Every now and then, clients ask me to interview candidates for their open DBA positions. I get to see a lot of resumes, and there are a few warning signs that pop up regularly.
1. The Keyword Encyclopedia. I get it: you’ve opened SSMS before, and you clicked on all the options and wizards, and you think that makes you qualified to use ’em. However, let’s do some quick math: take the number of weeks you’ve been at this job, and divide it by the number of features you mention. If you’ve been at a job for a year, and you’ve mentioned 50 features, I’m going to bet you don’t really know any of them deeply.
2. Red Fuzzy Underlines. Sure, SQL Server keywords don’t show up in all dictionaries, so doing a spell check on your resume can be an exercise in clicking the add-to-dictionary button. Trust me, it’s worth the time. It’s hard to overcome the manager’s skepticism when you don’t spell or capitalize SQL Server correctly.
3. Homer’s Odyssey. Just because you’ve been doing this for ten years doesn’t mean you have to write an epic poem about your journey. Get your resume down to 1-2 pages. While you may still have the battle scars from that DTS package implementation in 2003, you don’t need to wear them with pride on your resume.
4. Complete Lack of Soul. You’re going up against dozens of other candidates who are all typing the same exact keywords and job duties into their resume. Bring a little fun and personality in. If you’re going to put an objective or mission statement at the top, make it warm and inviting. Make the interviewer want to bring you in just to meet the fun person behind the keywords.
If you recognize these anti-patterns in your resume, just take a quick step back and ask, “What specific tasks do I love doing? What parts of this job am I in love with?” And then figure out how to communicate that level of excitement about those tasks.