Category Archives: Job

Strange Copy Pasta in Developer Resumes

A sample of some UIViews
A sample of some UIViews that are basic “functionalities” in a “Multi-view Application”

So for the past few weeks we’ve been trying to hire for a contractor position to work on our iOS app. Along with the rest of the team, I’ve been reviewing resumes on a really corporate looking website that have been submitted by recruiters on behalf of candidates. It’s an interesting exercise because the resumes are almost all in the same exact format and after a while, they really start to look the same. In some cases, this is because a candidate has been rejected and resubmitted accidentally.

While scanning through a bunch of resumes, my coworker Will noticed a bullet point that actually appeared in more than one person’s resume:

Experienced in creating and custom UIViews, Table Views, Tab Bars and Navigation Bar, which are some basic functionalities in a Multi-view Application.

There are a few things that stand out about this. The sentence itself runs on and on, and the grammar used is pretty dubious. Also, the inclusion of this into an iOS developer’s resume tells you nothing because every iOS developer should have experience with these elementary UI elements, and the sentence even sort of explains that at the end. The fact that it appears in more than one resume is surprising, since it’s such a stupid thing to include in your resume to begin with.

I was curious about this bullet point, so I suggested that Will paste the phrase into Google. Here’s an interesting slice of the results:

While there’s not a direct match, there are links to resumes which have slightly altered versions of the same phrase. The part that is mostly shared is the “…which are some basic functionality in a Multi view Application.” If you google for that, you will find pages and pages of resumes with a bullet point similar to the original. Will even started a tally of “mutations” of the phrase with added embellishments at the end, or with slightly better grammar.

I was curious which other phrases in these resumes were common, so I tried googling some of them. Some that I found that had become memes were:

  • Strong Knowledge of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) with strategically designing and implementing the software, debugging, fixing and maintaining the software.
  • Developed apps using various iOS design patterns (MVC, Delegation, Target-action and Slide-out Navigation).
  • Proficient in Memory Management: Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) and Manual Reference Counting (MRC).
  • Mobile Application Development (iPhone/iPad) using objective-C, UIKit, Core Location, MapKit, Cocoa Touch and Cocoa Service Frameworks.

I have a few guesses as to why these are in so many resumes verbatim. It could be that the candidate simply copied and pasted the bullet points from a friend’s resume and hopefully actually has those skills. Another could be that the recruiting firm offered to touch up their resume for them and did so lazily. While it’s easy to attribute this to malice, it’s probably just good old fashioned laziness. After all, if it works for so many developers, it should work for you! Either way it looks terrible for the candidate and it’s frustrating for people doing the hiring to see such a lack of originality. I already have to go through more than 30 resumes; I don’t want to think I’m going crazy with all the feelings of Deja Vu.

My recommendation to developers would be to write, in your own words, what you’ve actually accomplished. Resume writing is annoying, and no one likes doing it, but the downside to plagiarism is that I toss your resume out and assume you’re a terrible person. Also, I’m secretly hoping that this blog post becomes the top Google result for all of these copied bullet points so any curious resume-reviewers realize they’re not going insane. Also, feel free to nitpick my own outdated resume which you can find here on my (way outdated) portfolio site.

I haven’t gone in depth at all to discover more of these copied phrases, but I’m willing to bet that a big percentage of bullet points in resumes are simply ripped off from other resumes.

Yet Another Employment Announcement (And More Moving)

I wrote in my New Year’s Retrospective that my greatest fear for 2012 was that I would not get as much done as in previous years due to working a regular job for the first time in years.

That concern turned out to be quite prescient as within a couple of months, things quickly changed. While I enjoyed increasing my proficiency in Django and hanging out with cool co-workers, I found that I couldn’t break into areas that I was really interested in, specifically mobile. I decided to look for a new opportunity where I could grow as a mobile developer.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve accepted a new gig with Canopy (whose name is going to change soon), a spinoff of a company called LanguageMate. Canopy is based in Ann Arbor and specializes in language applications for medical professionals. I’m working on a neat tool that helps nurses and doctors communicate with patients who might not speak the same language. I think it’s an interesting space and presents a lot of interesting challenges in interface design, marketing, end user support, and other aspects that revolve around mobile development.

I believe this will be a better fit as I’m now able to work on a startup that is investing heavily in mobile. On top of that, I think it’s great that the app actually does something meaningful. Sure, a photo sharing app might sell for a billion dollars, but has it ever saved a person’s life?

Right now I’m in the middle of another move. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back in Ann Arbor (for the 4th time) on Friday. I’m looking forward to hanging out there again, spending more time with Emily, and eating at BTB every day.

I am really thankful for all the friends I made at Threadless, and I feel bad leaving them so soon. Having said that, I am really looking forward to making a big impact at a small startup that really needs my skills. Here’s to an interesting second half of 2012!

An Important Announcement About My Employment Status (And T-Shirts)

If you know me or if you read my blog, you know that I have been a huge fan of Threadless since I first found out about it in 2005. For a while, Threadless was pretty much the only thing I wrote about on this blog.

Last year, I developed an unofficial mobile app for browsing and sharing cool Threadless designs on the iPhone and iPad. This caught the attention of Threadless and I got to visit their sweet office!

I had the chance to visit again for the Threadless Family Reunion and an interview of sorts, and I was offered a job! I am happy to announce that I will join Threadless at the beginning of October.

I am really looking forward to making Threadless even more awesome (and now from the inside as opposed to hacking together an API for myself)!

Summer Update: Bebarang Launch!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog; I’ve been super busy with my startup! We finally ended up launching the latest iteration of the site, Bebarang, last week. It’s currently by no means perfect, but what site is?

We “pivoted” from a subscription model to a one time use model. Whether this will work remains to be seen, but we’re definitely learning a lot. If you are a parent or know a parent, please forward the site around and let me know what you think about the concept and the product!

Also, New York is finally cooling down a bit after a crazy hot summer. It’s starting to get really beautiful outside. Maybe we can start working in the park once we’re kicked out of our workspace at NYU…

Startup Incubation Week 5 Update!

I’ve been in New York working on our startup for about 5 weeks now. So far the experience has been really enlightening. Between reading the Startup Genome Report, a handbook on Customer Development, listening to awesome lecturers talk about bizdev, pitching, pivoting, etc, I think I have a much better handle on what entrepreneurship really is.

So far, we’ve probably pivoted about 2 times, and we’re not even at the halfway point yet! The support from mentorships has been really helpful in understanding what startups really need to focus on to be successful. Without a market, there’s no company. Without the proper product to market fit, there’s no company. And if everything fits perfectly, you still need to be able to scale your service or product to meet demand!

Approaching a startup in a semi-scientific way is also very cool. Instead of looking at a startup as an ultra risky venture, you’re really looking for ways to prove hypotheses and make the thing as un-risky as possible while maximizing the potential upsides.

Bebarang is chugging along and I hope to provide an actual launch post some time soon (in private beta, of course).