Resurrecting the Resume

It was a nice enough office complex up on Holcomb Bridge Road, and their sign said Kinnian’s Resume Service and the deal was for around fifty bucks they’d have a professional resume expert do you up a professional resume. I thought that sounded pretty good, so I strolled in with my patched together amateur resume and said Good morning! and the next thing I knew, I was in a cozy little office peering across a big desk at one Ms. Dolores M. Kinnian.

“What’cha got, tiger?”

I forked over my resume and she began to read.

Her in-it-to-win-it navy blue suit, new-fangled PDA, snappy laptop and fancy ballpoint pen told me Ms. Kinnian was a serious woman, although I must admit I found the abstract painting on the wall behind her a bit distracting. It depicted either a swallowtail butterfly alighting atop an exquisite crystal vase or a gang of French prison inmates flogging a chartreuse dachshund.

“Yes… I see we have our work cut out for us!”

“Well, that’s why I’m here,” I replied, beginning to feel a bit wary… kind of how you feel when you’re at the dealership for a tune-up and your service advisor hunts you down in the waiting room and tells you, regrettably, that it wasn’t just the distributor after all… she’s gonna need that plus a timing belt, some rings and bearings and such, but we ain’t for sure ’til we rip her open and poke around inside her.

Ms. Kinnian said, “This is a CHRON-O-LOG-I-CAL resume, a laundry list of employment year by year… quite passé. You want to present employers with a bouquet of experience, job skills and personal abilities.”

“Bouquet?”

“For example, here you say, ‘Wrote the company brochure.’ Why not: Interfaced with senior management in the development, creation and distribution of strategic sales support material for a worldwide network of independent distributors?

“Golly!” I said.

“And here you say, ‘Helped out at trade shows.’ How about: Created world-class relational marketing database via strategic participation in cost-effective event marketing?

I was stunned. “Wheee-doggies!”

She gave me a cockeyed wink, said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Sparky,” and sent me out to the lobby where I spent the next hour pacing like an expectant father, pouring creamish and sugar-like into a styrofoam cup of nearly coffee, picturing myself at my new job, in a navy pinstriped suit and red power tie high above the Atlanta skyline before an assemblage of awe-struck executives saying, “People, it’s time we got our shit together!”

Well, Ms. Kinnian emerged with a new document that represented a career all right, although whose career, I wasn’t sure. It turns out I didn’t manage, I directed! I didn’t talk to people, I interfaced! I’d never gone begging for a job, I was extensively recruited!

She sure could noodle the verbiage!

Here I had initiated when I thought I was simply doing what I was told, improvised when I really had no idea of what was going on, and spearheaded when I remember just showing up with the doughnuts.

This Ms. Kinnian knew her stuff, all right. She’d even spackled over a couple of unsightly employment gaps I’d suffered along the way!

I felt as if I’d just won the Mega Millions jackpot. I thanked one and all, motored over to the Krystal, ordered up a chili pup and one of those Minute Maid cherry slushy things and set up camp in the corner booth, there to gaze at my slick new resume and relish my good luck.

But after a while I began to feel a bit queasy– and not just from the food! No, it was something else altogether.

Perhaps my conscience, that mysterious internal gyroscope that helps guide us toward salvation, had been bent, squeezed and twisted more than it could stand in my quest for a snappy resume.

Or maybe it was fatigue… with the whole idea of over-stating, over-hyping and over promising. Why? An adjustment here, an exaggeration there– and the next thing you know you’re producing a piece of fiction, and you have to live with a vague feeling that an embarrassing pile-up could occur down the road somewhere.

Yes, I had hoped my resume would stand out from the crowd, but only as an honest presentation of my experience, skills and goals. Let somebody else hype their way to glory.

Ms. Kinnian did the best she could for me and I begrudge her nothing. But I think I’ll pass on the turbo-charged version of myself and present yours truly in, shall we say, a more straightforward, unadorned fashion… and let the chips fall where they may.

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