Having a killer resume

Subject: Having a killer resume
From: "Andrew T. Brooke" <abrooke -at- pathcom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 22:47:52 -0400

Original posts:

>>One of the most common fallacies about resumes is that they
>>should be a complete job history.

> Hear, hear! Judging from the resumes I've reviewed, this point is lost on
> many tech writers. Maybe it's because they're so accustomed to providing
> ALL the information they think the user might find pertinent.

> A resume is a SALES document. Many tech writers suffer from either an
> antipathy towards sales writing, or in some cases, a flat-out inability to
> add a marketing spin to factual information. That can really bite you on
the ascii if you're not careful.

> When you write a resume, you take on the responsibility of PACKAGING
> yourself, your skills, and your experience. Spend some time thinking about
> what to include, AND what to leave out. If you think a piece of
> information could hurt your chances at getting called for an interview,
> omit it.
> Keith Cronin

I second Keith's motion! I have also seen my share of dreadful resumes, from
tech writers and others. It's not that people are stupid - it's just that
they don't know and have not researched how to assemble an effective resume.
For years, my resume sucked also, until I finally got my act together with

Although there is no one "right" way to write a resume, based on my research
and having dealth with professional career consultants who know this stuff,
I would make the following suggestions to anyone who wants a "killer"

1. Include a profile that describes you as a person and as a writer, and
gets across the point that you eat, live, sleep and breath documentation.
Read books about resumes for some ideas.

2. You may also wish to include a career objective, something to the effect
of "To create great documentation". Note that "To continue a career as a
tech writer" is not a very effective objective - of course that's what
you're trying to do, but what is it you WANT to do that will benefit the
company hiring you?

3. In your work experience section, list as many of the accomplishments that
you did which made the docs better. Quantify those accomplishments, for
- Merged User Manual and Online Help into a single-source document thereby
saving the company $5,000 in maintenance and translation costs.
HR people and hiring managers absolutely drool over that kind of stuff. At
all costs, do not say "Responsible for..." That means nothing.

4. Keep your resume to exactly 2 full pages, and not more. People just do
not have the time to read more than this. Think of it as "triage" on your

5. Use a basic font, like Times Roman. Remember - just because you like
Jupiter Extra Bold doesn't mean most people do. Include lots of white space.
Bullet your points.

6. Ideally, get a professional to review your resume, or failing that,
several people you trust. The more feedback you get, the better.

7. Keep in mind that many people who will look at your resume are not tech
writers, so you need to state your skills and objectives in such a way that
non-writers would understand them.

8. Continually revise, edit, rewrite, update, tweak and tailor your resume.
It is always beta - it is never, ever, ever complete.


Andrew T. Brooke, B. Tech.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: abrooke -at- pathcom -dot- com
Web: http://www.compuquick-consulting.com/techwriting
Phone: 416 633-5709
"What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
W. Clement Stone

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