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

Subject: Re: resume fondling -- am I being too picky?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 15:25:46 -0700

T.W. Smith wrote:

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.)

One of the last times this discussion came up, several posters were surprised that anyone would eliminate a candidate for not using styles on the resume. Their reasoning was that, on a short document like a resume, using styles would be too take more effort than it saved. Some of those who held this view, if I recall correctly, were highly employable people, including Eric Ray and Laura LeMay.

In that round, I was on the side of using styles in all circumstances. However, this time around, I feel less strongly about it. While I would look at styles, given a chance, I'd want to focus more on the actual content of the resume. I'd want to see how well candidates managed to distill their careers into a couple of pages, whether they could summarize their role at a company adequately in two or three lines, and write an objective statement that made me want to read on. In non-chronological resumes, I'd want to see how candidates managed to structure the document. All these things would show their abilities as writers, rather than as uses of software.

I think I would be far more interested in candidates who showed their writing ability on their resumes than in ones who used styles or had no typos, but had uncompelling resumes. Ideally, of course, I'd like to find a candidate with all these things. However, a writer who didn't use styles could be quickly taught (assuming they just hadn't bothered for a short document) while a tendency to typos could be caught by a detailed review process in the work-flow. These mechanical problems, it occurs to me now, are far harder to teach than raw writing ability.

Too often, I suspect, writers focus on things like typos or use of styles because they are less subjective than other criteria. However, in doing so, there's the danger of giving them an exaggerated importance.

For me, the writing comes first. Always.

Bruce Byfield 604-421-7177


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

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