Resume/Portfolio advice...how to prove I know my software?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by chrono1081, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm trying for a career switch and twice now its come up during interviews that I may be lying about the software I know. No one has ever asked me software specific questions but twice I was told it was "unlikely" that someone really knows the software I listed.

    I do not have some outlandish software list, I use programs that are quite common (Adobe Photoshop/After Effects, Unity3D, XCode, Visual Studio, Maya, ZBrush, Corel Painter, Microsoft Office, stuff like that).

    My idea to combat this was two fold. First, the one website I use for training (Lynda.com) has printable certificates when you complete the course. I've printed them all and put them in the same binder I put my resume copies in case anyone wants to see. Sadly, the site I use most (Digital Tutors) has no such certificate system.

    The second is that I am working on an online portfolio showcasing things I have made in each software I list on my resume, that way in case the question comes up, someone can look at it and see I'm not lying.

    Has anyone had this happen to them? Any thoughts on my idea to combat this? I do not want to leave off software listed because I worked hard to learn those softwares to use for a resume.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Nobody should (or usually does) give much weight to printed online certificates. Your best bet is to put something like "Examples available upon request." somewhere in your resume.

    Also, saying that you "know" software is very ambiguous and is probably doing more harm than good if you just say you "know" it. What does that even mean? For the Microsoft Office example: Do you know what the icons look like, or can you write Excel macros like you're making a grocery list? These are very different levels of "knowing."
     
  3. chrono1081 thread starter macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #3
    I figured the online certificates were probably useless but since its a popular training site I figured it couldn't hurt to have them on hand.

    The first person to suggest I didn't know all the software listed caught me off guard and I explained that I was very proficient in everything I listed and could provide examples, and he acted like he didn't hear me say it.

    The second person to suggest it said everything listed takes "too long" for one person to learn (but it really doesn't!) and again, I said that I would gladly provide example work but it was declined.

    I've never had this happen before yet twice now I've heard this :(
     
  4. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #4
    In my field, you need a "portfolio" which usually contains grant money and publications/patents.

    I would recommend including a URL that provides access to completed projects on your CV/Résumé. If it's a very tech-oriented place and is somewhat "younger," a 2D-bar code (that redirects to the URL) on the CV/Résumé is interesting idea, because it's a great filter for you. Any place that checks it, you'll want to work for because at least the hiring manager is willing to check that stuff out. If they bin your CV/Résumé based on that, you may not want to work there as it will be creatively constrictive.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Good luck.
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #5
    What do you mean by 'know'? You can't really know that stuff by just doing an online course... To be good at using photoshop or Maya (for example) you'd have had to spend a good amount of time doing non-trivial work in it.

    Similarly with something like Xcode. It's just an IDE... Knowing what the buttons do isn't the same as being able to program a worthwhile app.

    What sort of job are you applying for? Unless its some sort of desktop support it's difficult to think of a role that would need such a range of apps. Trim your CV to have more focus on the relevant.

    Finally, that's a list of some expensive stuff. If the interviewer thinks you've got a disk full of warez at home, it might not be the best impression... given that businesses need to be serious about licensing issues.
     
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #6
    I have been told to not even put software like Microsoft Office on my resume. Reasons is everyone should know it and most people assume that means you know how to use it in its basic form. It does not mean you know how to use macros or any of the fancy stuff. Some things are better left off it.

    Also anything that you listed that is an IDE is not worth much. If you used 1 IDE you have used them all. They have some differences but the basic and most used features are all the same. The more imported thing is the languages.

    As for the Lynda.com certs I can tell you right now it is a cake walk to get those. You can go threw and click them really fact on the lessons and it counts as done. Reason I know that is I had to rush threw them for a class I was taking for school and I forgot to do them so I rushed threw them in about 5 mins doing that.
     
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #7
    Yeah, it was more of an example.

    A much better approach is to work your software knowledge into an accomplishment that is mention-worthy. Instead of "I know how to use XCode" you'd want something like "Created a top-100 best-selling App in the iOS App Store." Also, if the job doesn't explicitly mention use of the software you list, just cut it out entirely.
     
  8. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
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    Same country as Santa Claus
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Did you provide them with a portfolio? If so, and your portfolio shows it, they shouldn't second guess you. Saying you know something doesn't mean you are good at it, you have to show it. Example, saying you know how to type and you show them you have a typing speed of 125 wpm doesn't make you an author.
     
  9. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #9

    Heh, I have a problem directly related to this, people continually flood their resume with "Microsoft Excel..." but I *can* write macros like I'm making a grocery list and have advanced VBA/excel knowledge, but it makes it hard to even add to my resume ;)
     
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #10
    Your getting some good advice. I'll just add....

    Don't list all the SW you know, just the titles that are relevant to the job.
    You don't "know" the SW package, you can show competency in _______ (a few (very few) examples of the specific tasks - as they will be needed by the employer).

    Unless things have changed since my day... your resume should be short, 2 or 3 pages tops.

    (A trick... don't use bright white paper, use a very light cream colour. Not quite cream enough to say "cream", but not bright white. Someone looking at 150 resumes on bright white paper will find your resume "cooling" on the eyes. In my day, resumes on coloured paper got tossed very early. Coloured paper means "I have no content, so I'm trying to be memorable with my choice of paper - so the right colour of cream is important.)

    The cover letter. Each letter is customized for the employer, and lists what you are going to do specifically for them. This may b Take some time to interview the interviewer - find out what they need, and then show them how you can fill that need. Don't go in talking about you exclusively, but find out about them. By showing an interest you are showing that you this job.

    Be prepared for a lot of rejection. Tough job market out there. But if you keep slogging at it everyday, you will be in the right place at the right time. Often.... that's all it takes. The employer needs someone, and there you are....

    Caveat... all of my hiring experience is a couple of decades old, and was mostly in the services sector.... but the people who do the hiring probably haven't changed much. They are tired, overworked, underpaid, and want to get on with their real job... Make it easy for them.

    Luck.
     
  11. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #11
    The only way to really demonstrate your knowledge of software is with a hot seat demo. One where the employer puts you on a strange machine and gives you a task to do. Listing a software inventory sounds dull and is easy to skim over. Maybe tell something interesting or relevant that you did with a program or set of programs?

    Dale
     
  12. chrono1081 thread starter macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #12
    Even though that list of software is expensive, I actually bought all of it :eek: No hacked software on my machine. I am currently working on an online portfolio that shows stuff I made with each software. Its not piddly stuff either its very in depth. ZBrush sculpts (full textured, uv mapped, and animation ready characters), matte paintings made in After Effects + Maya, Paintings done in Corel Painter, full blown game levels created (from scratch) using Unity and Maya etc.

    The thing is, the portfolio isn't really part of the jobs I was targeting. I was targeting programming jobs, but on both companies websites they listed tips and one of the tips was to put all the software you know, not just the relevant ones incase they wanted to hire for something else so I followed the advice.

    In the quote above yours I listed what I am currently stuffing in to an online portfolio (although it'll look like I'm after a creative job). This way I if someone again questions my software knowledge I can point them to something showing what I can make in those softwares.

    Thanks guys for all the advice so far. I usually get my jobs from word of mouth and reputation and this is the first time I've had to rely on a portfolio since I am trying to switch careers.

    Whats hurting me BIG time is the lack of programming things for my resume. I've made some Maya plugins, nothing extravagant and I have a few small games I made but I've been working since I graduated to try and get an iPhone app or two into the app store since I know that will greatly help my chances.
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #13
    No kidding. If you're applying for a programming job but have no demonstrable programming experience, why should they hire you?
     

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