Crazy idea from a recruiter

Levi Pearson levipearson at
Tue Mar 26 00:35:25 MDT 2013

On Mar 25, 2013, at 4:52 PM, Ryan Moore <paniclater at> wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM, Sasha Pachev <sasha at> wrote:
>> My thinking is that a good looking resume is important for a strong UI
>> position(HTML/JavaScript/CSS/Graphic design). For a back end/systems
>> guy, if you see a good looking one that is too good, I would be
>> suspicious. The analogy is that if I am trying to pick a potential
>> world-class marathoner from a group of guys based on how fast they ran
>> 100 meters, I would focus on the range from 11.3 to 12.7. Somebody who
>> runs 10.7 likely lacks the slow twitch fibers to be able to run 5:00
>> pace for 26 miles no matter the training. Somebody who runs 13.5 is
>> likely not lacking in slow twitch fibers, but he probably has enough
>> structural/biomechanical defects that would prevent him from ever
>> making 5:00 pace sufficiently comfortable. For this type of purpose
>> you want something in the middle. But if you are looking for a
>> sprinter, the faster of course the better.
>> This analogy confuses me. Are you implying that using a resume to hire a
> back end/systems guy is analogous to trying to pick a marathoner from
> sprinters? Or that composing a resume and being a good back end/systems guy
> are skills as unlikely to be found in the same individual as slow twitch
> and fast twitch fibers? Or is it just a runaway analogy that was originally
> intended to highlight the similarities between the merit based system of
> valuing sprinters, long distance runners and software developers?
> A query to the community:is it a general feeling among pluggers that a
> strong resume is a handicap for job applicants in back end or systems
> administration fields? How mutually exclusive do you think "word
> processing" or "resume" type skills are with programming ability?

People often have interesting and surprising mixes of skills, and I can't see how a strong résumé could possibly be detrimental to getting a job that corresponds to the strengths you portray in it. The world is not primarily a techno-meritocratic place, and programming skills are not the only important skills in the workplace, even in back-end coding jobs! I would much rather work with someone who can express their ideas in prose or mathematical form as well as they can in code, because the ability to discuss programs with non-coding domain experts or customers is pretty essential to a vast number of programming jobs.

Of course, there will be niche businesses, start-ups, etc. where you could conceivably land jobs without a good résumé. But for most companies, you will have to either have a strong relationship with someone already or pass through a recruiter/HR dept., and those people will care very much about your résumé. At some point, of course, you'll have to deliver the goods you promise, but that will be the case regardless of your résumé.


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