Resume format

Subject: Resume format
From: "Justin Cascio" <justin-paul -dot- geo -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 19:51:49 -0500

I checked out a link that someone posted to the list recently (I'm sorry
that I can't find either the URL or who posted it) to an article on how to
write one's resume. There were a few "makeovers" in PDF format as
illustration of ways to make a resume more scannable and readable. One of
the suggestions was to re-organize the resume so skills and experience were
grouped by type, not the position at which the skills/experience were
gained/used. Employment was listed later, with just bare bones information.

Ex. Old Resume

ABC Finance Co.
Anytown, IL
May 1995-Sept 1997

Created manual for a blah blah application using HelpTool.... wrote and
presented training on blah blah...

Ex. New Resume

END USER DOCUMENTATION

Created manual for blah ....
etc.
etc.

EMPLOYMENT

ABC Finance Co. etc.

I thought this was a great idea, and created a new version of my resume in
this format.

Last week, I was contacted by a recruiter who wanted to submit me for a
position (that I'd incidentally love to land: it's a temp to perm with a big
finance company and I think I'm perfect for the job). She asked me to send
her my resume, so I sent her the new version. First she told me on the phone
that the format was terrible, that employers aren't used to seeing resumes
in that format, and that they want to know at which jobs I got or used
skills. I said no problem, and sent her the old version. Then, through a
series of calls and emails, she had me re-tweak the resume several times to
include specific mentions of every job at which I used MS Word, Excel, and
PowerPoint, because the job description specifies that these are required
tools. I pointed out that I had MS Office listed on my rez, but she said
that wasn't enough, and that HR people wouldn't necessarily know that Word,
Excel, and PowerPoint are part of the Office suite.

She told me my resume would be reformatted and that any errors would be
corrected by her company. I told her that I would want to make any necessary
formatting changes and corrections myself, because as a technical writer,
format and spelling are so important on a resume. She got hugely defensive,
saying she's been in the business x years and knows what she's doing, etc.
Every email she's sent me has had several grammatical and spelling errors,
so that makes me more nervous about this company futzing with my resume. (I
didn't say that to her: I figured she's already defensive.)

So I guess I have a few questions about this experience:

* Do you think it's a good idea to sort the meat of a resume by skills
rather than by employers?
* Should anyone doing a first pass on resumes for a tech writer position
know that MS Office contains Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, if these are
required tools?
* Should I have even the most basic tools on my resume, everywhere I used
them, or should I only apply this treatment to more TW-specific tools like
RoboHELP and just mention once that I know how to use these tools?
* Was this recruiter definitely rude and defensive, or is it just my
neurotic opinion?

Thanks all!
Justin



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