terse answer Thursday: 6 short answers to 6 short questions

I really need to stop doing these on Thursdays, because “terse answer Thursday” doesn’t have the alliteration I want, and I have searched everywhere for an appropriate substitute for “terse” that begins with “th” and cannot find one. But in any case, here we go…

1. When your job application becomes a dating tool

I recently turned in an application at a local restaurant and was contacted by an employee, not a manager, asking if I wanted to get to know him and be friends. He went on to say that I should call and ask for an interview so I could work with him and get to know him better. The whole thing really gave me a creepy feeling. I was wondering if it was legal for this man to do this. He got my number from my application, which also means he knows where I live and even my social security number.

It’s legal, but super creepy. I’d either ignore it (as in do not respond at all, not even to say “no thanks”) or tell the manager. If I were the manager, I’d sure as hell want to know that someone on my staff was being so creepy and inappropriate with job candidates.

2. Engagement rings in interviews

It’s a difficult job market, but I am wondering whether it’s even harder for women sporting engagement rings ? I have noticed employers glancing at my left ring finger and then, without fail, a rejection letter follows even though I know I rocked the interview. I’m thinking about leaving my ring home next time. What are your thoughts on this?

Well, while there are certainly employers out there who might discriminate based on this, I have trouble believing it’s as widespread as your letter implies. It’s more likely that what you’re seeing is simply this job market — where you can rock the interview and still not get the job, because someone else rocked it more. But there’s no harm in leaving your ring off and seeing if it changes anything.

3. Resume naming conventions

How do you keep track of all those customized resumes you make for different jobs? As in, should you send a resume with the filename “Chicago resume” (because it might make them wonder what other cities you’re looking at)? Should you worry about a resume called New_Resume_Edited_By_My_Friend.doc, and so on? But jobseekers do have multiple resumes that they keep on file, so the question is how to file them. Personally when applying for freelance gigs I always make a new copy of the resume and just name it something plain, but I may be paranoid. What do you think?

I actually do notice resume file names, especially when they’re something like “resume with Joe’s edits.” While most people do have someone else look over their resume, that’s a little too close to leaving Track Changes on in the version you send. Generally you just want to name it “JoeSmithResume.pdf” or something along those lines. But one easy way to keep track of what version you send where is to create an electronic folder for each job you apply for and store the resume and cover letter you sent in there, along with the job posting.

4. Is this legal, part one?

I’m a waitress. The other night I was working with another employee and while we were closing the place up, I was doing the cash-up and the other server was washing the floor and shutting lights off. Thinking that since she shut the lights off, I figured she locked the front door behind us, but she didn’t. When we left, the owner got a call from the police to let her know the front door was open. So she called me the next day to let me know she’s taking me off the schedule for the night. Is that allowed? I’m missing a night’s worth of pay.

Yes. Leaving the door unlocked is a pretty big deal.

5. Is this legal, part two?

Today I worked a full day, then as I left I received a call from a co-worker which ended up being a pocket dial. This pocket dial ended up being a conversation between my boss, his dad, and two co-workers. During this conversation, they continued to talk behind my back. One employee continued to say things that were of untrue nature. Is this allowed? Per workers rights?

Yes. But it’s weird that your boss’s dad was involved.

6. Want to change color of office walls

I recently was promoted to a position where I will have my own office for the first time ever. The problem is that this office was painted a year ago with a color chosen by our administrator. No one liked the color and I definitely got the vibe that once the administrator actually saw it on the wall it was not what she was expecting either. For reference, the color is a bright green/blue that looks like it belongs in a motel beach lobby. I have never gotten used to the color as it is very jarring and extremely out of place with any other office/hallway color in the facility. I know that our facility paid a lot for the contractual paint job despite the way the color turned out and since our administrator (my new direct boss) chose the color, I am hesitant to ask if we can repaint. I would not mind even buying the paint and doing the painting myself so it is not at company cost. I plan on staying in this position for quite awhile so I would really like to change the color to something neutral, but I do not want to make waves or upset my new boss. Is there anyway to approach the subject or should I suck it up and live with the the tropical palette?

Since you’re not getting the sense that your boss is feeling delighted with her paint selection anyway, just say something like, “Hey, I don’t know if this is an option or not, but I’d love to change the color on my office walls to something more neutral. If I do the painting myself some weekend, would that be okay to do?” The fact that you’re willing to handle it all yourself should make it an easy request for them to say yes to. But if she seems put out or miffed, I’d be willing to back off and make it clear it’s not a huge issue.

{ 125 comments… read them below }

  1. Susan*

    Ugh, that’s just creepy, having an employee call you for a date because he saw your resume. Even if I didn’t get the job, I would still let the manager know about his or her employee’s behavior.

    1. Kimberlee*

      In this case, DEFINITELY contact the manager and let them know what happened, and if you’re in a position to not work there, I’d advise that as well. It might be overboard, but it’s better than regretting something terrible later. A person who think’s it’s appropriate to pull your number off an application to hit on you is NOT the type of person you want in your life.

    2. Mike C.*

      Agreed, contact the manager and let them know. Even if you never want to work there the manager will appreciate knowing that they have someone on staff who is using the stack of resumes as a dating queue.

    3. anon-2*

      I’d definitely call the manager.

      And if this restaurant is part of a national or regional chain – contact their headquarters as well.

      If the manager doesn’t know — he/she will ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

      If the manager DOES know – their corporate HQ will ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

      When you submit a resume, application, CV, etc. it is supposed to remain confidential and internal. Any abuse that results in that is an invasion of the privacy you’re entitled to.

      On the other hand, I assume you don’t wanna work there…

  2. Heather*

    To the Point Thursday?

    I think you need to start an “Is This Legal?” category. And perhaps do a flowchart, because the basic answer is usually pretty simple. But keep posting those questions – they make me laugh!

  3. Kelly O*

    I personally would get so much pure enjoyment out of the “Is It Legal?” flow chart that I now feel led to ask for it.

    I’m part of a couple of LinkedIn groups that seem to be obsessed with playing “Is It Legal?” and they sometimes act like I’m Captain Bring-Down when I say “Legal? Yes. Smart? No.” Or some paraphrase of that. I tried for a while directing them to AAM, but apparently that’s not being “supportive” – so I just drink my coffee and skim through the whines.

    1. That HR Girl*

      I always wonder what people mean by “Is It Legal?”

      Do they mean “Can I get this person arrested?”, “Can I sue them for this and never have to work again?” or “Can I force them to give me a job I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten?”

      ‘Cause really… gossiping behind your back, or hitting on you… I don’t think any of those results are likely :)

        1. That HR Girl*

          Right – I was referencing the questions AAM had answered. Which, in that OP’s case, did not seem like it went that far.

        2. fposte*

          Sure, but the consequences often aren’t what people think even if it *is* illegal. It can be illegal but resolved because when you told HR he stopped. It can be illegal but unaddressable because you never told anybody. It can be illegal and unresolved but unpursuable because you didn’t file your complaint in the very small time window allowed after you were fired. Etc.

          Basically, illegal, especially in non-criminal law, doesn’t necessarily mean that anything will happen to the person who does it, that the behavior will necessarily be stopped, that you’ll be guaranteed a shot at a court case as a result, that you’d win, or that it it would get you more money than the trouble or cost of doing so even if you do win.

          1. That HR Girl*

            Exactly… that’s why I think that subconciously, what people are really thinking when they ask “Is It Legal?” is they want something bad to happen to whoever is currently “wronging” them. Which is generally so unlikely in all of these cases.

    2. Mike C.*

      I really wish they would teach basic labor law in high school. We’re all going to work, and frankly it would help both employers and employees.

        1. Natalie*

          They should probably teach both, or at least the labor laws that cover people regardless of their membership in a union.

  4. Diana*

    For OP#5 the question I’d want answered is: What do I do about the untrue things I inadvertently overheard? I’d want to know if I was supposed to ignore it or address it. And how.

    For AAM: Thrifty was the first ‘th’ word to come to mind. Or perhaps “thoughtful” as long as that doesn’t imply the others aren’t?

    1. Anonymous*

      What do I do about the untrue things I inadvertently overheard? I’d want to know if I was supposed to ignore it or address it. And how.

      That can’t be answered without knowing whether the untrue things were to the benefit, the detriment, or irrelevant to the OP. In only one of those cases is there even a need for the OP to consider action.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’ll admit I’m sometimes peevish about imprecise use of language and feel like people should ask the question they want answered. In these short-answer posts, I tend to just answer the question they ask, simply because I’m keeping the answers short. (And it’s often this or nothing, just because of the quantity of mail I’m facing!) In the longer posts, I’m more inclined to go beyond what they asked whether they want me to or not :)

          1. Diane*

            You can make up for it with Short & Sweet Saturday, Sassy Sunday, which will be balanced by Moron Monday and Wacky Wednesday.

      1. Diana*

        Oh, I don’t fault you. You answered the question asked. I just think the OP didn’t ask the same question I would have in the same situation.

  5. Anonymous*

    Definitively have your name on the documents you send – having 20 documents with the name of my organization makes me grumpy when I have to go find the one I want or save them.

    Apart from just your name, I’ve seen JoeSmithCompanyResume.pdf which might work both for you and the prospective employer.

    1. Rana*

      Yes. That’s usually how I do them too: MyNameCompanyName.doc
      The original resume(s) that I tweak get named something like EditorResumeTEMPLATE.doc or IndexerResumeTEMPLATE.doc so I don’t accidentally send a generic one out.

      Then they each have their own folder(s), such as Resume Templates or Job Applications:CompanyA and Job Applications:CompanyB. If I’m applying via email I have similarly named folders for the correspondence, and ditto for webpages if that’s how the application was filed. I also have a Scrivener file for tracking the job search and its documents overall, plus my notes, so they’re all easily visible in one place.

      Yes, I went to graduate school in the humanities and have a touch of professional OCD; can you tell? ;)

      1. Christine*

        I too usually name my resumes with some combination of my last name, “resume” and abbreviation of prospective employer. I have to say, though, that I love Rana’s and AAM’s ideas for keeping better track and keeping them organized.

  6. KayDay*

    Re: 3 – naming conventions. I usually name my resumes “position (or company)_resume (or cover letter)_lastname_date”. I often save a new copy as “lastname_resume_(position)” when I send it or if there is a requested naming convention. If I edit my resume for a particularly position, I only keep the most recent version on file. If I have a resume tailored for a lot of jobs, I will keep a working copy called, say “widget industry resume” but then save it as I mentioned above before sending it out.

    re: 1 – omg. That’s really creepy and highly inappropriate (although it’s legal). Please let the manager or owner know. Who ever called you should be fired for inappropriate use of sensitive information.

    re: 6 – wall color. If you work in a large office building, you will likely be able to change the wall color when the lease if up for renewal, or if there is any sort of change to the lease. Commercial leases are frequently 5 or 10 years, however, so it’s definitely worth asking now if no one else likes the color. But even if it’s not possible now, it may be possible in the future.

    1. Natalie*

      #6 – depending on the landlord, you can paint whenever you want as long as you pay for it. The landlord may require you to either use their maintenance staff or a commercial painter. It can seem nickel-and-diming, but we don’t want you to get paint on the carpet base (the bit of carpet that comes up the wall) or the door frames. Chances are that carpet has to last through a couple of renewals.

      It’s probably not that expensive. I’m in an average size city, and our junior maintenance staff bills out at $45/hour. Painting one office might take them 2 hours and a $15 can of paint.

  7. curious*

    #1 – It is a creepy that the employee doesn’t have the nerve to ask you out properly in a way that is unrelated to your application. But sometimes romance does blossom in strange places – back in the day, my dad was my mum’s recruitment consultant when she was job hunting. He did wait until after he found her a job to ask her out on a date though and made clear it was a date. They’re still happily married now.

    #2 If you are playing with your ring this can sometimes indicate high emotion or nervousness. Take it off if you mess with it subconciously.

    #3 – Do what Ms Green says – it works.

    1. CK*

      At least the way your dad approached it wasn’t creepy. It’s actually quite sweet. I had this happen to me when I was interviewing a guy for a sales position. He didn’t get the job OR the date lol…

    2. Nichole*

      What took this from potential cute how-we-met story to creepy behavior is the fact that the OP in no way indicates that she’s met this person directly. I got a weird vibe that he contacted her based on general characteristics like age and high school attended-choosing a date from a job application is only slightly more logical than picking one from the phone book. Someone who thinks this is ok has something going on upstairs that’s not quite right. If I were the boss, I would definitely want to know, because nowhere that I’ve worked has allowed just anyone who wants to to sift through applications. Legal doesn’t mean it’s in accordance with policy,a dn it’s definitely red flag behavior.

      Good point on #2, I would never have thought of that! I’m someone who has numerous weird little habits like that, and from experience, once you become aware, you become hyper aware. Just realizing she’s a ring fiddler may be enough to get her to stop doing it in interviews without taking it off.

      1. Anonymous*

        But he might have seen the OP leaving the application and thought, “Hey, she’s cute!” and then gone inappropriate. I mean, it’s still creepy and inappropriate at BEST, but maybe it’s not THAT creepy and inappropriate.

        1. fposte*

          It could be less creepy, but it’s still seriously inappropriate. If you’re close enough to the hiring process to see the application, don’t use it for purposes other than job hiring until after the hiring issue is resolved–this person not only didn’t give time to separate the job hire and the romance, he explicitly encouraged the applicant to pursue the job issue for romantic reasons. This is No Boundaries Man.

          Note that curious’s father 1) wasn’t directly hiring mum and 2) waited until after she was hired to ask her. Smart man.

  8. curious*

    Ms Green – would Thrifty Answer Thursday work? As you are being wisely economical with your answers.

    1. Ornery PR*

      I was going to suggest something on the opposite end of the spectrum, Thousand Answer Thursday :)

  9. Wilton Businessman*

    1. creepy
    2. only if it’s insanely huge and/or tacky
    3. folders people, you can have more than one.
    4. yes, you F’d up. I’d fire you.
    5. it’s a pocket dial, why didn’t you just hang up?
    6. there’s liability issues there. what happens if you fall off a ladder while you’re working? What happens if you dump a gallon of paint down your computer? Personally, this sounds like a “forgiveness over permission” situation.

        1. fposte*

          You’ve got more self-control than I do :-). I wouldn’t keep listening, though–I’d just say “Hey, you guys called me! Hi there!” And then never talk about what I heard and let them try to figure out how much I caught.

    1. Anonymous*

      I was thinking the same thing about #6. I wouldn’t let an employee paint their office for that very reason.

    2. Mike C.*

      Guys, you’re forgetting that Wilton doesn’t like it when people call him via cell phone, so if it’s a pocket dial, of course he’s going to hang up.


  10. Anonymous*

    #4 Honestly, I’d say you were lucky to not be fired on the spot. It is a very big deal to leave the door unlocked.
    I would make sure my resume and refrences were in order because this might be your boss getting ready to fire you in fact.
    (And yes that would be totally legal too. You would likely get unemployment, but they’d have a good reason to fight it. Even if this was the first thing you ever did wrong.)

    1. Anonymous*

      Yeah… you really blew it. Get a reality check. You’re lucky to even be going back to work. I don’t mean to be mean, just want you to realize the severity of your mistake!

  11. Piper*

    #3…I always name my resume with my name plus the job title for which I’m applying since most jobs I’m applying for have wildly differing titles for doing the same kind of work (side note: what’s up with that?) and that helps keep it straight for me and possibly, the hiring manager, who receives lots of resumes. For example: PiperJobSeeker_WidgetMarketer.pdf

    1. Ornery PR*

      #3 This is exactly what you should do. As someone who receives all application documents for my company and has to manage them, I’m very particular with how they’re named. If they suck, they are called companynameresume.pdf. You don’t need to include the company’s name, the hiring manager already knows it. When I get documents, I rename everything this way: Resume-FirstLast-Position.pdf, etc.

      For my personal organization when I’m job hunting, I have a main file called Job Hunt, then a master resume file, cover letter file, etc. that I use to tailor to the specific job I’m applying to. I have a separate folder for each company I submitted to, and have a version of a cover letter and resume in that folder that is named Resume-FirstLast-Position.pdf.

      1. Mike C.*

        This is exactly what I did as well. I even had working versions of the resume/cover letter for each position and then the saved .pdf versions in the same folder for the online submission.

  12. Long Time Admin*

    First, I’d like to see the word “thwarted” in your Thursday heading. I just like the word.

    OP #1 – call that manager today and tell him or her what happened. And never put your social security number on a job application. You can give it to the interviewer later.

    OP #4 – when I worked in retail and closed up, one person would be responsible for locking the door and the other person was responsible for checking that the door was locked. Just take it as a lesson learned.

    1. ThomasT*

      +1 for Thwarted Thursday, featuring all “Is it legal?” questions where AAM informs the would-be-litigants that they’ve no chance.

      1. Anonymous*

        Great idea…if not a regular feature, it woud be fab when you get a critical mass of “is it legal” Qs :)

        On other days, suggestion below of Teresday seems good?

    2. Jennifer*

      Love “Thwarted Thursdays”. My first thought (like ThomasT) was to have all the “Is it legal” questions. Is X legal? Yes. Is Y legal? Yes. Is Z legal? Yes. (Eventually, you’d think they’d get the point…)

    3. anth*

      +1 for being the first person to remind us NOT TO PUT SSN ON APPLICATIONS

      Especially if you’re just dropping it at a host stand where anyone could pick it up!

  13. Chuck*

    #3 – There are some good suggestions here. I get way too many resumes titled resume.doc or resume.docx. For a lot of reasons, the file name sometimes makes it difficult to retrieve a specific resume. SJohnson.CPA.docx is a better resume file name IMHO.

    Use the resume file name to your advantage. The suggestions given in the comments are very good.

  14. Joshua*

    If all the waitress got was suspended for one shift, I’d say they got off pretty lucky, that’s something I could see a manager (and restaurant managers aren’t known for NOT being hotheaded) firing somebody for, or “less legal” punishment like docking pay if anything was missing.

  15. Joanna Reichert*

    Alison: How about “Tactful Thursday”? Or if you wanted to save some of the really volatile letters for Thursday, you could have “Turbulent Thursday”, “Tasteless Thursday” or “Theatrical Thursday”, as some of your letter writers are . . . . can we say, vehement and full of flair?

    OP #1 ~ Besides the fact that yes, it’s really creepy, it’s disturbing on a whole different level. This is PRECISELY why I don’t hand over my resume to any Joe Schmoe, and also why I do not give my SS # until I’ve gotten an interview – even if the company form demands it. It’s MY number and it’s no one’s business until there is interest in moving forward, and at that point it won’t be seen by just anyone.

    If I were this OP, I would actually find out discreetly, from another source, the name of the managers and when they’ll be available, and then call back Mr. Interested – on speakerphone – and record a conversation concerning how he found out about me and why he called me. Nicely, of course, with some interest on my part. DETAILS. And then you can pop in and show management exactly the kind of hare-brained inappropriate person they have in their employ. I know, I know – it’s illegal in some areas to record someone without their permission. But hey – would that company care about THAT, or would they rather deal with an employee who could potentially cause them a bigger lawsuit in the future?

    When it comes to boundaries and maturity and lack thereof towards my personal information, you’d better believe my claws come out.

    OP #3 ~ It’s not a big deal – you should draw up a ‘base’ resume for each type of position that you’ll be applying for, named as such, and then when you have a specific company in mind, tweak it and do a Save As “(Your name) Company Name Position.” Simple, to the point, and it makes it easy for the company to locate it in their system.

    OP #4 ~ I’m flabbergasted that an employee who didn’t do their job thoroughly, at the great expense of the company, is miffed about being removed from those duties. Are you kidding me?? What’s the phrase – ‘Assumptions make an @ss out of you and me.” Don’t assume ANYTHING in the workplace, especially not as it pertains to security. Ask, ask, ask, and if in doubt go do it yourself. This is a pretty grave error and be thankful you weren’t terminated altogether.

    OP #5 ~ Of course it’s allowed. But I’d consider requesting a meeting with everyone involved to clear the air. Naturally they’ll be embarassed but go in to it mature and asking for frank candor.

    1. That HR Girl*

      Everyone is correct to point out the SSN thing here. Legally, (*and this is not a legally they CAN’T, more like a legally they SHOULDN’T) SSN should not even be given out until you have ACCEPTED a position. Because really, the SSN’s only useful purpose on the app is to do a background check, which shouldn’t be done until a contingent offer is made and accepted.

      Of course this is why I am thankful each day that I have a legal department to help me “C” my “A” in all situations :)

  16. Mike the Girl*

    Resume naming convention: Use your file folders!!!

    My resume is always called FirstInitialLastNameResume.doc But they are all in different file folders! (Along with any cover letters and email drafts).

    So on my computer it looks like this: Resumes and Cover Letters Folder > Different Types of Jobs Folder > Particular Company Folder > Resume and Cover Letter. At this point, the Particular Company Folder may include several files sorted by application date or position. (I’d like a job in publishing — there aren’t that many companies.)

    Also, in the general Resume and Cover Letter folder are “Current Resume” (which is just what it sounds like), a folder for “Older Resumes” and a file called “Jobs No Longer On Resume” with all the things I’ve taken off the resume over the years. Jobs No Longer On Resume has been very helpful for applying for jobs that I gained skills for long ago and also as a basic timeline of all my employment since high school.

  17. Aaron*

    Why not go for a different theme on Thursday? Thorny question Thursday? Thought-provoking Thursday? Etc.

    You already have a short answers weekday, plus weekend–and I, for one, won’t complain if you don’t get to every e-mail. (I enjoy your longer answers to letters a lot–they seem to have been mostly replaced with your exernal posts, and that’s too bad, as I don’t enjoy those quite as much.)

    Now, RE: resume naming–I noticed the example was a .doc file. I always send a PDF, as it just feels more polished/professional to me. (Word can save to PDF, or you can print to PDF using a free tool like PrimoPDF.) Alison, I’m sure you don’t ding people for sending .doc files if they are good candidates, but I wonder if you have a preference or think it matters?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m glad you mentioned this because I was wondering if people noticed I was doing more outside stuff. I’m actually posting just as many letters here as I always have (slightly more, actually), but I’ve also increased the amount of outside stuff I do, so there’s more of that too. I’m actually trying to post a letter and answer every day though, even on days when I post links to my outside articles.

      What HAS changed, I think, is that I’m doing the short-answer posts more often, simply because they’re such a good way to answer a bunch of questions in one fell swoop. I can’t get to all my mail as it is, but I like to answer as many as I can.

      I’ll try to play with the balance a bit, though. My favorite are the longer single question/single answer posts too.

      Re: .doc vs. PDF: I’d never penalize a candidate for using .doc, but I think PDF is a better choice since you can be sure your formatting will be preserved exactly how you want it.

      1. KayDay*

        OMG, Thank you for the clarification about .doc or .pdf!!! I was actually about to ask this very question, but deleted it since it seemed petty. Perfect case of others probably are wondering the same thing.

        About 66-75% of the resume submissions I have seen (both coming into my office and from what my friends have sent out) have been in Word, and the rest have been PDFs. So I have always wondered if PDF is better (for the formatting), or if Word was better since it is slightly more common. I’ll use PDF next time I send in a resume!

        1. Elizabeth*

          When I was last doing my job search, I sometimes attached my resume in both formats. I don’t think you can go wrong with PDF, though. It guarantees that your formatting will look the way you want, even if the person getting your resume has a different version of Word than you do. Also, the recipient can’t accidentally change it (cat walks on the keyboard and deletes a word, but you don’t notice) before printing. I suspect that lots of people send Word documents because they either aren’t familiar with printing to a PDF, or because they haven’t really thought about it one way or another.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            One minor suggestion: Don’t include both formats; pick one or the other. Otherwise I’m spending time opening both, looking to see if there’s something different I’m supposed to be noticing.

            1. Elizabeth*

              What if my cover letter ends in a sentence like “I have attached my resume in both Word document and PDF formats for your convenience.”?

              I hope not to be job-hunting for a long time, but thanks for the advice. :)

            2. Anon.*

              In the past I have both copied and pasted into the body of the email and then attached the resume as well. Is that overkill/frowned upon?

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                It’s overkill, yes, but it’s not a big deal. I wouldn’t do it though, because they’re going to skim the email version of your resume first, which is going to look messier than the “real” version.

      2. KayDay*

        I really like the short answers, because they tend to be the most widely applicable questions (but the long questions/answers are often the most entertaining). My only complain would be that they aren’t categorized by topic(s), so it’s hard to look them up in the archives.
        …..and I clearly need stop commenting on this post now =\

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’ve been getting some complaints about the search engine on the site, so I may change that soon, which hopefully might make it easier to find relevant stuff! (If anyone wants to recommend a good substitute, please do! Otherwise I may just install Google’s search thing.)

      3. Liz T*

        I always send my résumé in PDF. (It rarely changes over the course of a job hunt, and the formatting is very specific.) Then I send my cover letter (which I rewrite for each job) in Word. I don’t know why I don’t just send them both in PDF, it’s not like it takes that much more time. Maybe next time I’ll match them up, but obviously no one’s going to penalize me for it.

        And yeah, adding the company name to the file name is my way to go. I hate having tons of folders.

      4. Katya*

        I have noticed the increased content and I really appreciate it. I think a lot of people wouldn’t bother to also put up a blog-specific post on a day they link to their outside content too. I also really like the short answers, and I also enjoy that they give a wide variety of things for commenters to discuss.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oh good! I could write a whole post about all the completely unsupported theorizing I do about post frequency and related topics. I used to think that if I posted so frequently, comments would go down (and I love reading the comments), but actually it seems to be the opposite!

          1. Anonymous*

            Oh I love to see more of your posts. But your outside stuff is hardly as thought-provoking as the blog posts. And maybe because they are all mixed up it feels like the longer/single posts have lessened in freq. I know they must take up more time…but pls do them more :)

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yeah, I think the outside stuff is more interesting to people who aren’t regular readers here. You guys have heard all that stuff from me many times before, so it’s old news.

              I will do more long/single posts!

      5. Rana*

        My resume isn’t heavily formatted (intentionally – I have a background of dealing with computer-phobic academics and anything more complicated than basic indents/centering and bold/italic/all-caps ran the risk of getting mangled) so the formatting doesn’t need to be protected that heavily.

        I mainly work with Mac and non-Word programs and thus have to translate them to Windows-friendly versions, so, again, less is more for me. There’s also a “marketing” reason for my stripped down approach; since simplicity and precision is part of my “package” it makes sense for the document itself to be uncomplicated too.

        That said, I generally try to send it in the format that the employer prefers, whether that be pdf, doc, rich text, or (gasp) in-line email. If I’m not sure, I’ll send it as a Windows-friendly doc, since I know nearly everyone can open those, with a note to contact me if the attachment doesn’t work.

        1. Anon.*

          Sorry to plop this in the wrong order – there was no reply link after the answer to my comment above.

          I think I’ve only put my resume in the body of the email when requested and attached it for easier print out or forwarding. Agreed, it does look messier in the body and it always messes with the formatting (why, why does it always add a teeny underscore? I don’t even have a key for that symbol!).

          I like the idea above to attach both the resume and the cover letter – but what to say in the body of the email? Is it acceptable to just write a few lines that the documents are attached or must there be a sort of secondary cover letter (more than a few lines).

          Most of the positions I’ve applied for this way are lower-level admin/customer service/other postions on Craigslist or similar sites.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yep, just a few lines. I think I’m going to write an “everything you always wanted to know about how to format your resume” post, because people have tons of little questions on this!

            1. Chris Walker*

              For copy/paste, create a plain text or rich text version of the resume, especially if pasting to a text box on an employers careers site. To see how something will look after pasting, use Notepad, the simple text editor in MS Word. I am seeing more (though not enough) employers specifying the resume format(s) the will accept. Candidates shouldn’t be forced to guess. If the employer does specify, FOLLOW DIRETIONS. The quickest way to get eliminated is to submit a .pdf or .docx when they explicitly asked for .doc.

    2. HRanon*

      What about just Theme Thursdays or Thursday Themes… the theme could vary week to week, but I’m sure you could find lots of themes in all the letters you get. The “Is it legal? ” mentioned already, some other possibilities: Don’t do this; Run; Creepy Bosses; Creepy Co-workers; Entitled letter writers…

  18. ThomasT*

    Re: #4 – there’s a small possibility that the last sentence, “I’m missing a night’s worth of pay,” means that the employee was not paid for the night that she neglected to make sure the door was locked. That would not be cool – if you worked the hours, they owe you the money. They can’t fine you for misconduct. However, as others have pointed out, if all you got for leaving the door unlocked was a shift reassignment that resulted in fewer hours, then you got off easy.

    1. CJ*

      @ThomasT – she said that the manager took her off the schedule the next day. No pay docking, just a one-day suspension.

      1. ThomasT*

        I agree that the interpretation I posited is not the most likely. That’s why I prefaced it with “there’s a small possibility.” I actually believe that the likeliest interpretation is that she’s been permanently removed from the schedule for closing, and had previously been doing that once per week. It could also be the one-day suspension that others have interpreted. It’s not 100% clear what happened, and so I was trying to offer another possibility. Even less clear to me is why you would post your own interpretation with such certainty, when I’d hedged on mine and there are so few details in the post.

  19. Anonymous*

    if the alliteration is the important thing, you could always switch to Terse Answer Tuesdays… :)

  20. Emily*

    #1 I agree, super creepy. Not totally related, but I noticed you mentioned you put your SSN on your application. Is this normal in the USA? In Canada it’s inadvisable to put our equivalent number (SIN) on our applications for security purposes. This number is only given to new employers upon being hired. Unless the SSN is necessary on an application, I would leave it off.

    I also love the idea of an “Is it legal?” flow-chart AAM!

    #6 This seems like one of those times when there’s no harm in asking.

    1. Cary*

      I was just thinking this. The employer only needs your SSN in order to pay you. Do not give it out unless you have a contract of employment.

      1. That HR Girl*

        And to run a background or credit check if they want, but they can only do that if you’ve signed a release, and should only do it after you’ve accepted an offer contingent on succesful background. So yes – there is no reason to include it pre-offer.

  21. Nellie*

    On #4 – obviously she made a big mistake and it should have consequences, but is it actually legal to dock her pay for the hours she worked?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No, that would be illegal. They could fire her, but they can’t dock her pay for hours she worked. But I didn’t read it as saying they were doing that — I think the missing pay will be for the next night, the night she was taken off the schedule and didn’t work.

  22. Henning Makholm*

    For #2, I wonder what would be an employer’s motivation for discriminating against engaged women. It’s not as if women stop working when they marry these days. It’s also not as if women who plan to have children generally insist on marrying first, or as if women who don’t plan to have children would, for that reason, refrain from marrying. What discrimination-worthy attributes could a ring signify?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Really annoying wedding-planning that takes place on work time and irks everyone within earshot?

      No, in seriousness, in decades past, discrimination against women of marrying/child-bearing age was common, because employers assumed they’d quit to have kids or stay at home as a wife. That kind of attitude isn’t at all common these days, but there are still a few oddballs who believe it.

      1. Obvs Anon*

        My fiance (funny enough) was in a job interview for a tiny tiny company where the owner pretty much admitted he wouldn’t be hiring a woman because she might not come back if she has kids.

        I was appalled, he thought it was a dick move but still pursued the job. He didn’t end up getting it.

        (sorry for the lack of details, I just don’t want to leave anything too telling)

    2. Long Time Admin*

      If the engaged woman is wearing a huge rock on her finger, the interviewers might think she doesn’t really need the job.

      I once bought a brand new car (’92 Eagle Talon), and when I went for one job interview, one person who I would be working with saw my “fancy” car and told the boss that I didn’t need the job and not to hire me.

      People do make stupid judgement calls sometimes.

  23. Grey*

    Re #5 part 2: No. It’s usually not legal to listen in to somebody else’s telephone conversations.

    When you realized the call wasn’t for you, you should have hung up.

  24. katie*

    about the resume names, i have one folder that’s cold applications, and then i make a new folder for each job i apply to. in that folder is all the info i need, plus the resume which is simply named “resume.doc” or “myname_resume.doc” or something. :) hope this helps!

  25. Joe*

    Thrifty answer Thursday was my first thought as well. I spent a bit more time pondering, and came up with a few others: Think fast Thursdays, Thought-a-minute Thursdays. I agree that none of the options I can come up with sound all that great.

    #2 – As a single guy who is lookin’ for love, when I meet a woman, I will almost always look to see if she’s sporting a ring. It’s not because I’m interested in dating every woman I meet, it’s just a habit. In fact, it’s such an ingrained habit, that when I started trying online dating recently, I realized after the first couple of profiles I looked at that I was looking for rings in the pictures, even though I already knew that these women were available. It’s just something that my brain does, given my personal situation. I try to be inconspicuous about it, but I’m sure it’s noticed sometimes.

    #3 – Agreed about the folders, and it’s also useful for easily grouping together any other materials for that position. (Written homework assignments, for example.)

    #5 – There’s also a question of tackiness here on your part. If you realized it was a pocket dial, and that they didn’t mean to call you, why did you keep listening? Sure, it’s not nice of them to talk about you like that, but it’s also not nice of you to eavesdrop.

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