Tag Archives: resume

Networking with my old friend Bret

My friend Bret from high school sent me an email out of nowhere. I hadn’t seen him in years. It’s not like we cut the chord or anything, but it went down like most high school friendships went down. We went away to different colleges, sure, I think we might have hung out a few times over the course of the next year, the first Thanksgiving back, stuff like that. But after that, that was it. Facebook wouldn’t be around for another two years or so, and by the time it became massively popular, it wasn’t like I was sitting around thinking, you know what I should do? I should send Bret a friend request.


But that’s how it happened a few months back, all of the sudden I got this friend request, it was from Bret. I said yes. And then the next day he sent me a message. “Hey Rob,” he started off with some introductory remarks, stuff like, “It’s been such a long time. How are things with you?” which, I never really got the whole asking a question via long Internet message. Yes, it’s a mostly nice thing to do, and if we were standing face to face, say we’d just bumped into each other randomly, all right, I can see it happening, “How’s it going?” “Great, you?”

Anyway, after he got all of that mandatory chit-chat out of the way, he got to the crux of the problem. He needed a job, badly, and he was wondering if my company was hiring. And I always kind of clench up at request like this, which is crazy, because how else are you supposed to get a job? It’s not like sending your resume out to the Internet is ever going to work. You have to like know people.

And even though I wouldn’t really say that I knew Bret, certainly not anymore, even though I hadn’t actually clicked all the way through his Facebook page, I was more than certain that, had I given some time into finding out what he’d been up to, I would have totally been surprised as to how different he looked after all these years.

Still, I thought back to all of those times that I needed a job, how I would’ve loved some random acquaintance from way back when to have pulled some position out of nowhere for me. So I said, “Sure, I’ll definitely pass it along.” And I hoped that would have been the end of it, I could have walked in to HR, dropped off a resume, done.

But it wasn’t done. I forwarded Bret’s email to the HR lady, and she wound up shooting me a response right away. “Rob, did you even check this guy’s resume?” And I didn’t, of course I didn’t. I’m not a resume guy. Whatever got me to where I’m at right now, it certainly wasn’t because of my resume. If anything, I’m currently gainfully employed in spite of my resume, that trivial obstacle that I always wind up tripping over as I make it a goal to figure out how to get work.

The back and forth emails were constant, like every two minutes or so, to the point where I clicked print and took the elevator up to HR, maybe see if we couldn’t iron everything out face to face. “Hey,” I told Sarah, I think her name was Sarah, she interviewed me when I was applying, but I don’t know, I hadn’t really been up to this floor in a while. And I could never really gauge how to approach HR, like what was the relationship? Back when I was still a potential employee, she held all of that power over me. It’s not like she was my boss, but that feeling of seniority still felt very present, whenever there was an email, or a face to face, like right then.

“Yeah, sorry, look, I haven’t seen this guy in like ten years. So I didn’t really feel right going through his resume. I kind of just wanted to do him a solid, pass along the document. You know what I mean?”

And she shook her head no, like she didn’t know what I meant, “Rob, look, if you want to network, and I get it, OK, I get the whole networking thing, it’s really important. But if you’re going to do someone a favor, do them a favor. Look at the resume. Do you see all of these typos? It looks like this thing’s current as of 2012. If you’re going to pass along a document, if someone’s reaching out to you for help, you should try to help.”

And this is exactly why I didn’t want to get involved in the first place. Like I said, what was I going to do? What if I tooled around with his resume and it wound up backfiring? What if whatever skills I brought to Bret’s resume wound up negatively affecting whatever chances he’d have not only at gaining employment here, but everywhere? Especially since he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that actually updates his resume, I couldn’t bear that, the idea that I’d be permanently hindering this guy from getting a job, all based on good intentions, it doesn’t matter.

Sarah looked at me, she was still kind of shaking her head back and forth, but eventually she did this sigh before looking up at me and saying, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to call your friend Bret in for an interview, but you have to spend some time helping him with his resume. OK? When I see this guy next week, I want to see something polished, is that cool?”

“Yeah, that’s cool,” I didn’t know what else I was supposed to say. Maybe she was doing me a solid, but she definitely felt like a boss in this situation. Worse, when I got back to my desk, there was another email, it was from LinkedIn, a message from Sarah, she wanted me to join her professional network. And that sigh that she did when I was up at her office, I was doing it right now, I tried to log on to LinkedIn to accept her friend request or whatever, but I couldn’t remember my password, or my username, I couldn’t remember which one it was that I couldn’t remember, it had been so long since I’d signed up for that site.

A week later, Bret shows up for the interview. I had to meet him for coffee and we had to go over his document and it was just like I knew it would be, I barely recognized him. And the part that I did recognize, it just sort of jostled in my memory how Bret and I, we weren’t even like direct friends. We hung out with the same group of people, but I never did anything with Bret one on one, it was always within the context of the larger group.

Even weirder, Bret wound up getting the job. Sarah made a comment to me, something like, “Nice work!” And I couldn’t tell if it was my resume-building advice, or if she meant like nice work on finding such a great hire. But Bret got hired, he was joining the HR team. And so now, I mean, I never see Bret, he works on a different floor. But every time I run into him, that thin veil of old friendship, it’s totally overpowered by the slightly thicker veil of is-this-guy-my-boss? And I don’t know? Is he my boss? What’s the HR relationship with the rest of the company? I wish we had a flow chart like I see at other agencies, like an organizational hierarchy, because it’s so weird, I don’t know how I’m supposed to address anybody, and I worry that I’m constantly coming across as too standoffish, or not serious enough.

I’d better update the resume

Every once in a while I’ll get this urge, something like, you what Rob? You’ve got to turn it all around. What are you doing here, waiting tables, writing nonsense on this blog? You’re losing it, man, you’ve still got time to make something of yourself, of your life. You’ve just got to get out there, you’ve got to get hungry. Are you hungry Rob? You better start looking, come on man, making some opportunities. You better update the old resume.


And then I get a physical reaction in my stomach, shit, my resume. Where is my resume? I look in the documents folder, scroll down to R. There are a few files, resume.docx, resume(1).docx, down the line, all multiple files that I’ve saved with the same title. Every time I do it, I’m not really changing anything, a date here, some made-up achievement over there, I click save and my computer tells me, “Rob, a file named resume already exists. Do you want me to save this anyway?” and I’m like, “Yes, computer, just save it, just save all of them, just push them under the rug, OK, stop judging me computer, I know, all right, I’m well aware of how many resume files I have, that they’re all basically identical, minor variations of the same baloney document.”

What am I doing in the documents folder anyway? It’s much easier to just head to my email outbox, just find the last time I’ve sent out a resume, that’s got to be the most updated version. March? Really? Yikes. I guess I’d better take a look and see what I’ve got to work with.

OK, everything seems … basically the same really. I’ve just to change all of the 2013s to 2014s and … and what? This is terrible. This is just a really, really bad resume. I can feel whatever it was that motivated me to find this resume in the first place start to die down a little. Like, maybe I’m not doing so bad, sure, I’m getting a little sick of the same-old, same-old, but it’s not that bad, not really, not worth going through all of this … this resume stuff.

Because man, college was a long time ago. And yeah, the Peace Corps, that was something substantial, that a pretty big shot of adrenaline to the heart of my resume. At least, it was back in 2011 when I got back. I think it’s started to look a little dated again. I can already see the interview in my head, “So Rob, what have you been up to for the past two and a half years?”

Ha. That’s funny. This resume would never lead to an actual interview. Even if I did manage to spruce it up. What would I do with it? I’d send it out. Where would I send it to? To a bunch of random email addresses that I found on the Internet. I’m sure that ten thousand other people aren’t doing the same exact thing. I’m sure that whatever’s inside of my resume will be just the thing that gets my name out there, prompts someone in charge of hiring to reach out and get in touch with me.

And for real, where am I going to send this thing to? What am I looking to do exactly? I browse all of the listings on craigslist and I’m left with even more questions. What are all of these companies searching for in an employee? You know, besides being a motivated, eager, self-starting go-getter who works great both independently and as part of a team.

Why is five years experience “a must” for a job that starts at less than thirty thousand a year? Why is everything on this job listing either “a must” or “a plus?” Ability to finish projects is a must! Knowledge of Microsoft Office is a must! Being open to work through the weekends is a plus!

I can’t even look anymore. You know, I guess my job isn’t that bad right now. Sure, I don’t want to do it forever, but man, I can’t make sense of craigslist anymore, everything’s blending together, all of these duties and responsibilities, nothing’s really explained, why do so many hiring managers write out their job postings IN ALL CAPS!!!!!! WHAT KIND OF PERSON WOULD I BE WORKING FOR THAT SEEKS EMPLOYMENT ON THE INTERNET WRITING LIKE THIS?????

And here I am, I’m just making fun of everything, I don’t have a current resume, I don’t think I’d be able to put one together, not really, not with out blatantly making stuff up, even more than the stuff that’s already on there. No, my job’s not that terrible. I have a pretty flexible schedule. I go to work and I’m running on autopilot.

Maybe I’ll go to grad school. That could beef up the resume. That could be something. Maybe I could make up that I already went to grad school and put that on my resume. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to ask to see my diploma, right?