CS 385.04 Week 1 Post-Class 2 Pre-Class: A resume draft

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This assignment is due at the beginning of class on August 29.


Your goal this week is to create a very rough draft of your resume. We're not going to worry about format or wordsmithing the content just yet; the goal is to just get the relevant facts listed. We'll follow up in subsequent weeks.

You should submit your assignment as a single PDF via Moodle. Corrupted or unreadable files will not receive any credit, and submissions in formats other than PDF may lose points.


Check out the resume guide at CareerCup and some (very impressive) sample resumes from Carnegie Mellon students. CMU is arguably the top CS program in the country, and many students enter their program with significant prior experience, so don't freak out.


With resumes, the rule is "show, don't tell." When a technical manager reads your resume, they will assume that all your verifiable facts are true (the important ones will get fact-checked later), but they won't put much stock in your opinion. So 3.4 GPA? They believe you. "Implemented system that allowed us to take data 40 times faster?" That sounds specific. "Excellent communicator and great with people"? They're going to disregard this as not evidence-based AND possibly think less of you for making such an unsubstantiated claim. They will also assume the worst about any standard information you omit. No date for your associate's degree? You probably got it in 1942. No GPA? You probably have a 0.26. Strange work history gap between 2013-15? Probably poaching endangered elephants in Namibia. Etc. No matter how bad you think an issue is, you're better off addressing it.

Always, always concentrate on what you can bring to the employer, not what the job will do for you or why you'd enjoy it.

Not fair? Yeah, nothing about this process is. You're trying to appeal to a busy person who has too much to do and is trying to make a good hire, not extend the utmost in fairness to each and every stranger who applies. In fact, the only fairness you are owed whatsoever is to not face discrimination because of your membership in a protected class (gender, race, etc.). Everything else, however trivial, is legal. It helps to understand this so that you can be strategic and not take things personally.

Assignment requirements

Must be 2 pages or fewer

A real resume for an entry-level position should only be 1 page. This is a hard and fast rule. However, you're welcome to submit up to 2 pages if you're having trouble paring down the content yourself.

Must contain the following elements

May contain the following elements

Must NOT contain the following elements (for US jobs, and thus for this assignment)

These elements are totally standard in most other countries, but they make hiring managers very uncomfortable in the US.