my boss rewrote my resume and 2 more updates from letter-writers

Here are three updates from readers who had their letters answered here recently. (By the way, I’m trying to make this a regular Thursday feature, if I’m able to round up enough updates.)

1. My boss rewrote my resume — and it’s terrible

Neither of the jobs I applied to with my boss’s version of the resume even called me for an interview (surprise). However, soon after applying to those, I saw an even more exciting job posting in the same field, but with a MUCH better commute, so I applied (with my own resume). Just a week after applying, I was offered the position–same day as my interview!

This is my third week in the new job and it is everything I wanted. I feel engaged and appreciated and, most importantly, like my skills are actually being put to use! Many thanks to you and the readers who assured me I wasn’t crazy, and who encouraged me to use my original materials! :)

2. Hired, trained, and then no contact (#3 at the link)

Back in January, I did reach out the the person I was reporting to but never heard back. I then reached out to the recruiter that brought me in. She eventually returned my message basically stating – I’m paraphrasing – that I was just a freelancer and that all the open positions had been filled – there were no complaints about me, I did fine and that they would call me if they needed help. She also mentioned that I should have known that or at least asked more questions about the position before they brought me in. :-\

One thing I didn’t mention in my initial letter is when I first started and got my assignment, I had questions regarding the job. So I asked the manager (the person I was reporting to) – this was about 20 minutes after I was introduced to him – he responds “Who are you again?” Now, I’m not the quickest socially… but that could not have been a good sign.

It’s mid-March now. The email and pass card still work. Plus, I was contacted by a colleague there via LinkedIn… However, I’m resigned to the fact that I most likely will never hear from them again. Such a shame too, as they did work that I enjoyed doing, the commute was easy, etc. So my job search continues. :-(

3. Am I applying for too many jobs at this employer(#4 at the link)

I am writing to say thank you. I just accepted a job offer at Distinguished University – one which more than doubles my current salary – and I truly believe that it’s all because of you and your incredible advice.

The day after you published my letter, I put in my application for this job, and a few weeks later I got a call, where they mentioned that they loved my (recently revamped, thanks to you) cover letter. I prepped using your How to Get a Job guide, and had a great first interview, wherein I impressed with your favorite question about what distinguishes a good vs. a great employee. Throughout the process, I really felt like I got a sense of who their team is, what their short- and long-term priorities are, and where they see this position in the next few years.

A week later, they called me back in, and your recent advice in quick response to my question about second interviews came in handy again in calming my fears and giving me a reference point for what ended up being a really personable and down-to-earth conversation with my future colleagues. Because of your prep materials and 3+ years of reading this blog, I was able to anticipate the types of questions they were going to ask, and answer with genuine, thought-out responses instead of the on-the-spot gibberish I’ve spouted in previous job searches. To top everything off, when they offered me the job I was then able to negotiate an additional $5k on top of a salary that was already above what I hoped they’d offer me, AGAIN using language from your blog to do so.

{ 33 comments… read them below }

  1. Elizabeth West*

    #2– It sounds like they thought they were getting a temp, not a contractor! I’d mail them back the pass card at this point. I hope you find something good soon.

    1. andrea*

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I just through the pass card into the trash. Saves money on postage. LOL!
      Thank you for your support! :-)

      1. Shell*

        Too late now, but in the future I don’t recommend chucking it. Most places I know of will charge you for missing/lost (thrown away) key cards.

          1. Shell*

            They’d deactivate it either way, but the physical lack of the key card/fob is usually grounds for charging the ex-employee/contractor/etc. (Not that the card is usually worth the amount they’re charging, but that’s another story.)

            1. andrea*

              I fished it out. Should I send a note with it? Or just throw it into an envelope and send it?

              1. Undine*

                You might send a note, so they know some context and who it’s from. The person who opens the package may not be the person who knows about you. Also, you might first email them to see if they will pay for you to send it back. It’s good to send it via a method, such as Fed Ex or UPS, that gives you a receipt, so you can show that you did send it back if they don’t record it correctly.

                Years ago I was a freelancer and they gave me a fob. I hadn’t had any work for a while and and contacted them to see if anything was available — they said said they’d hired someone full time. A little later they asked for my fob back (Or maybe it was the same email). I wrote back and asked if they could give me their Fed Ex number so I could send it. (I think they specifically said to Fed Ex it.) Radio silence…

                A while later, the person who hired me and who I actually worked with asked me if I had the fob and I asked for the Fed Ex number again. He gave it to me, I sent it back, all was well. But I did not feel I should send it back on my dime.

              2. Shell*

                Honestly, if the location isn’t very far, if it were me I’d go over and drop it off in person because I want there to be proof that it was received.

                If you’re sending it by post (or courier), I’d definitely include a note that states your name, position title, and employee # if you have one. And I’d send it by a method that has a tracking #, preferably with a service that would require a name and signature for receipt. You can try asking the company for their UPS/FedEx/etc. account number and send it back on their dime with tracking.

                If they refuse to put it on their dime, I’d still make sure it goes back via a method with proof of delivery. Such mail services can get pricey for a little key card/fob, which is why I would drop it off if it isn’t too out of the way.

  2. OfficePrincess*

    I’m still trying to figure out how #2 was supposed to know to ask if they were an employee or contractor since most places are pretty up front about that and they offered her benefits! I haven’t done a ton of interviewing, but I’ve never been in a situation where that wasn’t clear from the beginning. Sorry the job didn’t work out OP, but the interactions you reported just make the place sound bizarre.

    1. andrea*

      Hi OfficePrincess, it was bizarre and that it didn’t work out is probably for the better.

  3. junipergreen*

    I absolutely LOVE updates. Thanks to Alison and the letter writers for closing the loop, these are so great to hear!

    (I always scan comments for OPs’ comments, too, and look forward to reading their reactions to Alison’s recommended course of action.)

    1. NYC Redhead*

      I love the updates, too, and also scan the comments for OP updates. Alison, might it be possible to highlight OP comments (like yours are in blue)?

        1. Being a nonnie mouse*

          Could you/we start a convention where commenters refer to the people as OP 1, 2, 3 but if the letter writer comments, they add LW 1, 2, 3 either to their name or in their comment? Then, it’s easy to just Control + F for LW and get the actual LW responses and not all the comments (which are absolutely helpful–but not when I’m scanning for updates!). Obviously couldn’t be made mandatory or anything.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Encouraging that would be awesome. Or, to avoid people who use ‘LW’ when talking about the person continuing to do that, maybe just have them add ‘(This is the OP)’ or ‘(This is the OP for #1)’ to the end – or as their whole name if they’re staying anonymous – because then we could search on (This is the.

            Although then auto-fill might lead to that name being used on other posts too…ah, confusion.

            I used to know a blog that used to make replies by the original writer pink based on a check-box, but it’s long defunct so I can’t ask how.

            1. videogamePrincess*

              I love when people precede their references to the various numbers with hashtags (e. g. #1, #2 etc. as opposed to just 1 or 1. or one.) Makes it a lot easier to find comments on specific letters.

          2. MaggiePi*

            I’ve been thinking this too. Encouraging them to use the name or start their comment with “This is OP,” or “This is OP3” for multiples would be great.

          3. jhhj*

            Yeah, I hate when OPs just call themselves “OP” because there is no easy way to find just that (since the display is not “posted by OP”).

            1. LQ*

              I’m always so happy when OPs come in and comment and respond (especially when they are thoughtful about it which I think we’ve got a few of today so YAY today’s OPs!) that I kind of don’t care all that much how they refer to themselves.

              1. Kyrielle*

                I do, because if it’s just “OP” as some do, finding all their comments on the thread can be hard. Searching for “OP” finds you everyone answering them to. If they come in and are “OP #1” or “OP#1” or “OP1” or “Chocolate Teapot Scribe (OP #3)” or the like, then you can search the web page to find everything they specifically said. Sometimes it’s not critical, but often for the letters that raised a lot of questions or had a lot of conditionals because of data left out, it can be really nice to find all of those. And manually looking – the threads get a little long around here. :) Which is awesome, but they do.

              2. Being a nonnie mouse*

                Oh, sure, any update/reply is nice! It’s just, so many people say “OP, here is my advice” so if you search for “OP” to find posts from the OP, it’s pretty useless. If commenters call them OP but the actually letter writers call themselves LW, then it’s easier to search for posts just from the LW.

          4. Ask a Manager* Post author

            My hesitation about that has been that it feels like a lot of instructions to give them. They’re already getting all this when I email them to let them know I’m printing their letter:

            Thanks so much for writing. I will be publishing an answer to your question here at X:


            (The link won’t work until then.)

            I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave feedback in the comments section. If you’re willing, site readers always appreciate it when a letter-writer is willing to interact in the comments, and we have smart, thoughtful commenters, so you should find additional good advice there.

            (The majority of comments come in on the day the article is posted, so if you want to engage with others in the comment section, the first day is best for it. But they usually continue to trickle in for a week or so afterwards as well.)


            So I’m hesitant to add in even more to that too — feels like it might just get overwhelming to people who aren’t regular comment-section-readers.

            1. jhhj*

              That is a very short request, and I think if you say “I recommend you use the name LW#4 when you reply there, though this is not required” it would not be adding a huge amount of extra work.

              1. Colette*

                Except that requires Alison customize each letter in one more place, and that the letter writers use a name they may not want to use for our convenience.

            2. Being a nonnie mouse*

              I totally get that, but (especially since you say “site readers always appreciate it when a letter-writer is willing to interact in the comments”) I think jhhj’s script could work. But of course it’s no big deal either way! Thanks!

    1. OP 3*

      Thanks!! I’m thrilled. I start April 11, so I’ll be sure to chime in again in a few months with an update about how it’s going. :)

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