Re: How do you respond to job ads?

Subject: Re: How do you respond to job ads?
From: "Staples, Lorrie" <Lorrie -dot- Staples -at- NEXTEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 14:54:23 -0500

Denise Fritch wrote (although I'm replying to Joe):

>>We've already had comments about the limited availability of samples
those samples not being returned. <<

I have to say as a Technical Writer who has moved around from job to job
as a contractor, when you work for the big corporations, you often
cannot bring samples with you, due to the proprietary issues. That
would cut out most of my documentation history, since I've gone from a
major government defense contractor to a regional Bell telephone company
to a regional natural gas provider. If I did have all these samples,
wouldn't you wonder what samples I would give out of yours in the
future? So, I explain this in my cover letter & during my interview. I
also agree with the people that wrote that, if you want my samples, then
you should also be asking for my interview schedule. What, are you
trying to get writing sample ideas so you can use them for your
company's writing standards?

>>First, I agree that text resumes lack formatting. That problem has
discussed here before, including the insistence by most agencies to
only text based resume files. Unfortunately there is no way at this time
shift the emphasis from text files.>>

Most companies & managers in the high tech world I'm in don't have time
to read every single word in all the cover letters & resumes. Believe
me, they get STACKS in response to advertisements, be it in the
newspaper or on the Internet . . . & don't forget, they have a job
besides! That's why they prefer you to mention the job code & job title
in the Subject of the e-mail & then attach your resume as a text file.

I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this, but do you know why these
companies WANT text files?? In a lot of cases, they are feeding
(scanning) them into a database where they can retrieve the information
for only the candidates they are truly interested in. That is why you
have to be sure to include all the "buzzwords" that will attract the
keywords they might query on. Recruiters and large corporations are the
biggest users of this. I should know, I participated in a HUGE project
to build a resume database for my division of Lockheed-Martin a few
years ago.

They really don't care about the formatting. They just want the text to
read into their system, so that if they request, for example,
"Applications Development", they will get only the tech writers that
have that on their resume. Nothing personal . . . welcome to the

So all the wonderful suggestions about PDF & such are useless in these
situations, because they are not going to take your resume & go
backwards with it to convert it back into text. You are actually
causing them to do extra work, if they are to get your resume into the

Denise, that could also be why you don't see very many cover letters
with the e-mails in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley has long been ahead
of the rest of the US in high tech innovation.

Thanks for your time!

Lorrie Staples
Technical Writer
Nextel Communications
Norcross, GA

Lorrie -dot- Staples -at- nextel -dot- com

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