The Reality of A Résumé

13 Oct

The Confidently Lost Résumé       

This weekend, I went home for the Jewish holiday with a car full of schoolwork and materials from the Career Center to edit my résumé. I informed my parents they would be editing my résumé underneath their prayer books during High Holiday services.

At temple, I sat next to my dad to hand him my résumé when I realize it was missing! I retraced my steps to the car and back; I could not find it. “My résumé is on the floor of the largest synagogue on the North Shore.” “Thousands of families will see it over the next two days.” I imagine a temple member picking up my résumé, recognizing my name, and smirking as he reads down my list of accomplishments. “He’ll never hire me.” “He can’t possibly think I’m professional; he found my résumé on the temple’s floor.”

I never had the opportunity to know what the temple member would say because my résumé, of course, was hiding in my dad’s sport coat pocket. I did, however, learn a very valuable lesson: if you are confident enough to accidentally lose your résumé on the temple floor during Yom Kippur, chances are you have a pretty good résumé.

The Résumé Scoop

Paranoid about my résumé, I asked multiple advisors to look at it. During my mock interview, one advisor said “It’s important, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it.” To me, a résumé said everything, but I realized other components held greater significance in the application process. What I learned after my interview surprised me: a résumé only gets you so far.

While the résumé opens the door to a future interview, what you communicate via paper is nowhere as powerful as a face-to-face interaction with a future employer. In my experience, the business school puts too much emphasis on the résumé and less preparation goes into the interview process. Have a little faith your résumé will land you an interview! Start learning what DCF means if you actually want to work at JP Morgan! I focused too much on perfecting my résumé that when asked to define “leverage” my mind went blank.

In such a technical environment, we forget what real communication is like. While texting is taking over old means of communication, interviewees need to know that in-person interviews will remain a key component in the job search.

So if you happen to lose your résumé in the middle of temple during the High Holidays, just breathe. Worse things could happen. And who knows, maybe you’ll just land that interview!

by Miriam Dresner

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2 Responses to “The Reality of A Résumé”

  1. Katie Bush October 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Miriam,
    Thanks for the post! As someone who is currently working on my resume, its a relief to know it won’t necessarily make or break my career. I liked how you mentioned having the Career Center look over your resume before sending it out for professional advice and another set of proofreading eyes. I also know the Management Communication lab can work on resumes, I went there a few weeks ago and found the advice I received extremely helpful – everything from formatting to word choice. Just another thought!
    Katie

  2. Sarah McDonald October 19, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Hi Miriam and Katie,

    I just want to add that I found it helpful to have people from both the Career Center in the Danforth University Center and the Weston Career Center in the Olin School of Business look at my résumé. Advisors with different backgrounds provide a fresh perspective. For example, I worked in Chile and for many years I listed the organization’s name in Spanish on my résumé. I assumed since the organization was in Chile, this was the proper format. All of the advisors I worked with in the main Career Center spoke Spanish and did not think it was odd to list the organization by its given name. When I went to the Weston Career Center; however, I was advised to include the organization’s name in English in parentheses. This change made my resume stronger and more accessible to non-Spanish speakers. I would not have thought to make this change if I had not sought out diverse perspectives and leveraged the many resources Washington University has to offer.

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