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I'm gonna have to build a rougelike, aren't I?
September 2, 2010 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever seen a creative sysadmin resume?

I'm preparing an application for a Linux sysadmin position with a company with a startup atmosphere. The directions specifically expect creative resumes. I've had a few ideas, but many don't quite have the flexibility to encapsulate the contents of a normal resume.

For example, I thought about presenting a Makefile with my education and work experience, as directions on how I've built myself. But it's not a good way of communicating timeframes, and I worry esteem will be lost because it's not executable, whatever that means in the context of a simple resume.

So I'm augmenting my own brainstorms with a query for anecdotal resumes people have made / recieved over the years. Anyone seen a clever resume they'd like to share? Or ideas you had but dismissed because of Standard Corporate Culture?
posted by pwnguin to Work & Money (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
http://majorhayden.com/
posted by ansate at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


But it's not a good way of communicating timeframes, and I worry esteem will be lost because it's not executable, whatever that means in the context of a simple resume.

Definitely do not send code of any sort that doesn't work. I'd be tickled pink to receive a resume in the form of a makefile. I'd then consider you a poser if your code just bombed out immediately with a syntax error--any schmuck can format something into a parody of a programming language.

I'd consider a pseudo-quine. Pick your strongest scripting language, and produce a file that when viewed by a suit, puts all the relevant information in a reasonably-readable format. And then when the CEO kicks it over to me, and I point ruby or python (or whatever) at it, it produces as output the resume itself.

This could be something as simple as a list of formatted strings that are then printed by a small routine at the bottom of the script. Or, it could be something really clever--perhaps an easter egg, even.

Please keep in mind that by doing a resume like this (or the man-page one linked above), you're definitely limiting your respondents to those who Get It. Depending on how broke you are, this may or may not be a very good thing.
posted by Netzapper at 5:25 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Send your resume as groff source plus a makefile in a tarball, with build instructions in a README_1ST.txt? (I'd include a Word file in the tarball as well, just in case they didn't have any way to run groff. But who'd want to work in a place where that was the case? Just kidding.)
posted by ctmf at 5:54 PM on September 2, 2010


Netzapper: "Definitely do not send code of any sort that doesn't work. I'd be tickled pink to receive a resume in the form of a makefile. I'd then consider you a poser if your code just bombed out immediately with a syntax error.

Well, I'm really at a loss at how to describe a bachelor's degree in make in a way that bash understands though. I mean at some point, there's a problem with this idiom. Dependency relationships work fine in make, but short of adding a bunch of ugly echo's, I'm not sure I can make the code itself say anything useful while representing something besides my ability to read, write and debug Makefiles.

"Please keep in mind that by doing a resume like this (or the man-page one linked above), you're definitely limiting your respondents to those who Get It. Depending on how broke you are, this may or may not be a very good thing."

They're requesting applications in the form of git repositories. I think the Get It quotient is probably high. And if not, I'm employed and surviving just fine.
posted by pwnguin at 5:55 PM on September 2, 2010


Applying for the Sparkfun position? You could submit your resume as gerbers or some other cad file. (Requiring it to be manufactured and operated in order to get your resume out would probably be excessive though...)
posted by hattifattener at 6:38 PM on September 2, 2010


Create a script that provisions a VM in the cloud and configures it (w/ your configuration management tool of choice) as a web server that serves your resume (source file php/ruby/latex/manfile source included in git repo) and renders it, if required.
posted by theclaw at 6:47 PM on September 2, 2010


oh, if they want a git repo, then you definitely want to write up a Makefile and have your resume compile (for some definition of compile, based on your facility with whatever scripting/programming language you're most comfortable in.)

even something as simple as resume.sh with a valid make resume or similar target that runs the script and produces human-readable copy as it's output is going to be more creative than a simple repo with 'resume.doc' sitting therein.

the idea of a roguelike inventory screen that lists your skills as the items in the inventory is novel, but it would have to be pitch-perfect.

you could also whip up a simple text adventure that outlines all of your pertinent resume info.

"You are standing in an open field west of a white data center, with a card-reader protected front door. There is a small mailbox here."

(perhaps a hint to finding your resume is in the mailbox? Does the player have a valid badge to get into the data center and find you maintaining servers? maybe they can then ask you questions to get your resume info? go nuts!)
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:54 PM on September 2, 2010


Or you could riff off of the repo concept, and "hide" your resume data in the commit info?

I'm picturing the commit messages as base64 encoded strings, with a makefile that calls git log, extracts the commit messages, recombines the strings into a base64 encoded file, decrypts the file, and voila! your resume appears.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:58 PM on September 2, 2010


How strong are your coding skills?

It could be fun to create a resume that starts with a splash screen and prompts the user to choose one of many job requirement categories to see how the applicant's experience compares against their expectations.

For example, you might have a menu where the user can choose such things as sys admin experience, technical work experience, scripting experience, various OS experience, etc. The user then clicks on a category (and sub-category if necessary) and is prompted with something like:

What is the minimum years of Server 2003/2008 experience you require from your applicants?

And then, How many years of experience would your ideal applicant have in this area?

Once it receives the user input, the program then prints something like, "Applicant pwnguin has 3 years (or 50% more) experience than your minimum expectations and 1 year (or 16.7% more) experience than your ideal candidate. Relevant experience was gained from his employment at X (and Y if necessary) from dates A to B.

Putting such a resume together could be tedious but not too terribly technically challenging.

Of course, you could also have a button that renders your complete resume and parts of your resume (e.g. job history, summary of technical experience and proficiencies in bullet format).

I would certainly be impressed by something like that.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 7:33 PM on September 2, 2010


So, I totally just spent the last few hours putting together a resume program that outputs a resume. I believe it is legible to everybody who might see it. And it does it in the most painfully generic and reflective way ever. It's not technically a quine though. And it's bedtime, so formatting of the jobs array is ugly as sin.

You're welcome to use that for inspiration, but I'd appreciate if you didn't lift that. Especially if you couldn't have written it.

Actually... this may be my new resume.
posted by Netzapper at 7:59 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I think I'm gonna go with a manpage. The idea crossed my mind, but I figured the they'd prefer to read the input files (and troff isn't verra pretty) vs browse the output. But it's easily the most reusable, and now that I've seen it rendered, it does look rather awesome. Much better than my embarrassing effort at hResume with no attention to style.

Importantly, it's a hell of a lot less work than coding up an adventure game or generating a coredump+debugging symbols to load into gdb ("how sad, his life is an endless loop"). And more interesting than fake kernel logs.

I guess I'm just weird, but writing code to print a static document seems mundane, and writing code to obfuscate the printing of a static document makes a mountain of work out of a molehill. And while I can and do code, I might as well pick a format that's closer to the position's responsibilities than the coder team. Although the idea of scripting a "you're hired!" email for those who build before they read amuses me, now probably isn't the time for that.
posted by pwnguin at 11:00 PM on September 2, 2010


What is the minimum years of Server 2003/2008 experience you require from your applicants?

And if they enter more than 7 or 2 years respectively, be sure to output a snarky error message.

If I had a nickel for every job posting asking for 5+ years of Server 2008 experience......
posted by schmod at 8:47 AM on September 3, 2010


This smug designer designed a really swanky cover letter for this smug company (that happens to make really swanky products). He got the job.
posted by schmod at 8:51 AM on September 3, 2010


Well, I got the interview, so I'm gonna mark this one resolved and start prepping for teleconference interviews. And maybe update the resume on my website and add some CSS.
posted by pwnguin at 11:23 PM on September 17, 2010


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