Posted: November 01, 2011
Rundles wrap-up: Re-inventionBy Jeff Rundles
For some reason I've been asked lately a couple of times to provide my resume for consideration, and it really has been years since I actually updated it in a formal way.
My children, who are not children anymore but rather very sophisticated, in-the-know working adults, all have pretty much the same advice on how to construct a resume, as if they all took the same class in college, or are Friends with the same resume service on Facebook, or simply all just took the first organic search option in Google under "resume" as gospel. In any case, their collective sage advice is to keep it to one page.
Keeping a resume to one page is a relatively easy task when one is 25 years old. One of my daughters joked that she was trying to extend hers to one page by adding in stuff like her Optimist Club "Super Citizen" award she got in a very nice ceremony in fourth grade.
I am, quite obviously, not 25 years old; rather I am 25 years old nearly 2.4 times. A one-page resume would get me to, say, 30, so if it goes one page for each relevant decade I'm looking at some four pages, and even that would involve lopping off half of the regular freelance stuff and at least half of the civic boards I pulled a couple of years on.
I have decided, after much consternation, that I am long past the resume stage of my life. I have moved on to the Curriculum Vitae (CV) phase. I searched it out in some helpful online thing like Ask.com and it noted that a resume was typically one page or no more than two pages, while a Curriculum Vitae was no more than four. Now that's authoritative.
The trouble with all of this, as I am discovering, is what I will delicately call the "age thing." If I send out a too-long resume or graduate to the CV, it won't be a question of my experience, education, civic involvement, publishing, public speaking and the like. Nope. It will scream, right off the bat - right from the size of the envelope or the megabytes taken up in the attached file: This guy is old! HR people will be scanning my children's resumes for typos to weed out the obvious idiots; in mine they'll be looking for cobwebs and dust.
It occurs to me that resumes and CVs, in any case, are merely formalities, something required because employers have heard that everyone else asks for a resume so they do, too. Mostly, they just use the resume to get an applicant's phone number and to fill a file somewhere. The only time a resume really matters is when the person does something awful - like run for office - and they check it and find it is filled with half-truths.
So rather than fill up a CV with everything I've ever done, I was thinking of putting in some stuff just to see if anyone is paying attention. I could put down the things I sometimes wish I was - like a sous-chef, or an actuary - or go for something exotic - like a Portuguese bull fighter, or one of those guys who can tell the vintage of wine by simply smelling it (a Nose?).
Or some other fun things. I recently came across two interesting real jobs: 1), in a newspaper story on healthy eating, a man was quoted and identified as "a New York trapeze instructor;" and, 2) a recent classified ad - remember those? - in the newspaper under "General" said "Dog Mushers Needed." You just don't run into those two professions much unless you live in Alaska or your name is Barnum or Bailey. Great conversation starters.
Anyway - all those my age already know this - but a word to the wise young people out there: The object of a job search, the ultimate aim, is to find out what you want to be when you grow up, and I still wonder about that. I still see the possibilities as limitless. Inventing yourself at 25 isn't a heck of a lot different than re-inventing yourself at 45 or 60.
Your resume, however, is just a tad longer.
Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.