Reminder about Linux and resumes

Reminder about Linux and resumes

Summary: So what can you do? Tailor your resume to text search enginesthat rely on simple word matches - mention every Unix variantyou can reasonably claim at least once,but be prepared to justify your inclusions to a sceptical recruiter.

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There's a lot of uncomfortable truth to the tired old joke about the guy with ten years of Solaris experience who got turned down for a job interview because he lacked experience with Unix. What's behind that is a simple fact: recruiters and human resources staff tend to be salespeople, not techies. Most simply don't know that Linux is Unix or that experience with Tru64 can make learning Solaris seem trivial.

Bear in mind that most recruiters and many in-house HR departments now use automated search tools and you can see the problem. Put "Red Hat" on your resume, and you'll be invisible to a recruiter looking for "Linux" using any of the more simple minded, and thus common, search tools.

So what can you do? Tailor your resume to text search engines that rely on simple word matches - mention every Unix variant you can reasonably claim at least once, but be prepared to justify your inclusions to a sceptical recruiter.

One resume I saw recently aced this. She had an introductory section summarizing her expertise in which she explicitly claimed hands on experience with Red Hat Linux, HP-UX, and SCO OpenServer -and pointed out that much of what she learned would apply to future work with other Unix products including Debian, Solaris, and NetBSD. Then she had supporting sections listing the employers and roles where she gained her experience and mentioned the lookalikes in each case -mentioning, for example, skill portability to Debian where she talked about the work she'd done using Red Hat.

Do a "quick Search" for a someone with Debian experience in a package like Staffsoft's and boom - she shows up twice even though she's never used Debian and didn't lie on her resume either.

There are some things you should remember about this strategy. First, don't waste time doing this in your covering letter, most agencies and HR departments throw those away before storing your resume.doc or scanning it in. More importantly, however, don't exaggerate: remember, your goal isn't just to get the recruiter to notice you, it's to get the recruiter to notice you positively. Most recruiters who don't know if technology A maps to technology B will ask a colleague or phone the employer to check acceptability. Win on that and you're golden, lose and you won't get a job there job no matter how often your resume pops up.

Topic: Operating Systems

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11 comments
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  • Even Non-Linux jobs benefit from knowing Linux!

    Who'd you rather hire.. Someone with a MCSE or both MCSE and Linux?

    Most MCSE's are Paper Tigers.. they go to a boot camp that drills answers into their sheep-like heads..

    Linux (and UNIX) users actually have the brain capacity to fathom what they are doing.
    Xunil_Sierutuf
    • Careful there, Xunil...

      You're starting to sound like Matrixdomain...

      I think the point of the blog was to say that most recruiters/HR people don't know or care about the different *nix flavors. In other words, most of the world are Windows users...
      Real World
    • Well...

      Though I know Unix I don't see this as marking me out as being any more intelligent than anyone else; it simply identifies me as someone who knows Unix.

      Some definitions:

      Expert User: Someone who through long suffering and persistence has mastered a highly cryptic and unfriendly interface.

      Power User: Same as expert user but under the delusion that this makes them in some way superior to the rest of humanity.
      jorwell
      • I agree, see apology below.. (NT)

        .
        Xunil_Sierutuf
  • I think if a recruiter is going to specialize....

    ....in tech placement, they should have a clue about these things, or maybe come from originally an IT background as a career change. The status quo stymies the hiring process because these people just have no idea.
    jgmsys@...
    • Some don't have clues about technology

      I remember talked to a headhunter once that asked me one of my skills, and I said "XML". She spelled it "exml".

      These are the people that forward on your resume to the manager of the position. Yes, they may have no idea what they are truly looking for, so that is why they have a list of buzzwords to find in the stack of 100 resumes they have received.
      TheHaas
  • Apologies to all, I was trying to pull a "Bitty" and ignite flames.. :)

    Some really smart techs have no need for Linux.. that doesn't mean they couldn't handle it..

    I've had cases where a non-Linux job became one LATER, because the saw Linux on my resume.. kinda like "well, tell me about Linux..."
    Xunil_Sierutuf
    • Isn't it a shame that your resume...

      ...didn't also include the experience of reading articles, and the ability to prioritise brain and fingers....

      And btw, why apologise when, in virtually every article you post, you try to pull a "Bitty" and ignite flames???

      But,
      At least you have Linux on it. And that makes you better somehow...
      Scrat
      • Not better... more aware than most Sheeple.

        The world around you keeps taking and taking. Your OS should not be the same..
        Xunil_Sierutuf
  • We'll rather hire a professional with Linux Skills than an MCSE

    MCSEs are a joke compared to a professional with Linux skills. Ask any real IT professional and he will tell you that MCSE are not trained for Linux or Unix. As a matter of fact, it is easier to teach a non-MCSE Linux than to teach an MCSE.
    MCSEs are always resistant to deploying Linux in the companies they work for because they don't have the skills to run it.
    They are so cluesless and talk about Linux as if they know it (when they can't even install it yet).
    If we examine the skills (if any) an MCSE has and compare it with a professional with Linux skills, we will see the difference.
    The professeional with Linux skills has more in depth knowledge of both Windows and Linux.
    We'll rather hire a professional with Linux skills than an MCSE.
    IT-sys
  • Another thing to remember

    DO NOT use any of this words (Linux, Unix, Red hat, debian, solaris etc...) is you place a resume in Mike Cox's bussiness or you could get him and his rep a heart attack :)
    jnpena2001@...