I'd been feeling bad about not having had any books to feature here that were specifically about the job search, but I'd just not had any come my way in the past several months. So, I was pretty excited when Ten Speed Press contacted me to see if I wanted to get a review copy of Quentin J. Schultze's Resume 101: A Student and Recent-Grad Guide to Crafting Resumes and Cover Letters that Land Jobs, as I figured that at last I'd have something “topical” to bring to the long-suffering Job Stalker readers.
Unfortunately, I didn't think through a couple of points. One, I'm assuming that most folks reading this are “between jobs” and not just getting started, and so a book for kids just coming out of college might not be the best-targeted thing for you, and, two, the whole subject of resumes is one that sets me off into rants every single time. So, you're not getting the most “fair and balanced” look at this book from me.
Obviously, it's been a very long time since I got out of college, so when I was reading this book, clearly focused on the new graduate, it was having to come in over a lot of of scar tissue from the long ugly battles to find jobs that I've been in over the past decade. What might be “making the best out of what one has” in this (crafting a resume with no work experience, etc.), perhaps came through as “unicorns and rainbows” to me.
The book is well structured, and walks the reader through a pretty straight-forward process:
Step 1 – Check your attitude.
Step 2 – Create your master list.
Step 3 – Identify your skills, knowledge, and traits.
Step 4 – Organize your content.
Step 5 – Format your entries.
Step 6 – Write your summary.
Step 7 – Edit résumé entries.
Step 8 – Recruit your references.
Step 9 – Draft a cover letter.
… and gives lots of tips, suggestions, and examples along the way, so a person looking to create their first resume could certainly use this book to pull together something that looked plausible “in a more perfect world”. However, the Weltanschauung in evidence here does not seem to be the world of the second Great Depression, but one where:
A great résumé “sells” your potential, based on your past experiences and achievements. Remember that employers usually have to consider the likely future benefits of hiring you over any other applicant. What's in it for them if they hire you over someone else? Your résumé gives you a chance to leverage your life experiences, to highlight what you can contribute to an organization's (and your supervisor's) success. Employers who review your résumé are looking for the kind of person who will make them look good. They care about the whole you, not just about one or another skill you may possess.
How much further from reality could this passage BE? The odds of any resume making it through the culling machinery of the job search to even get to the desk of somebody who isn't hell-bent on finding an excuse to round-file you, and might even “consider the likely future benefits of hiring you”, is at best something like 1 in 100 … and nobody starts caring “about the whole you” until you're one of a handful of finalists for a position!
This was my main problem with the book … it proceeds from a stance that is so totally divergent from the real-world Hell of trying to get hired as to make it almost laughable, if it wasn't so otherwise well-structured. And, again, there are valuable bits in here, primarily in the last quarter of the book which features a series of appendices with resources that, even on their own, would make it reasonably easy for a “newbie” to craft a serviceable resume. This is targeted to the “Student and Recent-Grad”, so perhaps achieves it's aim … but I think it would serve its audience better were it taking a more sober look at how hideous the job market is, and has been for years.
As always, more details are off in my review … do check that out if you want to see me “chewing on the scenery” even more than I've done in here!
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