I have worked all my career (since 1985) at the same research organization - CEA (the French equivalent of US DoE) as a research engineer (in 1990 I got a PhD in computer science). Except for a one year sabbatical at INRIA. I was involved in various research projects (including some H2020 ones), but I only have a few publications (because they did not matter much).

How should I organize my resume. I am French and almost 60 years old (so will be retired in less than 4 years).

I probably want to get a senior developer or senior research engineer position in some large "industrial" corporation (in France).

I did work on submitting several research grants (some of which having been successfully funded). For the past 15 years, all the software development work was on (specialized) free software projects (so I do have code to show); notably on software engineering tools related to static analysis and compilation (such as GCC MELT, which is now inactive; however, I worked 8 to 9 years on it).

I am a technical expert, not a "people" or "manager" person.

Do I need to explain why I want to change jobs?

  • related (possibly a duplicate): Listing past and present responsibilities for a single position – gnat Oct 31 '18 at 18:08
  • Was your work structured that you were mostly working on one project at a time or several projects at once? – Myles Oct 31 '18 at 18:20
  • Mostly, one project at a time. However, I also contributed to writing several research grants (some, but not all, of which have been funded). In the past 15 years, all the development work happened in open source projects. – Basile Starynkevitch Oct 31 '18 at 18:21
  • "Do I need to explain why I want to change jobs?" It is expected the motivation letter cover some of this, and if you are evasive you will have the question raised in interview. Prepare an answer, even if it is politely declining to disclose your real reasons. – Arthur Havlicek Nov 1 '18 at 13:29

With your work structured as a single project at a time, I would suggest listing each of your projects as a subheading within your experience with project name, start and end of your involvement, one or two line project description, role/responsibilities, and skills developed.

National nuclear waste tracking system


Developed a secure system for ensuring integrity of nuclear waste enroute for disposal

Security Lead

  • Technology XYZ
  • Version tracking ABC
  • Soft skill

I would strongly suggest getting in touch with a few local recruiters once you have your resume written and asking for a face to face feedback session to go through what you did and didn't include. There is a lot of resume advice out there for people early in their career that won't be applicable to you. It is important that you are falling within norms for your industry, in your location, for your level of experience.

  • Chronological by project is certainly the way to go. Depending on how significant the open-source projects and your contributions to them, I'd consider another section after the research projects to summarise that activity. – HorusKol Oct 31 '18 at 20:57

I can't claim to know the culture of large corporations in France, but I'll offer the advice for western "tech" companies.

@Myles' answer is good, but don't list all your projects. Hiring managers don't spend a lot of time on one resume, and if it's not obvious why it's a good match within 1-minute max, chances of getting an interview will drop drastically. Two pages is practically the limit, and you have to see how to use that limited amount of space efficiently.

I recommend adding a "Summary" section at the top with a few (3-5) bullet points that make it very clear why your skills and experience fit with the job description. If you have trouble getting interviews, do tailor this section according to the job description.

Then, list your projects, in descending order of relevance & impressiveness. I'd pick no more than 5. Don't mention projects that are not relevant. Just add something like "Complete work experience available upon request" or something.

Then, hide what could work against you or put it close to the end of your resume. For example, ageism is a real thing so you might want to avoid information that suggests your age being the first thing the interviewer sees. For example, if you list your graduation year right at the beginning, the hiring manager might be prejudiced. Instead, if you list your education on the second page, the hiring manager may already have a good impression of you and thus be less susceptible to age bias.

Oh and yes put that OSS contribution front and center. Link to things like repo.

Finally, it feels probable that you should mention why you are looking to change job now. Just make sure it's not negative ("I'm sick of my current job" etc. would be not good. The reason being private/personal is not an issue, but do try to include something positive and advertises intrinsic motivations). This should be done in cover letters (or comments/emails).

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