Re: resume fondling -- am I being too picky?

Subject: Re: resume fondling -- am I being too picky?
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 13:47:04 -0400

T.W. Smith wrote:

Am seeing quite a few resumes these days--telephony technical writing,
mostly books, a little online help, using FM and WWP mostly, some
Word. We receive mostly Word docs, to which I do not object (I prefer
reviewing these to reviewing PDFs). Here are some common things I trip
over, some are mostly harmless, but I trip on them anyway. Am I being
too picky?

1) Run-on sentences, especially in the objective/summary section.

You're not being too picky.

2) Incorrect capitalization of the tools the candidate has said
they've used. For example, "Framemaker."

I'm with you there, too.

3) Everything tagged Normal. Or, a hodge-podge of style use. (Which is
why I prefer to receive Word files; I look at the structure of the
content in the resume and style use and evaluate the author based on
the sample.)


4) Failure to indicate which tools were used at which jobs.

Here, maybe you're being a little too tough. A lot of résumé advice has to do with shortening it to fit on a page or two. The details of what tools were used where are less important than what kinds of documents were produced and the applicant's role in producing them. If you want to know that much about tools, ask (during a phone screen or in the interview).

5) Failure to indicate size of documentation projects at various jobs;
was it a long doc or short one? (I can infer some of this from the
tools used, PPT for example would cause me to believe the doc was
short, but I cannot infer that a user guide is either short or long.)

Again, this is a detail that doesn't need to be on the résumé. In any case, the only important question is whether a document was long _enough_ to meet the need. You shouldn't hold short documents against someone.

6) Oddly inconsistent case. For example, "I wrote User Guides and
online help"; I find it odd that User Guides and help differ in case.

Agreed. Very sloppy.

7) Ambiguous employment descriptions anf an odd mix of sentences and
non-sentences in employment descriptions.

Well, the mix shouldn't be odd. But it's not unreasonable to start the description with a fragment (perhaps a long fragment), terminated by a period, and then launch into descriptive sentences. A paragraph break between might be a nicety that was deleted to save space. Going back and forth between fragments and sentences, though, would be bad. What do you mean by "ambiguous employment descriptions"?

8) Poor font choice, manual kerning changes, that combined with
run-ons (1.) makes the resume hard to read.

If it's unreadable, don't read it. Life's too short. On the other hand, you're hiring writers who know about telephony, not necessarily about document design. Presumably you're giving them a template to work in, no?

9) Failure to embed fonts in PDFs.

It depends. If the person used standard fonts (Times, Arial, etc.), not embedding them is a good thing.

10) Document properties that list an author other than the candidate.

That's a bit of a nit. I don't think two percent of users are even vaguely aware of doc properties or how to edit them--in either Word or Acrobat. I mean I look, too, just as I check PDF security settings; but I wouldn't take off points on this one.

I'll stop there. Thoughts?

"Is there a hyphen in anal-retentive?" ;-)


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resume fondling -- am I being too picky?: From: T.W. Smith

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