Re: Advice on Resumes

Subject: Re: Advice on Resumes
From: Linda Sherman <linsherm -at- GTE -dot- NET>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 21:55:59 -0500

John Posada wrote:

> First, what is the problem with asking how the recipient wants it?

Nothing at all, but my experience is that relatively few
clients/employers express a preference, and those who have one
express it in terms of exclusion, e.g., "Anything but PDF or
WordPerfect." I have certainly never had anyone say that they just
positively must have it in, say, HTML or PDF or MacWrite 1.0, and
nothing else. If they did, I'd be inclined to think they're so
hopelessly screwed up and/or stupid that I wouldn't want them as an
employer or client.

> Some of the input to
> this thread seems to imply that there is some universal format that everyone should comply with without asking. That doesn't make sense.

I don't know what others intended, but that's certainly not what I
intended. As I clearly said in my post, I offer at least one
alternative, i.e., fax or snail-mail a hardcopy version, which of course
I can also email in an attached Word file (among other possibilities).

> Second, I keep my resume in several formats [etc.]

Okay, if you want to go to all the trouble AND if it works for you, no
problem. But someone just getting started in the job market needs to
make getting *a* resume out his or her first priority, and creating
umpteen different versions of it really ought to be a secondary concern.

> If I am sending it to an address that I haven't spoken to first, I won't send
> the resume. I'll send a letter comparable to a cover letter; outlining why I
> should send the resume. I'll then ask them what format they would like.

I don't want to drag this list into a boring thread about job-hunting
techniques, but someone else, for perfectly valid reasons, may choose to
send a resume without making initial contact. I've certainly done so
many, many times. So for those people who feel this is the right
approach under the circumstances, it makes sense to think about a
standardized format and content.

The fact that you *can* create a resume in several electronic formats
doesn't mean that you *have to*. It can be a lot of work with no clear
benefit. For TWs, it might show that they have some grasp of all these
different formats, but I'm inclined to think you might do better to
present samples of your work.

In any case, people have to figure out what works best for themselves
based on their experience, their priorities, the type of work they're
trying to get, and the culture of the industry they work in. In regard
to the culture issue, some industries are very different from others in
their expectations--for example, I would never dream of sending anything
other than a black-and-white resume printed on premium cotton to a bank,
but I don't even bother with the resume when dealing with companies in
the independent long distance phone biz, because they operate on
reputation and references.

If there were any guaranteed formulas for creating and shopping resumes,
someone would have found it by now and be making zillions selling it.

Linda K. Sherman <linsherm -at- gte -dot- net>
Computer programming, technical writing, web development
phone: 1-727-842-6756 fax: 1-727-842-6853

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