With light-hearted peer participation, Jack Molisani of ProSpring Technical Staffing deftly guided the audience through an engaging program of avoiding common resume and interview mistakes. Amongst the litany of faux pas he addresses, three major, timeless points are worth revisiting for all levels of technical writers concerning the application process: the resume, networking, and portfolio.
He imparts the importance that the resume is a brutal but simple tool of matchmaking. From the worn perspective of the inundated HR, the umpteenth resume is at best skimmed. The restless HR are scanning for keywords directly matching the job description. In turn, Molisani reminds us of the oft-forgotten value of keeping one’s resume exact, clear, error-free, and ultimately concise. Brevity isn’t only the soul of wit but a key to finding employment.
Once your succinct resume is tailored to match the needs and duties of the job opening, the next step is to take advantage of exactly the other reason why we were present that night: networking! Submitting resumes through anonymous online job sites is ultimately a dead end. As Molisani confides that online job-search submissions are sucked into the blackhole of internet oblivion. Therefore, tapping into your network is crucial. For instance, a fellow STC member in your established network may work in the same company you’re eyeing to apply. Yet, keep in mind that inviting her or him for a cup of coffee is worthwhile, if you take the time to ask germane questions related to the opening. Such queries may focus on the nature of the company’s needs of their technical writers or details related to the hiring manager. Only then should you ask your network peer to act as a reference for your application submission.
Having advanced to the interview stage, a well-prepared candidate would then understand that the portfolio is a map to tell the story of their work. The artist briefcase helps you frame and control the narrative and how it’s presented during the interview session. As this “path of understanding,” in Molisani’s words, conveys to the interviewer your expertise, evidence, ability to transfer the skill-set, and solve their in-house problem. To further elaborate, the opening section of the portfolio establishes your area of expertise in a select field of technical communication. Meanwhile, the second illustrates samples that evince it. The third section convinces the potential client the same work can be professionally executed for them. As a finale, they actualize a solution to their problem can only be serviced by you.
If you missed Jack Molisani’s presentation on tailoring your resume and portfolio, you can gain access to the slides on the STC Meeting Archive page. You can also find additional insightful help in his book, Be the Captain of your Career. More quality STC programming and professional development resources are scheduled. So please keep an eye out for the next STC event.