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further random questions from the newly-unemployed

A little off the topic, but several years ago I prepared a powerpoint
presentation called "Job Hunting and Your Finances." It goes through some of
the things to think about after a layoff. I've attached a copy.

Strangly enough, I prepared this for a presentation to a BCS networking
group, but BCS shut down days before I was supposed to give the talk.

-Warren Agin
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert L Krawitz" <rlk at>
To: <bill at>
Cc: <discuss at>
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2002 5:37 PM
Subject: Re: further random questions from the newly-unemployed

>    From: "Bill Horne" <bill at>
>    Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 17:21:07 -0500
>    Well, I'll jump back in, briefly.
>    1.    Ordered lists
>    A.    It's a PITA to do ordered and/or bulleted lists in text. In
>    the first place, the placement of tabs must be calculated
>    so as to ensure that none  of the lines autowraps into the
>    gutter.
>    B.    You don't know what the recipient's tab stops are set to, nor
>    their line wrap.
>    C.    Getting your cover letter to stand out shouldn't involve
>    doing ASCII art.
> It's easy, then: limit your lines to 72 characters, and use spaces
> rather than tabs.  I usually do bullets this:
> * Here's a top level bullet.
>   Here's the explanatory text.  As you can see, I've indented this all
>   of two spaces, and auto fill mode in emacs limits my lines to 72
>   characters.
>   + I personally like to do sub-bullets like this.  The indentation
>     stays light, but it's still easy to see the organization.
> While a proportional font will *slightly* mess this up, it's going to
> be very minor.  If you have that many bullets that this is going to
> look clunky, then you simply have too many bullets for a cover
> letter.  IMHO the cover letter should consist of paragraphs rather
> than bullets, anyway.
>    2.    Readability
>    A.    Many of the respondents feel that hiring managers use
>    non-HTML-capable email programs, and I don't think
>    that's a productive assumption.
> I'm speaking as a hiring manager myself.  While I won't say that all
> hiring managers do this, some do.  But even that's neither here nor
> there because...
>        1.    The cover letter almost always goes to HR before
>        the hiring manager, and HR doesn't know that
>        "plain text" exists.
> Our HR organization explicitly prefers that resumes be entered into
> our job site in text (in fact, we only permit on-line submission as
> ASCII text).  Our resume system is set up for plain text.
>    B.  HTML rendering engines do make allowances for paragraph
>    leading, margin matching, and justification that
>    just can't be done in plain text. I want my cover
>    letter to stand out, but not be so unusual as to be
>    offputting.
> I don't think I've yet seen a cover letter that really "stands out" in
> a positive way.  If it's going to, it's going to stand out by being
> concise yet compelling.  Neatly formatted ASCII isn't going to make a
> difference; demonstrating to me why you're special does.
>    C.    Readability is in the eye of the beholder. If someone has
>    been clicking through dozens of HTML-formatted emails,
>    and then comes upon mine in plain-text, it will look
>    drab by comparison.
> Of course, if you hit that hiring manager that uses a console-based
> mail reader, your HTML-formatted email *is* going to stand out --
> badly.  At least use both text and HTML.  Likewise for the resume; if
> you must send it in Word format, also send it in text format.  PDF may
> be a better choice than Word, anyway.
>    3.    Compatibility
>    A.    Like it or don't, M$ products are the corporate standard -
>    why else would we submit a r)B?sum? in MS Word format? -
> WHICH Word format?
>    B.    Whatever one might be used to in the Unix world, one must
>    get past the HR process to be able to use it. Ergo, HTML.
> See above regarding HR policies.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at
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