Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hey! I just figured out how to force quit! Oops.

I guess the post I was writing was the wrong post.

I was avoiding writing or even thinking about hurts I have inflicted and friendships that have ended, and I got to thinking about resum�s. Yes, indeedy. Because, well, there happens to be one sitting a few feet away from me. It isn't mine - it belongs to a former intern of Will's who also happens to be a friend of ours. I am theoretically going to try to get it into some other friends' hands in the hopes of helping B find a job.

But first - HOW DO I TELL THIS INFERNAL MACHINE TO STOP ASKING IF I WANT TO STAY CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET? I already turned off the prompt (default every 30 minutes alert). Now it asks me every 15 AND I AM LOSING IT.


It seems that all recent college graduates got the same template for their resum� and used it. This is the second one I've looked at in recent months (graduates of entirely different colleges in different parts of the country) and they are totally identical. AND SO BORING. If I were hiring I'd toss them in the bin immediately. But I know these people and they are INSANELY TALENTED. So why isn't that reflected here?

The first problem is obviously the medium. How the hell can you represent yourself in one to two pages of clipped sentences? Impossible, unless you are very very boring. Maybe a robot. Then you'd just have a list of specs and software.

My resum� is two pages long. I like it a great deal. When I was actively job-seeking, I didn't get a LOT of responses to it - just from potential employers who were out-of-the-box types. Coincidentally, the only kind of people I could consider working for.

Most resum�s these days start with an Objective. This is a statement of what you are looking for/offering and is supposed to grab the attention of whoever is doing the hiring. I'd be curious for some perspective (Soups?) but I personally hate this. In order to be appealing these statements are reduced to a jumble of keywords deemed desirable by some Big Company jackass, such as ORGANIZED and MULTITASK and GO-GETTER, which actually tell nothing whatsoever about you because everyone writes that. The Objective is potentially useful in stating what sort of job you are seeking, as it could weed out people looking for something else. But isn't that what a cover letter is for? It seems disingenuous to restate your cover letter in one or two sentences with zero personality.

Most resum�s these days are a single page. I know this is convenient for the people doing the hiring, but again, there is no chance of conveying an accurate portrait of yourself here. If you are fresh out of college and mostly listing internships, it makes sense, but I have two full pages of just experience on mine, and don't particularly feel that it should be trimmed - so why should anyone else's? AND mine is technically already trimmed, as I removed all retail, kitchen, and nanny experience, even though that technically is the bulk of it, timewise. (I do generally mention those jobs in my cover letter.) Can you imagine how long it would be if I listed everything?

Experience is pretty straight-forward - just a list of previous jobs, really - but I believe the focus has shifted. Where one used to write the company and title, etc., and list under it the tasks performed, now it seems to be desirable to list accomplishments. Boo. I think there should be a balance.

The oddest trend I've noticed is the Skills - it is now a list of skills and interests. Er? We are supposed to learn more about the robot because it likes to photograph flowers? This doesn't belong on a resume. Does it?

Maybe I ought to start a consulting firm, fixing resum�s for people who don't want cookie cutter jobs. The fear would be, of course, that my help would keep people from getting any job.