Listing software on resumes

Subject: Listing software on resumes
From: Phillip Wilkerson <phillipw -at- ALLENSYSGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:17:32 -0500

Charlene Hirschi asked:
>Is it productive to buy and learn new softwares for
>this purpose (including on resume)? As a "just starting out" tech
>I can see that my computer experience (or lack thereof)is a real
>But there are so many programs mentioned, how can anybody learn them
>just to put on the resume?

I wouldn't recommend buying programs and learning a little about them
just for this purpose. Your resume would end up looking like a
jack-of-all-software / master-of-none list--and a wary tech comm manager
will quickly pick it apart. I'd recommend learning (i.e., getting
first-hand experience on) one or two key programs very well, so that you
can answer tough interview questions such as: "tell me how you would use
program-x in such-and-such a situation" or "how would you use program-z
to solve this issue." Early on, when we were looking for experienced
Frame users, we asked very specific questions to test knowledge of Frame
functions. Lest anyone think such questions are unwarranted in a tech
writer interview, our marketing department did a similar test when
looking for someone with Macromedia Director experience. If a
prospective employer starts asking for proof of first-hand experience
with a software package, you certainly want to answer from experience,
rather than "well, I just bought that program and spent a few hours with
it...." Granted, doing so shows ambition and a willingness to learn, but
so does volunteering to write a manual for a startup software company or
an intro guide for your corner PC dealer in exchange for an opportunity
to use a copy of the program you want to learn. Which person would you
rather hire?

Phillip Wilkerson
phillipw -at- asg -dot- com

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