Re: How do you respond to job ads?

Subject: Re: How do you respond to job ads?
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 11:02:22 -0500

Hallo:

My thoughts:

>>>From: JGREY [mailto:JGREY -at- MADE2MANAGE -dot- COM]
>>>Subject: How do you respond to job ads?

>>>1. Most people aren't sending the requested work samples.
>>>When they're
>>>omitted, there's never an explanation as to why.

If a requirement of applying is work samples, I would supply some. However,
my strong preference would be to provide these in person as in hardcopy or
show them on a laptop. Printed books and web sites, versus PDFs and on-line
help, present different issues as "samples." I much prefer to present my
portfolio in person. Also, there is the issue of NDAs and who really owns
the samples presented.

>>>2. People submitting credentials via e-mail typically skip writing a
>>>cover letter. They write something like, "Here's my resume in
>>>application for your open Technical Writer position" and attach the
>>>resume. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I like to receive cover letters
>>>because they can give me insight a resume can't.
>>>
>>>3. Resumes I receive via e-mail usually look terrible.
>>>Text-file resumes
>>>have awkward line breaks. Resumes in Word format suffer from Word's
>>>"feature" of flowing text based on the selected printer. Some people
>>>even use nonstandard fonts that I don't have on my machine. Word
>>>substitutes other fonts and whatever good effect the applicant was
>>>trying to achieve is lost.

I prefer to submit electronic resumes WITH cover letters in PDF format or
point the interviewer to a resume stored on an "unpublished" web site, in
HTML/Javascript format. However, if you request MS Word format YGWYAF (you
get what you ask for). I usually create my resume in FrameMaker, anyway, and
I have needed to redo it for Word audiences.

I follow up with a printed copy on bond paper with a cover letter.

>>>
>>>1. Am I right in thinking that technical writers should
>>>"know better?"

Following directions is a key. If you are asking for electronic submission
of resumes, are your requirements appropriate? Also, email and the internet
is a very informal environment. Perhaps the environment of the medium is
affecting what you see. Perhaps you should request hardcopy only?

>>>2. When a job ad asks for work samples, what would keep you from
>>>submitting them? If you wouldn't submit them, would you
>>>explain why not?
>>>If you wouldn't explain, please tell me why.

Mentioned above. Remember, the cover letter and resume are samples! Typos in
these drive me nuts, for a writing job.

>>>3. When applying for a job via e-mail, do you write a cover letter,
>>>either as a separate file or in the body of your e-mail? If
>>>you don't,
>>>why don't you?

Always submit a cover letter. I like to use PDF. My cover letter would not
be the email itself. If Word is the requested format, then page one of the
doc would be the cover letter and the resume would fill the subsequent
pages. Provided the author uses adequate margins and is careful about tabs
and indents, wrapping should not be a big issue.

>>>4. When applying for a job via e-mail, how do you prefer to attach a
>>>resume: as text in the e-mail body or as an attached document? What
>>>steps do you take to ensure the resume is clean (no unintended line
>>>breaks, etc.) at the receiving end?

Three letters: P...D...F.

Stay safe.

Sean
sean -at- quodata -dot- com

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