Re: Resume format

Subject: Re: Resume format
From: MichaelHuggins -at- aol -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 10:28:11 EST

Justin wrote:

>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....

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

Justin, I had seen the skills-based resume recommended for years and finally decided to try it, about 8 years ago. The reaction from employers was mostly negative. One fellow in an interview was almost hostile, as if I had submitted something offensively inappropriate. I showed the resume to a seasoned executive whose judgment I usually respect, and he also said he found such a format confusing.

I suspect that many people have a gut feeling that the chronological resume is the only "honest" approach and that anything else is at best frivolous and at worst an attempt to conceal something. Your recruiter may have been reporting an opinion that was true of most of her clients.

>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.<

That sounds to me as if she is more used to placing office temps than tech writers, but it's hard to know what other people are aware of. I know from my experience with recruiters that they are very particular in having an applicant's resume answer, point by point, what the client has requested, even if it seems repetitious or unnecessary to you and me.

>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....

* Was this recruiter definitely rude and defensive, or is it just my
neurotic opinion?<

It sounds as if your perception of her was exactly correct. For me, it tends to confirm the generally low opinion I have of recruiters to begin with; in her case, I suspect that if she has been successful in placing technical writers at all, it has been in spite of herself.

I admire your restraint and agree that all things being equal, if she has a listing for a job you may want, that you try to avoid offending her. But her presuming to take over the formatting and editing of your resume is going too far. If you feel you can afford it, I would suggest that you stand firm on that point and say that any resume not presented as you created it would not be a true representation of your work and abilities and that if she is willing to present you to the client at all, you must insist that she present you as you are. Would she demand to see the samples of your work that you planned to show and insist on editing those? Well your resume is also a sample of your work. She may well be offended and drop you as a candidate, but in my opinion, this woman is really a clerk at heart, not a professional, and the value of doing business with her at all is dubious.

Michael Huggins

Did you know you can get RoboHelp certified?
To learn how, visit Be sure to also check out
our special pricing offers and promotions for RoboHelp 2002.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: salvaging damaged business relationships
Next by Author: Re: Resume format
Previous by Thread: Re: Resume format
Next by Thread: RE: Resume format

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads