[TriLUG] looking for resume writer/improver
neilson at windstream.net
Mon Jan 24 05:32:07 EST 2011
On 01/23/2011 09:47 PM, Maxwell Spangler wrote:
> On Sun, 2011-01-23 at 14:12 -0500, Chris Merrill wrote:
>> ... we hire engineers to do load testing for our customers, we specifically do NOT look for people
>> with load-testing experience. Crazy, I know. Instead, we look for someone who brings other
>> skills and knowledge that we don't have...
> ... But, as Chris suggested, he sometimes likes to hire people with other,
> complimentary skills. So in this case, you might be out because you are
> *too much of a fit* for the job...
Chris's ideas entirely match my experience when I first got into tech
writing. The manager who brought me in, a fellow science-fiction fan,
said that his preferred interview questions were, "Who is your favorite
science fiction author?" and "Please sing a song from a G&S operetta."
What was needed was bright people who could see the material from the
user's point of view. Too much knowledge of the products already in use
might provide "techy" tech writing that would be useless to naive users.
(This was back before the Mac, when intuitive systems didn't exist.)
Indeed, my own Unix experience, through which I was good at writing
classic 'man' pages, nearly sank me in my first few weeks. Our worst
tech writers, it turned out, were those who claimed the greatest
experience with technical stuff!
So almost the only way to get into our shop was to show up looking
naively for SOME OTHER JOB and get grabbed by our hungry writing
department before you escaped! Our best tech writers for naive audiences
were holders of PhDs in off-the-wall areas: French, English, Ancient
History, Drama, Theoretical Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry. The hard
part was getting HR to send them to us instead of out the door.
Now HR's resume-scanning is automated, and that kind of serendipity is
nearly impossible in any shop larger than about 30 people. It's almost
as if one needs two separate resumes, one to get through HR and a second
for HR to pass to the hiring manager. That'll never work, of course,
hence the development of techniques to bypass HR entirely. Or as one of
the large and famous companies in our area told me, "We understand you
spoke directly to so-and-so. This is to inform you that all applications
must come in through our HR department."
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