I’ve always liked experiments, so I decided to play around with my resume to test my theories since I’ve been living in Florida. These are the assumptions:
- Most people have high school diplomas; a college degree is rare.
- Local colleges/universities are more highly regarded than those outside the state.
- Exact word matches are important.
- Less is more.
Before I arrived here, a friend of mine said she would pass along my resume to her sister who was going to share it with some law firms. I put all my degrees on there and all my work experience highlighting the legal internship I did in high school and the time spent working on law-related issues for the federal government. She was impressed. Honestly, I didn’t care; I was just trying to get a job in a field that I enjoyed in a place where I thought I would be happy. I heard nothing back. The sister went to a law school I have never heard of and is happily working as a lawyer. I feel like I should’ve gone to a no-name school to make people more comfortable. Oh, and then my cousin called me intimidating.
I have not been the “smartest” (grades, analytical skills) person in the class since elementary school. I have just been trying to do what I am interested in and obtain the skills necessary to work in fields of interest. I entered college as a wide-eyed dreamer, and now I am a bitter realist. In college I really wanted to work for the CIA so I could support my country, but they passed on me because of the propensity to compromise and be honest. Ironically, now I have recognized the value of lying, er, omitting the truth.
So, I have an online presence that will lead you directly to me, unless… I use the fact that my name is quite common, and hide myself in plain sight by removing my middle initial, in addition to all the other locks on my accounts preventing people from finding me unless I want them to. (how’s that for clandestine, CIA). The heading of this blog is misleading. I don’t lie, I just don’t tell the whole truth. Unlike most people on the internet who talk about embellishing their resumes, I do the exact opposite: downplay all of my experiences and accomplishments. Lo and behold here in the sunny state of Florida, I have gotten more responses by being less ambitious and driven. (I guess I was not smart enough to understand why the friends I knew here had left…)
- Remove middle initial so I cannot be found online
- Remove graduate degree
- Add local school that I attended briefly to establish a common bond; it should not be on all my resumes because I do not want to appear overqualified or smart with the pursuit of a graduate degree
- Think minimalist: one undergraduate institution, one degree, no certificates; the resume should not show a desire to be proactive or do things differently (i.e. language certificates and time spent abroad are irrelevant)
- Resume should be polished, but not too much; it should not stand out and be overly impressive; stick to one bullet point
- Exaggerate administrative roles (I am a female, so that is more acceptable, and people will be more comfortable); anything that says “analyst” should be “assistant”, to better connect to administrative assistant
- Try to keep the resume to one page
- Cover letter should be short and sweet; nothing too detailed
- References should be good friends and not the standard professional references, because the real references should not be wasted
I received three callbacks with my revised Florida resume.
I interviewed for a Hotel Manager role at a high-end hotel hoping to snag a rich husband like my friend. (I mean, I really was not going to strip myself of everything I was proud of to work at a no-name motel.) I made the mistake of not rehearsing well enough before to help me to not over share and stick to the script. For this one, I also listed the college and not the university so that I could actually get the interview, and then hoped that they were not too familiar with Google… I was asked what luxury meant and I mentioned quality and some other related things including my own travel. I had thought that that did not go to well and I should have said more superficial, Miami-sounding things, but in retrospect, I think it went ok. I really needed to work on my lines though.
I interviewed for an Administrative Assistant role as well, and had a second interview today, but I don’t think it’s going to work out. I was surprised the second interview was even scheduled. I put my college’s more common name on this resume, but sticked to one degree and added the Florida school. Thankfully I was not asked about career aspirations. I was asked about my administrative assistant experience, which I do have, but it is minimal, and the first interview admitted that it’s not overly complicated, but she wanted to know what experience I had in it. Then she asked for my preferred salary, which was $15K more than what she was hoping for. That’s why I thought that that was the end of the conversation. Then she had the nerve to tell me that the place I was temping at was paying me $20.25, hinting that I should lower my expectations. As I mentioned before, I was experimenting, and I was hoping to use this company as leverage as well. (Again, more CIA tactics, lol)
So this is the kicker. First I was insulted, but then I thought maybe I did a good job constructing an average resume. Unfortunately, that also means I might actually have to consider lying in the future. The first interviewer for the admin role emailed to schedule an interview with the HR person. It was scheduled for 11. I did not hear from the second interviewer until I followed up with the first interviewer. The second interviewer struggled a lot with her English and the phone. They wanted Spanish and Portuguese skills for this role, so we could’ve switched languages, but again I had to make sure that I did not intimidate in any way and display any sort of proactivity. We finally spoke and she said I was a bit “junior” for the role because they’re looking for someone who could grow into an office manager, contracts administrator, or HR position. Whaaaat!? Welcome to Florida. I had interviewed for contract admin roles, at least now I know where they stand in the scheme of things.
I thought maybe she didn’t understand where I went to school. So I said, I do not know if you are too familiar with my school or where I worked. She recognized the school. I thought then maybe she was trying to be mean and use this as an opportunity to get back at those who went to top tier schools. She said the same thing that the other place I worked at said about my being under qualified for fast-paced and demanding environments. So, that being said I am understanding that this place is chaotic and unorganized, so now, I really don’t want to work there, but then I need the money, and have to make sure to be the one to quit first before anything else goes down. In the beginning she was more interested in my Florida school and not the undergrad. Explains a lot. I also do not want to work with people who take themselves too seriously to their point of stupidity, like this lady… I called the first interviewer back to say that I was confused about the position because the second interviewer said I was under qualified… When I mentioned where I worked, I made the mistake of going with the full name and not the abbreviation, which most non-industry people do not recognize. I was poking holes in my own script. She also started asking if I had a LinkedIn profile because there were a lot of people with my name… I tried to avoid giving her my middle initial, but I had too, and then figured with that, I would not get called back. She said she had another call that she had to attend to so she would email me about talking again. (I’m not holding my breath.)
I had another interview earlier today as a Sales Associate. It was supposed to be part-time, but the person arranging it was never really listening. And then now, full-time would actually be better. She sent me the address to the mall (who interviews at the mall when they don’t have a space there???) where I was to be interviewing and she got the name wrong. She also kept sending me the wrong confirmation times, and when I followed up with a call, she read through the exact same script as the initial call. (If she can get hired, why must I jump through hoops for an administrative position???) But, then again, I arrived late for the 9am interview, but the guy interviewing me does not know that because he wasn’t there. The organizer was supposed to move the times back an hour… He apologized for the unprofessionalism, but I mean it’s Florida, so my expectations are slowly lowering, and then I was late too, so I might be right where I belong… (If I got over my fear of stripping, I would be much better off, but I digress…) All I have to do now is pass a background check and drug test and I’ll be at work on Saturday. I’m not too concerned with passing the background check with my “alternate” resume, because the dates line up and I did not embellish. (Who would dismiss someone for dumbing down their resume???) The pay makes me wish I would’ve dropped out of high school. I am trying to make it about the money now, but if it was always about the money, I could have worked retail in between college and then been store manager once I graduated and be in a much better position than I am now, but I decided to be different. So, I also substitute teach, which requires a MA. So if I take the sales job, I would have to give up substitute teaching, which pays more per day when I get it and actually would not trash my resume. I do have this research intern thing I am doing, but it is so boring and confusing. The full-time sales role has benefits though, but I’ll probably have to pay a lot out of pocket since I am not corporate. Then I will also have to quit before they fire me for not meeting the quota. I hate sales. I actively try to discourage sales people from approaching me because I will not buy what I don’t want. I mean, I do not even enjoy browsing at the mall.
So that was the experiment. I think it proved me right, which makes me know longer regret going to UMiami, but does make me regret ever coming here in the first place, although it was only because I intended to go to Florida that I took the short-term jobs in DC and was able to put an economics degree on my resume. I regret coming here. The Florida chapter is closed, but I regret coming here and would strongly advise any and everyone against moving to Florida unless that have a job lined up in tourism or real estate.
I also cried today and thought about killing myself, but unfortunately, that is a normal day. If I did not have family to mourn me, a life insurance policy that would not pay out, and a fear of hell, I would probably be dead. I can probably eliminate the fear of hell though because seeing as my life is crumbling before my very eyes, and I have to hide the truth to get ahead, would my suicide really be my fault?
With all my debt its pointless now to try and work for the CIA despite the progress that I have made in my ability to manipulate words and people for personal gain. They would fear me becoming a double agent… I will leave it at that…