a different resume red flag

Subject: a different resume red flag
From: "John Fleming" <johntwrl -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 17:02:31 +0000

To come to Monica's defence, if we are claiming to be proficient in something, for example, a tool like Word, and we submit our resumes in a manner that allows recruiter a chance to assess our proficiency, then what we submit had better support our claims.

Word is maybe not the best example, because most of us can use Word with a fair degree of proficiency. At least, I hope as writers we all use some kind of word processing software with some degree of proficiency.

HTML is probably a better example, and Monica hits this right on the head. If I claim to be proficient with HTML and I give the recruiter a sample to visit that only works in, say IE 6.0, then what kind of message am I giving? Unless I am designing a page for use on a secure corporate intranet where all the machines on the network run IE 6.0, I'd better be able to design a page that will render nicely in all the most commonly used browsers. Thumbs up if the recruiter visits my site using some older version of Netscape and gets to see a page that still shows that I can do HTML.

As to sending resumes in PDF, here is where Monica and I diverge on opinion. If the recruiter's ad says to submit my resume in either text or Word, and I send a resume in PDF, all I am telling the recruiter is that I either can't read or can't follow instructions.

The whole purpose of a resume is to get us into a room with an interviewer so we get a chance, to borrow an idea from sales training, to go belly to belly and help them understand that we are the best of the two hundred candidates who submitted resumes for the position they are offering.

John Fleming
Technical Writer
Edmonton, Canada

From: Monica Cellio (cellio -at- pobox -dot- com)
Subject: a different resume red flag
Date: 2004-10-21 13:47:07 PST

A different red flag: incorrect use of doc tools. If you are applying
for a tech-writing position and send me a URL (resume or samples), I'm going to inspect your HTML. If you send me a Word document and we use Word (not currently the case so I don't care as much), I'm going to inspect your use of formatting elements. If I see that you hacked the formatting in some way, or claimed HTML proficiency but used Word to produce your web page, or supplied a web page that only works in one browser, I'm much more likely to send your resume to the bit bucket instead of the interview pile.

You should never send a Word source file anyway, because different versions of Word sometimes render things differently and your nice
formatting might not come out that way on the other end. Send PDF


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