photos on business cards, when to remove college accolades from your resume, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. When should I remove college accolades from my resume?

I’m 25 and have been employed full-time since I graduated undergrad at 21. I’ve had two jobs in this time period. At what point does the scholarship, Dean’s list, etc. information under my college education become irrelevant and can be removed? I feel kind of silly still having it on there and feel the space may be better used by an extra line or two under my work experience, but am unsure if it’s too soon to remove it on the off chance that it actually matters.

College achievements on a resume are a proxy for “this person has the potential to be a high achiever in the workforce” when there’s no other evidence to look at. It makes sense to include those things when you’re an inexperienced candidate — but once you start racking up a track record in the work world, that track record says more about what you’re capable of in the terms that employers care about most.

At 25, you’re probably right on the borderline of when college accolades should start coming off. It won’t look silly to leave them on for another year or two (although then they should definitely come off), but if they’re taking up space that you could be using for work accomplishments, it makes sense to start removing them now.

2. Should my business card have my photo on it?

Should job seekers hand out business cards with their pictures on it? I know people that do this. I’m going to a conference in hopes of networking or jobs and want to know thoughts on this practice.

Some people will tell you that it will help people remember who you are (which can be helpful when you’re meeting a bunch of people at a conference), but others (like me) will tell you that it feels too cheesy (unless you’re a real estate agent, where it’s inexplicably common).

(Some people will also tell you that I use too many parentheses.)

3. Can I ask about my employer’s philosophy on raises?

I started a new job with a new company at the end of last year. I was a contract employee with the company for around nine months prior to that, so when I was hired they already knew exactly how much I was making. I tried to negotiate their salary offer up (by $3,000) and they said they were firm on their offer. I accepted.

I’m contemplating asking for a raise during my annual review. I know I need to prepare by understanding where I’ve gone above and beyond for this role, and what added value I’ve brought to the team and the company. But I think I’ll be shooting myself in the foot if I don’t also know my boss’s philosophy — or the company’s philosophy — on raises. (i.e. do managers have wide discretion to bump up employees? Do they only get a small pool of money each year for things like this? Does the company only approve higher salaries when you’re promoted?) And, I don’t know quite how to find out that philosophy.

Does it sound weird or greedy to come right out and say “hey, I’d like to better understand the company position on raises?” I know a few folks who have worked for this company for a long time, so I was thinking maybe I’d ask one of them off the record rather than ask my manager directly. I don’t want to seem overly concerned with money, having only been here around eight months, but at the same time, I’m at a stage where I’m comfortable asking for more when the time is right. I just don’t want to get shot down for something I should know in advance — for example, if my company only approves raises based on promotions and not based on someone asking and providing a compelling list of accomplishments to back that up. So, any thoughts on how to find out what my boss and my company think about raises?

Ideally every manager would be able to tell you the organization’s philosophy on raises, but in practice a lot aren’t going to have an easy, ready-to-deliver answer for this — particularly because sometimes there’s a lot of variation depending on the circumstance. There’s nothing wrong with asking and it certainly doesn’t sound weird or greedy, but you might get more practical information by asking someone else informally.

By the way, if you just started late last year, make sure you wait until you’ve been there a year before you ask for a raise. It’s typically considered premature to ask before that.

4. Applications that ask for your current manager’s name

I’ve been reading through several of your posts related to future employers requesting information about your current employer. The only part I’m not really seeing is how to answer when an online application requires you provide your supervisor’s name. The same form does allow you to choose “No” under “May we contact this employer,” but I’m still wary of providing my supervisor’s name.

Would something like “I prefer not to answer at this time” work? My supervisor’s name actually is accessible on the company site, but does that mean I’m obliged to provide it on the online form?

“I prefer not to answer at this time” sounds shady, for some reason. I’d be more direct about why you prefer that. For instance: “Percival Montblanc (don’t contact; search is confidential).” If there isn’t room for all that, then just: “search is confidential.”

5. Update: Is this company stringing me along?

I wrote in recently asking about whether a company was stringing me along because they asked me to interview for three different positions. I just wanted to provide an update that I found out on Friday that I did indeed get the job! Third time’s a charm! Thanks to Alison and everyone else who commented for their advice! I am accepting the position and will be starting in a month, and even though this is not the job I originally had applied for, I have been analyzing this new one carefully and think at the end of the day, is going to be a lot less dry than the department I had wanted to work for. Thanks!


{ 191 comments… read them below }

  1. Carolum*

    Speaking of business cards…

    Heading to a conference in the a.m. and will meet lots of people – the problem is, I only have so many business cards.

    Tips on deciding to whom I should (and shouldn’t) give my cards?

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      Do you want to keep in contact with the person? Are they interesting? The longer and more in-depth the conversation, the more likely a card exchange is going to happen.

      I have the opposite problem, in that my company changed its logo, so I need to use up all my old cards before ordering a fresh batch!

    2. Brett*

      I stopped doing business cards. I immediately email them all my contact information on my iPad.

      1. Stephanie*

        I’ve never had business cards for past jobs. FirstJob, you had to buy them yourself. SecondJob, you had to justify the need and the company would give them to you. I’ve never been a role where I’ve needed to act on behalf of my company (i.e., no recruiting, interviewing, seeking out new business, working with outside vendors, etc), so the business cards would have been used for networking for my own personal purposes (usually to get a job somewhere else). If someone did need to get in touch with me at work, I just took down his info and followed up via email.

          1. OriginalEmma*

            And “Acquisitions” is spelled wrong on all three of them, including Patrick Bateman’s!

        1. #2*

          Stephanie, I’ve had business cards for many other jobs but recently finished my MS and it would completely be a card with my name and contact info for the purpose of getting a new job. I like the comments here about taking a card and contacting them

          1. Relosa*

            I’ve received many networking cards and about half of them have a personal brand/logo or business headshot on them. I’ve contemplated it.

      2. Cautionary tail*

        This exactly.

        I’ve learned that when I hand out business cards they wind up in the hands of salespeople and I get badgered for years with so many phone calls to the point that I stopped answering my phone if I didn’t know the number and just cleared out all the crap voicemails at the end of every day. Real associates knew to call me on my mobile phone because my desk phone was essentially a voicemail repository.

        Now I take peoples’ card, and say I’ll send them an email that has my contact information at the end of the conference day. I thus get to choose who is valuable and will get my contact info, and who I was just being polite to and will not get my info. If I really want to connect, that contact email goes out right away.

        1. Cat*

          But what if you meet someone who does the same thing you do and neither of you is willing to be the first to give contact info?

          1. Cautionary tail*

            I would have expected this to happen, and yet people seem enamored with business cards and spray them around at meetings. I haven’t wanted them for 15 years even though my company annually asks about printing them and I haven’t yet met a manager or above other than me that didn’t have them.

    3. Annie*

      If you are finding you are running out of cards and you have access to a printer and grab a few plain Avery/Store Brand business card templates- my former manager did this at a conference a few years ago (forgot to pack extra cards beyond what she kept as a standard set in her wallet). She printed them in her hotel business center and was able to use the logo from her email and get the rest of the info from the real card on to the emergency ones. She was commended for her creativity and someone told her the ones she had “designed” were much easier to read than the official ones.

        1. Apple22Over7*

          I play for both sides – em dash and parentheses – is that allowed? (I’m hoping so else I’ll be in trouble!)

          1. Cautionary tail*

            I’m on team parentheses (no really), team em dash – or so I’ve been told – by close associates, and on team Oxford comma.

        2. FD*

          I’m team semicolon. My advisor in college banned me from using more than one per paragraph.

          Also from using more than one however per page.

          1. Lily in NYC*

            Maybe there’s a 12-step group for us – My Name Is Lily in NYC and I Am a Semi-colon Abuser.

          2. LBK*

            I am Team Semicolon, Team Em Dash, Team Parentheses…basically Team Punctuate Everything.

              1. LBK*

                I use these a lot too…I think really I’m Team Conversational Writing Should Reflect The Way I Actually Speak, hence pausing, asides, interjections, etc. are natural and pleasing to me when I read my writing back in my head.

            1. Kay*

              I’m Team Over-used Ellipsis…. If I don’t catch myself, I’ll use ellipses for an entire paragraph… no new sentences… just keep going dot dot dot.

          3. KTM*

            I never learned how/when to use semicolons so I avoid them altogether. I also had never heard the term ’em dash’ so I learned something new! (and I use those all the time…apparently parentheses too). Oh… and ellipses. Love ellipses.

          4. littlemoose*

            Are you me? I use both of those quite often when writing. (And yes, I like parentheses and the Oxford comma too.)

    1. JMegan*

      I think I’m actually on all of these teams! I think they all play in the League of Run-On Sentences, which is why they show up so often, and so often together.

      1. Cautionary tail*

        Yea! Someone else from team Oxford comma, and they thought there were only a few of us.

      2. CC*

        Alas, the League of Run-On Sentences is formed by the people who don’t know how to use semicolons and em-dashes correctly, they sadly don’t know any better, that could be due to any number of things.

        The League of Long Sentences may look similar to an outsider; they are, however, fundamentally different in that a run-on sentence consists of two sentences — often tangentially related at best — jammed together with little more than a comma, while a long sentence contains clauses which are co-ordinated and form a cohesive internal structure using appropriate commas, em-dashes, semicolons, and (where appropriate) parentheses.

        1. Mints*

          I used to be in the League of a Run-On Sentences (my teacher said I used “comma splices”) but then I learned about semi-colons; I now use semi-colons very liberally.

          Also I love this entire thread

      3. Prickly Pear*

        I am Queen of the Run-On, and I’m trying to reform.
        (I also abuse parentheses, but that’s just how I roll.)

    2. WorkingAsDesigned*

      +1 ( [ ( My HR forwarded confidential emails to others – is this legal? ) Yes, it is, although it shouldn’t be = WTH Wednesdays ] = I too enjoy parentheses, especially for word-based math problems )

    3. Felicia*

      I also use too many parentheses (they’re just so useful), and I like when other people do too (kindred spirits!)

    4. C Average*

      I love this thread. Have all of you seen the new Weird Al video for his song “Word Crimes”? It is like a love letter to grammar pedants everywhere!

      1. Stephanie*

        Yes. I especially loved the part about textspeak. Textspeak gives me an eye twitch. (I know, I know, language evolves – we’re not using thine, thee, or thou anymore – but something about “ur” seriously annoys me.)

        1. Cautionary tail*

          I use thine, thee and thou. I counter my teenager’s text-speak by writing in Shakespearean style when I text her.

          Example1: Instead of asking where s/he is I text “O Teenager, Teenager, wherefore art thou Teenager?”

          Example2: Instead of saying by, I’ll text “

          1. Cautionary tail*

            Oops. Hit send by mistake.

            Example2: Instead of saying bye or goodnight, I’ll text “Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

          2. Wren*

            Wherefore doesn’t mean where, it means why. Of course, “Why are you a teenager?” is a pretty good question too.

            1. Cautionary tail*

              Thank you for the correction. I do appreciate it.

              I’ve explained that teenageritis is a disease that takes seven years of therapy and s/he will be cured right at the age 20 birthday.

          3. C Average*

            My family got our dog Phoebe at the same time I was reading Shakespeare in high school, so for fun I taught the dog all of her commands in Shakespearean English: “Come hither, Phoebe!” “Get thee hence, Phoebe!” “Give me thy paw, Phoebe. Well met, Phoebe.” “Repose, Phoebe.” “Thou art a good dog, Phoebe.”

            1. Cath in Canada*

              I change song lyrics and assorted quotes for my cats all the time. I enjoy declaiming dramatically in their general direction:

              “Two kitties, both alike in lack of dignity, in fair Vancouver, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where kitty paws make human floors unclean”

              and so on.

              1. Mephyle*

                We do that for our dogs!

                Don’t paw me
                Don’t bite
                Don’t whine and bark in the middle of the night
                I know that
                You needed
                Some kibble and some treats

        2. Persephone Mulberry*

          “ur” for “your” is my biggest textspeak pet peeve of all time. I can mostly deal with UR = “you are,” but how does it also equal “your”? All I hear is “urrrrrrrrrrrrr”.

          1. fposte*

            Mine is “ppl.” I hear it in Billy Crystal’s fake foreign accent and a very high pitch.

            1. Judy*

              I had a manager send an email to the team:

              ppl, pls look at this:
              Wakeen – handles
              Jane – spouts
              Bob – bases
              Apollo – lids

              Which we later found out meant that all engineering notices on those topics needed to include those people as approvers. He was such a great communicator.

        3. Prickly Pear*

          I am Queen of the Run-On, and I’m trying to reform.
          (I also abuse parentheses, but that’s just how I roll.)

          I cannot text speak. If I talk in complete sentences, that’s how I’ll text you. It seems like the people older than me are worse about it than the younger folk! Ugh.

  2. Sourire*

    #1 – Does this apply to latin honors as well? I am a bit older than the OP (not much though) and have taken all the other stuff off my resume, but I graduated summa cum laude and do keep that after my degree. Is that okay to keep on or does it have a short shelf life like the other honors and scholarships?

    1. Simonthegrey*

      I have kept my phi beta kappa and phi kappa phi on my resume under my undergrad listing, but I’m in the academic field, as well as the indication that I graduated cum laude from undergrad. I think it depends on the field?

    2. Jane*

      I am guessing it does not apply to Latin honors because I see that on resumes all the time, regardless of amount of experience. It’s very common in my profession (law).

      1. Artemesia*

        The problem with latin honors is that in many schools they have retained a GPA rule for awarding them while grade inflation has erased any distinction at all for a B+ average. If 75% of the class has latin honors, it is no longer an honor. Phi Beta Kappa on the other hand is always highly selective and retains its cachet.

        1. Elsajeni*

          Have most schools kept their GPA cutoffs for Latin honors the same over time, though? I know that my alma mater has changed theirs at least twice, including once in the last ~5 years, shortly after I graduated. (I paid close attention to those cutoffs, because I was cum laude by the skin of my teeth.)

          1. Erin*

            Yeah, I think at my school it was a percentage…top 5, 10, and 15% of the class got honors, or something like that.

      2. Elizabeth*

        Adding the honors doesn’t take up more room, because it usually goes on the same line as the degree. So there’s not as much pressure to take it off as an award that had its own line.

    3. BRR*

      I have seen executive bios for some pretty prominent people state they graduated with honors. While it’s not exactly the same it leads me to believe it’s still acceptable.

    4. AnonForThis*

      Eh, I wouldn’t. What is it that you want them to know about you as result of telling them you graduated cum laude? That you’re smart? That’s reflected in your cover letter and, to the extent that it matters at work, through your accomplishments.

      1. Raine*

        It’s an accomplishment that virtually every top lawyer in the United States continues to highlight throughout his or her career.

        1. Cat*

          Yeah, I see this on basically every lawyer resume I get regardless of seniority (and also on most firm website bios).

        2. Elysian*

          Legal hiring is a weird beast in a lot of ways, and I think this is one of them. It’s also one of only a few professions I know of where the prestige of your school – or your law school GPA or the activities you participated in in school – matters after you’ve been in the profession 30 years… I’ve seen ads for in-house counsel positions that read “must have 25+ years experience in XY law, only graduates from Top 14 schools need apply.” Law is strange like that. I necessarily extrapolate to other jobs too much.

          1. Cat*

            This is a timely post. I was just yesterday debating whether I should delete the journal I worked on in law school from my resume (the one used for RFPs; not currently job hunting).

            1. Elysian*

              Yeah, I think people expect to see that kind of stuff from lawyers, and if it’s not there it’s conspicuous in its absence. Which is stupid – if I’m extremely successful in my field after 10 years or whatever, why does it matter if I made Law Review or not? But… that’s law for ya.

          2. Elysian*

            Whoops! Meant to be “I wouldn’t necessarily extrapolate…” that’s an important word. Boooo pre-coffee me.

        3. Fabulously Anonymous*

          Much like how most every real estate agent has a picture on their business card.

      2. BRR*

        I agree. It kind of reminds me of when my dad talks about how he had a six pack in high school (he is far from it now (team parentheses)).

    5. CH*

      I still have mine (also a summa) and I am well beyond my 20s. One of the hiring managers brought it up (in a positive way) when I interviewed for my current job, but he is a Ph.D. and just a tad academic elitist. For me, it is kind of a shorthand way of saying “I worked hard in college and I’ll work hard for you, too.” But then again I have known people who took honors who never opened a book (actually married one of those) and people with a solid B average who were working all the time, so I guess it may not really say that.

      1. Frances*

        I think it depends on the school and the year you graduated. My alma mater (which was nothing fancy, just a large state school) had a well-defined set of requirements for latin honors, including special coursework and completion of an honors thesis but it was a relatively new program prompted by the university president’s desire to have our honors program “mean something.” I think a few years before I graduated it was all GPA based.

        Since I ended up moving thousands of miles away from where I graduated, most people aren’t familiar enough with my alma mater to know what I had to do to get my summa, so I’ve stopped using it. I do still feel like I earned it, though.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I didn’t realize when I was working so hard for those honors that within a decade of graduating that no-one would care except me and my mother.

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            There is a bit of a fuss going around my school (among the evening/weekend students, who are mostly in the “finally finishing that degree I started 10 years ago” camp) over the fact that Latin honors are based on your cumulative GPA including any grades that you transferred in from another school. Some E/W students want it changed so that it only considers your institutional GPA, the gist being that all the hardworking adult students who are maintaining 4.0’s while also holding down a full-time job and/or raising a family shouldn’t be penalized for trying to save time and money on their degree by transferring in a “C” in English from 10 years ago. (The other side of the coin being that if you want credit for the coursework, you should have to abide by the grade assigned.)

            I don’t really have any opinion on the matter (although if they change the policy and I qualify for honors, I’m certainly not going to turn them down), for exactly the reason ThursdaysGeek brings up. I’m 10+ years into my career and need that piece of paper to move up. Nobody is going to care about Latin honors on my resume except me.

    6. PEBCAK*

      I think it’s okay to leave the things that fit on the line that you’d use to note your education anyway, i.e. B.S. History, Summa cum laude. What looks silly is listing additional lines of scholarships, dean’s list, etc.

    7. LBK*

      I think since it’s such a small thing that doesn’t really occupy extra space on your resume (it can just go directly after your stated degree/alma mater) it doesn’t hurt. It’s when you start getting into listing academic achievements/awards that it becomes a question of “Why waste this limited space when you could use it for work experience?”

      1. Meg Murry*

        Yes, I was coming to say this.
        If you feel that its a “wasted” line on your resume and you would be better off with another bullet point on your job, its time to remove it. I agree with others upthread that something that doesn’t take up much room, especially if its listed on the same line as your degree is fine, but not worth wasting an extra line on.

    8. Anon*

      I’m a hiring manager in a non-lawyer and non-academic field and when people include college or grad school honors when they aren’t fresh out of school I’m not keen on it. Since I care absolutely zero about people’s academic career, it strikes me as a little out of touch and possibly a bit snobbish to assume that those things actually matter in the real world, or to me as a hiring manager.

      I want to see what you’ve accomplished as a working adult. You can be great in school and terrible in the workforce, and vice-versa — and I see both sides of that all the time.

      1. Ms Enthusiasm*

        Anon, I see what you are saying about still including the honors even though people are older. I must say though, that I am 40 years old and in 3 weeks I will complete my last class to get my bachelor’s degree. And I will be graduating Magna Cum Laude. I am anxiously awaiting to put this on my resume – I can’t wait!! Who knows, maybe I’ll never take it off LOL

    9. Paige Turner*

      I read a thread on here a while ago where a lot of people said that they hadn’t heard of Phi Beta Kappa and thought it was maybe a fraternity/sorority. I graduated PBK in 2007 from a very small liberal arts college that most people hadn’t heard of, and also have a social science MA from a school in the area where I’ll be applying for jobs. What do you all think- should I keep PBK on my resume?

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        I graduated summa cum laude, but I don’t recall hearing about Phi Beta Kappa while I was in school. I’m a little bummed, because it sounds like it has more lasting power. On the other hand, after falling victim to the scam of “Who’s Who in American High Schools”, I wasn’t going after any honors, expecting them to just be another scam.

      2. annie*

        We didn’t have it at my school and I did not know what it was until recently – I think its just not popular in this area of the country. If you include it, I’d put something like (National Honor Society) or something to explain what it is, otherwise I might think it was just a frat/sorority.

      3. Felicia*

        I had never heard of it, but I think that’s because I’m Canadian, and it’s really not a thing in Canada. I actually learned what it was by reading AAM. But judging by some Americans replying on that thread (I remember it too) it’s not as well known as people seem to think and it’s unknown at certain schools/in certain areas. I don’t know if you should keep it or not, but you should definitely assume it’s possible the person reading your resume has never heard of it.

      4. Persephone Mulberry*

        I’m having a similar dilemma – I’m *hoping* to make Delta Mu Delta, the business degree equivalent to Phi Beta Kappa, before I graduate. I assume most people have no idea that it’s even a thing. So even though it’ll be a big deal to me, I’ll probably leave it off. :(

      5. LBK*

        Is it weird that I only know about PBK because of Bye Bye Birdie? “I could’ve been Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. Albert Peterson, Mrs. Phi Beta Kappa Peterson, the English teacher’s wife!”

      6. fposte*

        I’d say that at this point it can stay if it doesn’t add a line, but it’s not valuable enough to steal real estate from elsewhere.

  3. Jen RO*

    #2 – I would probably remember a person with a photo-business-card… I would remember them as “the weirdo with their face on a business card”. I don’t think that’a a good thing…

    #5 – Congratulations!

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I would think it was cool, in a quirky cool way, but I hire mostly for marketing and sales. Our reps have their photos on their business cards anyway, ala real estate agents, but it makes sense. We’re B to B online so personalizing the interaction with a face to go with the marketing material we send into North Dakota or Austin TX or Utah is just smart.

      I’ve never had an interviewee give me a card with a photo but I’d think she was cool for thinking about marketing herself. (Plus, I believe in people treating themselves as their own best product and owning their careers.) (Plus, I like parentheses.)

      1. hildi*

        “We’re B to B online”

        What’s this? You have referred to it a few times before and I have never been able to puzzle that one out. Just curious! No prob if it reveals too much.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


          The lingo is this:

          B to C = business to consumer, so Zappos etc.
          B to B = business to business, so a restaurant supply or such
          there’s another one:

          B to I = business to institution, which would be someone in the school supply business or such, selling to government, military, education institutions.

          We’re actually B to B & B to I but I don’t think anybody cares about that. The difference in marketing B to C vs B to B is significant, which is why I throw that in as background info sometimes.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              Eats shoots and leaves. :)

              No, but if I did sell to bed and breakfasts then it would be:

              B to B, to B & B.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      My card has my photo on it, but that’s because I’m a writer, and it corresponds with the photo on my blog. Though actually, I need to get new cards, since I changed the photo. And I need a newer photo. Grr.

      The point is, that way when people are searching for me they know they’ve found the right person. My card has my phone number, email, and blog link on it. I often give it out when chatting with people and they ask about my blog.

  4. Brett*

    #1 Does the length of time vary on the honor/achievement?
    As some examples I think could stay on a resume, one of my lab mates invented a new procedure to find seamounts and discovered 50+ nameable seamounts (and he works in geology now). Another one was lead author on the single most cited _poster_ in the history of our discipline (and her master’s thesis ended up launching an new academic subfield). And all of us published as lead author at least once with a person who is considered one of the most recognizable researchers in our field now (not just the research field, but the entire commercial industry associated with it).

    Basically, these seem like things that if they were done in a regular job, you would definitely have on your resume… so should they stay even if they were done while you were in school?

    1. Emily*

      I would think that concrete achievements – especially if they’re at all relevant to the type of work you’re pursuing now – are fine to leave on a resume. There’s a pretty big difference between “I had a high GPA in undergrad” and “I accomplished something useful and impressive while I was studying [blank].”

    2. fposte*

      I’m going with “It depends.” If they’re still working in a relevant field and have subsequent achievements (or those are within the last couple of years), sure; if they’re doing academic-type CVs instead of resumes, sure.

      But if they’re ten or more years out from those achievements and their careers aren’t thematically relevant or close to the same on significant impact, take it off–it risks looking like you had a flash in the pan and have been coasting downhill ever since. That’s the general problem with early accolades as you get farther away from them–you need to have a career that bears out their promise, so you really don’t want them to be the most impressive thing on your resume.

      1. AcademicAnon*

        I agree it depends. I’m keeping my degree on by cv (along with publications with my name on them) for probably the duration of my career for multiple reasons. The #1 reason is some people/institutions are degree chasers, and will only hire you if you have that degree or higher, even if the job doesn’t require it. #2 reason is that the uni I got my degree from is well-known (for a state-school) to be research focused, and #3 is that it shows that I have some knowledge in another field, and I don’t know what type of research my next job will be, so this may potentially be something I’d use in the future. The only reason I’d take the education off if I actually get a first-name paper at one of the big journals (which is so not going to happen based on what field I’m in).

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      And employer’s and various manager’s philosophy may differ. I worked at a place decades ago (when larger raises were not uncommon), and the employer said ‘max raises are 5%’. My manager was completely honest, and believed everyone else was too, believed that, and so didn’t ask for anything more than 5%. Other managers figured they might as well try for higher anyway. So many of my coworkers got 6-8% raises, and even a few 10%+, but everyone in our department got 5% or less.

  5. A Kate*

    #5 – I’m so glad this worked out for you. Sometimes you have to just keep trying!

    And it is true that jobs that don’t seem perfect on the surface can turn out to really surprise you. I had that experience at my first job out of college. I applied for a job administering a prestigious professional fellowship, and though I didn’t get it, I was offered the same position in another department of the organization.

    At first, I was disappointed, because the program I ended up administering didn’t have the name recognition of the other. After some time at the organization and getting to know the colleague who had the position I originally wanted, though, I realized that the job I had was way better. My clients were grateful, whereas his were demanding and entitled. Our employer was willing to give me more responsibility in my department despite my young age, because the work I did was lower profile. This meant my job was way more interesting and challenging. And (partially but not entirely because of the greater responsibility) my manager was more open to raises and generous with promotions than his. She was also just a great manager and taught me so much during my time there.

    Guess you really can’t judge a job completely from the outside. This is the flip side of “dream” jobs not always being as great as you think they’ll be.

    1. Jen RO*

      I had the same experience recently. I left a company, then came back after a few months. I had thought I’d go back to my original team, but my boss wanted me on a different one. At first I was very much against the idea… but it’s working out great. I still work closely with my former team, but I also get to learn new things on my new team, I get to shape the processes and train new employees, and I get exposed to another side of the business. It’s frustrating sometimes, but in the end my boss was right – I am much more useful here and I feel like my contribution is more valuable.

  6. Bend & Snap*

    #4 when applying for my current job I just wrote “manager” and “will disclose later in the process as needed.” The form accepted it and let me check the do not contact box and put 000-000-0000 as the phone number.

    I wasn’t comfortable trusting strangers not to contact my manager when I had served up the info.

    Nobody ever asked for it after that.

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      I stopped giving any contact info for current boss when, on two occasions, they contacted my current boss even when I had checked the “do not contact my current employer” box. I think people just ignore that, or don’t see it, or whatever, but it is not worth the risk!

      1. LBK*

        Well, that’s a preference, not a legally binding contract. Even if you tell an interviewer to their face not to contact your current manager, there isn’t really anything stopping them from doing so, other than maybe looking like an asshole.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          Yeah, but why bother putting the checkbox if they are going to completely ignore it? I’m not looking for a “legally binding contract” just some common courtesy.

          1. LBK*

            Most of those systems probably aren’t customizable – if your company decides to use Taleo or whatever, I doubt they get a say in what fields appear on the application.

            1. Onymouse*

              I remember reading in the comments here before that Taleo was surprisingly customizable, and that it’s entirely possible to get a humane application form if management wanted to.

            2. Monodon monoceros*

              Not trying to be argumentative, but even if they can’t customize, they presumably can choose not to ignore requests to not contact current employers. My current job called me and said “I see that you requested that we not contact your current employer, but we would like to offer you the job, contingent upon talking to her. Are you OK with this?” It was a courteous way to handle it, and I appreciated their courtesy.

              1. gold digger*

                So did they call your boss or your HR department? I am really concerned about someone talking to my boss because he is the first boss I have ever had who I think would say bad things about me. (I am doing my best to get out of a bad situation – the job was completely misrepresented to me – but he might not be happy that I want to quit six months in.)

                If they call HR to verify employment, that’s fine, but I really do not want them talking to my boss.

                1. Monodon monoceros*

                  In my case I was fine having them talk to my boss, as long as I knew there was a job offer and I had a chance to talk to her first myself. So I gave them my boss’ s contact info, not HR.

                2. Monodon monoceros*

                  One of my friends was in a situation similar to yours, though. She told the offering company that she was hesitant to have them contact her boss because she didn’t want to jeopardize her current job, and was worried about her bosses reaction. The offering company wanted her enough that the waived the need to talk to her boss.

            3. danr*

              Systems are always customizable. That’s how a company finds stuff for the new version. Of course it may cost a bit more than the standard application.

      1. Valar M.*

        I don’t know why real estate agents do this either. I don’t care what you look like. I just want to know you can help me find a house.

        1. GrumpyBoss*

          My realtor (who I must say, is not a handsome man), not only uses his face on business cards, but sent us a magnetic calendar for the fridge with his face on it.

          I tossed it out in February because I could not abide 11 more months of looking at that face.

          1. LBK*

            What is with realtors and magnetic fridge calendars!? I see this a lot, too, and I do not understand it.

              1. Jen in Austin*

                There’s a realtor here that sends us one every year. Every year for the past 13 that we’ve lived here.

                The picture has not changed in all of those 13 years.

                Love the calendar, but have never (and probably won’t) used the realtor.

            1. cuppa*

              It is my understanding that Realtors get a certain budget to spend on marketing materials and these are probably cheap and easy to get.
              Our Realtor sends out sports team calendars which are slightly more useful.

          2. KTM*

            Haha same here – what’s up with that? Although our loan approver (for said real estate purchase) also sent us a magnet but it had a kitchen conversion table on it that I use all the time… so he’s still on our fridge.

            1. Meredith*

              My realtor sends a magnetic calendar of the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers schedules. (Obviously, I live in Wisconsin!). It’s really handy if you’re a football fan, and I end up consulting it pretty often. Probably not as useful to those who are not fans, but the odds are that most people are in this area.

              1. cuppa*

                Actually, we use ours more to make plans to go to a restaurant near the stadium (traffic and parking issues)

        2. Vyv*

          I think real estate agents do it because they will eventually be in your house – if things progress, potentially bringing other people when you are not there. It lets you weed out people that skeeve you out by looks alone – i.e. crazy eyes, maniacal grin, etc… (Come on, you’ve all seen pictures of criminals on the news and thought, “Who’d get in the car with that guy/girl?”) If you do decide to give them a chance, you know it’s them when they show up at your door.

          1. Valar M.*

            See this was the only reason I could think of… but most of the realtors I’ve seen don’t seem to understand that’s the reason given some of the pictures they’ve had done (and plastered on cards, billboards, etc.).

            1. Persephone Mulberry*

              Which is extra ironic when you consider that most realtors get their picture taken once professionally when they’re brand new and continue using it for the rest of their career, hairstyle, weight, and aging be damned. I’ve met more realtors who were so far off from the picture on their card that they’d probably escape a police lineup.

          2. Colette*

            Or because it’s a way of differentiating themselves in a business where they get a huge benefit if you work with them, and repeat business isn’t enough to keep them afloat – most people don’t buy or sell real estate frequently enough for the agent to survive without a constant influx of new clients. Having someone choose the agency they’re associated with is not enough, they have to choose to work specifically with that agent.

        3. MJH*

          Real estate agents are obsessed with putting their photos on everything. I don’t know why!

        4. Chloe Silverado*

          I work in real estate, and realtors by far have the craziest business cards I have ever seen. I once met a realtor who (in addition to the requisite photo) had a bright red kiss print on every business card. It was not printed. She had spent time applying red lipstick and individually kissing each and every business card she carried.

          I definitely remembered her, but not in a good way.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            See, that grossed out the other responders, but reminded me of a fond memory.

            I was working as a programmer for a farm, and someone on high wanted to replace the simple time cards with a computerized tracking system where people would track what they were doing, who they were working for, changing several times during the day.

            I was graphically shown why that wouldn’t work, by someone showing me the current timecards. One card had a bright kiss mark at the top. I was told, “she can’t write her name, so she kisses the timecard so she knows it’s hers. How will she be able to fill out all these fields on a computer?”

            It was such a clear and overwhelming objection, and a reminder also of how privileged I was. I never met her, but I won’t forget her kiss mark.

            1. fposte*

              Wow, TG, that is an amazing story. And now I too will remember this woman that neither of us met.

        5. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          There’s a rational reason.

          Real estate agents are independent contractors who pay for their own promotional material. Their face serves as their defacto own logo/individual brand. They don’t have any interest in paying to brand, say, Coldwell Banker, even though their materials have to carry the Coldwell Banker logo. They do not want you calling the office, they need you to contact them personally.

          They also carry their personal brand when they switch offices and agencies which happens not infrequently. Same face/logo, different national brand.

          There’s not much alternative to using their photo. Possibly they could come up with an awesome personal logo except I don’t think that the real estate brands would allow their logo to be used in conjunction with another logo, vs a photo which is traditional and allowed.

          Whether all photos are a good choice is another story. The ones crammed with kids, pets and other gimmicks are a bit too much for my taste, but, AFAIK, the gimmicky photos are effective as the real estate agents that are “known” in town indeed have a gimmick and not just a tasteful headshot.

      2. Fabulously Anonymous*

        Serious question: Given the convention of including pictures in the real estate industry, would you do business with someone that did not have a picture?

        1. TryingToBuy*

          I would JUMP at the chance to do business with a realtor who didn’t plaster their photo over everything! I just wish I could find one.

          1. Anonyby*

            Many in my company don’t have their photos on their business cards! They still get put on other promotional materials (flyers, mostly), but I see plenty where it’s just the company logo instead of a picture.

    1. LBK*

      Do sex workers typically have business cards? That seems like a “no paper trail” kind of industry.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Surprisingly, some do! But I don’t think regular hookers have them unless they live in NV. I live relatively close to a block that has a lot of nightclubs where men go for a dollar a dance but you can always pay more for some hanky panky in a back room. Some of the dancers have their own cards with photos that they pay men to hand out on street corners. So it not’s really a typical business card.

    1. LBK*

      Unless they’re very highly regarded academic awards and/or you’re going into academia, probably not. Ultimately the question is whether those accolades will mean anything to the person reading your resume, and if they do, whether that will count more than having relevant work experience.

      In general, if the academic qualification isn’t a requirement for the job, it won’t add anything to your resume that wouldn’t be better added by work experience.

      1. Valar M.*

        Good points. The degree adds to my qualifications in this case, but I also worry that it looks like a bump where I was out of the work force during that period. So these bullet points that I’m thinking of would be more of a “here’s how I was still participating in the work force in other ways, I wasn’t -just- going to school” I have work before and after that’s relevant though. I’m just never sure who will be receiving it and whether or not they will care.

        1. fposte*

          I think the degree is fine to include in your education section (unless it makes you look like a poor fit for the kind of jobs you’re applying for); it’s the GPA/honors stuff that you really don’t want to ladle on unless it’s immediately germane and you just got it. “Accolades” isn’t the same thing as “degree.”

        2. LBK*

          Oh, yeah, listing the degrees themselves are totally fine. I specifically meant academic-related accolades/recognition, like Dean’s List, honors, whatever.

          (Although there’s an argument for the degrees themselves potentially being harmful depending on what job you’re looking for, but it sounds like that’s not the case in your field.)

      2. fposte*

        Though it’s perfectly fine to put the actual degrees on–just give them a line in your education section.

    2. CluelessOverachiever*

      I have to say this advice surprised and kind of mortified me. Years ago, I won the prize for top student in my major (at a very highly ranked college) and always left that on my resume, since I work in a semi-academic area where multi-page resumes are normal. Now I’m wondering if that makes me look clueless more than anything else.

      Then I won a similar prize for grad school just a few years ago. If I left one off, it would make sense to leave both off, but this one is so shiny and new! ;)

      Does it matter if they’re individual awards and not things awarded automatically to 15% of the class or whatever? I admit it’s not the Nobel prize. Oh gosh, sounds like I should ax these. RIP, academic prizes.

  7. Ironic Copy-Editr*

    Using a bunch of parentheses in a single paragraph is not a big deal when it’s an uncommon occurrence, unless it’s is some kind of formal document. It’s only when it’s frequently found that it begins to become a problem.

    Alternatively you could have written:

    “Some people will tell you that it will help people remember who you are, which can be helpful when you’re meeting a bunch of people at a conference. Others, like me, will tell you that it feels too cheesy (unless you’re a real estate agent, where it’s inexplicably common).”

    In this version, had the “but” been left in you would have would up with that “I have too many commas” feeling. Having a sentence with a ton of commas is not always wrong, but often feels so.

  8. Robin*

    #3: You should be networking and building relationships within the organization anyway. Talking about the culture of wages and raises should be one of the things you should start asking the more long-time people you’re connecting with. If it helps to foster a better culture of transparency around these issues in your workplace, that is a good thing too.

    1. annie*

      Yes! If you have a mentor in the company, or even a friend in your department/area, that you can ask “so, how does the review process usually work? what happens with raises?” it is SO valuable! I am so thankful for the older friend who took me aside before my first review out of college and explained how it normally went. (Not well, often confrontational.) I knew what to expect going in, and I could gameplan ahead of time so I was able to stay calm and keep my composure while advocating for myself. I later passed that on to other younger workers, and I think I prevented a few tear-filled situations because people knew what to expect.

  9. A Jane*

    #3 – What if you approached in the context of an annual review? Could the conversation of promotions and raises come naturally?

  10. cuppa*

    #4 I always hate this when my manager doesn’t work at the company anymore. I put Wakeen (no longer there) if I can, but sometimes you don’t even know if they have moved on. I used to work in IT where this happened a lot.

    1. Eden*

      I gave up on trying to be helpful with this and just started listing my old managers’ names and the main phone # of the company (many of the companies no longer exist), and putting a “yes” in the May We Contact? box.

      Knock yourself out!

  11. Anonyby*

    Related to #4… What if there’s no “do not contact” box available? I’m currently filling out an application, and they request a job history (including managers) without the option of “do not contact”. I have someone from each job in my reference list that I would prefer they contact.

  12. Pennalynn Lott*

    The entire Team Parentheses / Team Oxford Comma / Yay-Grammar thread is just one of the reason I absolutely love the AAM commentator community.

    ::tears up a little and reaches for a hankie::

  13. youdidnot*

    Who is telling people they should put their photo on their resume? This is so not done (in this country).

  14. 2horseygirls*

    When it came time to create my own personal business/networking card, I was struggling with what photo to put on it — clearly a throwback to my time as office administrator for a real estate company ;)

    But also, I think depending on the field you are in, it can help break the ice. I created my cards to help promote a very specific training that spans first responders + equine community. My thought was a photo of me (10%) next to my very large horse (90% of photo) is not only memorable, but an icebreaker in rooms full of very Type AAA personalities ;) . Since I’m not affiliated with only one group, but promote multiple organizations within the field, my card had to be generic yet . . . . well, memorable.

    Feedback welcome.

    *Charter member of Team Run-On Sentence :)

  15. JPG Printing*

    I think you don’t have to put your picture on your business cards, what they are looking for is for skills not a cute face ;)
    Is more a personal decision.

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