Unless you always worked for yourself, you've likely written a résumé. The longer you've been around, the more versions you have.
There are countless books out there that tell you how to write one, how to interview, and how to talk and dress. It's about time Scope Junction got in on the act. But I'm no expert. I'm expecting to read lots of comments about what has worked (or not worked) for you. If you've been on the other side of the table, tell us what you look for. What impresses and stands out -- on paper and in person?
What should be in your résumé? The word "résumé"? Not in mine, but if you want it in yours, please spell it correctly. There's a major online job site that doesn't, believe it or not. I title mine with my name.
Don't waste space putting in a full address or myriad contact details. A phone number and email address suffice, along with a city/state/province, if you like.
The first real item in my résumé is what I label "Profile". I added this a couple of years ago, and it serves as a mini-cover letter. It's a few lines long and gives a "big picture" overview of what I'm about. Give it a try. Show it to someone. If that person doesn't laugh, leave it in.
Next up is a point-form list I've labelled "Areas of Expertise." There are 15 points quickly summarizing technologies and industries in which I'm quite an expert, or at least a semi-expert. You can deposit some keywords here. Rumor has it that some companies will scan incoming résumés for "FPGA," "C++," or whatever it is that interests them.
We finally get to the jobs section (presented in reverse order, of course). A few revisions ago, I retitled mine "Industry Experience." I think it sounds more professional, no? How much detail should we have here? In my limited experience on the hiring side of the table, I found résumés with explicit details of every little task and technology offputting. They made me think that the candidate was really proud of, say, "using a scope." Of course, if the opening is for a test tech, that's a bad example. But in my opinion, you should try to showcase your ability to master new challenges, not every little one you already have. Opinions may vary.
Next comes education. This section should shrink over the years. Ten years into your career, no one really cares about schooling. What you put here can depend on the type of work you're looking for, but in most cases, any real world or practical experience should be emphasized.
Next, I have a "Memberships/Qualifications" section, where I list things like my ham license and a few societies to which I belong. The jury is out on whether to include a section for other interests. I list a few of mine. Use your judgment.
Most sources recommend you keep your résumé to two pages, and I tend to agree. Lopping off your earliest jobs is preferable to covering your pages with 8pt type.
Engage your artistic side for a moment. Try to make the overall look of your pages inviting. Trade some consulting for fixing your designer friend's computer. The sheets shouldn't be too dense. Make reasonable use of font sizes, bolding, etc. to set off sections. Or get more creative with design elements like shading and sectioning.
Perhaps eschew the paper paradigm completely. I've seen résumés on those small "business card" CDs and (in one case) on a tiny PIC board that plugs into a USB port and "types" out the text into an open editor window!
OK, you've done everything right and got an interview. What now? The more I think about it, read, and actually go on interviews, the more I'm convinced that the interviewee should take the lead as much as possible while being sensitive to the interviewer's personality and style. At this point, they probably want to hire you. Make it easy for them. Ask lots of questions about the company and the work. Bring examples of things you've designed. Show you're eager and able to learn.
Those are just some of my ideas. What are yours? What do you think has worked well, or badly, in your past experience. And what do you like to see when you're on the other side of the table?