Writing your resumes

Subject: Writing your resumes
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 16:13:24 -0800

Yes, you should write your own resumes, but be sure to seek and pay
attention to good advice.

You need to be able to generate and send out resumes on short notice, so
unless you're going to use the same resume for each situation, it's not
usually practical to have someone else do it for you. However, you can
devise a structure and basic starting point in advance, and you should be
sure to consult with an expert about that.

When I first joined STC I had pretty definite ideas about resumes, but in
fact I wasn't using them effectively. One of our local chapters provides a
free resume consultation service, which I decided to take advantage of. I
went through a long period of sending resumes to the resume expert,
discussing them with her by phone, rewriting, and sending again. She looked
at them from the viewpoint of a hiring manager -- a viewpoint quite
different from mine. In the end I arrived at a basic resume that expressed
what I wanted to say and met with her approval.

Since then I've moved into pretty uncharted territory. I use my web page as
my first offering to a potential client. I've consulted with web experts
about it, but most have little experience with using the web quite this way.
I welcome comments about my web page and how to make it more effective.

When I see an interesting lead, I email them a note inviting them to visit
my web page to get an idea of my qualifications and to see the kinds of
services I offer. My web page also has a growing set of writing samples.

For a few situations I have a text-only resume, derived from the basic one I
arrived at with the help of the STC expert. I alter it as appropriate and
email it to the potential client with a covering note.

For the truly technologically challenged I have a "pretty" resume in
Microsoft Word format which I can send as an email attachment or even print
on paper and mail. It's one page long and contains only sketchy information
and a lot of keywords.

I do not find it demeaning to seek advice about writing resumes. In fact, I
don't find it demeaning to seek advice about any aspect of technical
communication. Isn't there an old saying about standing on each other's
shoulders rather than on each other's toes? ...RM

Richard Mateosian http://www.c2.org/~srm/ President, Berkeley STC
Freelance Technical Writer srm -at- c2 -dot- org Review Editor, IEEE Micro

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