming would be appreciated.

My resume can be found here.

I kept my real name and email address (although I would use my full first name on the real one), but changed my phone number and address.

Thanks in advance for any help!

It’s informative and decently laid out, but the format screams “MS Word template!” :slight_smile: It’s going to look exactly like 99% of the other resumes on that recruiter’s desk. You did a great job detailing your job duties; something that might make things pop a little more would be to add some achievements as well.

Lose the Objective statement. You’re the only person who cares what kind of job you want; employers only care if you’re the right person for the job they need to fill. It is assumed, if you’re applying for it, that you want the job they’ve got, so any dissonance between your stated objective and their job puts you in a bad light.

You’re missing a header for Experience. Experience should be listed in reverse-chronological order (most recent first), so you’ll need to switch the order of those listings.

Move Education to be beneath Experience.

Choose “Skills” or “Abilities,” but don’t use both. Do you have applicable skills that are not computer-oriented? If not, lose the Computer heading. If so, add at least one more heading to differentiate your areas of ability.

I think I’d lose the horizontal lines, except for one at the top separating your contact information from the rest of the resume.

Also (there might be debate about this, but here goes) it’s OK to go over a page. I have no idea what any of your experience means (IANAE), but if you have more of it, don’t hold back. At least, the one-page rule has been dropped in some fields (like mine, IT). You might ask a mentor if it’s OK in engineering, but I would bet that it is.

Best of luck to you!

Modify the Objective statement; make it one short, conscise, and complete sentance, something like:
I am seeking a position as a mechanical engineer working with energetic materials and explosives.

You don’t need to state that you’re entry level–the positions you’ll be applying for and your experience will make it clear what level of experience you have, and saying “entry-level” may peg you in the minds of some as “useless”. If a PE is required or worthwhile in your field (it is suprisingly irrelevent in most areas of mechanical engineering) then it’ll be assumed that you’re interested in pursuing that, and of course it’s a question you can ask in the interview. Most people will ignore your Objective statement anyway; I hate 'em because people tend to be way too flowery (“I’m eagerly anticipating an exciting career in blah blah blah…”) as if they’re announcing the cruise prize on “The Price is Right”. You don’t do that, but you could condense it down.

Lose the hours estimates on your computer skills. They’re not that high for one, and second they aren’t really indicative of skill. Somebody that has done 500 hours surface modeling and relational assemblies in Pro/ENGINEER or SolidWorks is a lot more impressive than someone who has spent 8000 hours making plates and tubes.

Make your experience in reverse chronological order from most recent down. Upon review, it looks like you want to emphasize your EMRTC experience over what you did at LANL; if that’s the case, then leave it in the same order.

I would reword your EMRTC experience to bring the Sled Track and 120mm penetration warhead testing to the front, and then detail under that what you did for those programs. You’ve got some unnecessary commas and semicolons in there, and I personally prefer whole sentances rather than statement fragments, but that’s personal choice.

Your LANL experience has a bunch of acronyms. Sure, you explain them, but if you’re applying for positions outside of LANL and with organizations that don’t use those acronyms, they don’t mean all that much. I’d prefer to see you talk about your actual responsibilities rather than toss out acronyms. Believe me, once you’ve spent a few years in engineering practice you gain a real jaded view of acronyms, which are frequently used to make something very simple seem complicated.

On the whole, it’s not bad; there’s good use of space, it’s not cluttered, there’s minimal use of buzzwords and blah-blah, and the pertinent information is readily accessable. The biggest problem is that it’s bland. After flipping through a stack of fifty resumes, this one just isn’t going to stand out. Now all of the Job Placement people at your school are probably going to tell you not to put any flair on your resume, and I agree that you don’t want to go overboard by using funky colored paper or putting a picture on there or whatnot, but I’ve actually gotten a lot of positive responses from mine by putting an image as a light watermark in the background. It’s light enough that it doesn’t cause problems in faxing, but reproduces well via photocopier, and I’ve gotten several interviews over the years (and maybe even a job or two) that I was likely underqualified or underexperienced for on the basis that my resume stood out and was remembered at the end of the day. So you might consider doing something like a watermark, or a small icon up at the top, or something to fix in a reviewer’s mind why he should flip back to this one.

Make sure to include a cover letter, too. Sure, most interviewers will just toss them away after a brief skim (and some without even a cursory glance) but others won’t even look at a resume that doesn’t include one, and by throwing in a few easily-found facts about the company you can at least convince a reviewer that you have a genuine interest and take initiative, which is far better than talking about what a “self-starter” and “go-getter” you are.

Good luck in your job search.


I disagree with this, or, at least for Pygmy Rugger’s field of expertise and level of experience. It’s going to be imperitive to an interviewer to know that he has the appropriate educational background, and for many of the jobs I expect he’ll apply for a MSME may be an inviolate prerequisite. It’s likely that his experience will contribute relatively little to an entry level position that he’ll apply for, so I think the order he has them in now is appropriate. Later in his career, and particularly if he is known as a subject matter expert or authority in the field, then he might consider reversing them.

I don’t know who started this “one page only” meme on resumes but I get resumes all the time that are jam-packed with too much clutter in order to keep everything on one page. I’d rather see two more spread out pages of one and a quarter pages of content than one cramed up page of the same. If there’s nowhere to write except at the margins (and especially if you’ve moved the margins out) then it’s too cluttered. Some clever formatting and sparing use of subtle icon art can help control whitespace if you’re in the just over a page category; otherwise, either trim back unnecessary stuff, or blow in a little fluff someplace that doesn’t impair the reviewer’s ability to get at relevent information.

I couldn’t possibly fit all of my experience on one page; on the other hand, I can easily tailor it to comfortably fill two pages without clutter or whitespace. I can’t see a reason to go to three pages unless you’ve won a Laskar or the Pulitzter; your resume is not a curriculum vitae and does not need to include every paper you’ve published or every symposium you’ve spoke at. (I especially hate seeing this on the resumes of newly minted MS and PhDs, because it tells me that not only do they not have any real experience, they don’t even know that they don’t have real experience.) Anyway, more than a page is perfectly acceptable for engineering, but unless there’s more here than Pygmy Rugger is revealing, he’s good at one page right now.


Bolding mine. Good point.

The only other job I have has been at KFC. I didn’t think that was relevant here. Both my relevant jobs and both my degrees are listed, I can’t figure out how I’d fill up a second page.

Lose the Objective statement. You’re the only person who cares what kind of job you want; employers only care if you’re the right person for the job they need to fill. It is assumed, if you’re applying for it, that you want the job they’ve got, so any dissonance between your stated objective and their job puts you in a bad light.

You’re missing a header for Experience. <snip>

:smack: Good point about the Objective statement.

I was thinking about having a second header titled “Field”, and state the different types of heavy equipment I’m familiar operating, but I doubt I’d be doing anything other than using hand power tools. So maybe I should change the heading to “Computer Programs”? I can’t figure out a way to work in my field experience specifically, without it sounding like I’m applying for a construction job.

Done. Those hours are from a few years ago. I’m basically editing the resume that I used when I got hired here.

Exactly. What I’m doing now is so far away from what I want to be doing it’s pathetic.

While I agree, I’m not sure how to go about it. The other things listed were things I did on all projects I was working on, but I wanted to emphasize the projectile testing because that’s what I worked the most on (partially because I liked it the most). Anybody have any thoughts?

I’m trying to get a job in another division here. I think they’d be familiar with the safety basis document acronyms, and that could prove pretty useful, as everybody hates working on them. Although I’m not sure if I can assume that?

Maybe of a rocket, or a sled on a track, or something to that effect?

Thanks. :smiley:

I’m reiterating some of the above comments, but:

If you are going to leave in the Objective (I say don’t–you can express your interest in the cover letter–but OTOH it fills out the document), make it positive and don’t mention the test. The test makes it feel like you are using them while you study (and will that divert your attention) and then move on to something else. Unless it’s a field where they expect this and pay you for studying time…

I would leave Education first. It confirms needed credentials and then they can move on to experience.

Add some sort of heading for professional experience, as mentioned.

I would use the present tense for the job you are currently in. I also list them current job first, and previous in reverse chronological order.

Heading for skills? Maybe “Relevant Skills”, “Computer Skills” and include only computer stuff.

Again, I know you’re filling up the space, but “references available upon request” is understood and not necessary.

So, if you drop Objective and References, beef up the job description for the four-year position. There was certainly more detail you could add.

I can’t vote strenuously enough against an icon like a rocket. I wouldn’t be able to take that seriously at all.

Caveat: I don’t know your field so take the above with a grain of salt if I am misunderstanding the norms there.

Unless this is the key responsibility in the next job, spell everything out to show you have a breadth of experience. Emphasis on it could be included in your cover letter or interview if this is what they want to hear or what you feel most enthusiastic talking about.

I see what you’re saying about putting the more relevant job first, but I think of the convention as seeing what you’re up to now and then what your history was. It’s actually just fine to say you’ve tried a different area but you’re really looking forward to getting back into an area you thrived in in the past.

The content reads fairly well, but the formatting is distracting. Remember they’re going to look at your resume first and read it second; if the formatting makes it hard to parse, you may wind up excluded without the recruiter even reading it. I’d suggest a couple changes to clean up the overall appearance.

[li]Center your contact information at the top, like a letterhead; set up your cover letter to have an identical letterhead.[/li][li]Remove the lines in the sub-sections; just stick with the lines between sections, like between the Skills and References sections.[/li][li]Be consistent in font size; your sub-headings for Education are an 11pt font, while your sub-headings for Experience are a 12pt font. The difference was visible to me; keeping font style and size consistent for each level of text will show an eye for detail.[/li][li]You have a bit too much white space; I’d suggest dropping the first subheading in each section down a line and move all the subheadings to the left margin. Use font size to set them off from the headings. This will also allow enough horizontal space for the date ranges to stay on one line.[/li][li]I agree with some of the above posters about cutting the Objective. Use your cover letter to touch on objectives and skills specific to the position you’re applying for, rather than including a generic statement on the resume.[/li][li]I disagree with putting a watermark on the resume; it would be visually distracting, and even though I work in multimedia, I would find it rather unprofessional.[/li][/ul]

No one else has mentioned this, but I thought I’d throw out that I find the font really hard to read, to the point that I had to squint and it made me not want to hash through the details of what was in the bulleted points. Zooming in the document view didn’t help.That said, I didn’t print it out, so I don’t know what it looks like on paper, but it is definitely a consideration if you’re going to email it to an employer.

Maybe I just have bad eyesight (I do, but not spectacularly bad), but your prospective employer may also have bad eyesight, perhaps much worse than mine.

In terms of white space, a “rule of thumb” I’ve heard is to print it out, lay it on a table and stand a few feet away. If it looks good from that distance, then it’s not too cluttered.

More clipart.

The second job on your list is where you are currently working? Then IMHO move it to the top - you don’t want it to look like you don’t even appreciate the company that is currently employing you, even if the previous one is more relevant to the new position you’re applying to. They hired you once based on your older experience; they can do it again. And the fact that you are an internal applicant will help you in the long run.

I don’t really have anything else to add, other than good luck!

Put a section down below labeled, “Other Experience” or “Additional Skills” or somesuch. I would definitely put this on a resume. Personally, if I were comparing two applicants, I’d take decent grades and hands-on, real-world, will-go-down-and-toss-friendly-jibes-with-the-grunts-and-millwrights candidate over a guy with a 3.99999 magna cum laude applicant whose never held a job outside of a lab or classroom. Which isn’t entirely fair–I’ve known some guys who came strictly from academia background and did just fine when thrown down to the production line wolves–but being able to demonstrate that you know how stuff works outside of the big glowing box is a big plus when it comes to doing anything with mechanical design or testing.

Then again, I once dragged a product manager up into the cab of a telescopic fork truck and made him drive around the test course so that he could understand why not being able to see the right front tire was a bad thing, and had workers pile a bunch of defective weldments (due to craptastical and absurdly-impossible-to-build design) behind the director of engineering’s car after he refused to consider changing the design because in his opinion it was all “a process problem”. Needless to say I don’t work there any more (although I made it to the third RIF, and the company was not long thereafter absorbed by a competitor). Anyway, I definitely vote for putting it in.

I sympathize. In that case, I’d leave it in the order that you have it now, and if anyone asks, just explain the truth; that you enjoyed the job and this is the kind of work you want to do. Always emphasize they experience that best fits what you want to do, if you have that choice. There’s nothing worse than being hired into a job that you don’t want and knowing that you have to stick with it long enough to at least make it look like you’re not jumping from horse to horse.

How about this: list the projectile project first, and then a series of sub-bullets on their listing your duties and responsibilities under that, then followed up with a few more general duties. (I’m assuming you had some significant and interesting experience from it specificially.) If you need space I’d condense down some of the stuff from LANL since you don’t want your job to be doing a lot of that kind of stuff anyway.

I agree with those saying that you should shed the extra lines; the only one I’d put is one seperating your name and contact information from the rest of the information. If you need the space you can definitely lose the References line. And conversely, if you need some filler no harm comes in leaving it in…it’s a semantic null; of course you’ll have references.

Regarding the Objective statement, I agree that it is unnecessary content-wise, but it makes a nice break between the header and the main body of the resume, the same way that an author’s forward–which is rarely read and generally unmemorable–prefaces a book. If you need the space you can shed it, but otherwise I’d leave it, and believe it or not, some people actually look for it as if it means something. I wouldn’t rely on the cover letter to convey anything critical (see previous post); anything important regarding your qualifications and (implicitly, at least) your focus should be on the resume. Even if the first guy who gets it reads the cover letter, he’s likely to only circulate the resume. The cover letter is your business card; the resume is your report.


Well, I was going to ask why you want the materials you work with to be energetic, but I assume thats an industry term?

It is sad though, that it is apprently fact that a HR person would be impressed and give a resume with a cover letter more consideration than one without, but I guess you have to narrow the field somehow.

It’s a specific technical term in the field Pygmy Rugger works in, involving explosives and materials designed to react to, enhance, absorb, and dampen explosions.