Re: Resumes: ASCII (long post)

Subject: Re: Resumes: ASCII (long post)
From: John Posada <jposada -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 13:24:18 -0500


More technical recruiters and hiring managers are requesting
that resumes be formatted in ASCII and sent by email. As a
soon-to-be former co-op and hope-to-be fulltime technical
communicator (and STC Carolina Chapter Job Bank Committee
member), I have some concerns.


First...I always send a follow-up copy in the mail. I do this regardless of
whether I faxed or emailed the first resume. They are going to want this
anyway, since if they have a client that they would like to refer you to, they
are going to want the most presentable version. Even if you send them a faxed
copy, by the time they fax a fax, it looks like garbage. I've even gone
through the effort of sending 5 or 10 copies of the original resume so they can
send out their "only copy".

Second...While it used to hold that a pretty resume got noticed, I find that
not to be the predominant case anymore. When the decent-size outfits get a
resume, they put it in a computerized database that gives them the ability to
search through the database looking for key-words. In these cases, the best
document that they can get is an e-mail.

Third.... "-ASCII format doesn't allow bullets, etc."

Your email message HAD bullets....they were the hyphens that you placed in
front of each line of this message. A bullet doesn't have to be round. It
could be *, #, >, etc.

>These are my queries:
>-Are there ways to make ASCII resumes stand out?

Make the strength of the way the information is presented as strong as possible
and present it in the best possible light. Make the determining factor "the
steak, not the sizzle".

>-Does it even matter that ASCII resumes start to all look the
> same after a while (except, of course, the really bad ones:
> they REALLY :0 stand out)?

I've got news for you...after you've seen your 5,000th resume, they all look
the same..and I don't care WHAT color paper or stock you use. Beside...they
rule went that you send a resume on either white or off-white stock. Colored
paper doesn't photocopy well and looks "cutesy". You don't want that.

>-Are there other ways in ASCII to make them really *sparkle*?

Follow-up with a phone call and make yourself "sparkle".

>-I want to create the best impression possible. Should I suggest
>a hardcopy resume instead or point the recruiter/manager to
>my resume on the web?

Let me want ME to spend MY time going through the effort to see your
resume? NEXT!

> -Since I am sending an ASCII resume, can I "get away" with a
> resume that is longer and more detailed than the more shorter,
> succinct, but less detailed paper copy (I have a longer version
> since I have a lot of transferable job experience from a previous
> career)?

Why does the matter of transmission change the rule?

>Am I just stuck in the paper resume paradigm <g> because
>I want to use "good" design and writing to aid the presentation
>of content (skills, experiences, and abilities)?

Speed and timing counts. Use the ASCII version for speed and follow-up with
the paper copy. You think that speed doesn't count? During the third week of
August, I got fed up with my job and blasted out about 100 email resumes and
about 50 faxed resumes one night to see if I would get a nibble. I got a call
48 hours later from a tech writing placement firm that received it ON THE DAY
that bids were due to fill in a two year proposal writing position. They
submitted the emailed version with hours to spare. To make a long story short,
I've been at the position since the first week of September making three times
the amount per hour that I asked for on a straight 37.5 hour week, plus a
constant 20-30 hours per week overtime. I won't give $$, but with my last
paycheck, I bought a 4wheel drive truck (all right, it was used, but still in
great shape) and with my current one, I'm making arrangements with my travel
agent for a 6-day trip to Hedonism II-Montego Bay in December (of course, 20-30
hours per week OT makes that trip mandatory 8-} ).

John Posada
Technical Writer
Bell Communications Research, Piscataway, NJ
(908) 699-5839 (W)
jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com (W)
jposada -at- bs -dot- camba -dot- com (H)
I don't speak for my employer and they return the favor

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