Important: Job titles, resumes, and interviews

Subject: Important: Job titles, resumes, and interviews
From: "Cook, Jenise" <jenise -dot- cook-crabbe -at- pacificlife -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 14:08:10 -0700

<<Dianne wonders:>>
I worked for over a year as a Requirements Analyst. Nobody hardly knows
what that is....So, I changed my title to "Technical Writer" and had offers
coming out of the woodwork. Titles are not set in stone, unless you work for
a major government installation ("Private", "Corporal", "General", etc.).

<<Paul replied:>>
That's if you get a reference from the "dim bulbs" in HR. If you point the
hiring manager to your former manager or co-workers AND TELL THEM WHAT
YOU'RE DOING you should be fine with that kind of change. I've done it, and
it never hurt me at all. Always prep your references after an interview so
they know what to expect.

<<Tracy also replied:>>
It's my understanding that many employers, when asked for a reference, will
only give your title and the dates of employment (IOW, no one's going to say
"well, her title was Programming Intern, but she wrote all of our
documentation."). So I would be extremely leery of this... it could make you
look like you're claiming to have a job you didn't have at all.

===My turn=====

>From my former days in H.R., it _is_ important to be truthful on your resume
as well as on the application you complete in the recruiter's office. What I
mean is, if you were/are a Requirements Analyst, state exactly that in your
resume's Employment History section. However, right after that title, state
something like "also performed Technical Writer duties."

Reputable recruiters _do_ contact your prior employers for verification of
employment. This process is different from the process of calling for
references that Paul mentions. Once you receive and accept an offer of
employment and show up on your first day to complete those lovely HR forms,
the recruiter has you sign an Employment Verification form for every former
employer. If you told your new employer that you were a Technical Writer on
your last job, but your formal title was Business Analyst, Business Analyst
is what will come back from your former employer's HR department on the
completed Employment Verification form.

So, what's the big deal? In some industries (mostly the government and the
financial services industry), this is grounds for immediate termination
("separation of employment") based on not telling the truth on your resume
and/or employment application.

Smaller companies in the technology sectors (software and hardware) may not
care as much as a large financial services holding company. I don't know.
I've been in the financial services sector for so long I need you to tell me
what it's like in your industries.

===What's the point?====

My point is to always tell the truth on your resume when you list your job
titles, even if your titles don't state "Technical Writer." Create a
fuctional bulleted list of all your technical writer duties that you did for
all your previous employers.

There _is_ a way to design a resume that's welcomed by those lovely HR folks
and agency "reps" as well as by the hiring manager. I'm working on an
article describing this type of resume for my local STC chapter. Plus, I
want to add it to the TW Resources section of my personal Web site.

It may take a couple of weeks, however I'll let you know when these gems are

Jenise Cook-Crabbe
<<These opinions are my own;
they are not my employer's,
no not one bit at all.>>


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