Monday, February 9, 2009

Resume Critic

Someone critiqued my resume recently, with the intention, it turns out, of selling me their services as a resume doctor. I should have known, the tip-off was the critique was "free."

You're a writer. Do you hire writers to do your writing for you? Ever?

How many times have I written a letter, only to tear it up (or save it in my scrap file). This time around, I'm splitting the difference--not sending it, but posting it here:

Hello, [Name Withheld]:

Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful evaluation.

Many of your suggestions I am able to incorporate immediately, some I’ve heard before and thought I had addressed, but I agree I can improve my resume in ways you described.

Having said that, I am a professional writer and know my audiences. I am disinclined to overstate my accomplishments, and have found a measure of humility wins the best prize in the end. The very version of my resume you panned prompted a call to me recently from the president of a large and successful consulting firm.

The crux is, trust in any critique becomes alarmingly problematic when accompanied by a hard-ball sales pitch. Do you have any inkling how many times each day on the internet someone’s shouting at me how I urgently need something?

Fortunately, as I said, you gave a useful evaluation of my resume which stands on its own merits. Perhaps it embarrasses you to have to add that boilerplate at the end offering professional help. (And at a discount!)

So thanks again, I’ll keep my money for more prudent uses. You told me it was in the interest of honesty that you were blunt in your remarks, so you won’t mind my being blunt also: expunge the exclamation points from your critiques and look up “passive voice”—perhaps you were being clever?

Someday all sales pitches will fall on deaf ears. I think it will happen all at once. Some Monday morning no one will purchase anything that’s hyped. I think the internet, for all its abuses, will make it possible. We’ll all just price compare and buy what we need from passive vendors.

“The meek shall inherit….”

My thanks to you are sincere,


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