Re: Resume Design Principles

Subject: Re: Resume Design Principles
From: Susan Gallagher <75462 -dot- 3613 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 19:48:28 EST

Mike Uhl tosses out the following:

>I am planning to lead a resume writing workshop for the
>Carolina Chapter of STC.
[snip]
>Among other characteristics, I have noticed two
>important trends or patterns in the resumes I have on
>file:

> (1) most tend to look alike, and
> (2) the ones that stand out do so because
> they're so awful, not because they're
> better than the others.

Boy, how true! As hiring manager or member of the hiring team
for lo these many years, and as resume reviewer on several
occasions for the San Diego STC chapter, I've seen some awful
stuff come across my desk. How can I expect you to keep
parallel list construction for product features when you can't
even do it for your own "features"?

[snip].

>From the TECHWR-L subscribers, I would like suggestions
>for a set of DOs and DON'Ts for technical communicators'
>resumes. Let's brainstorm online.

>I would like to start with these principles:

>1. Do not state a career objective. Rather, place
> a job title under your name, such as "Senior
> Technical Communicator" or "Video Script Writer."
>2. Use a summary at the beginning of your resume.
> Keep it brief. A half page is way too long.
>3. Be specific about who you are and what you do.
> Vague resumes are forgettable resumes.
>4. Make clear breaks in the categories, e.g. Education,
> Experience.
>5. Use an information chunking design that is within
> most readers' ability to quickly recognize.
>6. Design your resume to stand out in a positive way;
> design it to reflect your personality.
>7. Design/write a resume you feel good about.

7 (continued) Remember that you're resume is an
advertising piece. It's advertising you! Represent
your product in the best possible light, but be
true to yourself as well.

8. Remember that all the rules of good technical
writing apply **in spades** Maintain parallel
construction throughout. Avoid overuse of
jargon. Be clear, concise, and to the point.

9. Show me your skills! If I want someone who
can write and do layout, don't hand me a
plain vanilla resume. Courier may be OK for
an engineer or receptionist, but I expect more
from someone who's gonna design a manual
layout!

10. Write to your audience. You wouldn't neglect
audience analysis for a tech manual. Why do
it for a resume? If you're applying for a MIL-SPEC
job, be traditional. If you want to work in a young,
start-up group, show how innovative you can be!

And, lastly... Ditto what Mary Wise said:
> be absolutely positively meticulously totally without-a-shadow-of-doubt dead
>certain that there are NO, NONE, NADA, NIX, NIL typographical and grammatical
>errors. Have at least two disinterested other people read it twice. Then,
>read it again.

Sue Gallagher
StarBase Corp, Irvine, CA
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com


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