should I share my resume, should I call out a rude hiring manager, and more

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

1. Should I share my resume with people who might want to base theirs on it?

I am starting to get requests for informational interviews about my current position and the path I took to get here. As we’re ending, I’ve had people ask both A) “Could I take a look at your resume?” or B) “Would you mind if I sent you my resume for you to critique?”

The latter takes more time because this involves more than the verbal “Focus on these strengths” or “Cut it down to 2 pages” that I can say over the phone after a quick glance, but instead some (general) changes via Track Changes. However, the former also feels wrong, like they can “copy” my resume, which I’ve worked hard on over the years. Should I just get over that feeling and simply send them my resume, especially because it’s less work for me?

I’d like to say that you shouldn’t have to worry about people copying your resume because resumes are such personalized documents, but I’ve seen enough of it happening to know that people do, indeed, copy other people’s resumes.

That said, most people aren’t going to do that, so I’d make a judgment call about whether the person you’re talking to is lazy/naive enough to try it. If you think they are, you could always say you don’t have a current version. But otherwise, I don’t think you really have to worry too much about it — and it doesn’t sound like these people are your competition, if you’re giving them informational interviews about your field.

2. Should I call out this hiring manager for being rude?

I recently applied for a management position at a company I worked for four years ago as a full-time team member, before going back to school to earn my degree. I received a response saying that I might be a better fit for a different managerial position. I thought, hmmm, not what I was hoping to hear, but definitely not that big a deal either. So, I emailed the hiring manager back and reiterated my enthusiasm for the original position I applied to, but I also asked if he could clarify the differences between the two positions so I might have a better understanding of why I was deemed a better fit for one over the other.

The reply that I got was very curt, saying that his decision to not consider me for the original position was final, and that I could just read the job description to find out more. Obviously, I’m not an idiot and I’ve already read the job descriptions, on top of having knowledge as a previous employee. The corporate culture has definitely changed since I was employed with this company.

Was I wrong to reiterate my preference for the original job? Was I wrong to ask for a comparison between the two roles? Is it worth emailing back this hiring manager and calling him out for being rude?

No, you weren’t wrong to reiterate your preference, unless he had given you a clear “no” for that first job in his original email. (It’s not clear to me whether he did or not.) But ultimately he just sent you a brusque response, right? You might decide he’s not someone you particularly want to work with, but it doesn’t sound like it’s worth calling him out for rudeness (especially since doing that risks harming your ability to return to that company working a different manager).

3. Can I still accept severance if I’m about to take another job?

I originally really liked my current job, but for the last six months or so things have been very unstable — and getting worse. I’m talking about multiple moves across divisions, rollover of the entire senior management team, and contracts falling through. In just the last two months they have had us start on two separate projects — throwing out our previous work — and then changed their minds after only a week or two and start something completely different.

You can imagine how scary it is to work with this kind of uncertainty, especially because this is a large company that has laid off teams in the past without warning. So I started looking for a new job. This week I even flew out for an on-site interview and that company has indicated to me that they’d like to make me an offer, but we are still negotiating the details.

The problem is that this same week my current company announced ANOTHER reorg for my project and are moving most of my team to a new division entirely. They’ve said that they want a few of us in the same functional role to stay in the old division, but they don’t know what they want us to work on yet. My manager is flying out to our office on Monday, and to be honest, I suspect she is going to lay us off. (Having a manager come out and tell you in person is how this company handles layoffs.)

If I do get laid off, what are my ethical responsibilities, both to my current company, and to my new one? Can I still accept severance if I’m finalizing the details of my offer? Should I proactively let the new employer know that I was laid off since they’ve already made me an offer?

You can indeed still accept severance even if you’re about to accept another offer — in fact, even if you’ve already accepted another offer (assuming that there’s nothing in your severance agreement that prohibits that, which there probably won’t be). There’s also no ethical obligation to alert the new employer that you’ve been laid off (although you of course can’t lie if it comes up somehow).

4. I took a counteroffer but now regret it

A couple of months ago, I received a good job offer to go and work at a company I was really excited about. They were stable, had a great working environment and I knew a few people that already had ties to them with great reviews. Upon receiving my offer, I was ready to resign from my current company, where I’ve been for 12 years. My employers were shocked the next morning when I resigned and came back to me with a counter offer, including a huge raise and 2 employees to help spread the workload I had been bearing. After deliberating for hours, I decided to stay with my current company, hoping that this would satisfy the reasons I was leaving the organization. I contacted the HR contact at the new company and very politely told them that I had decided to stay put for at least 6 months, but that I would be open to any opportunities in the future that might be a good fit.

Now, nearly 3 months later, I am truly regretting my decision not to go ahead and accept the other position. Although my company did fulfill the promises they’d made in our agreement, I feel in essence that that structure and the management of the organization isn’t a good fit for me anymore. I’ve shown great loyalty over the last several years, but it’s time for me to move on.

I’ve noticed on the careers section of the new company’s site that they are currently looking for the position that I had received the offer for previously (a few slots actually). Would calling the HR contact at this point back and telling that I’d like to throw my hat back in the ring an option? Or is that door closed?

You can give it a shot but they’re pretty likely to be skeptical. No harm in trying though. But realize that if they do make you an offer, you’re pretty much going to have to take it this time or that bridge will be forever destroyed.

And yeah, this is why you shouldn’t take counteroffers.

5. Working with my new manager after a demotion

A couple years ago, I was received my first promotion within the contract company I work for, supervising the other professionals in my certification area. During the first year of a particularly large contract, my company realized that we needed more managerial staff than we currently had, and asked me to assist with this contract, as I had particular skills that met our company’s needs in this contract.

It became clear in my first few months working with the new contract that, due to the increasing demands of my newly adopted responsibilities, I would be unable to continue both managing both the professionals in my certification area and the new contract. As a result, we began training someone to take over my first set of managerial responsibilities, and were set for her to take that role in the fall.

At the end of the summer, the new, large contract abruptly ended. Most of the staff working with that contract (over half the company’s operations in this state), including all the contract-specific managers except me and one other person, were laid off. I was only spared because I would be able to take my pre-management role (displacing someone else with less seniority in that role). The person who I trained to take over my original managerial responsibilities kept that role; my boss and I agreed that she was better suited to it even though there were no specific complaints about my job performance.

So now, due to rearrangement of contracts, I’m working under someone who used to work under me, and my responsibilities involve sometimes consulting with her regarding the job performance of our co-workers in specific areas. There aren’t any particular problems, but it feels really weird, and I’m frequently worrying that I’m stepping on her toes (again, I know of no complaints or comments about this). Should I wait until a problem is mentioned to me, or is there another way to approach this?

If you’re fine with it and she seems fine with it, I’d assume everyone’s fine with it and move forward. It sounds like you’re assuming that there must be problems in such a situation, but if everyone involved is reasonably mature and doesn’t let ego get in the way, there’s no reason it has to be problematic. If you’re not seeing problems, assume you don’t need to worry.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 38 comments… read them below }

  1. 25 || 624*

    Re #2: it may not seem like much, but asking the hiring manager for feedback like that … I think you’re lucky he responded at all!

    1. MK*

      I don’t think that’s accurate. The OP wasn’t asking for feedback, they wanted clarification about why they were being considered for one position instead of the other.

      On the other hand, I am not even sure the hiring manager was rude to begin with. If they did clearly state that they were not willing to consider the OP for the first position and if they did feel that the description for the second job was detailed enough, it’s not rude to reply “we are definitely not considering you for the first job, study the description for the second, if you are interested”. They are not really obligated to provide reasons why they are rejecting the OP for one position or to explain their ad to candidates. It’s possible the tone of the reply was too curt, but (coupled with the “things have changed since I was working there” comment of the OP) I cannot help but wondering if the OP was expecting some extra courtecy for being a past employee and is judging the reply based on that.

      In any case, even when a hiring manager is being rude, I don’t understand what people hope to gain by “calling out”. Does anyone really think that, if they sent an e-mail saying “your response to me was rude, you should treat me with more consideration”, the hiring manager will apologise and rush to correct their behavior?

      1. snuck*

        I’m with you. I think it’s fine to ask why you are being recommended for another position (“Thanks for the suggestion of this other role, can you let me know why you think I’d be well suited to it/why you are recommending it to me specifically?”) and then ask for feedback about how to improve your presentation for a stronger application for the next role (“I would love some feedback on areas you think I didn’t come across as strongly in during this application process that you feel would be important to the role you’ve recommended to me, so I can look those over and might find better examples for you to understand my skills”) but I don’t know if I’d give that information out unless I REALLY liked the candidate over most others and really wanted them to succeed.

        If the person has been an employee there in the past then they could well use some of their network to find out more …

        No point ‘calling out’ … all it does is make you look bitter, and possibly a bad hire. The impression it leaves might not be the one you want to have there, especially if this place is still a reference. It’s not fair, but that’s the power imbalance of interviewees vs employers – you can’t really annoy them (and you don’t want to annoy past workplaces either!) and if they are grumpy people who don’t know how to communicate nicely in public then they won’t like your feedback necessarily either. Better to let it go to the keeper and keep clear of the drama I’d say.

      2. Garrett*

        I agree with you too. Also, I don’t know exactly how the email was worded but it could just be a case of the person trying to rush out a reply and it came across as brusque. It may not have been intended that way but sometimes it comes across to the reader as harsher than intended. That’s one of the biggest problem with email: the tone is often on the reader to interpret.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I think there are times when it’s reasonable to point out rudeness. I don’t think this one rises to that level (and agree that it’s possible that the email wasn’t even rude; hard to say without seeing it). But there are times when someone’s behavior is egregious enough where there’s nothing wrong with saying, for example, “You left me waiting more than a hour both times I showed up for our scheduled interviews, didn’t acknowledge the inconvenience, and then when we finally met, you spent most of the time on your phone and refused to answer my questions. That’s more rudeness than I’m willing to put up with, and I should point out how poorly it reflects on your company. I’m withdrawing my application.”

        Of course, you have to be willing to put up with the consequences — you’re never going to get hired there in the future and it’s possible you could run into that person in the future, but in some contexts you can make the calculation that the risk to you is pretty low. And meanwhile, the benefits to your dignity in saying “no, I don’t accept this treatment” can be high.

        1. MK*

          Oh, I understand why someone would refuse to put up with rude behaviour. I just don’t think there is much point in explaining why you are withdrawing.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Sorry, I might have been unclear — my point was that I think there can be value (to your dignity and to the social contract) in saying clearly “this is over the line and it’s not okay.”

      4. Steve G*

        I do think the response was a bit rude, I sympathize with the OP. Most job descriptions don’t give a full enough snapshot of the role. Also, I had a company switch my application to another job before the first interview without telling me recently. I applied to Client Services Analyst and they switched me to Product Manager. I’ve never been a Product Manager. Both job descriptions basically said “extensive analysis of many things pertaining to our customers.” The interviewer didn’t know why my application was switched and even after the interview the only difference I got was that PMs there use one additional coding language. But I didn’t see any substantial differences. So I think the OPs feeling of confusion is completely validated and the Hiring Manager should have put a little more effort into explaining their logic.

  2. Erik*

    #3 – You don’t need to say anything unless something is mentioned. I had a friend of mine line up a new job when he knew he was getting laid off. He ended up with a fat severance but didn’t tell the next company. They don’t need to know the details anyway.

    #4 – This is why you NEVER accept counteroffers. 99% of the time you will end up leaving within 6 months, for the same reasons too.

    1. The Bimmer Guy*

      I wouldn’t go that far. Sometimes, counteroffers can be quite beneficial. I’d just say that, before you accept that counteroffer, you should really evaluate what you’re hoping to get out of your continued employment with the company. If you have issues with your particular position and your pay, those are far more likely to get solved than issues with company culture or management.

      1. AB Normal*

        I think there are 3 conditions for it to make sense to accept a counteroffer:

        1) You haven’t accepted the offer yet (but are are ready to do so) when you talk to your current employer.
        2) You receive a counteroffer that is going to solve 80% of the problems that made you want to leave any way.
        3) You negotiate an extremely advantageous severance in case you are let go soon after acceptance the counteroffer (e.g., “1 year of compensation if you are let go within 3 years from now”).

        #3 is important insurance against what AAM said in her article about counteroffers: “your company might just want time to search for a replacement, figuring that it’s only a matter of time until you start looking around again. You might turn down your other offer and accept your employer’s counteroffer only to find yourself pushed out soon afterward. ”

        Combined with #1, it gives you a good chance of being able to try again with the company whose offer you ended up declining (I was able to do that once, not in the context of a counteroffer, but graciously declining an offer to one job, and months later, after being laid off from the job I chose, receiving another offer from the same company).

        1. John*

          I was in a counteroffer situation once, and I was comfortable with it because the only issue I had at my job was pay – I didn’t negotiate aggressively enough when first hired, and found out after I’d been working there a year and a half that the new graduates were making 10% more than me (in an industry where you can’t be fully licensed until you’ve been working a year, so I was being paid less than people with fewer qualifications than I had). My company was shy about giving me what I thought was an appropriate increase in compensation, so I started interviewing. Once I had an offer – one that I was willing to take if my company didn’t counter – I sat down with my manager for another salary discussion, and she convinced the corporate office that I was worth paying for.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            There are two things at play – one reason a counteroffer sometimes works is because your manager will go to the wall to get the problems resolved.

            Sometimes – the ONLY way to get things resolved is through a resignation/counteroffer cycle. I worked at a company where the only way to get a promotion was to resign! When I resigned once, they had the counter-offer already prepared in writing and presented it to me!

            It is true that people often leave several months after receiving and accepting a counter. One reason – the pressure to find another job is off – and the employee can look for something REALLY good – and on his own time frame. Another – the recently promoted employee is now a “hotter commodity” and at a higher salary.

            Some management essays say “never extend a counter – do damage control instead” — because you may have damaged the working relationship too far for it to be permanently repaired.

            Headhunters say “oooh bad, bad, never accept a counter, they’ll dump you” – but this is obvious that they lose their commission if a counter if offered and accepted.

            The right answer as to accept a counter- or not? IT DEPENDS.

      2. Cheesecake*

        You can’t have problems with just position and pay; if employer reacted only when receiving actual resignation and did nothing before there is definitely a problem with culture and mgmt

    2. Traveler*

      There are cases where counteroffers are productive. If you only have one issue, truly, with your company and they are happy to resolve it – a counteroffer can be worthwhile.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        The thing is, though, you should raise that issue before it gets to the point where you’re walking out the door. If you did but they didn’t act until you were ready to take another job, there’s no reason to think it’s going to be any easier to get problems solved in the future. Plus, if you try, you’re now the person who earlier held quitting over their head and now is pushing for more.

    3. TrainerGirl*

      ITA. I was lucky enough to get 3 1/2 months’ notice when getting laid off once and was able to negotiate a start date for a week after my last day with the company that laid me off. I got a big severance package, but due to the timing, there was no need for the new company to know that. You don’t need to volunteer that information.

  3. MK*

    OP1, I have a feeling you are treating the requests as an either/or thing, as in “I will either have to show them my resume, which I don’t want to do, or critique theirs, which is time consuming”, and I don’t understand why. You have already done these people a favor by agreeing to an informational interview; you are not obligated to offer resume advice/help on top of that, it’s not part of the “service” of an informational interview. Just say that you don’t feel comfortable sharing your resume and that you don’t have the time/skill to review theirs; all you owe them is politeness.

    1. Garrett*

      I agree. Just tell them you don’t have time. You could offer to do a quick look-see at the informational interview and just point out a couple of top level things. Also if you have LinkedIn, you could point them there and they can see your “resume” there to at least get some idea of your work history and qualifications.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it’s tough to say “I don’t feel comfortable sharing my resume” — it’s going to come across as a little strange, like what are you trying to hide? But you can certainly say you don’t have a good up-to-date version, and yes, you can say you don’t have time to give them feedback on their own.

      1. snuck*

        I actually think it’s reasonable to not share your resume unless it’s someone who you can really trust, and I’m not sure I’d trust someone along for an informational interview (particularly if I was going to be filling my own/similar position soon). You could point them to your LinkedIn if you want to share what your employment history is, or share examples from parts of it, but I’d feel a little weird about someone out there wandering around with my full career information.

        Informational interviews aren’t something I’ve really come across much – I assume they are just people in select roles explaining to others what is involved and what paths they’ve taken to get there? Is there a significant experience gap generally? If there is then sharing CVs might not be that uncomfortable, but I don’t think I’d share my CV readily with people who were near peers of me. They should be able to work it out a little for themselves and not just sponge off others, especially in senior analyst and project management roles.

  4. Garrett*

    Number 3: take that money and don’t look back. You don’t owe the old job anything and consider it a backwards signing bonus. Good luck!

  5. Not Today Satan*

    Maybe I’m naive, but I agree that the people in #1 most likely don’t have nefarious intentions. But I also don’t think borrowing from it would be immoral, if what they borrowed is accurate and reflects their experience. Unless you’ve been job hunting a long time, it can be hard to figure out what to put on your resume for certain jobs. (For example, you might take some accomplishments or significant parts of your job for granted.) When I first started, I was clueless. So seeing the resume of someone in my field would probably be helpful.

    That being said, the LW has no obligation at all to share hers. She also could direct them to Indeed, where they could search for a certain job title and see the resumes of people with that job. That’s useful too (as long as you keep in mind that those are random people who don’t necessarily have any more wisdom about resumes than you).

    1. mdv*

      It depends on what is being “borrowed” … I have looked at resumes other than my own and borrowed layout and style ideas, sometimes one or two “vocabulary” words that I like better. I would never borrow text!

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        Yes, I’ve looked for help like “how would you describe the Walrus Project to people who don’t work in our sector?”

      2. Florida*

        If someone wants to borrow from your resume, that is fine, but then they should say, “May I have a copy of your resume? I’m having a hard time coming with how describe my accomplishments and I might be able to use some of your verbiage.” That makes it 100% clear what their intentions are.

    2. Treena Kravm*

      I remember prior to my first internship in college, I volunteered in their Finance/HR department, and I did a *lot* of filing. One day my project was to file some staff-wide certification into the personnel folders, and they way they were set up, you basically had to look through the whole thing. I read every single person’s resume and that was so incredibly valuable to me. Not so much the formatting and aesthetic stuff, but what did these people do to get jobs at this non-profit? What were their majors, what types of places did they volunteer, etc.

      If I were you, I would keep a copy of your resume in your desk, and when they ask, you can tell them that they can take a look right there and ask questions (something I knew I couldn’t do because of how I saw the resumes). Them having a copy without being able to talk to you would be great, but it’s even more beneficial if they can talk to you about it. And then you can conveniently keep the resume afterwards, since you’re concerned with plagiarism.

    3. Steve G*

      I would just share it. It is so hard to find a good job now, that I don’t care if someone “steals” a format or picks up some wording or whatever from my resume. Yes, making my format with all of the text boxes was a time consuming pain, but I’m getting little satisfaction by “hoarding” my resume template at this point. I’d get more satisfaction from helping someone get a job, given the economic climate……..

  6. NJ anon*

    #5 it sounds like you are handling this really well. Did you take a cut in pay? We are about to go through a reorg at my job and we will have a similar situation. A director is being demoted and one of her direct reports will become her boss. I believe her salary will be cut as well. I feel pretty bad about it. I hope the fall-out is not too bad but I think the sh*t is going to hit the fan!

    1. LW 5*

      I didn’t take a cut in pay or have a title change.

      One of the reasons the changes are easier to deal with is because my company (and especially our regional director) generally treats me very well, and I was involved in the decision regarding who would manage what when the large contract ended. Plus, I still had a job when the smoke cleared, and I was so burned out from being a manager at a genuinely toxic contract (stories upon stories in itself that made me a believer in “the customer is not always right) that the opportunity to step down from managing for a while was something of a relief.

      It’s a good side note for why being a good manager is so important – when you have to do bad things to your employees as a result of circumstance, they’re more likely to understand and less likely to take things personally.

  7. AdAgencyChick*

    #3, if you are laid off, DON’T tell the new job until they’ve made you the offer in writing, or maybe even on your first day there (unless you are asked a direct question, which seems unlikely). Hopefully the new company is not one that would lowball candidates who are not currently employed on salary because they think they can get away with it, but some do. So you’d want them to make an offer based on your current position of strength, not thinking they can save money by lowering the offer since they think you’re now more anxious to take the position.

    1. Beezus*

      Agreed. If they don’t lowball the offer, it still puts you in a different negotiating position – you’ll know you’re in a different position, but it doesn’t benefit you for them to know. If you want to start more quickly because you’re not currently employed, you can bring it up when you come to terms and accept – “I told you previously I’d need two weeks to serve out my notice period, but I was actually laid off last week, so I can start whenever you’re ready to have me.”

  8. LW #3*

    Thank you so much for this reply, Alison! I was really nervous about having to tell the new company about being laid off, because I haven’t told them how bad things are at my current job. I’ve framed it as “don’t like the direction we’re going” because “management doesn’t know what the fuck to do” sounds like I’d be badmouthing them!

    I’m still a little nervous about what will happen on Monday, but I feel better that I don’t have to have a bunch of awkward conversations.

  9. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #3 – Dinner Table Story #193.

    A friend of mine was working as a software engineer at a company that was, for lack of a better term, downsizing most of itself out of existence. Knowing that the winds of change were blowing around him, he started looking.

    He found a dream job. A verbal offer had been extended. But, the #1 rule is, you do not resign your current position until that offer letter is in your hand.

    Dream job forgot to mail the letter on Tuesday. They mailed it on Wednesday. Had he received it in hand he would have resigned Thursday.

    Friday morning at 10 am he is told “we’re laying you off” and he was marched out the door, told to come back next week to do the formalities. He goes home. 11 am the mail arrives. Offer letter, he signs it and returns it, also follows up with a phone call.

    Had he resigned Thursday – he would have lost an extensive severance package. But they let him go before he had the chance to quit.


    1. Sans*

      #3 I would have no hesitation taking the severance. It’s not conditional on you being unemployed, as unemployment insurance is.

      #4 I took a counteroffer once and it worked out well. I worked at the company three years before, and ended up working there another 10 years. It wasn’t about money, though, but more about changing my position to one where I could work at home part of the time. Of course, I had a good boss who was a decent, reasonable person. That always helps.

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