Tools of the Trade from Yesteryear
Yes, above are the tools that created our printed media, a mere twenty years ago. Every word, period, figure, diagram, page or column was typeset through a cold photographic process, cut out, pasted in place, and then the real work began…
Any corrections or changes were similarly typeset, trimmed to miniscule sizes, adhesive applied, lined up perfectly on a light table so the high-watt fluorescent bulbs showed through the original to hand-paste the corrections over the existing characters, words, lines or paragraphs to get everything to line-up perfectly or not so perfectly, as the case may be. It was an art. It was also tedious, time-consuming work.
After the corrections were stripped in by-hand, it still was far from being print-ready. Every cut-line, every paste-mark, every single page, column or image had irregular lines around them that would show up in print as grey-to-black lines or shadows. Therefore, each page was run through a photographic reversal process, creating a film negative–black background with white characters or images. On this photo stock, cut-lines now appeared as white or clear streaks on the chemically prepared negative.
That’s where our fine, varied sizes of ink tips came in. A graphic artist would select the ink tip which was closest in size to the line, streak or shadow and fill-in the cut-lines with black ink. Too thick and it created a blob effect on the master; too thin and the cut lines still showed after printing. Then you had to start the whole process over again.
Once the reversal was perfect, it was reversed again on white photographic paper, trimmed to page size–black characters on white gloss with all the make-ready lines now hidden. But the printing process hasn’t even begun yet!
The next step was to take those pages in layouts of four, eight, or sixteen and create a metal plate with the copy heat-pressed into the plate, similar to engraving. The indentations in the metal plate which were the tiny characters that made up words was covered with ink, pressed into the grooves, and printed from the plate onto paper. A metal plate would only hold ink for so long. With the force of the printers heat “pressing” the text onto hundreds or thousands of large sheets of paper, many plates had to be recreated as exact duplicates. Pages were trimmed to size in multiples of four after they were printed and dried. This process was for text or line drawings only. Pictures were printed separately and inserted hy-hand, then run through the same process to print.
WHAT IS TRENDING?
We have been enjoying the ease of typesetting and formatting on our personal computers and home business printers for some time. Now we have gone to tablets, smart-phones, smart-TVs, etc. We can print directly from our phones, watches, and many other technological devices with new gizmos cropping up every year, every season, every month.
Just remember…what you put in a device is what comes out. Corrections, changes, proofreading, and editing is a process that can’t be forgotten or ignored. Use a professional writer/editor to achieve professional quality. Words and images in print, whether they’re online or on the most beautiful stock in the world, mean nothing if they can’t be understood or don’t get your message across. Websites may be new, unique, glitzy, but if the words are unrecognizable to the layman who needs your services and expertise, you’re not going to get any business.
Just some thoughts on where we’ve come from and how to stay-in-your-zone to be respected, accepted, and sought after in all your specialties.
I started thinking about resume writing because I did some recently … not for me, that would be such gruesome, grueling work. It really is hard to write about yourself, but having done resumes for 30 years? To help friends, for the Army, for business, for creative arts people–loud, bloody scream! Anyway, these are all personal hang-ups. Let’s get to the good stuff that just might help you!
Sometimes you have to write a separate resume for every job to which you apply. I know no one wants to hear that, but with a few tweaks and computer cut-and-paste, it can be much easier than it was before technology swept us all up in the cyber whirlwind. Of course, it brings good things, but also some not-so-good things. Technology is changing and evolving so quickly it’s almost impossible to keep up with just one aspect of your life: like Facebook or maybe, your career? It’s all in the prioritizing. I do write, talk, speak rather tongue-in-cheek most of the time, but I never want to be yesterday’s news.
As technology, software, and Internet accessibility broadens and deepens and grows out of control, so does the terminology that affects your career. Terms become outdated even sooner than we do! As a writer/editor in many disciplines, I have to constantly read and talk with geniuses half my age to know what the latest “buzz” words are. That’s what we called them. Then they became “qualifiers” (so formal and stiff), now “dope” terms in slang, or “coined/coin” words, synthetic words, vogue words, and what on earth is neology and neologism? What happened to just good old plain etymology? But we don’t care where a word came from, its origin. We only want to know where it’s going. And words that make you stand out in your profession are expected every month, every week, every day, every hour. Always looking for something new and unique … which, by the way, is how you approach a resume.
I won’t get into branding and RE-Branding, except with one short sentence: If you’re RE-branding yourself, look out because a whole new vocabulary is about to fall on you like a ton of bricks! Enough said.
So do a little research before you grab that hidden file, pull out a resume, stuff it in an envelope–no, of course not, no one would do that–blow off the dust, wipe your scanner clean, and scan it into an email. One and done! Right? Wrong! Just for kicks, read it. You might be appalled by what you find, or don’t find.
First of all, how does it look? Dated, too formal, too quirky, too lame, and where did that typo come from? It’s been there all these years? Some surprises just aren’t good.
So grab the tablet and pull up a template, right? Well, if you have to. If you’re in a hurry. But think about it for a minute. With HR specialists receiving 100 resumes or more for one job, how many times do you think they see the same Microsoft or Google template, same colors, spacing, grids, even wording.
So how do you stand out? How can you highlight the unique person that you really are? Because you REALLY ARE UNIQUE, ya’ know? Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t manufacture credentials either. It’s illegal.
Professional resume writers are good, but some of them are a “paid template service”. You need an unique and personal design–formal, but not too formal; classy, but not outdated; respectful, but interesting; and maybe a little reflection of your personality?
So if you use a template, find some way to change it up. Color, no color (I actually really like gray tones with maybe a hint of pastel hue, but that’s personal preference). Or go to a writer/editor/designer, like me. Could end up being the best personal reference and investment you ever make in yourself.
The attachment below I designed for a seasoned professional who had to get four pages on one page because the second page would never be read. Good news: Got an email from my client that the resume must have been read because the prospective employer hasn’t made a hiring decision, and he’s still being considered. Sometimes in this insta-gram, techno-chango, hurry-up-world even the first half won’t be read. So put the good stuff at the top.
My design is not a template. It is a custom resume* to accompany a custom package, including a matching cover letter and references,** which should always be separate and upon request, but available in format at an interview. The first objective is always to clearly and concisely meet all qualifications. If not, you’re wasting your time and theirs.
All of my client’s information has been removed and replaced with “how-to must-haves”* in a resume. Chronological, repetitive work histories are obsolete, show your ACHIEVEMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS. Don’t think: “What do I need to qualify?” Think of it: “What can I offer to enhance this company’s profitability and forward progression?”
How do I know I’m still cutting edge? Because my virtual assistant and business development/marketer show me resumes daily to edit and proofread. Our company isn’t hiring, even though we use non-client references regularly. They bring us third-party resumes that they have received and want me to look over. It’s amazing how many typos are in standard templates.
See below for Resume Must-Haves, just as I promised, click to enlarge:
In my effort to get the right information to the right people…writers, of course…my updated site is growing. I just added an “Editorial Services” Page for writers of any genre to improve their writing, get the services they need to take their manuscripts/business documents to the next level: writing, rewriting, ghost writing, proofreading, formatting, design, and publishing.
Or, if you’re stuck, let me know. Questions are free, and I offer a free writing critique of your first chapter, a chapter you’re having trouble with–writing in circles, just doesn’t sound right, or you’re caught between where you are and where you want to go–and copy for business proposals, grants, online or print newsletters, and promotional material.
Prices are always user-friendly and based upon your budget. I negotiate each job separately. I like WIN-WIN business agreements.
Check out my new Editorial page, and read “Who Am I?”, an updated, more complete Bio in less words–how novel!–which replaced the previous ABOUT page. Please send me some feedback on what you like and what I should fix.
Another new page will be appearing soon… this week, perhaps? A section dedicated to all the book reviews I’ve done and will do since I strive to review one book at week. I believe it’s important to support each other in this crazy, ever-changing industry to which we have dedicated our lives.
Keep Writing; Keep Learning; Keep growing!
Deborah A. Bowman, bowmanauthor