I am updating my online-resume and given my recent job search experience would like to get an advice.

I specialize in two distinct (with respect to technology) areas, lets call them O and N. While both of the technologies are still mainstream, a demand for O is decreasing. N is relatively modern and the demand for it is either plateaued or is still slowly growing.

Started working with N 15 years ago, I only spent 4 years working with it, and while loved it, I became an early adopter and enthusiast of N, then worked for 6 years with N, then back to O and N in 50/50 split for a few years and last two years I was working with O.

Because it is more pleasant to to work with N and the job market is larger I was thinking to get a job in N, but for money reasons, and somewhat tight job market - still stay with O. When recently I had to change jobs I choose O again, mostly becaue of more interesting projects, more money. I had an offer for B as well, but turned it down. Though I had two different offers at the same time it was merely a luck - I am not a superstar programmer who gets 5 offers a month, but consider myself a strong developer.

My plan now is to stay with O job for a two years and then try to get a job in N as I expect that in two years the O job market would be impossibly tight to find a job within a reasonable time-frame. So I need to prepare myself.

The question is how do I market myself. If my online-resume says that I have been doing O for 4 years and now want to go back and do N again - most of the recruiters won't even consider me, as they have a tendency to pigeonhole everyone to what one has been working with recently.

At the same time I don't want to lie outright and put that I have been doing O and N 50/50, simply because I am not.

By another way of thinking, on my online resume I could simply omit the list of technologies (in a per company section) and bundle all technologies together into summary section, that would market me as N specialist, without giving away that I have been do O for the last 2 yeas.

So, how do you think I should update my online resume, keeping in mind that I probably would not stay in O for more than another couple of years, but after that I would be forced to search for a job in N. as I think that 3-years gap between then and when I used N the last time commercially would make it difficult to land a job in N, which I believe is my only viable option now.

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    Is there a way to slim this down? My head is starting to spin from all the detailed information about O and N hereand we got to "B" I just started to loose hope on what you were asking. – bethlakshmi Oct 15 '13 at 18:48

With the advent of online job sites, professional "resume" sites such as LinkedIn, and the rampant use of headhunters (specific to technology, but I know other industries use them as well), employers are experiencing an overload of submissions. It's "too easy" to submit your resume for a job when you get right down to it. Because of this many people will have just one resume that lists everything they can do, and they don't concern themselves with whether it is applicable or not.

I would suggest you write up multiple resumes. Never leave anything specifically out, but focus one of your resumes specifically to N, another specifically to O, and let yet a third resume combine the two in concert. Many jobs are concerned with one specialty (although admittedly I've seen postings that seem to want me to know everything about computers since someone learned to count), so if you find one that matches N only, you can submit that resume with a suitable cover letter. This focus on N for an N-focused company will actually help your resume stand out a bit from the pack.

Certainly you should include all of your achievements with both technologies, but if you think about it carefully, you can really write a targeted resume that matches very closely what the prospective employer is looking for. If a hiring agent or manager sees a resume that doesn't have any gaps on his checklist and isn't chock full of junk he doesn't need, it's going to get his/her attention.

Also consider that the "gaps" in usage of a particular technology aren't important unless they span a lot of years (ymmv). Your resume should be focused on achievements and milestones that you accomplished for various employers (reduced overhead X%, managed 7 people on a 3400 manhour project, etc.). The technology listings are just there to support what you did, and this is what will convince a prospective employer than you can get stuff done for them too.

Edit: When you made mention of an online resume I was thinking you were referring to a CareerBuilder, Monster or Dice like site where multiple resumes can be created for just this sort of job application. However, if you're thinking of an online resume that can just be found or stumbled upon, then it needs to be the full version that contains every technology you feel comfortable with, all relevant experience pertaining to those technology and (most importantly) any specific accomplishments, major projects or notable achievements at all employers. A LinkedIn resume should be your most complete resume since it will be randomly viewed by headhunters looking for those same buzzwords and potentially employers surfing candidates in their local area (I didn't think this was true until a couple attempted to contact me).

As for your comment about the programming language list, I can assure that this is important only to get your resume past the HR stooge who has been told to comb through resumes and find the ones that match the baseline requirements. Once it hits the hiring manager's desk, this won't even be looked at except maybe to determine a baseline for the interview. Questions asked for someone claiming 3 years experience might be different than someone claiming 7 or 10 years in a particular technology. As someone who hires programmers, I am interested in specific achievements with the technology or achievements in another technology that would still be relevant (problems faced, method of solving, etc). The "job responsibilities" is minorly important, but the hiring manager will want to know what you really did.

  • Thank you Joel, many good ideas in your reply! I cannot agree more regarding having and sending a (specific technology) tailored resume - as it worked for me in the past. However my question was specifically about the online resume - which would be the same for anyone who is visiting my web site. Unless I put on the main page two links telling that "I am a specialist in both technologies" and "to see my O resume please click on mywebsite.com/O_resume" and for N - "please visit mywebsite.com/N_resume", where former will emphasize O technology, and the latter will focus on N ... – Mitten Oct 13 '13 at 1:03
  • ... But being that upfront does not seems right to me. – Mitten Oct 13 '13 at 1:03
  • Also, I cannot agree that the technologies in resume are for support only. For the software developers jobs, technologies and programming languages are the first line of the job requirement - e.g 5 years of Java, 3 years of ASP.NET, etc – Mitten Oct 13 '13 at 1:07
  • @Mitten: I was thinking when you meant online resume you meant on a job site like CareerBuilder or Monster (where multiple resumes can be kept). I'll add an update for that, and also respond to the programming languages part as well (too much for a comment). – Joel Etherton Oct 13 '13 at 12:02

My understanding is that you are both a specialist in N and O. If that is the case, it is perfectly acceptable for you to say you are a specialist in either N or O.

I could simply omit the list of technologies (in a per company section) and bundle all technologies together into summary section, that would market me as N specialist, without giving away that I have been do O for the last 2 yeas.

This is the approach that I would take. There's nothing wrong with saying you've worked with other technologies, and you should definitely tell the full truth when asked about it in an interview setting. If it helps you get through the door into the interview, modifying your resume to better reflect your personal preference of technology is the best way to go.

Don't be afraid to make many resumes which are appropriate for applying to different jobs. Certain companies will want to see that you've got a good knowledge of both N and O, and others might be looking for just one, and not the other.

It sounds like you have a good understanding of both technologies, so you could use that to your advantage and say that you have working knowledge of both, although your preference is in N.

  • woops. updating now! – wrossmck Oct 13 '13 at 13:52

OK... so a collection of tips.

First and foremost - decide what you are actually willing to work in. If you really don't want a job in a given technology - do not put it on your resume. If you are willing to do either one, put both on your resume.

Next - there's no harm in being abstract - putting the skill list up as you mention is not insane or underhanded. Lying and saying you worked with a technology when you didn't is a thing to avoid.

Last - I've noticed that recruiters get more picky when there are more candidates to pick from. So a thing to wonder is - how many opportunities are out there for N? If recruiters are getting super picky, it may be an indicator that it's so easy to find candidates with recent experience, that your experience doesn't beat out the competition.


You can easily use this to show that you are flexible as an individual, which is always a good thing. Write a few sentences about the synergy between these areas (even if there is nothing apparent, just find a way to tie them in a positive light) and you will actually broaden the potential job base.

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