"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Are Experienced Software Testers Testing their own CV / Profile / Resume?

Re-written the article on April 20, 2009 & Previous version also available at the bottom

For the question : Are Software Testers Testing their own CV / Profile / Resume?, my answer would be - most of them don't.

What would you think about a tester who hasn't tested whatever he has developed? I think the same way you think about them - they don't know testing or its value.

Over these years, I must have looked into about thousand three hundred testers profiles and only very few of them caught my attention. One of them was my own :)

Need and value of testing your own resume

I have been practicing writing and this blog is an evidence of the same. I think our public writing demonstrates how effectively we can work. For instance, if my resume looks bad then would anyone believe me that I write good bug reports? If they believe that I'd write good bug reports when my resume sucks then what do you think about their communication skills?

I got coached by Mr Ravi Joshi of Bangalore on the aspects of writing a good resume. I probably practiced it enough to match his own writing and then trying to surpass it. All he did was to help me learn how to test my own resume.

I discovered that testing a resume was so similar to testing a software. For instance, our resume is full of claims that we have made. If we dont test for the claims we have made and what we can actually deliver, it costs us an opportunity to get an offer letter.

An example from my life experience is: There was a person who mentioned about Apache Web Server as one of the technologies he had worked on. On questioning him about it, he said, "Sir, it was running in the back end and I used to turn it off and on whenever a crash occurs". Now, is that sufficient to say, "I know Apache Web Server"?

I want you to let me know about it.

Career Objective

Also, most of them steal the Career Objective section and that indicates the person does not have his own great ambitions in life or a vision statement. It is important for anyone to write their own career objective. If you have a typical career objective, "I am looking forward to work in an organization that challenges my abilities and potential", no one would be interested at that.

Here is another interesting thing: A career objective is a long term vision but what most people end up writing is - I need a job to show my potential - which is not a career objective but your immediate objective in life.

At some point of my career, I have even removed that section and yet people kept calling me for interviews. Doesn't it help you understand that people are not calling you based on it because they are already bored reading more or less same stuff?


This is a very interesting part. Recently, I was interviewing a tester who had a 7 page resume for a 2 year experience. He had detailed out his project on his resume and that's a bad idea. I helped him understand that it was a bad idea and he went ahead arguing with me that he had to mention all details. A question that I asked him was, "How many pages should Hon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have?"

I hope you understand why I asked him that question and also hope you won't make the mistake. You must note that people who might be looking into your profile might already know about the product or project and don't need super fine details of your project. You can make it to one or two sentences. This gives you a tactical advantage in interviews if you were to explain your project.

Your contribution

It is another common bias to show whatever little stuff you did in the organization as a great one. Again, people are tired of listening to such stuff. You might want to consider elaborating an experience or the challenges you faced and how you fared in it.

For example: When I was a rookie Test Manager, people reporting to me found it hard to digest the fact that I was much younger than them. I had to fight through their ego battle and yet get work done from them. I learnt a lot about managing people, especially when they dont want to listen to you.

Lessons learnt

You could consider jotting down some very quick points of the lessons you learnt from each of the project you worked and that could be an attractive thing for the interviewer. You may consider listing your failures as well although you think listing your failure could cause you lose an opportunity to get an offer. Come on, the whole world understands that every human is fallible and everyone has failed in their life more than a dozen times.

Documentation Guidelines & Crispness

You wont be given a job because your profile looks amazing and it is a booklet of 30 pages of your achievements. So, it means you have to work in an interview to crack the puzzle of getting a job offer from them.

I received one of the worst resume from a software tester who mentioned that he has excellent documentation skills and the word documentation spelling was incorrect. Are you dumb to call him for an interview?

You do not need to search for resume template and fill in because that is a clerical work and I hope you don't want to be a clerk. Clerical type software testers get clerical pay and they are happy with it as well.

Extras and tactical advantage

You could impress the interviewers by testing a web application or an open source project and attaching your test report with it. This gives you a tactical advantage over all other people attending interviews as the interviewers get to see how you can actually test, how you report problems, how you investigate problems, how you can prepare a test report, how good is your writing skills and all that.

Peer Review of your Resume

You might be knowing the value of peer reviews in software engineering. How about bringing that to resume writing? Ask any of your friend's or peers to review your profile and spot problems. As you are the developer, it is likely that you will make mistakes and you might be blind at spotting them.

Progress Report Reference:

I have been compiling my Progress Reports over the last two years and I want you to have a look at it. Search for Progress Report of Pradeep Soundararajan and you will find the PDF files.

Interview skills

This one is quite famous : Yeah this one :
The (bad) state of software testing interviews in India

If you are interested in watching my presentation of the same,
here is the link to the video

Old version of the same article
( and there are some good points there as well )

So think about these points and also read what I wrote long back when my own English wasn't as good as how it might be now:

Old version of the same article:

Hi Reader,

I would have spent at least 300 hours by now, in this life time, helping out my friends, modifying their CV/Resume. It was interesting initially, especially when I had learnt the art of writing a good CV for myself. Thanks to Ravi Joshi, who spent his valuable time with me, teaching me "The art of writing a wonderful CV" .

I dare to share my learning and would want to provide a template to those sending me CV's to modify. Become an expert by experimenting with your own CV .. after reading this.

__ Are you testing your CV ? __

Trust me, I have modified CV's for developers too but a majority of the CV's I have touched is of a Tester.

Some common stupid mistake I and you make in the CV V/s How better can things be -

Junk Objective - To secure a challenging position in a well established firm and want to develop further as a tester OR Looking for an opportunity that can extract my potential in terms of technical and management OR Seeking a position in your valuable organization to grow in my career.

Clear Objective - Being a passionate Tester for x years and having won ... credits ... , I am looking for an opportunity to augment my career further, since I feel a new environment could make me learn things better and can work towards contributing at higher levels OR Having proved the ability to learn and a developed interest towards Test Engineering, I want to take my career to a stage of delivering high customer satisfaction by joining the services industry yet bringing in the product based company's expertise OR I am a self proclaimed passionate Tester. I want to put myslef to test by taking up challenges that your organization is currently offering and feel satisfied when the work quality meets the claim.

Gyaan -

1. Never copy someone's objective, which is the most stupid thing any person can do.
2. Frame your own objective, what it costs is 100 MIPS for your brain.
3. Your objective should say a) Who you are ? b) What are your skills c) Why are you looking for a job d) What can you bring to their table OR e) What is the value addition if a company hires you ?
4. If you have prepared for GRE_TOEFL like exams but could not get through and the by product is - you become a Indo-US English guy. What it means is, your english is neither as bad as most of the Indian's english nor as good as the true American English. Such people tend to use complicated words. If you do so, the person reading your objective may not even understand it. ( It is truth, if you want to say "No Pradeep, you are wrong" , you better say "Hey Dude, you suck and your english is wrotten kinda stuff", I shall understand the by product you posses.)
Junk Project Explanation -
Bluetooth Audio Product Testing - Bluetooth is a wireless standard given by SIG. It operates in 2.4 GHz ISM band. Bluetooth audio product is to listen audio or music over bleutooth wireless product. Testing is a major phase in Bluetooth Audio products and invlves audio testing abd bluetooth testing.
1. What the hell ? Why should I write about bluetooth technology in describing about the product ?.. ( 10 % of the resumes I have modified, explained the technology of the product ).
2. Although Mircrosoft has given a spell check, most of them do not use it. When you open today's Indian Tester resume, you will see a lot of Red and Green colours. Simple, they think Microsoft is recognizing their resume and by default underlining it to make it colourful.
3. Indents and Formatting.. This was the toughest thing I ever handled. I wonder how people write word documents wherein I try to modify its format but returns to the same when I press and Enter or Backspace at some points.
4. Bold is not beautiful - Janta does not know what to make Bold and what to not. They feel every one word out of 20 should be bold. Italics, at their own will. They draft the CV and see they have not italicised some words and they start doing it.
Let me try to re frame the above project explanation -
Bluetooth Audio Product Testing - A wireless audio solution for people who would want to listen music on the move without getting entangled with the headphone wires. This project was intended to achieve CD quality music while streaming audio over Bluetooth. A broad classification of the testing challenges would be in measuring the scientific quality parameters of the audio, loss of quality in comparision to wired headphones and testing the user friendliness of the whole product apart from testing the product for battery life and other MMI based testing.
Isn't that giving a fantastic view to the person looking at your CV of what project it is and what you could have done in it ?
Client/Customer Name - Everyone of us are happy to mention that we worked for Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Adobe, Cisco ... not directly but they being the client/customer of the product you were working for.
Ethically, it isnt good. You think a company would hire you just because you worked for the above companies ? What you do not know is you are revealing your customer info to the person looking at your CV.
What if your CV reaches the competitor of your current place of work ?The person interviewing you would be happy and hire you if you say him "Sorry, I cant tell the customer info" , if he asks such a question.
Unwanted Info -What we all should learn is CV/Resume has no standard format and if you can form your resume. You would be amazed to hear that one guy prepared a CV in flash and song a sang ... for it. Can you believe there were companies in queue to hire him ? Want to know who is he ?
Right click and open to CHECK THIS OUT !
Common sense questions you should ask yourself -
When you cannot draft a good CV without spelling mistakes, formatting mistakes, meaningful sentences... Why should I hire you ?
1. You proved you dont have good documentation skills.
2. You proved you will be unable to report a bug you find with non meaningful sentences writing being your flair.Complicated english words, Will the customer understand ? ( All customers are not smart )
3. Client/Customer name... so will you let know my customer details when you look for a job outside my company if I hire you ?Overall, all your claims look false if your CV negates your claims of being a good tester.
4. Does anyone mention Microsoft Excel as a tool they know ? Trust me if a tester knows the full features of MS Excel he can create more wonders. Some secrets better reamin closed unless it reaches people like me who dare to share.
5. False info - We Indians like mentioning lots of tools in our resume to get job. We are least bothered to check with ourselves whether we really know those tools in depth to take up an interview.
6. Did you know that the time required to hire someone will come down by 50% if good , true CV's are prepared by you all ?
"The art of writing good CV should come from the heart"





Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep, your old collegue, i think your Article will open the eyes of most of the people while writing their resume

Amol Agare said...

Really it is great experiment. I bet you would get relevant calls if you write relevant information.I am very much thankful to PRAD, who modified my resume with mannerful information. Prad, I will remodify it to make it more meaningful. I will also tell ppl about the importance of CV-writing.

Anonymous said...

how are you so amazing with each of your posts ?

ravi said...

i came from orkut, it is so good and I will modify my resume and I will thanks you a lot. Other posts I learnt a lot. Someday will be great.

HR consultant said...

Hi Pradeep,

I am a HR consultant and I would want to say that I hardly get to see good resume. Hope people take care of the points you have mentioned by you. I myself picked up one point from here ... Customer name :-D

I do not know much about testing but I really did like your writing and stories in other posts.

Best of Luck !

Anonymous said...

Well said pradeep..
refer the following link also for some more additional tips in creating a good CV.


Reena Verma said...

Too good. Even i have seen some very bad resumes and they are big turn offs.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right pradeep,The art of writing good CV can help person to get the desirable job.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Pradeep, what you said is correct. Most of us don't check while writing the resume.
A perfect job needs a perfect CV.
Remember a CV is the first communicator, so you should make your CV so attractive that the recruiter should have the best impression.

Devon Smith said...

This is a really great post!
I especially liked the advice about showing what you learned from your challenges. Humility and thoughtful expression of learning and growth are a great thing to see in interviews.

The open source testing idea is also a great one - I've never received a resume with a sample attached, but a QA portfolio would be a really useful thing to build!


SteStuff-Everything Test Eng Needs said...

There is a bug in your post itself.

A link to the word :The (bad) state of software testing interviews in India" is wrong.

You gave this: http://www.blogger.com/www.testertested.qualityfrog.com/TBSSTII.pdf

Which should be: testertested.qualityfrog.com/TBSSTII.pdf

Just tried to inform, so that you can change it :)