Resumes/certification

Subject: Resumes/certification
From: K Watkins <KWATKINS -at- QUICKPEN -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 09:34:00 -0300

I'm not currently job-hunting (though I have no crystal ball, either 8-),
but I've long had the impression that the primary function of resumes, once
they're in the hands of anyone with any influence over whom to hire, is not
to stimulate questions or generate excitement, but to _eliminate_ candidates
in order to come up with a usably small stack of possibles.

I've been in the position of hiring a technical communicator twice. I
didn't eliminate resumes on the basis of a one or two typos, but three
shunted the resume into the second-rank stack.

Drifting into the certification thread: One of my hires was very
successful, the other was a disaster. The disaster had a degree in
technical communication; the successful one did not. The disaster had
directly relevant experience; the successful one was less on target.
Resumes, certificates, tests, interviews, even writing samples (which may or
may not have been edited or formatted by others)...in the end I suspect it's
still the luck of the draw, for both the employer and the employee.

I don't like the idea of certification. I can easily imagine a
certification process which excellent technical writers could have trouble
passing. I can also easily imagine a certification process which would
allow writers who make me cringe to claim expertise. So far I can't imagine
one which avoids both Scylla and Charybdis.

K Watkins
kwatkins -at- quickpen -dot- com
speaking for myself, not my employers


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