Discussing Diaz’s “Updating Best Practices: Applying On-Screen Reading Strategies to Resume Writing”
This is where we’ll talk about “Updating Best Practices: Applying On-Screen Reading Strategies to Résumé Writing” by Charlsye Smith Diaz. I think it’s a pretty straight-forward piece, but I want to mention two other things that might put this essay in some context:
- There are a lot of “stunts” and other kind of “out there” examples of alternative resumes nowadays. Just do a search for “unusual resumes” and you’ll see what I mean; here’s a link to a whole bunch of examples from Smashing Magazine, which is a magazine and web site about graphic and web design. While these might be kind of fun and interesting, Diaz’s research suggests these aren’t a good way to get a job.
- “F Pattern” reading is something that is kind of a big deal in web design and has been for a long time. Again, that’s something you can look up with a search, but I think the illustrations in Diaz’s essay show what she means by all that pretty clearly.
For me, Diaz earns a lot of credibility because this essay is based on her studying of the advice of lots of other textbooks and resources, which means she’s summing up some different points of view and also showing how this advice has changed or remained the same over the years. My sense is that what she’s saying about scannable resumes is spot on: that is, while most resumes will be read on the screen and should be formatted that way (her advice on this is really good), most employers don’t use machines to read resumes. The one exception to that is sites like monster.com, where employers tend to do searchers based on key word terms. Of course, those sites also ask you to note key terms when you sign up looking for a position.
I also think the “F Pattern” advice is interesting to think about, especially as it either compliments or conflicts with the historic advice on active nouns and verbs and also on the placement of objective statements. Some of what she’s saying here is probably a bit debatable, but still worth thinking about.
All of which is to say that when it comes to resume writing, the little things really matter– the layout, the font, the exact wording, etc., etc.
What do you all think?