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I think you're right on the money in asking these questions. I've been
reviewing resumes for the past two weeks, and I discard a lot of them
because they don't tell me anything about what makes the candidate
worthwhile. IMHO, the resume "templates" used by recruiting agencies are a
huge culprit--trying to make the square peg/round hole thing work. A
programmer's resume shouldn't be structured the same way as a writer's or a
trainer's. At least in the case of TWs, I'm interested in tools only to the
extent that it displays broad-based skills, and a willingness to learn the
OTOH, when I posted my resume (and that of 15 other folks) to job search
databases, I had 650+ hits in 3 months (I had 12 hits the first day, 6 of
them turned into interviews). Because I know the keys to success in my
business, I could use the keywords in a very productive way. My 15 clients
(and I) have all gotten better positions (as Programmers, Business Analysts,
QA Analysts, TWs, and salespeople), because I took the time to review what
made them special and write the resume accordingly. Sometimes it's
difficult to get it into two pages, but I usually manage it, and when I
don't it hasn't hurt the candidate in the least.
If you're looking to break into, or move up in, the technical communications
world, you sell yourself short by not spending time writing and rewriting
your resume. When you can't write about you completely and succinctly, savvy
hiring managers are going to see red flags.
If you're using an agency, ask them for a copy of what they submit, you'll
be surprised at how many holes you'll find. And if you're not satisfied, ask
them to rework it. If you're doing your own, try indexing it. If you don't
have any references to areas that you believe are key, it's time for a
Trish wrote in part:
"I am currently having a similar problem in the interviewing process and
felt a need to address this issue and even take it a step back to the
"getting your foot in the door" stage of the game. I hope to gain an
understanding and perhaps provide some advice for those of you out there
The resumes that come across my desk are not representing candidates
properly and I'm wondering if this is because of the industry trend in
resume writing. "Expert" resume advice givers say, "Keep your resume to
one page or two, if possible". What I get is "Company Name, Dates,
Title, and 'documented software', or 'created Help'." This does nothing
to differentiate one candidate from the others... (and, quite frankly,
I'm thinking "Duh!" about the 'documented software' and 'created Help'.
Most of us are documenting software and/or creating Help.)
What is special about the projects you worked on?..."