Re: Tech writer who can't write a resume

Subject: Re: Tech writer who can't write a resume
From: LeeAnn Smith <spillman!lsmith -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 10:59:43 -0700

> Heli Roosild writes:
> >This has been an eye-opening thread for me. It had never occurred to me
> >that a technical writer would farm it out. I'll have to add that question
> >to my interview list. (And BTW, I doubt I'd hire any writer who did NOT
> >write his/her own.)

This has been an eye-opening thread for me too. I have only found a few
individuals who wrote "professional" resumes who did a decent job with
it (and the ones I found didn't "write" resumes.) The best source for help
that I ever found was my
college's placement center and they didn't write it for me. More on
that later. Otherwise, most of the "professionally written" resumes
that I have seen were worse than terrible. They were poorly formatted
and contained misspellings and terrible grammar. My applause to those
who really do a good job!

> >

Marie Clear writes:>
writing a resume for yourself is a loaded project. I've written countless
> for friends (and *only* friends, because I hate doing it).

Personally, I only write resumes for _close_ friends after they have
gone to a "professional" and wind up with a resume like I described above.

> Emotion has
> no place in any of these chores, and, while you can't be imprisoned or
> die because of a bad resume (though I've read a few. . .), you certainly can
> hurt yourself.

Yes, you can hurt yourself. That's why resumes are not five-minute
endeavors. I have rewritten and reformatted my resume more times than I
could possibly remember, and I'm not done yet. Every time I learn
something new about what prospective employers look for, I rewrite my resume.
Personally, I look at the resume as a writing sample, and I
know employers have also looked at mine in the same way. For that reason,
it seems deceptive to hire the task out.

> While I believe that most tech writers (wish I could say "all") can produce
> a good resume, I think most will do it grudgingly. It's hard to be
> objective.
> It's hard to shake off the stress that most people face at the prospect
> of changing jobs or finding new work if they've been unemployed.

This is a valid point that Marie makes, and one I agree with to a point.
However, another solution is to get help from a professional to organize
your thoughts and look at different ways to present the information. I
did that with the college placement counselor at the university I
attended. That was the most helpful time I have ever spent. She put me
in touch with some excellent materials to help me format my resume and
helped me ferret out what experience would appeal to employers the most.
She also helped me with rudimentary editing to help me identify
unnecessary verboseness. The resulting resume, however, was mine. She
reviewed it, but never once attempted to write it.

LeeAnn Smith
lsmith -at- spillman -dot- com

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