Re: Resumes

Subject: Re: Resumes
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 1997 06:37:59 PST

In my last real job, I screened a LOT of resumes. That
is, I looked at dozens of resumes and sent the vast
majority to file 13. Why?

(Going from memory here)
Background: The job was for a senior technical communicator in
the information services group at a telecommunications company.
Nominally, the job required a tech comm degree or equivalent
experience, plus several years actual work experience
documenting computer applications.

* Resumes or cover letters with mispelled words were out.
* Resumes or cover letters with grammatical errors were out.
* Resumes or cover letters that didn't SHOW experience with
something (ANYTHING) technical were out.
* Resumes or cover letters that didn't indicate some possibility
that the author had done some technical writing
in the past were out.
* Resumes or cover letters that didn't show some level of
competence with an (any) OS and word processing/document
processing package were out.
Few were left.

Realistically, in some hiring cycles, a brand new college
grad would have been interviewed if the resume and cover letter
* had been _perfect_
* had indicated (even through internships or hobbies) that technical
content would not be an insurmountable hurdle
* had claimed that something technical had been written (magazine
articles and stringing for a newspaper didn't count)
* had claimed some level of computer competence

The length of the resume and cover letter were completely
irrelevant. If the length was appropriate to the content,
that was fine. (That is, a new college grad with no internships
or jobs shouldn't have been 4 pages, but a truly senior
tech writer could have gotten away with 4 easily.)

The source of the experience wasn't relevant. A bullet
point stating claiming to have learned C++ (or whatever)
in 21 days would have been as highly regarded as
one claiming to have had a class in C++. A software
reference guide about WordPerfect for the college
writing center would have been as valid as a writing
sample from a regular job.

All of the above refers to getting INTERVIEWED, not getting
hired, and is obviously just my opinion (although
it was shared by others who were screening resumes).

The only qualification I'd make to the above is DON'T LIE or
EXAGGERATE. One interview, also at the same company, ended
fairly abruptly when someone claiming UNIX proficiency didn't
know what vi was.


Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner

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