RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question

Subject: RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 07:55:27 -0700 (PDT)

--- Hannah Bissell <to -dot- hannah -at- usa -dot- net> wrote:
> In a sea of resumes, I'm looking to stand out.

<plug style="shameless">If you want to stand out, and I agree that it can be a
very useful thing to accomplish, I suggest you read my article in this month's
Whirler on using a T-Letter. There's no better way I've found to stand out and
get interviews than by NOT sending a resume when inquiring on a

Standing out is a good thing. I guess I just have different ideas than some
about what constitutes standing out in a way that gets me in the door and what
constitutes standing out in a way that keeps me out of the interview process.

However, I suspect we all do what we perceive works for us. If listing hobbies
gets you into the interview, then it works for you. Who am I to quibble?

You get no points from me if your resume (or T-Letter) isn't focused on what I
need to know to want to bring you in for an interview. I don't take off for
hobbies, but the presence of a hobby or outside interest won't get you in if I
don't see skills I need. (In fact, I probably won't notice the hobbies at all
until after I've scheduled the interview. And I'm not sure I'll care even

> The more they "know" you, the more likely they
> are to trust you on the rest of what your resume says (unless your hobby is
> an officer in the Society for Perpetual Liars or something like that).

I'm afraid I don't find that I "know" anybody from their resume. That's a lot
of what the interview is for, though I wouldn't recommend fooling yourself into
thinking you'll make fast friends at an interview. I don't want to know you so
much as I want to know that you have what I need for the job I'm trying to fill
and whether I think I can work with you (this second trait being, I admit,
purely subjective).

> And I have been told by former employers that my listing of hobbies did make
> me stand out in their memory (for one place) and were specifically why I
> recieved the position (at another place). At the second place, the company
> wrote repair guides for household items. Not known to me, they wanted to
> expand to other personally owned items, such as boats. When they saw I was a
> sailor they went with me instead of another similarly qualified applicant.

As I said above, if it works for you, it works for you. It seems appropriate to
suggest that doing research on a potential employer could reveal whether or not
a particular outside activity would be useful to that employer or not. I'm not
a big fan of the canned resume. I think each potential job situation requires a
more customized approach in this day and age. So what I send anyone is
customized to my best understanding of what they need to know about me in order
to invite me for an interview.

If you don't get an interview, you won't get the job.

Tom Murrell
Lead Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:tmurrell -at- columbus -dot- rr -dot- com
Personal Web Page -
Page Last Updated 07/15/01

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RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question: From: Hannah Bissell

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