The whole pot was an excellent read. I’ve discussed my utter hate contempt <insert/hurl other insults here> in another post (ok the post was more of a positive post on not needing resumes) here and here.
The lowdown is simple if you have the ability to learn something fast, If you have the mental structure to do good work fast (programming context: for java people its a good grounding in patterns, for other more advice language its a great understanding and experience in meta programming), If you have the requisite basic social skills to be considered a good to great co-worker, you would probably never want for jobs.
Co-wrokers would refer you, and most of the times the resumes is secondary to the recommendation.
You work with someone for around 6 months and you probably know or have a fairly good idea of how well your co-worker learns, and in programming how ugly his or her code is.
If what you are working on is relatively hard and with deadlines that require you to level up your work output, if you can work in a project with some one that has critical time constraints and is still a hard project or problem you tend to have an idea of how he/she react under pressure.
This is something that no certification, no resume will tell you, and a test short of on the job evaluation will never show you these skills or attributes of a person.
I did a really short term contract a year ago, only a single week, in South Carolina trying to adapt a “free” tool for a use it wasn’t really supposed to be able to do. I had never seen the technology before (an XML publishing tool) and it had to interact with a system I knew nothing about (J.D. Edwards) and a week was all the time I had to learn, master, hack and deliver. I managed to succeed in 4 days (the fifth was a half day of just documenting) despite all the barriers and left on a real positive note from the customer and the agency. How do you put this in a resume? An ability to do anything that’s needed by learning rapidly, applying a lifetime of skills and a creative mind. Yeah, that’s a real good resume line:
Able to rapidly learn anything you need and deliver professional results
Talk about a useless resume. Yet it’s true, but lost in a sea of lies on resumes the statement may as well read “234234 dsfsjkhsdf = %432”.
Maybe resumes are still necessary, since the industry can’t figure out how to match employees and employers with a better method. Maybe people should write tests and challenge anyone to pass them (I think some people have tried that) instead of trolling for perjury. Even that isn’t foolproof since tests can be googled and passing tests doesn’t really prove you can actually deliver (I once knew a guy who passed the Java Developer Certification but couldn’t write two lines of code together that worked). Maybe people should read your blog and see if you know anything meaningful. I don’t have an answer, I just wish there was one people could agree on.
Meanwhile maybe I will try with the one line resume “Will write good code for good money”. I’d like to do some short term PHP work in the DFW area, so a short resume would be a plus.
At least it’s not a lie. Who knows, someone might believe it.