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I have been programming in C# .Net for nearly three years, and only C# .Net. I'm filling in my CV/resume and it looks a bit rubbish because I don't know any other languages (that I'm confident enough to include anyway). As I can't put my age/DoB on it I'm a little worried that employers won't take a second glance.

I'm very good at OO design, TDD, etc... And so a graduate level job is probably a little low but with only one language under my belt I'm not sure I'll be considered for 'regular' level developer.

Is it a good idea to include years of experience? Or should I just big up the cross cutting concerns (TDD, OO...)? Or any other suggestions to get to interview?

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"years experience" could have an implicit lower bound if you list the number of years in the position that gave you the experience. Personally, I like this: "Company A (2005 - Present): - working with C# .NET" than "6 years C# .NET experience" but that's just my preference. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 24 '11 at 21:01
    
...The second one could be limiting if you explicitly state you have fewer years than they need. If they have to work it out, they might not care if they like the rest of it. Don't give them reasons to discard your resume. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 24 '11 at 21:07
    
Just do years++ and find a way to justify it if asked. –  Job May 25 '11 at 4:19
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4 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Never list your negatives on your CV. Those are the kind of facts that an interviewer is supposed to ask if they find them relevant. Your CV should really be more or less a list of all of your positive attributes applicable to the job. Do not list positives you do not have (aka: don’t lie), but there is nothing at all wrong with withholding information unless they ask. Basically, you don’t put anything on your CV that will cause you to lose ground in offer negotiations.

Your years of experience could be a positive or a negative. If you are worried that it will be too low, but really feel you are qualified, then go for it without listing YOE right off the bat. Of course, if your YOE are great for the position, then list it for sure. It is the same as telling your current salary too easily when you are trying to negotiate a bump from a lower rung; sure if they ask, then be honest, but you should not simply tell them without thinking of the implications on the offer.

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Yes - it's always good to list years of experience (if they are relevant to the job that you're applying). You can also give specifics within the C# language (or libraries( that you are familiar with. For example, if you are good with GDI, WPF, WCF, LINQ, ASP.NET MVC etc. Make sure you elaborate on them and be prepared to answer interview questions regarding to those things that you've listed.

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+1 You might also list things as "C# (since 2008)" etc. That way, you don't have to change that part of your resume every year. –  Bob Murphy May 24 '11 at 20:49
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If you are applying for a job a Microsoft and used their online resume builder it will ask you not only how many years of experience you have but also when was the last time that you used that skill and do you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate, advanced or expert. The drop down menu has options for "less than 1 year", "2 years","3 years",...,"6-10 years", and "more than 10 years" for each skill. Most of their senior jobs list "5-10 years of experience in C# or c++" as a requirement, with level II jobs still recommending "5+ years of development or test experience through at least one full product cycle".

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I knew that MSFT sucked! –  Job May 25 '11 at 4:20
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As an interviewer, your Language / OS skills don't matter to me. (As an employee, I had worked with MS on MS tech for 7 odd years. Then I switched into AMZN where its all Linux tech - naturally my language knowledge etc. didn't exactly fit into this world. I hadn't logged into an Unix box since college when I joined amzn - still I was hired).

I want to see what projects you have been a part of in your resume, and what your exact role was. Be sure you can quantify your contribution and talk to me about the end to end picture, working with people, processes you have been a part of etc. - that is all I need, with regards to your past career. Not many companies harp on the language you use to code up their interview questions either, as long as you can explain the magic bits of the language. (I do advice not trying to teach an interviewer stuff like functional programming if he claims no knowledge in that. He might learn something, you will probably lose your opportunity. Stay in safe grounds of c/c++. Java/.NET look the same to me, as long as you don't bring in stuff like LINQ).

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So if your project uses Haskell on gentoo linux and your applicant's experience is with Visual Basic on Windows, that doesn't matter to you? I suspect you were hired despite the differences. –  Rein Henrichs May 25 '11 at 3:53
    
It honestly doesn't matter to me, as long as I am convinced the person can pickup Haskell quick. Here I define quick in my own way - I am sure smaller companies will have their own definition. Real talent is too hard to come by. No point in missing out on that just because of knowledge of a language/platform. Those can be taught. –  Subu Subramanian May 25 '11 at 3:59
    
@Subu respectfully, I think what you mean to say is "it doesn't matter to me as much as other things, like general programming ability and learning ability". For instance, given two otherwise equivalent programmers, would you really be indifferent between the one that has 5 years of experience with your system's technology and the one that has 5 years of experience with some other distantly related technology? –  Rein Henrichs May 25 '11 at 4:04
    
I will hire both of them. Being in a big company has its perks! You are trying to have a very theoratical argument here, So no real answers there. And btw, Have you ever seen two equivalent good programmers? –  Subu Subramanian May 25 '11 at 4:06
    
@Subu Touché! No, I haven't (because they don't exist). I was merely trying to use a thought exercise to tease out the difference between "doesn't matter" and "matters significantly less than other qualifications" (and, for the record, I agree with the latter). –  Rein Henrichs May 25 '11 at 4:12
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