two-page resumes while you’re still in school, new boss sends novel-length emails with hashtags, and more

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

1. Can I have a two-page resume while I’m still in school?

I was enjoying some of the more difficult situations you address in your blog when I came across one of your posts mentioning that a resume for a 20-something should never be longer than one page if you’re not more than a few years out of school. I’m 22 and a college senior, and my resume is two pages. I consider myself to be highly involved: two majors, six school-related extracurricular activities, three different summer jobs plus three campus jobs, as well as a semi-professional speaking engagement. About half of my experience is not in the same field as the jobs I want to get but still demonstrates important skills. I don’t include unrelated and irrelevant information.

I’ve gotten some feedback from the career center at my school that there’s nothing they would cut, but I’m worried that the length is turning potential employers off. How much would you be turned off by a new college grad with a comparatively long resume?

Turned off. It’s going to come across as self-important and unable to edit. Plus, most hiring managers are only skimming on first read, and you want their eyes to fall on the absolute most important things, and the chances of that go way down if this stuff is spread over two pages. You need to cut it to one page.

If very senior people with decades of experience and accomplishments can manage a one-page resume, you can’t credibly argue that you can’t make a few years of experience fit on one page. (To be clear, those senior people don’t need to confine themselves to one page; they’re allowed to have two at that stage in their career — but many choose not to.)

Your resume isn’t supposed to be a detailed account of everything you’ve ever done. It’s the highlights. The two majors should take up a total of one line (and it should be the same line that your school and graduation year are on, so they shouldn’t be adding extra space at all). The speaking engagement, one line (if it’s strong enough to be included at all; depends on what it is). The six extracurricular activities? Not more than a few lines total, and only if you held leadership positions. That leaves you with the six part-time jobs. With an average of two to three bullet points under each of them, you shouldn’t be over one page. (And if you are, cut one or two are the less relevant jobs.)

2. New boss sends novel-length emails, hashtags included

We had a major organizational shakeup last month, the second in a year. My new boss immediately began sending out incredibly long (three pages on average), buzzword-filled emails that come steadily about every three days. It’s like he’s cribbing from bad motivational TED talks or something. He has thrown out so many new ideas and project assignments that are only tangentially related to actual job duties that my coworkers and I have nearly shut down. Performance is down across the board. His latest round of assignments have been flat out ignored. Today’s missive ended with hashtagged phrases (think #attitudeiseverything or something equally trite).

He came from a different division and immediately began trying to make corrections that were, in fact, incorrect (not matters of opinion – procedures clearly outlined in policy). He wrote me a two-page memo detailing the performance issues of a subordinate employee who reports to someone else. My attempts at gentle yet professional correction have gone unacknowledged; he simply never replies again.

The thing is, I feel like I can play his stupid game. I could be a star under this guy — pepper a few key phrases into my work and he’d eat it up. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I know that my attitude is a big part of my problem, but I’m exhausted. This is the third disaster director I’ve worked under in three years (the reasons for the drastic reassignments). I just need to suck it up, right?

P.S. The hashtags are objectively unprofessional, right?

I think you do need to suck it up as long as you’re working under him, yes, because there isn’t really anything you can do about it. This is how he operates, and he’s shown he’s not receptive to input. What choice do you have other than to suck it up? Pushing back on everything isn’t a viable option. You can certainly pick a few key battles and see how that goes, but even winning a few battles will still leave you working for a crappy boss. (That doesn’t mean that you should emulate his style yourself, though! Your instinct not to do that is right, since it will impact your own reputation.)

To be clear, this isn’t about the hashtags. I mean, the hashtags are cheesy and annoying (although I wouldn’t say inherently unprofessional, just eye-rolly), but the main issues are his lack of focus, inability to get things done, inability to read the vibe of his team, and what sounds like general incompetence. If he was great at his job, I doubt the hashtags would bug you so much. (I mean, they’d still probably be irritating — I’m not endorsing them! — but they’d read differently in a different context.)

But I also think you should be actively thinking about changing jobs if he’s as incompetent as he sounds here.

3. I share an unusual last name with the boss

I work for a large government agency. We just got a new administrator (head of the whole agency) who happens to share my unusual last name.

We aren’t related and I’ve been here for a few years, but I’m concerned that colleagues who don’t work with me closely might assume I’m his daughter or niece and treat me differently (I’m already working against “entitled millennial” stereotypes).

Sticking “no relation to the administrator” in my email signature would be bizarre. Is there any other way for me to head this off if it comes up? Should I even bother?

When you introduce yourself to people, even if you normally might just use your first name, use your full name .. and then add, “No relation!”

Beyond that, though, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Anyone who’s curious is likely to ask someone else, and eventually word will get around that you’re not related.

4. Employer wants me to buy my own laptop

Due to the recent weather here, lot’s of snow. My work now wants me to have a laptop to so I can work from home. The only problem is they want the money for the laptop to come out of my pocket. I am wondering if this is something they can do.

Legally, they can indeed require you to have a personal laptop at home that they don’t pay for (unless you’re in California, which has a law requiring employers to reimburse employees for all business expenses). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t push back. Say something like this: “I really can’t take on the expense of a new laptop. If there’s one the office can loan me, I could use that — but buying one isn’t an option for me.”

Sometimes employers who ask this kind of thing back off as soon as they get push-back (sometimes because they really haven’t thought through what they’re asking). Other times, they’re committed to their crappy way of doing business — but don’t assume that’s the case until you’ve tried asserting yourself.

5. I chastised a company for not hiring me in the past

I had an interview scheduled with a recruiter a while back for a position that wasn’t ideal but could have been a foot in the door toward bigger and better things. The company had rejected me not once, but twice in the past. I figured I’d give it another go since I had more training, education and relevant experience this time around.

The day before the scheduled interview, my car broke down and I didn’t anticipate it being fixed in time for the interview, so I emailed the woman and cancelled. I was a bit frustrated over the previous rejections and the fact that my car broke down at a very inconvenient and unfortunate time in spite of being relatively new. So I basically told her I was cancelling as opposed to rescheduling and said I was going to be pursing “opportunities elsewhere.” I then chastised the company for having had chances to acquire me in the past but not taking them.

Will I need to apologize or at least let the recruiter know that I have changed my mind should I decide to pursue opportunities with this company again? Or do you feel she’ll just forget it about it and get the idea that I’m interested should she receive new applications-resumes-cover letters etc. from me?

If you chastised them for not taking the chance to hire you in the past … this bridge is burnt. They’re not likely to consider future applications from you after that. It’s fine to back out of an interview and say that you’re focusing on other opportunities. But criticizing them for not hiring you previously is going to be a deal-breaker for any decent employer — largely because it’s a bizarre thing to do. If they had candidates who they judged fit the position better, of course they hired those people instead of you! That’s not an insult to you, or a missed chance from them — it’s just how hiring works.

So, write this company off as a lost opportunity, and focus your search on other companies.

{ 350 comments… read them below }

  1. Zombeyonce*

    #2: I definitely agree with Alison here that it’s time to consider changing jobs because of the incompetency of your new boss. Also, the fact that your organization has gone through two major shakeups in a year (and it’s still not working if someone like your boss is still there) doesn’t bode well for the future of the company which is another great reason to start looking for something different.

    Sure, you could be a star under this guy but it wouldn’t do anything for you other than start to normalize his behavior if you’re playing along and that will just be to your own detriment the longer it goes on.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      *incompetence (not incompetency)

      Also #1: Even just trying to cover everything with highlights is overkill at your career level. I also think you may be putting too much emphasis on things that a lot of employers don’t really care much about, like your extracurriculars and short-term jobs. Stick to what’s relevant to the position for which you’re applying and leave out the rest.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        Agreed with Alison and other commenters about having a one-page resume for applying for jobs. The only exceptions for students that I would recommend (and even then, keep it to two pages, max), would be if you were applying to an academic fellowship and/or graduate schools. Those might want to see a longer, more detailed resume (and frankly, they’re used to those). Fellowship organizations and grad schools will also probably tell you to submit a 1-2 page resume or CV.

      2. Artemesia*

        Extracurriculars unless it is being editor of the school paper or similar academically relevant activity are just not going to be of much interest to an employer. And having lots of them just conveys shallow involvement. One intense activity particularly if it connects to skills employers want (or for some industries varsity athletics) may make an impression but the long list of activities is well, going to seem very high school yearbook.

        Short term jobs can be grouped to together. Summer and part time jobs during school: A, B, C, D. Unless your job was unusual or unusually relevant to the job you are seeking that is two lines on the resume. You don’t have to talk about achievements as a waiter, or clerk, or landscaping employee.

        Reflect on what you carry away from your activities and jobs that may interest an employer and put that in the cover letter.

    2. Trillian*

      You mention 3 disaster directors — that means whatever your company is looking for in a boss is not what you are looking for. Unless you can anticipate different decisions in future, it probably is time to look elsewhere.

  2. this*

    LW 4 – If you end having to buy a laptop I would suggest you get the cheapest workable one you can find and use it for work only. But I have always thought it was ridiculous to be expected to personally pay for items your employer has decided is required to perform your duties.

    LW 5 – It seems almost every time someone does something they regret it stems from them not simply telling the truth. There was nothing to hide and you let your frustrations get the better of you.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      I wonder if LW4 really has to buy a laptop to work at home. If they have a home computer, can that be used or are they required to have a work-only machine?

      1. this*

        My point is you don’t want to mix work and personnel. It’s easier to disconnect when you’re not on checking your e-mail or AAM all weekend on the laptop you use for work. Also what happens if you get fired and they take your laptop to wipe it just like they do with cell phones?

        1. Zombeyonce*

          I think it really depends on what kind of job the LW has and how the company expects them to use these work laptops. It could be something as simple as just needing Microsoft Office software, or it could be something like required VPN access to get into company files, which is more complicated to set up but is then easier to differentiate between work and personal. Since the company doesn’t sound like they’ve really done this before, it’s probably a pretty simple set up.

          While I agree that the company should pay for a laptop if they are going to require it, they might be open to the LW just using a different account for work to keep their work and personal files separate on an existing home computer. Long story short: there may be more options than having to buy a laptop depending on the actual needs of the company.

          1. Liane*

            Some fields have privacy requirements. I had to have a separate (company owned) pc when I edited medical transcriptions. A friend works for a health insurer and must use a company laptop for WFH days.

            1. shep*

              Same. I work in a field where use of personal electronics for work business is STRONGLY discouraged, and I’m sure if I had to work from home, my workplace would provide me with a laptop. Some of our upper management use their personal phones, but they understand that everything on their personal device is fair game if for some reason they needed to submit it for investigation.

              I realize different industries have different standards, but regardless, I would be furious if my workplace required me to purchase a personal computer for business, both because of the expense and the expectation that I had to use a personal device for work.

            2. Kyrielle*

              Conversely, I WFH on my personal machine all the time – but the only thing on it that I use for work is the VPN and remote desktop. I connect in to my VM here at work and all activity occurs on the VM. (And I’d be violating company policy to move across files – not even sure the setup would let me do that, I haven’t checked and don’t plan to.)

              Well, and technically the company-approved anti-virus, which is required; it and Windows must be up to date in order to use the VPN, understandably. :)

            3. Elizabeth West*

              Yep–we couldn’t use our own machines to WFH at Exjob because we did work for the financial industry. Even when I worked on holiday, I had to take a company laptop with me and connect to my everyday machine sitting in my cubicle thousands of miles away via VPN. I could not use my own machine to do that. I was in the middle of a blog challenge, was doing research, and I needed my own computer, so I had to lug two. Not fun. But my boss was super happy she didn’t have to do my month-end stuff while I was gone. :)

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I agree with “this.” We had a long discussion, recently, on work policies regarding cell phones and the dangers they can create, and I think that same discussion applies when purchasing or using a personal laptop/computer for work.

        3. ..Kat..*

          If it’s her personal laptop that she paid for herself, she can say no to giving it to her employer to wipe.

          1. blackcat*

            Employers can and do wipe personal cell phones that have work data on them. It’s a crappy thing to do, but it’s legal.

            1. orangesolange*

              If you work in a field that has strict government compliance and there is an investigation, your personal devices can (and usually will) be confiscated. Additionally, if you admit you check email on your phone and that phone is backed up via icloud/similar service and your home computer also links to the account, they can take all your linked devices and your computer.

              This becomes very tricky if you have a partner and you are both doing work on the same home computer.

              I knew a couple once where partner A was a lawyer and partner B in a field with strict compliance b/c of a lot of international money transfers. The company tried to get partner B to work after hours/at home during snow days using his own device. Partner A refused b/c there was such a threat of inadvertent data breaches. State bars tend to take client confidentiality very seriously. She had to write the company of partner B a very long, detailed letter about what would happen if there was an investigation and partner B was using personal devices.

              Only use a personal device for work if you are the only person on the device + accounts on it and you could survive it being wiped or confiscated.

              This isn’t just about the money and expense. Those are valid concerns. Even for those people who don’t have those concerns, there are dangers in mixing work and personal. The more people and entities involved, the graver those dangers become.

            2. KarenK*

              Which is why I did not set up my new phone to get my work email.

              When I got my first smartphone, this wasn’t in place, so i’m still using the old phone for this purpose.

            3. miss_chevious*

              Yep. This is why I am adamantly against the Bring Your Own Device policies that are proliferating in some workplaces. If my job wants me to be available, they can provide me with the equipment to be available, because I am not sacrificing my personal devices to their investigation or review.

          2. Kyrielle*

            Except that often with phones, and thus I assume potentially with computers, the company may have a policy that “linking your personal device to our system gives us the right to wipe it if need be” and you may be required to agree to that when installing…and what you install may give them the ability to just reach out and wipe it remotely. :(

            Know what you’re getting in to, they may not need to ask when the time comes.

            1. vpc*

              Please, everyone, READ the security warning before agreeing to it. My colleagues and I regularly work from home on company devices, and can use our personal devices as well. The number of friends that I’ve read the security warning out loud to and had say “wooooaaah, I didn’t realize that meant….”

              — basically, they have the right to discover and wipe every device that has ever connected to their network, or been connected to a network that their device connects to. So, company computer on the home network? sure. Everyone else’s personal device on the home network, like the spouse’s cell phone and the college kid’s laptop? that too. Technically, probably everyone else who logged into the coffee shop wifi while you were having an offsite meeting there.

              9,999 out of 10,000 employees will never have this happen to them because they aren’t being prosecuted for anything work-related like leaking proprietary data or keeping inappropriate pictures of kids on the office server. But that other one? sure.

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Nope—employers can ask to wipe your laptop, and many do (and yes, it’s legal). Doesn’t matter if it’s a personal laptop or not.

        4. eplawyer*

          This is a question that needs to be asked. What is the office policy on also using it for personal use (since the employee is paying for it). What happens when the employee leaves? Asking these questions may get the employer to realize they haven’t thought the policy through yet. It may cause them to do it and then realize the implications of making the employee pay for the laptop instead of the employer. One can hope anyway.

      2. Koko*

        I’m guessing she might not have a home computer at all. A lot of young adults I know who haven’t been to college only have a smartphone or tablet and not a full-size laptop. They never needed to get one for school so it was always a more expensive thing than they wanted to splurge on when their portable device could more or less cover their needs.

        1. AnonAnalyst*

          Yep, I have a few coworkers that are like this, except they are long out of college. Each had a personal computer, but as the computer became obsolete or stopped working, they decided not to replace it since they could do everything they needed to on a smartphone or tablet. Fortunately, our employer lets employees borrow laptops if they need to take work home.

          It could also be that OP has a computer but it isn’t capable of running software she needs to do her job (too old and under-powered, incompatible OS, etc.) Some of that stuff is fixable, but some of it isn’t so she really might need a different computer to be able to do her work at home.

      3. Pup Seal*

        My personal laptop is getting so old and freezes so often that I wouldn’t trust it for work purposes.

  3. Jeanne*

    #2, I sort of disagree with Alison. Of course you need to do your job and of course it might be a waste of time to push back against his crazy ideas. But if you don’t want to play his game and make it look like you bought into his nonsense, you don’t have to. In the end, self-respect is most important. You have to live with yourself. I find it easier to be unloved by a wacko boss than to try to fit in with the wacko. Sure, there are sometimes penalties to not playing along but you can handle those if you are happy with your decision.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think we disagree! I’m not suggesting that the OP act like she buys into his silliness, just that she not push back against every single annoying thing.

  4. Grrr... Argh!*

    #2 I like this part: “The thing is, I feel like I can play his stupid game. I could be a star under this guy — pepper a few key phrases into my work and he’d eat it up. I just can’t bring myself to do it”

    That’s exactly how I am, and it is impacting my career negatively. Our team got a new manager about 2 years ago, and he just loves his buzzwords and implemented a new inefficient system for managing projects. He spends more energy managing his system than on the actual projects. The other guys just go along with it, while I push back. So they get all the nice jobs and I get the crappy left-overs.

    So yes, maybe you should just try to suck it up and play the game. I have tried, but it made me want to punch myself in the face.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I had a job which was very keen on “Work smarter not harder”, company values such as passion (yuk!) teamwork (are there any jobs which don’t require collaboration at some point?) and integrity (shouldn’t that just be just what you do anyway?).

        Since I found it difficult to take the bigwigs seriously when they were spouting forth this rubbish, I just began to think of my job as a place where you turned up in the mornings and were able to pay the rent and grocery bills as a result. After a while, it got to a stage where I knew I had to get out.

        1. Mookie*

          If ever there was a cliché in need of getting its face punched, it’s “[verb thingy] smarter, not harder.” Okay, tell me how without making me spend several hundred hours listening to your optimizing kool-aid sales pitch when I just as soon could be working moderately hard, moderately smart.

          1. Myrin*

            I think it’s an annoying catchphrase but I reckon the spirit behind it – or, at least what I always assumed to be the gist of it; maybe I’ve just misunderstood it all along! – is something quite a few people could benefit from.

            A very simple example: our neighbour is basically always cleaning her flat. She’s a very hard worker and is often visibly exhausted after an entire day of cleaning. However, whenever I see her cleaning I always think that it’s no wonder she always needs to do it to keep her flat tidy – for example, she empties out a cabinet she wants to clean by throwing everything in it all over the room (literally, it looks like something exploded) and then spends so much time gathering it again and realising something broke when she threw it and whatnot. She also does everything kind of backwards and inefficiently, puts stuff in place A then carries it to place B then loses half of it on the way and didn’t realise she’d have to air out place C before putting stuff there and so on and so on. If only she worked in a smarter fashion in the first place, she wouldn’t have to do some stuff twice or even three times, because it would be done after one attempt.

            That being said, typically those aren’t the situations where people bust out the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy, at least in my experience.

            1. Nolan*

              This is pretty much it, working “smarter” in this case means taking a moment to think through what you’re going to do and then doing the task efficiently. That’s my default mode of operations when it comes to the day job, efficiency.

              I had a counterpart who came from a similar job as the one I’d had previously, an underpaid, hourly retail tech support job. In this new position we were both salaried, and the company was all about leaving work at work. Where I would find the most efficient way to do something and get it done quickly, he’d milk every task for as long as he could. In his mind, working on the same thing for hours, or staying late to do so, showed how much “work” he was doing. But since it took him an age to complete anything, he wasn’t actually getting that much done, he was mostly just wasting time at work. He was “working hard”, but wasn’t using his time in a smart manner.

              1. Observer*

                It’s not just efficiency. It can also be about taking a different path, figuring out if x,y or z can be left out or finding corners you can cut without necessarily impacting quality.

                There was a thread on one of the open posts about someone who grew up in a “foodie” household and doesn’t really know how to cook. It takes her an hour to cut up enough vegetable for one portion of stir fry, etc. A lot of people pointed her in the direction of corners she could cut while still being able to cook up tasty and healthful foods – use pre-cut vegetables, use frozen vegetables, cook sauces in batches and freeze rather than making it in little portions, etc. Also, things like use a food processor rather than chopping by hand.

                The point is that all of these things are not just about being more efficient – it’s a different way of thinking about the task, willingness to cut SOME corners, and the use of new or different tools to make the whole job easier.

                1. Candi*

                  First question: what is the goal?

                  Second: 2) What is the most effective way to get there? (Not fast, best, efficient, or even smartest. Most effective for the results desired.)

                  Sometimes that effective path is like some of the puzzles on games I play: non-intuitive, annoying to figure out, takes a few angles or detours that the person would normally not think of -but it makes sense when you’re done.

            2. Manders*

              I think when it’s applied correctly, it can be used to push back against the culture of long hours. The problem is that bosses who are already not very competent often think it means, “I could get 16 hours of productivity out of my employees in an 8 hour day if they were smart enough, and if I’m not getting that, the problem is my employees and not my expectations.”

              In my field at least, there are always a million tasks you *could* be doing, but some are really effective and some are just busywork. It’s really easy to accidentally fill your day with tasks that make you look like a hard worker but have no effect on the bottom line.

              1. SophieChotek*

                I agree — the phrase gets misapplied a lot and your example rings a bell with me. (I get this from my boss….the same one who claims he’s never taken a vacation day in 9 years and is on call 7 days a week.)

            3. Jadelyn*

              My version of “work smarter not harder” is about automating things as much as I can (at least, up to the point of diminishing returns – when I find I’m spending too long researching how to write a particular bit of VBA to make a spreadsheet do something for me, I have to decide if it’s worth the time lost in research vs the time saved by automating the thing long-term). Rather than manually clean up the same ugly and marginally useless report every time I have to pull it, deleting the same columns, resizing bits, changing formatting, etc. I wrote a macro that I can run with a couple clicks that takes care of it for me.

              As a bonus, it means I can hand some of these reports and spreadsheets off to someone else, since they don’t need to know the details of how I set it up – they just need to know how to run a macro or two to get what they need out of the data.

              I always joke with my team (who are not particularly tech-savvy and are always amazed at the things I do with Excel) when they’re expressing awe over something I’ve automated for us, that I am 100% driven by the need to enable my own laziness. :)

              1. Bryce*

                Back in a college summer internship, we were testing some modeling software. My job was to calculate everything by hand to make sure it matched, which mostly involved some trivial multiplication but also required being thorough to make sure I got every possible result. About halfway through I realized “I could just write a couple of programming loops to do the same thing I’ve been doing to keep track.”

                Mentor’s response: “that’s great, do that! Also keep doing it by hand to confirm the numbers.” On the upside, my code and name were added to the published paper. Win for that, but a loss for my attempt at laziness.

          2. Juli G.*

            This one doesn’t bother but maybe because in my company, it’s tied to flexibility and the theory that butt in chair from 8-6 isn’t necessarily working hard.

            1. Adlib*

              Agreed. I see some people with calendars PACKED with meetings, or people who work past 5 every single day. They still don’t get anything accomplished so they are mostly just inefficient. (They sure do love to be a martyr about it though.) I realize this isn’t the case with some companies or positions though, just my personal experience.

        2. Whats In A Name*

          I sorta get the sentiment here; I have a co-worker who chastises me for leaving at 3:30 some days, when other days I leave at 4:30 or 5. She says she feels “guilty” if she isn’t at work until 5. Even though most days the last hour or so of her day is spent perusing Facebook, studying for her master’s work or doing other things just to have her body in the office. In her head, she is a better worker than I am.

          To be clear: we are both consultants and get paid for the job not the hours. So if we can do it in 20 hours or 50 hours the expectation is the same: a finished product, on time.

        3. Temperance*

          That was a favorite saying of my JerkBoss. Yet oddly, she would do things like hand me an uncollated stack of papers that she had copied and tell me I needed to sort and bind them … when it would have saved me hours of work to just hit the “collate” button on the copier instead of stacking dozens of 30-page presentations. I hate that woman.

          1. the gold digger*

            I had a temp job in the early 90s where I had to pull all the customer files (on paper) and find any sales to California in 1991 so the company could pay the CA sales tax.

            It took hours. When I was done, the controller said, “Now do this for 1992.”

            To which I said, “But why didn’t you tell me that at the beginning? I could have done it all in one pass!”

            And he answered, with a shrug, “You’re being paid by the hour, aren’t you?”

            Which was when I got angry and teary and said that I was not paid to be inefficient. And some other things that I should not have said.

            I was informed that the company no longer needed my temp services that afternoon, which was not such a tragedy – this was the place where my boss, the wife of the owner, would get really angry if I didn’t answer the phone right away, even if I was in the bathroom. She also had me feed their cats when they were out of town but paid me from company funds for doing so, which would not have been such a big deal except 1. they paid low salaries to their scientists coupled with the promise of profit sharing and 2. tax fraud.

        4. LQ*

          I keep telling my coworker who works REALLY REALLY HARD that she needs to be lazier. She works 4 times as hard as I do and gets 1/10 as much done. She’s slowly picking up on things on her own (not just when I say- stop doing 15 clicks when 2 would work) like using templates and copying the work that is already done and updating it rather than starting every single thing from scratch.

          I’m not sure any of these are actually bad things. I know they’d drive me nuts if there was too much talk and not enough do/know when to not do (like you shouldn’t always collaborate, sometimes you should go off into a corner and just bust out work). If you just do your work then these will sort of all come naturally (maybe not passion, I have it but I’m in public service, and I see that as why I think the others are really important, but I don’t talk about it every day). You should just be doing them and talking about them pretty rarely but only as a function of do. Do. Do! Do-be-dobedo.

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      At the end of the day, managers want employees that make them look good and make their lives easier, in whatever form that may take. Employees who push back don’t do either of those things and, be it deliberate or inadvertent, there will be consequences for doing so. If the OP can’t be a chameleon and adapt to the current environment, it may be time to move on.

      Don’t get me wrong….these types of bosses drive me NUTS and moving on is perfectly justifiable.

    2. Artemesia*

      I know I am cynical but I don’t see a huge down side to playing along a bit to make your life easier. It isn’t as if you are betraying a trust or cheating or whatever, you are just being socially competent. You can view it as selling out, but you aren’t really selling much. Or you can view it as being clever and manipulative to get what you want, which seems like a good thing to me in difficult circumstances.

      1. Marisol*

        Agreed. When I read “I could be a star under this guy” I thought, ok, so what’s the problem? Do it. Be a star.

  5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    #1, you really have to cut your resume. I know it’s going to feel like everything is valuable and relevant—especially if you’ve invested a lot of time—but honestly, college extracurriculars (even if you did amazing things in those position) + part-time employment is not 2-pages-worthy. Take out the half that isn’t related to your field, and if it’s useful/relevant, you can mention some of those skills in your cover letter (which ideally does not simply summarize what’s already on your resume).

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        It also runs the risk of signaling that you may not have an understanding of the relative weight of each experience/skill you’ve described, which in turn can indicate that you don’t fully understand the position or the criteria necessary to qualify for that position. While not understanding how the employer weighs different experiences is more forgivable for employees who are coming directly from college (assuming they’re not reentry students), it’s still not a great message to send.

        1. Mookie*

          Yes. Extracurriculars are not, with the exception of engaging in certain kinds of unpaid public service closely related to your field and requiring at least a small amount of relevant expertise garnered from attending university, commensurate with work experience and do not demonstrate professional, applicable skills. Grant-writing, internships, fellowships to fund independent research projects, terms spent abroad, and publishing are some of the things you’re after, and even these are not always welcome on a stream-lined resumé, but can be referenced in a cover letter or interview where appropriate.

          It can feel kind of frustrating, LW, not to cite everything you’ve done for the past 3+ years that you’re very proud of, that you probably made many sacrifices for, but being heavily involved while attending school is not particularly exceptional, though it is its own reward. It’s great that you pursued these experiences, I hope you enjoyed every last second of them, but this is a universal problem: we can’t always highlight invisible work we engaged in on the way towards something else. Chalk some of these things up as edifying, enriching, and amusing. Use the lessons you gained from them going forward. Network with the people you met while pursuing them. Treat them for what they are, a form of study. Your grade is not based on how well you studied and revised, how many hours you put in, but what became of those hours, how you capitalized on them.

          1. SarahTheEntwife*

            Agree. If someone doesn’t have work experience, or if they’ve used a lot of very specifically applicable skills that aren’t shown in their work experience (running major campus events, say, and applying for an event-managing sort of job), extracurriculars can be a good way to demonstrate ability.

          2. BPT*

            I wouldn’t even include a semester abroad, unless you’re going into international relations or something similar, AND it’s a relevant area of the world.

            So for example, if you studied in Jordan and learned to speak Arabic, that could be relevant and a unique skill. I studied for a semester in London, however, which isn’t impressive or an accomplishment. It was a great experience, but not worth putting on a resume. I get a lot of recent graduate resumes, and I don’t think people understand studying abroad is not an accomplishment on it’s own. You could have accomplishments there (learning another language, interning with a foreign government, etc), but leaving the country itself is not an accomplishment

            1. Emac*

              ” if you studied in Jordan and learned to speak Arabic”

              Even with that, I would say just put Arabic in a skills list or summary if it’s relevant to the job. Where it was learned *might* go on a cover letter but it doesn’t belong on the resume.

          3. Barney Barnaby*

            Extracurriculars can be important if they show a deep level of accomplishment and commitment (ex., “captain of the wrestling team, won conference title” or “debate team captain; won regional conference”).

            But one of the many ways in which the working world is different from school is that no one cares about what you do in your free time.

            1. Artemesia*

              And the more different activities you do, the less impressive it is. Mastery and accomplishment if it relates to work skills is impressive. A long list of committees and clubs looks high school and shallow.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Ugh. What’s the point of this comment? All it does is a) repeat what Alison said and b) insult the LW.

        I also disagree. It comes across as inexperienced, no more no less.

        And I actually think very early career folks have it harder than more senior people keeping their resumes short. 3 summer jobs and 4 school year jobs or internships take up way more space than the one job that a more experienced person had over the same time frame. That doesn’t mean they shouldnt trim their resume, but just an acknowledgement that it’s legitimately hard to do.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          It’s not ok to insult the OP, but it’s also not ok to insult commenters.

          Plus, I don’t think MillersSpring was saying that the OP *is* clueless and self-important, just that they would come across that way. I kind of agree. I don’t think I’d go so far as “self-important,” but certainly clueless and not understanding what employers are looking for. That’s fine, lots of people don’t know that and the OP is in school still. But if the OP can avoid coming across that way, it would be better for them, wouldn’t it?

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            I genuinely don’t see where I insulted the commentator? (I guess the “ugh” was uncalled for; I apologize for that.)

            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

              Sorry, clicked too soon. I meant to add that my question was genuine — what was the point of that comment? It didn’t add any insight; it seems like the purpose was just to be hurtful.

                1. MillersSpring*

                  Yes, thanks. I’m a hiring manager, and I think voices such as mine, in agreement with Alison, help to sway OPs. I didn’t mean to insult the OP, just chime in with Alison’s sentiments.

        2. Angela*

          So, I kind of agree that students and recent grads sometimes have a tougher time, both because the nature of being a full-time student means that you have a lot of transient and part-time experiences (like you said). AND because students who don’t have a lot of experience, their encouraged to include extra-curriculars, volunteer work, student organizations, etc until they DO have relevant work experience. So there’s a mindset change that needs to happen- it’s part n parcel of the transition from full-time student to professional.

        3. Chickaletta*

          Yep, resume length often isn’t a reflection of how experienced someone is, or even how many adjectives they use to describe themselves, it’s a reflection of the number of jobs/volunteer positions that they’ve held. It’s resume logistics: Even if each job takes up only a couple lines, it can be difficult to keep the resume readable and include everything.

          One thing the OP has to her advantage is that if she leave some things off, it won’t look like a gap in employment.

          Also, OP, the irony in resumes (and many other situations too) is that saying less can make you look better: when someone describes everything they did, or use lots of adjectives, it can come across as less competent than someone who is very brief. It can be hard to do. It’s not as if those things you accomplished aren’t important – they are – it’s just that they don’t belong on a resume. A resume isn’t a list of a person’s life accomplishments, it’s a tool that is used to get you an interview. Think of it this way: leaving some jobs and accomplishments off isn’t to discredit those things, it’s a tactic.

        4. Artemesia*

          But you don’t need to list details of short term and summer jobs. Unless they are unusually interesting e.g. you worked as a marine biology assistant diving and you are applying for a job in marine biology then they can be summarized as ‘summer jobs’ and just listed. No one cares about your accomplishments at McDonalds.

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            Agreed. I just mean to sympathize that I think it’s genuinely harder for a very junior person than a more senior person.

        5. fishy*

          You have a good point about people who are early in their career possibly having a hard time keeping resumes short. I had that problem myself last year. Prior to my current job, my couple years of work experience was gained through a series of short-term temp jobs. It was a little difficult to fit them all on one page, but even though I knew most of them weren’t THAT important, if I had left any of them off it would have left a noticeable gap in my (already patchy) resume.

    1. Tsehafy*

      My work unit had partnered with some (quite accomplished) students in a Master’s program to analyse a particular business process question. We received the CVs of the group and many of the longest ones came off as really out of touch about what was important to an employer/partner and self-important. One memorable one listed his time teaching basketball to 10 year olds. Not only that, he even listed his duties. There was really a bullet to the effect of “demonstrate and coach effective passing, dribbling and shooting skills”. Not saying you’re doing that OP1, just an anecdote to show what can happen when you don’t pare down.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        I saw a two page resume like that, but from a recent grad who only has a B.S. Not only did he list mundane duties that would have been obvious from his job titles, but then he listed almost every job he’s ever had since he was, like, sixteen – and it was in chronological order with all of his most recent experience on the second page! A lot of the panel were confused at first thinking he hadn’t worked in years until I pointed out that they had to go to page two to see his actual relevant experience. That definitely did not help him.

        I also found that new grads that have two page resumes not only have a problem with editing, but they often speak like they write. This guy could not answer a straight question succinctly to save his life – he took between five to seven minutes to answer each question. It was a mess. All of this to say, OP – cut that resume down.

        1. k*

          Good point about how they listed mundane duties. I used to do that when I was first starting out and had limited job experience (though my resume was still 1 page). When you’re taught how to write a resume you see examples with 3-4 bullet points for each job. Even at campus job centers no one ever pointed out to me that everyone basically knows what being a retail cashier meant and I didn’t need half a page to describe it. Later I learned to cut back and only list things that really stood out or aren’t implied by the job title (such as cutting the line about customer service, keeping that I trained other employees).

          1. Artemesia*

            Exactly which I why I suggested just listing : Summer and part time jobs during college: camp councilor(dates), retail clerk (dates), waiter (dates) No one needs more information than that. If you did something fabulous, creative, innovative in one of those, mention it in the cover letter.

      2. Kelly L.*

        You know, I think there’s kind of a culture switch from school to work that might be at play here. In school, you’re always trying to make stuff longer. A 10 page paper is viewed as a more “advanced” paper than a 7 page paper, and padding is rampant. And yeah, I definitely remember trying to make some rather flimsy jobs sound important by breaking them into tiny granular detail.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Plus, I think at that level, you really don’t know what an employer might care about, so you just throw everything in to show that you have skills and experience that translate. It’s hard to write a compelling resume when you’re at that level.

          2. fishy*

            At my undergrad, many professors set maximum as well as minimum page limits. They wanted us to understand the importance of conciseness and editing… but I bet they were also tired of reading zillions of 30-page analyses of the symbolism of Achilles’s shield or whatever :)

        1. BadPlanning*

          Plus, when you are applying to colleges and for scholarships, it seems like more is definitely better! Or at least it was eons ago when I was applying. List every activity you’ve every done!

          1. Dorothy Mantooth*

            That’s exactly what I came to say.. for college and scholarship applications, students are often encouraged to list EVERYTHING to show how involved they are. You spent an afternoon volunteering at the food pantry? List it! You signed people in at the blood drive registration table once? Add it!

            1. Kelly L.*

              Oh yeah, and I remember being in high school and my parents being like “JOIN EVERY CLUB OMGBBQ” and of course every other kid who wanted to go to college was doing the same thing, so every club had a cast of thousands, and each club only had a few people who did the real work, and it wasn’t the same kids from one club to the next, because those were the ones who actually cared about that specific thing. So Jane was a mover and shaker in the math club, but just a name on the list in the drama club, and vice versa for Wakeen.

              And then they told us “Oh, wait, it’s actually more important to focus on a few specific things you’re passionate about!” Could have saved us all some time and annoyance, ha.

          2. Elysian*

            There is definitely some tension here! A resume for grad school looks very, very different than a resume for a job. Even academic CVs are a whole different beast, so moving from the academic world to the working world is different in a lot of ways.

          3. the gold digger*

            I am an alumni interviewer for my college, which requires a personal interview as part of the application process. I talked to a high school senior who was in about a million activities and rolled my eyes (to myself, in my head).

            I asked him, “If you could do just two things, what would they be?” I would rather hear from someone who is committed to doing one or two things well – the things she really cares about – than someone who is throwing everything on his resume.

    2. Trout 'Waver*

      I hate to use the word ‘worthy’ in describing two page resumes. It’s not about worth. It’s about controlling your message. When I screen resumes, I look at the overall format (Can this person communicate well), the most recent work experiences, and then the degree because I’m in a STEM field. After that, I’ve made my decision on whether or not to set up a phone screen.

      Hiring managers aren’t sitting around weighing every detail of a resume against another. They’re looking to quickly sort a huge stack of resumes into ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ piles to move on to the next round.

    3. blackcat*

      It doesn’t give a good impression. When I was in college, I helped run a non-profit that was largely (college-age) volunteer run, but did have a time role for the summer. I helped hire for that role. We generally got juniors or seniors in college, with very professional applications. We got one freshman who applied, with a 7 page pink resume in a script font. It included things like honor roll in middle school.

      We sent an email to the effect of “At this stage, your resume should be a page or less, and it’s best to focus only on your relevant experience. It’s also best to stick to clear, simple formatting as well.” The email we got back was super nasty! She insisted we didn’t know what we were talking about. Yes, we were college students, too, but we were quite competent at what we were doing (as was the person who we hired).

      OP, you don’t even want to be in the same university as this young woman. Keep it short and to the point. That makes a much better impression!

      1. baseballfan*

        “It’s pink.”
        “And it’s scented. I think that gives it a little something extra, don’t you?”

        I am amazed at 7 pages, too. The longest resume I’ve seen was 5 pages (which was at least 3 pages too much) that listed things like waitress at Shoney’s, in applying for a job in Big 4 accounting. From someone who had been in the workforce probably 20 years.

        1. blackcat*

          We made Legally Blonde jokes: “At least it’s not scented!” And while scenting a pdf in an email would have demonstrated spectacular skills, they would not be the same skills that we were looking for.

          I *think* in addition to setting the background color as a pale pink, the text itself was purple. It was a long time ago, so I don’t remember tons of details, other than the middle school honor role. I think I recall her girl scout achievements or something similar.

          The font was also huge (maybe 16 pt font?) and there was lots of blank space, too.

          (Also, I totally meant to say “same universe” in my original comment. Time for more coffee!)

          1. AMG*

            lol! Well, mine in early college was pale pink! But not 7 pages and I didn’t yell at anyone. And thank GOD it was not scented.

        2. Jadelyn*

          My record-holder currently is 11 pages. I’m not kidding. It was for a senior position, but it was HORRIBLY formatted with unnecessary space EVERYWHERE, and I swear to whoever, it went all the way back to his first job as a dishwasher in a monastery (of all places!) in like the 70s.

          I mean. I’m willing to forgive up to 3 pages if you’re really senior and going for a very senior role, but there is no universe in which an 11-page resume is necessary or acceptable for anything ever.

              1. vpc*

                My academic CV runs 9-10 pages, for about 15 years of career at this point.

                But I’ve got a 1.5 page resume, too.

        3. Chaordic One*

          “And it’s scented. I think that gives it a little something extra, don’t you?”

          Yeah, it gives me hives.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        That is awful, and I am so sorry. I wish she’d taken the advice—if I received a resume like that I would be agog and slightly horrified.

    4. Joseph*

      honestly, college extracurriculars (even if you did amazing things in those position) + part-time employment is not 2-pages-worthy
      +100 – There’s no polite way to say this, but there’s a limit to what hiring managers want to see. You need to list some of your part-time employment, but they aren’t going to see a difference between 2 jobs and 6. Same deal with extracurriculars, they want to see that you’ve done *something*, but don’t really care about every single thing you’ve ever done.
      That said, this is just with regards to the resume. You can absolutely still bring up things which you did (but aren’t listed) in the interview if they’re relevant. If they ask for an example of how you solved a difficult problem, you can certainly discuss “I was involved in chess club in sophomore year and we had an issue with scheduling…” despite the fact that chess club wasn’t listed on your resume. Hiring managers understand that your resume isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of everything you’ve ever done.

      1. orangesolange*

        What is important to a hiring manager and what is important to a job candidate are very different things.

        No matter how proud you are or your accomplishments, no matter how amazing they are, if they are not relevant to what the hiring manager wants, they don’t matter.

        A lot of people mistake the importance they attach to their accomplishments with their worth to a potential employer.

        This isn’t just true of college extracurriculars. If I’m hiring you as a lawyer, it’s really irrelevant that you cured cancer. I just care if you passed the bar and if you understand how to draft a trust and tax laws.

        1. Jadelyn*

          I think this is a super critical point. The worth of your accomplishments *to you* has NO bearing whatsoever on how relevant they are to a given position you’re going for. That doesn’t devalue those accomplishments! Please, absolutely be proud of yourself for everything you’ve accomplished in your life – but don’t mistake personal pride for external relevance.

        2. Artemesia*

          And if you worked in some sort of legal research position during the summer, or in an AG’s office on an internship — they would find that relevant. Maybe debate if the firm does litigation, but not most of the rest.

      2. RobM*

        Effective resume writing is a huge change in focus from normal writing and I think plenty of us do struggle at worse but the first time I was part of a hiring process and got over 100 resumes for a basic position I quickly started to really understand the people who told me to edit and reduce my efforts in the past.

        OP #1: of each line on your resume you need to ask yourself one question and be quite ruthless in how you answer it: “Does this help the hiring manager for this particular job understand why I am a good fit for their job?”.

        If the answer is yes, that’s fine. If the answer’s no then cut that line out no matter how much the achievement might have meant to you at the time you obtained it. If the answer is “not sure” then rewrite it until you know the answer and then leave it/remove it as appropriate.

        All the jobs we list include some variation of “able to communicate clearly” in the job specification. If your resume is too long and makes it hard to find relevant information then you’ve failed that requirement and will quite likely end up in the “reject” pile.

    5. Karanda Baywood*

      Yes, and #1, it might help to ask someone whose experience you respect to look over your resume and make suggestions. You have an understandably narrow view of your life up to this point and maybe can’t see it through the lens of today’s workplace.

    6. Purest Green*

      I have a three-page resume, filled with everything I can think of. But I don’t submit it. It exists for me to refer to and withdraw relevant information from for the one-page versions I actually give to employers. It helps me, and might help OP, to know all that information isn’t permanently deleted.

      1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

        Oh, that’s a sensible idea – I may have to do this. I have the hardest time re-arranging my résumé to apply to each job without being afraid I’m losing something.

      2. Venus Supreme*

        (I tried posing here before and the internet crashed on me… if this is a double-post I apologize & hopefully an Internet Higher Power can delete the duplicate)

        Anyway, I came here to say I agree with Purest Green. I was given advice that you should keep a long, lengthy resume detailing every single relevant job/position/activity you did and keep it as your CV. That way it will be easier to pull particular relevant experiences to craft your one-page resume for a job application!

        OP#1, I agree it’s tough to pare down your experience into one page but it’s definitely doable!!

      3. NK*

        I have something similar. I have a career profile/resume builder through my business school that I have lifetime access to. So I can enter all my jobs and bullet points, and add/remove bullets from my published resume to tailor to the job and get everything on one page (though as I now have over a decade of experience I’m considering whether it’s time to move to a 2-page resume). But I always have that info so I don’t lose it or forget it.

      4. Anna*

        Exactly this. My husband and I are going to sit down and do one of these for him so he can get an overview of his experience and use the basic resume for reference.

      5. VelociraptorAttack*

        I work in Career Services at a university and this is what I always recommend to students. I try to drill it into them that a one page resume is the only thing they should even consider at this point and that it must be relevant to the position they are applying for. Generally, I think perhaps some of them listen to me due to the fact that I mention my experiences as someone hiring in my previous field so it seems more “in touch” with actual employer expectations.

        It frustrates me to no end (while also not being surprising) that OP also got advice from a college career center that a two page resume as an undergrad was absolutely peachy.

      6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I do this too—it’s labeled as my “long form” resume, because there’s no way I’d ever submit it (but I wanted to keep track of everything and have the ability to copy/paste data points into the resume I would submit).

        1. Chaordic One*

          I have a similar resume that literally lists everything and which I absolutely would never submit.

          What I do is, I save a copy and then delete most of the information, keeping only the most current relevant information for the specific job that I am applying for. In effect I’m creating a custom resume for a specific job.

      7. Elizabeth West*

        Ha, I’ve done this for years. It contains jobs I’ve forgotten I even had!

        I also have an address list going back as far as possible (for anything related to clearance, law enforcement, etc.) and a pay-and-dates document that also has addresses and phone numbers of each position.

      8. Epsilon Delta*

        LinkedIn is another place to store extra bullet points and even whole jobs that you might not include every time you submit a resume.

    7. Hillia*

      My husband’s cousin stayed with us for awhile after dropping out of his master’s program (he won’t admit why, but we’re pretty sure he bailed on his part of a group project that was supposed to be presented at a university symposium). The career center helped him with his resume. Ooo, boy:
      1. An objective that was nothing but a string of buzzwords, none of which related to him even remotely
      2. He listed himself as ‘pursuing a master’s degree, expected graduation xx/xx’, when he was not in school and had no plans to be
      3. He was an RA 4 different times, at different schools, never for more than a semester at a time. 4 identical listings, nothing changed except date/school
      4. Every work study job he’d held, some for only a month, none of which related to his major (print shop, building sets for the theater department)
      5. Every job he’d ever held, going back to lifeguard at the town pool when he was in high school.
      His resume was something like 4 pages, and he was very indignant when I told him it needed to be cut down. The career center told him that for a professional, length didn’t matter. He also wrote a cover letter that explained that one of his weaknesses was time management, and that he often didn’t get things done. I tried to help by editing and giving him feedback, but he just took my edited version and used it for every application, just switching out the job titles.

      He’s now preparing to attend truck driving school.

      1. Anna*

        There’s nothing wrong with driving a truck, especially since it won’t require a really polished resume and cover letter to get hired. Hoo boy!

        1. Hillia*

          You’re right…truck driving is a skill and a necessary one for our economy! We’ve been amused because this guy comes from a long line of hard working blue collar people and he’s been very snotty and superior about how he’s the first one to get an advanced degree etc. – and now here he is ‘settling’ (in his mind) for ‘menial’ work.

      2. Artemesia*

        Truck driving is one of the professions that is expected to be automated out of existence in the next 10 to 20 years.

    8. Barney Barnaby*

      Here’s how I think it should look:

      Jane M. Smith
      Podunk University, expected graduation year 2017
      Majors: English and Psychology
      Selected Extracurricular Activities: editor of school newspaper, intramural softball captain
      (Big idea: you’re putting the important ECs on here – the ones showing commitment and leadership. If your ECs show none of the above, and you’re just hopping around between them, then leave ’em off.)

      Professional Experience
      Podunk University, 2013-2017
      Dining Hall Worker, Library Staffer, Resident Assistant
      (Do about three or four bullet points with *accomplishments* or big responsibilities)
      (Big idea here: you’re working on-campus. No one cares if you are hired or paid by a different department; it’s all for the university. So list it as different roles in the same job.)

      Teapots Manufacturing, Inc., (Title and years)
      *Two bullet points

    9. Z*

      When I saw a second-year grad student, I had a first-year grad student ask for my help editing her resume to apply for internships.

      It was at least two pages and she was devoting as much space describing her job as a barista as her work in a research lab.

      Poor woman had never heard the rule that it should only be one page. I wanted to kick someone (I wasn’t sure who) at her undergrad. And then I helped her fix it.

    10. Sabine the Very Mean*

      Okay Okay now I’m panicking. I’m getting an MPA but I also have 10 years of professional relevant experience including public education, state lobbying and public transit operations management. My resume is two pages with no fluff. Fa-reaking out!

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Sabine, you should be fine—the advice is mostly for undergraduates (who did not take time out to work between high school and college) and K-MA’s.

        Professional degrees are a little different because you usually have to have some kind of relevant work experience to get into the program. The mistake that professional degree holders make is (1) including college-level jobs/work/internships; and (2) including pre-prof-degree jobs that are not related to their field of interest. As long as you’re not doing either of those things, you should be ok.

          1. Sabine the Very Mean*

            Oh, I should have changed my name to “Crapbag”. I often wanted to reply to your awesome name with what I thought was an even funnier name from that scene–just think of a bag of crap! Ha!

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              Hehehe, thank you! :) I’ve had a few folks respond as “Crapbag,” and it always makes me smile.

      2. MegaMoose, Esq*

        I have a two page resume right now too, and believe me, I have agonized over it! Like PCBH said, though, the one-page advice here is focused at undergrads (I don’t know what K-MA means?) and I think the real point is to be brutal and honest about what’s needed and what isn’t. It sounds to me like what you have is relevant and two pages is totally fine. As for myself, I graduated from law school in 2012 and have a string of relevant but short-term jobs (nothing longer than a year since 2009) that pushes me into two pages no matter what I do. Because I haven’t been able to get my “real” career started, I can’t really let those drop off yet.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Sorry, “K-MA” reads as “K through Master’s”—my friends and I used to use a similar phrase for kids who went from high school directly to college then directly to law school (so instead of K-12, it was K-J.D.). I should have been clearer!

    11. SometimesALurker*

      #1, one thing that I have done to cut the length of my resume is to cluster very similar jobs. They were part-time or seasonal jobs that all had fairly similar descriptions, but different locations (from when I was cobbling together full-time work through multiple part-time jobs). Instead of listing my job duties under ever single one, I made one entry in my resume that said, “Teapot Associate responsible for x y and z” and listed four jobs (employer, city, dates) as bullet points under this. This is kind of an unconventional thing to do, as I understand it, and I don’t recommend it for the jobs related to your field (mine were related to my field but several jobs ago by the time I did this). But it may help for jobs that aren’t in your field but all demonstrate one main transferable skill you have.

      That said, you probably also should cut some things. It’s painful, but it’s part of the process. You can put a more complete version of your resume on LinkedIn, so if someone goes looking for more information, it will be easy to get.

  6. Mary*

    OP1, as a fellow (fairly involved) college senior, I can assure you that it is easy enough to get the resume to one page. I would first make the spacing adjustments Alison suggested. Then, keep your two page resume and every time you apply for a job, just copy and paste the relevant experiences. For example, I tend to focus on the internships I’ve done in my field (really hard to get entry level work without completing at least a year of interning), and leave out the retail jobs I’ve held. However, if a job emphasizes having customer service as a component, I have another version that allows me to leave in some relevant retail experience. You can have a two page resume, it just shouldn’t be the one you send out!

    1. Mookie*

      So much yes. Editing, practicing discretion, and knowing your audience are important skills, LW. For someone still at uni, your resumé is an excellent way of demonstrating you know how to perform all three.

    2. BRR*

      I love the keeping a master copy of your resume and copying from it depending on the job you’re applying technique.

      1. EW*

        Yes, I wish I had built a master copy that included things like supervisor name and number in addition to job duties. So much easier to do when you’re starting out vs trying to go back and recreate it! This would help both with job applications (I feel like half of them require you to copy your resume into their form anyway) and creating a relevant resume for a specific job.

        1. Chinook*

          The master copy resume is also useful if you ever have to fill out a security clearance form. Most employers don’t care about that 6 month stint in retail but the government certainly does when they want to give you top secret clearance.

          1. Artemesia*

            When I applied for Russian Visa two years ago I had to list all my jobs and my bosses on each job. Since I had spent my professional career of 35 years at one place that meant remembering this stuff for jobs back in the 60s and 70s.

        2. NK*

          Yes, this is huge. I keep a file separate from my resume with each company, phone number, address, exact dates of employment, and supervisor. Makes the job application process so much easier!

        3. AKJ*

          I have a basic “Work History” I keep up to date alongside my resume. It includes details about every single job I have ever had, including addresses and phone numbers. I pull it up while filling out online applications, and I bring a printed copy with me to interviews just in case they want me to fill out an application, but it’s just for my reference so I remember all of that information. It has come in handy several times.

          When I was 18, I got a job that required a ten year background check and security clearance, so they wanted me to list every address I’d had, and everything I’d done in the last ten years. I asked “everything?” and they were very firm – “Everything.” So the last line on the form (moving backward) read something like this:
          “3rd grade, Happyville Elementary School, Happyville, USA”

      2. Bonky*

        I used to do that when I was a new grad: I was applying for jobs in different fields, and also temping. I had a folder full of different CVs (CVs here, I’m in the UK) for each field, which was incredibly useful while temping; I’m sure it meant I got more work than I would have done with one standard CV.

    3. Graciosa*

      I agree that there are benefits to keeping a master resume, but I think in this case it may not highlight the most important message to the OP in this case – the need to edit in ways that reflect business priorities of a hiring manager.

      One fundamental skill the resume shows is whether or not an applicant can communicate the most important information succinctly. That skill is essential, as is the judgment required to determine what is truly important.

      If, for example, the OP were to keep a 2 page resume with 1/4 page on each of six jobs (leaving room for other stuff) and pick the three most relevant for each application, she would probably not be coming up with the most powerful resume possible.

      Showing the most important and relevant achievements from all six jobs on one page would be more effective – although I suspect one page would still be better than two even if the OP had to leave half the jobs out. Two pages is just way too long this early in a career.

      I agree with your basic message, and I understand the retail versus professional field aspects, but I wanted to make sure your master resume concept didn’t dilute the editing message. The OP really needs to edit.

      1. Mary*

        I agree! That’s why I said to first do the spacing/editing adjustments Alison recommended. At this point my master resume is barely on the second page, because I try to be succinct.

    4. Anon13*

      I was going to suggest something similar! OP, it’s definitely OK to have different versions of your resume. I have a “master resume,” but I also have two that are already ready to go for two slightly different types of jobs. There’s definitely nothing wrong with having one resume, particularly since you’re early in your career and may be applying for a broad range of positions.

  7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    #5, I’m so sorry, but whatever bridge you had is long gone. It burned down and all the ashes have blown away. There are almost no circumstances under which I would hire someone who, when canceling their interview, included a tirade/rant chastising me for not hiring them during earlier processes. I would really question their judgment/perspective, and it’s more likely that I would feel like I dodged a bullet (I would react the same way if I were the recruiter—it wasn’t entirely clear to me if you called the recruiter or the employer, but in this case I think the fallout would be the same, regardless).

    I know it’s probably uncharacteristic for you to have engaged with an employer this way, but it’s such an outlier that it would likely stick out for any employer who didn’t know you outside of the job application process. I think the quicker you can pivot to another opportunity, the better you’ll feel about the process.

    1. MK*

      Not to pile on, but I think what would make this unsalvageable for me is that the rant came out of nowhere. If a candidate responded like this to a rejection, that would be bad, but I would understand it was disappointment and frustration speaking; and might be inclined to give the candidate another chance if they apologised. But this is likely to strike the recruiter as totally unreasonable behavior coming out of nowhere.

      1. lulu*

        Exactly, you lashed out at them because your car broke down, that’s a very strange reaction from their perspective. I also noticed your wording about being rejected not once, but twice by this company. Most job applications do not result in hiring, there is nothing unusual about not getting a job after 2 attempts, I think you need to recalibrate your expectations regarding job searching.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yeah – the current company I work for? I was rejected by them for two different positions over the years before being offered my trainee role three years ago (and I’ve been promoted twice since). Another company that ended up offering me a job in 2015? Rejected by them for at least 10 other positions, none of which I had been interviewed for. It would be easy to think, “Since you want to hire me now, why didn’t you hire me before if I’m so great?” Well, it was most likely because they found somebody better (e.g. more qualified) those other times. If I had gotten upset and chastised them for their prior decisions, I wouldn’t have gotten offers, and I wouldn’t be sitting in my current company making almost double what I was making at my last job.

          1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

            I mean, when I applied at a well known bookstore back in college and after, I think I handed in five applications before a close friend finally got a job there and gave my resume directly to one of the managers.

        2. RVA Cat*

          I know we often say hiring is like dating, but it really applies in this case. You are that dude who went on an angry rant when she turned you down for a date, and went from being ‘no chemistry’ to ‘OMG what a psycho’.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            It’s almost worse, because she said yes to the date, but you canceled because your car had trouble and then yelled at her for not saying yes when you asked her out a year ago.

    2. MadGrad*

      I don’t know, I’m worried it may not have been uncharacteristic. If someone who otherwise behaves professionally does something like this, they’ll usually acknowledge how inappropriate it was in the letter or at least express some embarassment. The LW does neither, and jumped to “will I have to apologize to get another chance or will they get over it on their own” without acknowledging the possibility that the bridge might be burnt. Heck, even if they did this and did recognize that they’d firebombed a bridge, I think most people would be asking if they should apologize anyway for damage control!

      I think LW may need to seriously examine how they think and act professionally.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Oh, yeah, this. I don’t see any acknowledgement that it was a very, very inappropriate and unprofessional thing to do.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          No, in fact, the OP tried to excuse it by saying how stressed she was about the car needing repairs.

          I mean, I get it- I sometimes lash out when I’m under stress too- but I acknowledge that I’m wrong for doing so. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s written and the OP would come off better in person, but the tone of the letter seems to be that will she have to be inconvenienced by sending this apology, only to get what she (potentially) wants in the future. She isn’t actually sorry.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            And even now, the OP is throwing shade on the company (in a later comment), suggesting that they must be circling the drain simply because they didn’t handle her applications the way she feels they should have been handled. I hate to pile on, but this sour grapes approach really suggests the OP doesn’t get it at all.

            1. OP#5*

              I wouldn’t call closing facilities, laying people off and having people jumping ship in droves to be a sign of a “fruitful” time in company history would you? This stuff is factual and I’m not making it up. My hiring at the positions I applied for probably would not have single handily helped save the company, but could have still made a positive difference and certainly wouldn’t have hurt. At the very least, they’d have one more loyal and dedicated employee who would stick around and do an exceptional job. I will admit being rejected by them strung a bit more since things are not going well for them at the moment and you’d expect them to be happy to get whatever talent they can to help turn things around, than perhaps it would have if they were thriving and could take or leave people.

              1. MadGrad*

                You’re taking this waaay too personally, and I don’t think you really appreciate how you’re being perceived. You didn’t act like you’d be a loyal or dedicated employee – you didn’t bother to reschedule an interview or find other means of transportation. It’s also pretty arrogant to say they should jump for you: they’ve interviewed you twice and both times found at least one person who fit better, so no matter what you think they clearly aren’t desperate. Adding in your bad judgment here, I doubt they think you’d be as good for them as you seem to.

                I’m sure you have a lot to offer at the right company, but really, take a step back and think about how people respond. This thinking won’t help you to find the right job at all.

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                I’m really worried that you’ve become too entrenched with what you think of this company and your application experience, OP. Your update highlights an out-of-the-norm, problematic attitude toward the job hunting process and toward this company in particular.

                Alison has a lot of really helpful articles on not taking rejections too personally or ascribing your projections about what you think is motivating your prospective employer’s hiring decisions, and I think they could provide guidance for how to take a big step back and reframe what happened here.

    3. Tequila Mockingbird*

      I had to read #5 twice to make sure I read it correctly. She cancelled and went on a rant about being too good for the company… all because her car broke down? Whoa.

      I suspect there are deeper emotional issues going on here with this LW.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      Not only did the ship sail, #5 was the captain, and sailed it directly into a reef.

  8. Jess*

    LW 1- I can totally relate. When I was in college I found it really difficult to cut my resume down to one page. Oddly enough, I have no problem keeping it to one page now that I’m 5+ years out. I think the reason it was so difficult then was b/c each one of those part-time & summer jobs and extracurriculars seemed really important to demonstrating a discrete skill or experience when I lacked any full-time relevant, professional work that would show multiple skills and solid experience in a field. I did manage to get it down to one page though, and once you finally get there, you’ll see why it really didn’t need to be longer. Try doing it rounds – going through and reformatting & editing & cutting as much as you can, then let it sit for a day or two and come back and do the same thing again. Repeat until you get it down to where it needs to be. Details that you think you can’t possibly exclude in round one often start to appear unnecessary in round three.

    1. BRR*

      I can understand how it would be easier to a one-page resume now than in school. Not only do each activity, job, and internship seem really important but you’re likely to have more of those short-term stints and they each take up space.

    2. Jesmlet*

      When I was first applying to jobs out of college, I had a 2 page resume and had trouble cutting it down because I felt like I needed all that information to make up for the fact that I didn’t have any full-time, directly relevant experience. Now that I’m several years out, I have a nice 1 page resume and cut out all the part time stuff I’d done in the past. It definitely is easier once you’ve been out a while because presumably you’ve stayed longer in the jobs you’ve had.

      Your 2 majors should only take up one line, extracurriculars don’t need to be there unless it’s very specifically related to the company you’re applying to and if you had a leadership role there, and frankly you could probably stand to drop a summer job or two because odds are, they aren’t all relevant. It’s more important to demonstrate that you can be succinct and understand the roles you’re applying for than it is to show every skill you have through the 6 jobs you’ve had.

    3. Chickaletta*

      Great advice. Sometimes tasks and accomplishments seem more important when you’re young because you hadn’t done them before, or maybe some of your peers aren’t doing them. But in the work world these things are much more mundane and obvious. Without seeing the OP’s resume, it’s hard to know what’s taking it to 2 pages, but if she’s including things like “communicated with managers”, “lead meetings”, or “finished project ahead of schedule”, that really needs to come off.

    4. Trig*

      Yes, yes, yes. When I was applying for my internship-that-got-me-a-full-time-permanent-job five years ago, I had literally no relevant work experience. I’d been a student, working part-time student jobs. And I had only the vaguest of career aspirations, so no field-focused extra-curriculars.

      Subsequently, I felt like I had to include every part-time job I’d ever worked and somehow make it relevant to the position, even positions that weren’t a big deal rife with accomplishments.

      Given that it was an internship where they didn’t expect much experience, I was able to work the ‘soft skills’ from the job ad in with some success. But man, it did feel like I had to show how every obviously-unrelated job was actually an asset, so I didn’t look like a complete noob. “This job selling people outdoors gear involved the related skill of explaining complex concepts and features to non-experts! And this job working as a language camp counselor was great for communicating across cultures, because I was teaching kids French!”

      Now although I’m a bit nervous about the optics of having only worked one job, I’ve definitely had a wealth and variety of experience, lived through huge organizational and process overhauls, had growing responsibilities, and concrete accomplishments I can point to. This job lets me provide enough detail to be competitive, leaving just do a quick rundown of “previous part-time experience” if there’s space.

      All that to say that I sympathize with OP, and that in time, with more specific, career-relevant experience, it’ll get easier. For now, it’s ok to leave off some of your completely unrelated experience (and be brutal about what’s unrelated; if the only relevant thing about a job is that it shows you “can work well independently and in a team”, scrap it. You probably have other jobs that show that too.)

    5. Turtle Candle*

      Yes! This can be weirdly harder when you have less experience. I think it’s because instead of being able to demonstrate ability to do the job via one or more solid chunks of experience, you feel like you’re trying to piece it together out of a bunch of tangentially-related smaller things–student jobs, internships, “leadership opportunities,” etc., which have to sort of be puzzled together to guess whether you can do the work, vs. actual job experience where you can say “I know I can do the work because I have done the work for X years.”

      After a decade in the industry, I feel like my experience is a big chunk of marble, and I can afford to shave off chunks to make it into a shape that will be appealing to a hiring manager–whereas when I was fresh out of college, I felt like I was trying to make that same statue by gluing tiny pebbles together with chewing gum, so I was hesitant to throw away any of the pebbles away, even if they didn’t fit.

      But sometimes you gotta throw the pebbles away. Otherwise they’re just messing up your statue.

  9. Kelsey*

    OP#1 I know it’s hard to edit things out, and I know because I used to be just like you. All of my previous jobs were in understaffed offices and I took on a lot of roles and wanted to show how much I excelled in those roles. I ended up editing down to one page, but my margins were still as narrow as possible. I didn’t really get called back about any jobs I applied for outside of the ones where I had connections.

    Then, I had this sort of epiphany- just put enough information on your resume to gain the employer’s interest and show you’re at least qualified for the job. That way your credibility is going to stand out more and you can get into more detail or expand on certain points if you’re called in for an interview. I streamlined my resume last month and have since been called in for two interviews. I’m still unemployed, but I’m really optimistic that this change will yield far better results. So just something to keep in mind!

    1. Bugs*

      *light bulb moment* This really works?! I’m usually very detailed on my resume for office work. Would you mind sharing an example of what you changed?

    2. Schmillie*

      I second this. I work freelance in film & TV production, which is a totally different beast from the corporate world, but the industry standard for resumes is to keep things as bare-bones as possible.

      Email/Phone #

      Position title–Show Dates Worked
      Production Type (TV/Film/Commercial), Production Company/Network

      Each production I’ve worked on gets 2 lines. At the bottom of the page I have a very small section of special skills (being able to operate larger trucks, etc), and the very last two lines of the page list my education. No frills, no buzzwords like “great team player,” etc. Black & white, 12 pt. Arial font, 1 page. When I send cover letters I’m very brief, akin to: I’m an experienced ____, recent credits include ______. Take a look at my resume, if you think I may be a good fit you may reach me at __________.

      I find the more concise I am, the more call backs I get. People are busy and prone to skimming, don’t waste their time on paper.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That’s a bit too bare bones for most fields, although I don’t doubt it works in yours! In most fields, though, you’d want to have a few bullet points below each job listing your accomplishments there. (In no field, though, does anyone need to write “great team player”!)

      2. Al Lo*

        Very similar to a performer’s theatrical resume. Role, company, director, date; nicely formatted in a table of some sort. Training/skills at the bottom. Usually (for emerging professionals) separated out by professional vs. educational or community/unpaid.

        (Of course, then it’s attached to the back of an 8×10 headshot, so that’s different from the corporate world in the opposite direction…)

    3. bluesboy*

      This. My epiphany moment was when someone told me that all your cover letter has to do is convince them to read the CV, and all your CV has to do is convince them to call you for an interview. Then in the interview you can try to convince them to give you the job!

      I think a lot of people try to put all that information into one document and that’s why they struggle to cut. You just need it to get you to the next stage, and hopefully make them curious enough to have some questions in the interview that will let you show what you can do and have done.

    4. Graciosa*

      I want to highlight the note about small margins not working.

      I am basically a document person, and resumes need decent margins and white space. They are not being dissected under a high-powered microscope – they are being scanned. The key points need to jump out at the reader, which can’t happen on a crowded page.

      Reducing the size of the font is another “trick” that doesn’t work. Ditto for changing the kerning.

      Alison’s point that resumes are marketing documents is important. If you think about effective print ads, you’ll realize that your attention was *not* captured by the list of conditions in small print at the bottom.

    5. FishCakesHurrah*

      It depends on the organization. I learned during my year-long job search that many more formal employers (government, academia) want a lot of information on applicants’ resumes and in cover letters. I started getting interviews with those orgs once I moved to a more detailed resume.

  10. bb*

    #1 – The career center at your college is not the best choice for advice as they are not the ones hiring people. 2 pages is way overboard.

    1. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

      The career center at my college gave awful advice! I went to college in the mid-90’s and one of the staff at the career center suggested that we send out video tapes answering frequently asked interview questions with our applications – sort of like one of those old dating videos. It was the first time I ever heard the phrase “out of the box thinking” and it was also one of those moments where I wondered why these people had jobs there.

      1. orangesolange*

        The other issue with career centers is that they are either untrained or use a “one size fits all” template.

        When I was in law school, our career center was oriented toward the young who had never worked. So they wanted everyone to have a 2 page resume. Truthfully, some only needed a 1 page resume and to have 2 would have added a lot of fluff. But some people, like my friend who had worked as a biochemist and wanted to be a patent attorney, should have had 3-4 page resumes. He found that out the hard way when he submitted the 2 page resume through the campus job board (all that was allowed) and was reamed by a potential employer for not including all the relevant information. They expressly told him he should have had at least a 4 page resume.

    2. Manders*

      Mine gave lousy advice too! University hiring doesn’t really work the same way as most companies’ processes, so career centers often end up staffed with people who’ve never been through a normal hiring process as a manager or an employee. They’re a good resource for connecting you to the alumni network but they may not actually know what a normal resume looks like.

      When I started reading Ask A Manager and changed my resume and cover letter, I got way more interviews and several offers.

    3. FishCakesHurrah*

      My career centre was lousy. It was staffed by people in their mid-twenties who did not have experience job searching and did not have connections with or knowledge of all the industries that my university tried to serve. I had better luck approaching instructors who still worked in the field.

    4. Sarah*

      Yes, WHY are career centers so terrible at so many schools?! Wouldn’t you think that if your entire job is advising people on career matters, you’d interview some actual hiring managers or something to make sure you are sharing relevant and correct information??

      1. Artemesia*

        I ran an undergraduate program for a few years in a prestigious university and the career center (which our college paid a heavy tax to the central admin to support) gave such terrible advice that we had to duplicate their work which we did through our internship program. They used such outdated resume advise that we had to undo everything our students came back with. The flabby ‘objective’ filled with pompous buzz words was just part of it. Our program had the best job placement rate of any major at the university; a lot of that was because we taught them how to present themselves in the resume and in an interview as part of their internship program. (we had academic and career oriented seminars connected to the internship)

    5. FelineFine*

      I always feel the need to defend campus career centres, because that is what I do. But, I have also learned in my four years in this environment that not all career centres are created equal! I hire former recruiters as my career advisors. We meet with employers regularly to find out about any new and emerging recruitment trends. We even invite corporate recruiters to sit with students one on one and be an advisor for a day. To me, it’s common sense.

  11. Come Along Ponds*

    #1. It can be really hard to cut your resume down when you’ve been conditioned to think in the opposite way e.g. with college applications. But you have to work with the world you’ve got, not the one you’d like to have. And the world you’ve got is one where a two-page resume will not go down well.

    This may be field-specific but I personally have zero interest in extra curriculars unless they are relevant to the job or involve a position of responsibility. Otherwise I don’t care. Sorry. I’m glad you’re a well-rounded human but you don’t need to prove it. You may also wish to think about what you’d be communicating by including so many activities. Does it mean you can’t relax and focus on one thing? Are you a perfectionist? Do you get bored too easily? Are you trying too hard to impress?

    I’m not judging you. But do you really want to raise those questions in the minds of potential employers?

    I have two postgraduate degrees, 12 years’ work experience across two fields and also volunteer. My resume is under one page long. A hiring manager once told me he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it. Because everyone else sent 2-3 pages of waffle. It’s not about telling them everything you ever did ever but about confirming whether you are appointable. Try to keep that in mind and good luck!

    PS I’ve never seen a good resume that was over a page long.

    #2 He is your boss. He may be an interminable smeghead, but he is your boss. You can’t just flat out ignore assignments purely because he’s an interminable smeghead, even if you wish you could.

    I also think AAM has it spot on. My boss could get away with an annoying hashtag or two… because he’s not an interminable smeghead.

    In the meantime, I’d grit your teeth and get on with it so you aren’t fired for insubordination. I think it may also help to separate the issues. You can comment on policy violations. You can tell him what you find helpful in terms of communicating work assignments. But it’s not your job to correct him.

    #4 What happens if you don’t buy it? Does it mean you have to take those days unpaid? Is that legal? (In the UK so no idea what the answer would be.)

    #5 It sounds like frustrations over lots of different things came together at once for you here. For you, it maybe all felt connected. The recruiter isn’t really going to understand the link between your car breaking down and you getting frustrated with them. This was last-straw territory for you – they won’t have had the same experience. From their perspective, you cancelled a full day before the interview THEY offered YOU and then criticised them for not hiring you – when they wanted to interview you and you were the one cancelling on them. Can you see how that might look a bit confusing and irrational to the employer? It’s a bit like cancelling a date and complaining that the person didn’t want to date you before. You self-sabotaged and that’s a shame. Move on. Don’t reapply. Do maybe think about how you cope with stress and rejection and remember that you are never entitled to get any job.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      Re #4
      As I understand it:

      If the employee is exempt they would need to be paid if they work part of the week, but can have their PTO docked of they have any left.

      Non exempt / hourly employees wouldn’t need to be paid.

      Im curious though where Alison says California employment law means they couldnt ask the OP to provide their own laptop. I can understand say a flight or hotle for business use not being able to be passed on to an employee as that’s dead money, but in the case where the employee is left with an asset im curious what the law says in that situation. Not saying I agree with the company asking employees to provide work kit just interested in the legal aspect.

        1. TL -*

          Oooh, this is probably best left for the Friday thread, but I wonder how they handle photographers and chefs, ect… under that law.

          1. BI developer*

            I was thinking something similar, can employers set requirements for an employee to have say a car to use for driving at work.

            1. CAA*

              Yes, employers in California can require an employee to have a car. The employer doesn’t have to pay for purchasing the car, just for the expenses accrued while the employee is using his personal car for business reasons. Typically, California employers pay the standard IRS approved mileage rate, which is 53.5 cents per mile in 2017.

              This is exactly the same as what every decent employer does in every other state in the union. It’s just that CA has a law that requires it, so the few indecent employers who want to take unfair advantage have a harder time.

          2. CAA*

            Employees in CA can be required to provide their own tools if they are paid at least double the minimum wage and they are in a profession where it’s customary for workers to use their own equipment. Chefs are covered by this requirement, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find out there are a lot of knowing and unknowing violations.

            Photographers who are free-lancers or independent contractors wouldn’t be covered. If you were an employee at a photography studio, the shop would own the cameras.

            1. Candi*

              That would likely apply to forensic photographers as well, then, since the gear would likely be owned by the police or other relevant entity.

              Especially since the equipment probably can be examined by experts for the defense if the right paperwork is filed…

      1. Natalie*

        Exempt employees can also be docked for most full-day absences. If they have PTO remaining the employer could apply it, if not they would just reduce their pay by one day’s worth.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          They can be docked for full-day absences under limited circumstances but not across the board — they can’t be docked for days the office was closed, or sick days in most cases, or days when they were ready and able to work. It’s mainly just allowed for days when you miss work for one or more full days for personal reasons and not sickness.

    2. Aunt Vixen*

      I personally have zero interest in extra curriculars unless they are relevant to the job or involve a position of responsibility. Otherwise I don’t care. Sorry. I’m glad you’re a well-rounded human but you don’t need to prove it.

      Put another way: a job application is not a college application.

    3. orangesolange*

      “PS I’ve never seen a good resume that was over a page long.”

      That’s probably specific to your field. In some fields, that’s really what one needs. In others, detail matters.

      My husband, who has been a C-level officer at 3 companies, has 2 versions of his resume. He has a “short form” one with the basic info and a longer one with details. Some companies want the details.

      Still, he’s in his 50s with accomplishments as long as my arm and his “long” form resume is only 5 pages.

      There’s absolutely no reason for someone fresh out of college with no experience in the field to have more than a one page resume. The jobs and extracurriculars are nice, but not relevant beyond showing that the person was involved and can play nicely with others.

  12. Undine*

    #1 – Remember your resume is only half of the story. You also get a cover letter. You don’t want to cram that full of accomplishments either, but you can certainly put in a focused line or two that touches on your extra-curricular activities and how they are relevant to the position. Here again, the art is cutting it down, but the two can work together to create a powerful story.

    And one of my favorite quotes (out of about a 1000 favorites):
    “I’m sorry to have written such a long letter, but I didn’t have the time to make it short.” — Blaise Pascal

    1. ThatGirl*

      I also find that not putting every detail on my resume leaves me things to talk about in interviews. :) (Assuming it’s relevant, of course.)

  13. MadGrad*

    #5 if professional norms are making things seem potentially more complex, think of it front a different perspective: Imagine someone you had met and seen with friends a couple of times asked you on a date, then couldn’t make it because their car broke down. Then imagine that, on top of mildly inconveniencing you, they decided to take this chance to criticize you for not getting into a relationship with them yet, since they’re such a great fit for you (whom they’ve only spent minimal time with).

    Would you consider a second date with this person? This might come off as harsh, but the fact that you didn’t even consider not having another shot after doing this makes me think you’re thinking far too generously about your decisions here.

    1. Consuela Schlepkiss*

      I think this an apt comparison! Part of it being apt is that I can imagine that happening after spending time Captain Awkward’s site, which makes LW5’s situation feel even more troublesome. There is a serious boundary issue there.

  14. AcademiaNut*

    When it comes to padded resumes, one thing I find can help is to ask yourself “Would a more senior person in the field put this on their resume?” If the answer is no, then think twice about whether it should go on yours. (The corresponding question for SAH parents re-entering the workforce would be “would a parent with no employment gaps put this on their resume”).

  15. Milton Waddams*

    #1: There’s a practical reason for 2-page digital resumes — larger fonts for middle-aged eyes. :-)

    Scrolling to the bottom of a 2-page digital resume is not really any more burdensome than scrolling to the bottom of a 1-page digital resume.

    Besides, modern screen setups can easily handle two pages at once anyways, so even the 2 seconds of extra scrolling is likely to be eliminated in most cases.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s not about it being burdensome to scroll or to flip to another page; it’s about the amount of information that’s considered appropriate vs. excessive. For someone who’s still in school (or only a few years out), the one-page resume rule reflects the amount of information that’s considered appropriate and necessary.

      1. orangesolange*

        My husband is in his 50s and has been a C-level officer at several firms. His “long form” resume is still only 5 pages long. He has a short 2 page resume that hits the highlights.

        His education – though very, very prestigious – takes up 2 lines. It’s no longer really relevant beyond people noting how smartypants he was when he was younger.

        He hires a lot of people and once quipped that you can add a page a decade – if and only if – you have the accomplishments to back it up.

        1. Jesmlet*

          “only 5 pages long” blows my mind. My dad has been C-level at a couple different companies but his full resume is only 2 pages. Maybe it’s because he had longer stays where he was than your husband and the field could be totally different but I can’t imagine 5 pages ever being necessary unless you’re just using it as a master to copy and paste from.

          1. Greenies*

            For some types of C level, the resume is only given after the decision to hire has been made. The resume works to help w a background check or is only there to be “put in a file” and never read.

            I suspect this is why the person has worth a short form and longform resume.

            Also, from my experience, C level officers in IT related fields have a longer resumes by necessity. Those doing something like finance tend to have shorter ones.

            If you are hiring an IT you need to know not only the high-level stuff, sometimes you also have to get in the weeds.

            It really is context specific.

            1. Jesmlet*

              Yeah I guess this makes sense. My father is C-level but in finance so I suppose that’s why it’s not longer.

    2. Graciosa*

      I do like your point about larger fonts, but I think it needs to be applied to all resumes across the board, without regard to whether the reviewer will be using a printout or screen.

      Resumes should be easily legible – good font size, plenty of white space, etc. – as well as appropriate to the applicant’s level. That means you only get one page until the length of your career merits a second.

      I want to know if an early career applicant can put together an effective one page resume. Someone submitting two pages is not demonstrating that skill or judgment. Trying to cheat with small font sizes and minuscule margins is just going to tick me off.

    3. Jesmlet*

      Plus I can’t remember the last time I read someone’s resume line for line. We skim because we have a lot of them to go through. You don’t want them missing an important accomplishment because you thought it was necessary to mention you were part of the glee club.

    4. ExceptionToTheRule*

      My middle-aged eyes had LASIK. They read standard 12pt font just fine. Plus, you know CNTL +.

  16. Mookie*

    Wow, this batch of letters speaks deeply to my (somewhat embarrassed) soul. With the exception of LW5 — and no offense meant for LW5 — I feel like I’ve experienced all of these things, including sharing both a surname and a first name with a superior (this was in an academic department, and I knew my future there was shot when I spent an entire term fielding veiled questions about and insinuations of nepotism; apparently, the superior did as well, but found the coincidence and reaction to it more amusing than I did, also her work was and remains seminal and without peer whereas mine was, for the most part, non-existent or crummy).

    Sticking “no relation to the administrator” in my email signature would be bizarre

    I agree but I kind of love the idea of it.

    1. Mookie*

      (My dad, who shares my surname, shares his complete name with the former bassist for a well-known Northern altrock outfit, and fans of the band sometimes ask him to pay by check so they can trick their friends with it. /OT)

  17. babblemouth*

    LW2: one addition: be on your guard about your boss completely taking credit for successful projects. I’ve dealt with people like this before, and found out after the fact that projects I had done were presented by them as “here is that thing I did on my own that was a success.” Even recognizing that a manager should get credit for things done by their team, it was absolutely ignoring all participation of the staff.

  18. Mookie*

    Wait, I’m confused about something in 5: is this an internal recruiter or does the woman the LW is referring to work at a staffing agency? If it’s the the latter, she didn’t e-mail the hiring manager directly, correct? It was the recruiter she was speaking to, the recruiter she was venting at. Is it necessarily a burnt bridge if the company is unaware of it? Would the recruiter have communicated to the company that particular part of their correspondence? It feels like she’s asking you, Alison, if she should tell the recruiter directly that she may be interested in future opportunities with the company or if the recruiter will implicitly know this.

    1. Recruit-o-Rama*

      Well the Recruiter could be in house or from an agency/independent. I have worked in both situations and I forward these types of responses in either case to the hiring manager because it’s relevant information about the candidate. This type of response would exclude the candidate from the company if I am in house Recruiter and if I’m an external Recruiter, it excludes them from ANY position/company I am recruiting for. It seems egregious because it is, but sadly, it’s fairly common.

    2. OP#5*

      The person who I mainly dealt with was an in house recruiter who worked directly for the company. I did however forward a copy of the e-mail to the manager who I would have interviewed with. I wasn’t really sure whether or not that the recruiter would let them know that I wouldn’t be coming. Every time I applied at the company I dealt with a completely different line up of recruiters and hiring managers, so I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there. Maybe the rumors of this company being a “sinking ship” with “lots and lots of turn over.” Are indeed true.

      1. Recruit-o-Rama*

        Or it could be that you don’t understand the org chart. Our company is divided into regions that are based on geography but also based on the type of work done at a particular facility. It makes a lot of sense internally, although it may seem weird to have a WA state facility in a region with a facility on Philly for example. If you applied to an Ops manager in my region, you would deal with one group of HR support people and hiring managers but if you applied to an ops manager position in a different region, the group of people would be different. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, it just means an external candidate has no idea what the org chart looks like, or why it is set up the way it is.

        There are hundreds of perfectly good reasons why you might have been rejected from positions previously but chastising the company for not hiring you is THE reason you won’t be hired in the future, at least that would be the case at my company.

        1. Tuckerman*

          Consider another way to look at it, OP #5. You weren’t necessarily a good fit for the company in the past. But you’ve put a lot of work into gaining more industry-relevant skills and experience and this company recognized that you may be a good fit now. Their invitation for an interview signals that they recognize and appreciate your growth.

        2. BethRA*

          It would be THE reason we wouldn’t interview you or hire you in the future, either. Not because you offended someone or hurt their feelings, but because a) it doesn’t speak well of how you handle difficult situations and b) if nothing else, I’d worry about hiring someone who already seems to have a chip on their shoulder.

          For what it’s worth, too, you’d also meet with different sets of interviewers/hiring managers at my organization, and we’re less than 40 people.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          Yes, lots of legit, non-red-flag reasons to deal with different people in different hiring streams. For example, I work for a mid-sized organization, and it’d be entirely possible for two similar candidates to apply today for positions that are active on our website and be put into two separate pipes. The job I’m recruiting for goes through my assigned recruiter, me (hiring manager), and then a work team (which will differ based on position assignment). A similar job would go through the other recruiter, one of my peers (hiring manager), and then the work team (again, differs based on position assignment). The jobs differ in title by one word, and the qualifications are very similar (though the job description bullets are only about a 50-60% match). We’re not a sinking ship — we actually have very good retention statistics — but we want to put candidates in front of the people with whom they are most likely to work on a day-to-day basis, and that does change the line-up significantly.

          1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

            This. We hire for four different writing positions that have small differences in duties, so you could apply to the writing position and depending on who was hiring, or what your background demonstrated meet with completely different recruiters and hiring managers.

      2. Marketing LadyPA*

        No, it’s just common for companies to have different recruiters/hiring managers for different roles.

      3. RobM*

        Every time I applied at the company I dealt with a completely different line up of recruiters and hiring managers, so I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there. Maybe the rumors of this company being a “sinking ship” with “lots and lots of turn over.” Are indeed true.

        If you applied where I work for different roles (or even a few similar roles) you would meet totally different line-ups of staff. We’re not a sinking ship and what’s going on here is that we’re busy and managers don’t have the time to look in on other people’s hiring processes if they’re not formally a part of them.

      4. Observer*

        You’re lucky that it was an internal recruiter – any recruiter is going to put you on their “radioactive” list.

        Here is something you really need to think about. You ran into a problem – your car broke down – and instead of dealing with that, you lashed out at a third party that has nothing to do with the matter. Even just deciding to cancel the interview because of this is a bit over the top. After all, your car’s issues have nothing to do with whether they are a good place to work or if the job is a good fit, unless you won’t have a car if this one becomes unmaintainable and you need a reliable car for the job. That’s your choice to make, and if you handed the cancellation politely and without sharing details, it probably wouldn’t have affected your long term prospects. But it’s something to think about, in terms of how you make decisions and how you react to things that don’t go your way.

        When you go from that to actually lashing out at the third party, you’ve gone WAY over the top. The fact that you don’t see the slightest problem with your reaction is concerning here are well. How do you think this would go over if you did this in your personal relationships?

        TLDR; the letter comes off as being written by someone who is unable to deal with frustration in a reasonable manner, takes no responsibility for their behavior, has a sense of entitlement, and has no sense of how they present to others. If that’s you, you really need to make some serious changes. If that’s NOT you, then you need to rethink how you communicate.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          TLDR; the letter comes off as being written by someone who is unable to deal with frustration in a reasonable manner, takes no responsibility for their behavior, has a sense of entitlement, and has no sense of how they present to others. If that’s you, you really need to make some serious changes. If that’s NOT you, then you need to rethink how you communicate.This is exactly what jumped out at me. The situation was crappy — the unexpected expense and timing of a vehicle problem sucks. I’ve had candidates run into similar issues and have to reschedule, but they called the recruiter, explained the situation, and offered an alternative time they could come in. Crap happens, and, as difficult as it is to stay clear-headed and professional in those situations, that’s what makes or breaks your reputation.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Augh. I messed up the HTML tags, and now that is hard to read and looks like I’m plagiarizing Observer. What I was going for is:

            TLDR; the letter comes off as being written by someone who is unable to deal with frustration in a reasonable manner, takes no responsibility for their behavior, has a sense of entitlement, and has no sense of how they present to others. If that’s you, you really need to make some serious changes. If that’s NOT you, then you need to rethink how you communicate.

            This is exactly what jumped out at me. The situation was crappy — the unexpected expense and timing of a vehicle problem sucks. I’ve had candidates run into similar issues and have to reschedule, but they called the recruiter, explained the situation, and offered an alternative time they could come in. Crap happens, and, as difficult as it is to stay clear-headed and professional in those situations, that’s what makes or breaks your reputation.

      5. always in email jail*

        To second what a lot of other people said, I work in an organization with less than 100 individuals, and if you applied for roles in different divisions you would have a different hiring manager for each one.

        As a lot of other people have said, you have completely burned this bridge. I would never consider hiring someone who decided to lash out at us for not hiring them in the past (implying we “missed our chance”). The fact you show no embarrassment or remorse is concerning, as well.

      6. LBK*

        Were you applying for the exact same role every time? If not, I’m not sure why you would expect to deal with the same set of people.

        1. OP#5*

          Different but similar roles at the same location. The first time I dealt with people who actually work or worked at the location itself, the second time I dealt with people who were working from other areas of the country looking to fill vacancies at this particular location.

  19. aelle*

    #4: Did you sign a data management or IT security protocol in your current job? Mine actually forbids viewing much of the information that is necessary for daily work on our private devices. If that’s the case, maybe something to bring up to argue for the need for a professional laptop?

  20. Mela*

    #3- Would OP be able to re-introduce themselves though? They higher level admin is the new person, not them.

    #5- I would actually like to thank OP, sometimes we hear this sort of thing from the hiring manager’s side and we all wonder what the heck was going on. Thanks for the evidence that sometimes it’s just a bad day, human emotions and poor judgement.

  21. Susan*

    #1 – I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had a two-page resume, at the advice of the career services office at my university, when I was in school. The career counselor advised me to include a job I held in high school, to establish a long work history or something. The second page was pretty worthless, including a list of relevant courses and extracurricular activities.

    Anyway, I think I get why you feel the need to include all of this, and it’s probably because you don’t have much (if any) direct experience in your field, so you want to list anything and everything that you think could possibly impress a prospective employer. Sadly, though, most of this stuff won’t really make you a good candidate, so it won’t help that much. What you should do instead is tailor your resume to each job and select the parts of your qualifications that best match with the job requirements. If one of your previous jobs is particularly relevant to a job you’re applying for, include more detail for that job. It’s up to you to show the employer how you’re qualified; not up to them to pick through a long list of everything you’ve ever done to find a few relevant skills.

    1. babblemouth*

      I feel like a lot of university advice I got was things that was lifted by teachers and counselors out of guidebooks aimed at people with 10 years worth of experience, and then taken completely out of context. Things like “what have you achieved at this job”. What I achieved at my job as a cashier was to not strangle impossible clients and incredibly rude people. This can be written up under “customer service skills” but it really felt like putting lipstick on a pig.

    2. Annie Moose*


      My college’s career center was obsessed with them. I suppose they make some sense if you’ve never held a job in a particular field before and they’re not obvious from your degree (e.g. you’re applying for an IT job with an English degree, but you actually took several programming classes), but otherwise, they seem so irrelevant. If you have an accounting degree, it’s probably safe to conclude you took some accounting classes, you know?

      1. Government Worker*

        Relevant courses can be helpful in some fields. If your graduate degree is an MBA or in public policy and there’s no concentration or track to list, you might use relevant courses to identify whether you focused more on marketing or finance in your MBA, or what your area of public policy expertise is. Lawyers are another one – if you have a JD, that doesn’t mean you know anything about bankruptcy or employment law, for example, but it can be relevant for specific jobs that you took those classes.

      2. Artemesia*

        If your degree is a bachelors in whatever, it can be helpful to note that you have also taken accounting courses, or other career related coursework — or if you are applying for a lab position without a science degree that you have taken substantial STEM coursework. And then only in a brand spanking new graduate and to clarify that you do have some preparation relevant to the job.

      3. Epsilon Delta*

        Yeah, my school encouraged the relevant coursework section too. Which resulted in a lot of people listing all the courses they’d taken in our degree track, including the 101-level classes that…well… you can’t get the degree without taking those classes.

  22. Hannah*

    #2 I don’t think hashtags are inherently unprofessional. People using them wrong is cringeworthy. But a lot of people tweet for work or their companies have corporate wide hashtags they want people to use. There are also other applications where hashtags are used as a tag.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Hashtags aren’t inherently unprofessional, but I think this manager is using them in an unprofessional manner.

    2. Manders*

      I’ve seen hashtags used well at work-related conferences, so you could follow what was essentially a live stream of commentary on Twitter and Facebook. But I don’t know why you’d use hashtags in emails, since email programs already have a search feature, folders, subject lines, and other ways to follow and organize a conversation.

      1. Chickaletta*

        ^ This. Using hashtags in an email can make that person look technically incompetent. I suppose they could be doing it for fun, but that seems akin to writing things like “LOL” in a work email. Not egregious behavior, but an eye-roller like Alison said.

        1. Zoethor2*

          Yeah, my coworkers and I sometimes use hashtags in emails, but generally only for fun/as snarky commentary – like “Looks like I’ll be working 12 hours today to fix this mess #worklifebalance”. It would be a little eye-rolly for a supervisor to be using them in a serious manner.

    3. seejay*

      IMO, it looks like the person using it thinks they’re being trendy and hopping on the hashtag bandwagon without realizing what they actually *do*. They’re technically supposed to be indexes that link posts/tweets/images together so you can find ones that are related (#CatsWearingHats #SummerEvents #DirtyPictures #ThingsThatLookLikeWangs) but they’ve evolved and turned into silly statements that people now use to just add flavour and while funny, it can make serious emails look out of touch and are pretty much useless. They just look gimmicky and if my supervisor, who was struggling to actually do his job competently, was spending time putting together multiple page inspirational emails with trendy useless feel-good hashtags, I’d be questioning his leadership skills and abilities. #NotAGoodManagerByAnyMeans #HisButtNeedsFiringRightNow #SeeWutIDidThere #nyuk

  23. ceiswyn*

    #1: I know it hurts, but you really do have to take a slash-and-burn approach and just target what is most relevant.

    I recently had to edit down to a 2-page CV for an academic application. I have two degrees (well, almost :D ), almost twenty years of work experience, and various relevant extracurriculars (such as writing articles for a popular science blog). I ended up trimming my work experience into a half-page summary, since the details were largely not relevant to the programme I was applying to. And it felt a bit like I was cutting out twenty years of my life; but I had to admit that the end result looked a lot more focused!

      1. ceiswyn*

        The Earth Story. You can also find it on Facebook.

        It’s not my blog, I’m just an occasional contributor; but I like its editorial standards with regard to linking references and giving photo credits. Even if it is maddening every time I find the perfect illustration and can’t use it!

  24. Alton*

    #1: I sympathize. I think it can actually be harder to be concise when you’re just starting out because you may not have a lot of directly applicable experience and there’s a lot of pressure to find ways to sell yourself in spite of that. I wish there were more resources to help people write resumes when they don’t have a lot of experience. When I was a student, I didn’t find a lot of advice very helpful because it seemed designed for people who had more experience.

    But I bet you can pare your resume down to one page. Focus on highlights and the parts of your experience that are most relevant. Keep in mind that you can have different versions of your resume, too. It doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing, unchanging document.

  25. always in email jail*

    #1 I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said, but you really do need to edit it down to one page. Listing all of those activities is really unnecessary . However, start thinking about your experience in those activities (particularly those where you had a leadership role) to come up with “example stories” to answer common interview questions (“tell me about a time you had to motivate a team you had no direct authority over”, “tell me about a time you brought together a team with diverse viewpoints and approaches”, etc.)

    1. always in email jail*

      Also, I promise hiring managers are much more interested in work experience than activity-based experience. You’d be surprised. I was once hiring for a high-stress (but entry-level) job that involved interacting with the public, and gave someone who worked at Kohl’s during the Christmas season all through college an interview because I was impressed they were able to hack that for years! Having previous work experience is very much a plus! It at least shows you have a reference who can vouch for the fact you show up when you’re supposed to.

        1. tigerStripes*

          I found my food service experience helpful in an interview for a professional job – if I could handle the customers there, I could handle the customers in the professional job. It was also helpful in the job, although the customers in the professional job are generally nice (in fast food, some customers were decent people, and some were just jerks).

      1. F.*

        In our line of work, where the inspectors are out in the field in all types of weather and often working very long days, if the entry-level candidate did not have any sort of construction experience, I liked to see farm work, especially on the family farm. Farm kids nearly always grow up knowing how to work hard and won’t be complaining about the weather or the hours or the physical labor that is involved in our type of inspection.

  26. MuseumChick*

    Haven’t read all the comments so this may have been mentioned before. OP1, I would create one master resume (this will included everything), and two or three 1-page resumes for the specific kind of work you want to do. Focus each one on particular skill sets. The beauty here is they are not set in stone and you can tweak them for each job you apply to.

    1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

      Yes. I finally combined all my bullet points for every job into one giant master document. It’s not something I would ever show someone, but it helps me easily create a customized resume, without having to start from scratch.

  27. Gandalf the Nude*

    OP#1 – My theater professor once told us that a key to good play writing was the ability to kill your darlings, which basically meant to cut out any piece that you loved individually but didn’t fit with or contribute to the whole. I’ve found it holds true with effective business communication as well. So while all those extracurriculars, etc. are dear to you, if they don’t enhance your candidacy, it’s time to axe them from your resume.

    1. ceiswyn*

      If it feels better, you can keep a ‘master’ resume that includes those extracurriculars and the skills you learned from them in all their glory. Just don’t send it to anyone :)

      (I have friends who write fiction; every single one of them has a separate file or section especially for all the scenes they loved but that they had to cut.)

    2. Venus Supreme*

      I love that- “kill your darlings.” Definitely going to keep this info! Thanks for passing it along.

  28. Loving Lucy*

    OP #1: I’m going to share contrasting advice. I am almost 22, a Spring ’16 graduate, and have had no problem scoring interviews and positions for the last 2 years with a full 2-page resume. Like you, I was VERY active in school, organizations, internships, and working through school.

    Out of school, I got a temp-to-hire position at a Fortune 500 company, and now I am moving on to an incredible job in my field next week. Be sure to note what you’ve accomplished in each role if possible, and list affiliations toward the end to show leadership.

    While I know that as I move further in my career, I will rid myself of these items on my resume and return to a traditional one-pager (and often help my friends get all of their experience onto a one-pager as recommended), when done right, a 2-pager isn’t going to hurt you when it’s clean and complete. Especially if you have great references for your employment.

    Best of luck taking on the world post-graduation!

      1. Graciosa*


        It’s not impossible to get hired with a two page resume, especially at entry level. Hiring managers understand that not everyone has a solid understanding of professional norms, and we’re willing to cut recent graduates some slack while they learn.

        But for the purposes of giving the OP the best possible chance of being hired, a one page resume is definitely the way to go.

      2. Emilia Bedelia*

        Agreed. Also a recent grad, and a former writing consultant. I reviewed many, many resumes from my classmates and I never saw any 2 page resumes that deserved the second page.

        A well written and very qualified 2 pager will beat out a trainwreck of a 1 page resume, but it really looks much better to trim it down to 1 page.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, this is that fallacy thing that people do where they’ve done X (applied in person, have an overly long resume, showed up at an interview in jeans) and they’ve still gotten a job so they conclude that therefore X must be a fine thing to do.

      4. NotAnotherManager!*

        Agreed. I hire fresh college graduates every year, and I’ve never seen a two-page resume that couldn’t have been condensed into one. I do hire some of the two pagers, when they are head and shoulders above the other candidates, but it’s not because I care that they were the Vice-Chair of the Student Senate’s Committee on Philanthropy or something. Things like working through school and being involved on campus can be mentioned in a cover letter, the resume should show highlights of any experience relevant to the actual job, not everything you’ve ever done. Affiliation/membership lists should be short and list any leadership positions, just in case someone on the hiring squad has a soft spot for the Marching Terrapins or the brothers of Delta Tau Chi.

        My recruiter definitely notes that resumes over two pages are “wordy” and will often send a highlights summary so I don’t have to read through all of them, if I don’t want. Or I’ll get one that says, “I know this isn’t concise, but they have qualifications X, Y, and Z are good and no one else who’s applied has Z.” She gets hundreds of resumes for each open position, and, while 2 pages isn’t that much if you’re dealing with ONE resume, it’s a huge increase in work when you’re dealing with 100+.

        1. Gigglewater*

          I feel like amending “when done right a 2-page resume isn’t going to hurt you” to “a 2-page resume might not hurt you enough to stop you from getting the job”. If I got a 2-page resume from a recent grad I would definitely note that there’s an amount of professional norms they seem to be unaware of and for certain types of jobs where it’s very critical that’s enough for me to move them to the bottom of the pile.

  29. Lora*

    LW2, I feel your pain. I do. I am a STEM geek and frequently am working under/with MBA people. There’s nothing inherently wrong with MBA people, god bless them, but I cannot even with the buzzwords and the baffled looks and non sequiturs in response to actual data and the total unfamiliarity with the field and ARRRRRGGGGGH KILL ME NOW.

    It has unquestionably hurt my career. When my more…flexible?…colleagues are able to do that thing where they play along and I’m staring at them with the obvious expression that means, “but he’s a complete and utter twit!” it does not go well for me. It goes worse when I actually laugh because I think, this person must be joking, nobody is that cheesy and insincere and they were in fact being totally serious.

    I don’t know what to tell you, just, you have my sympathies. And know that if the senior management thinks that these guys are fantastic, they are even more misguided than the actual directors in question. It demonstrates that they have poor judgment and they probably aren’t making a ton of other awesome decisions either.

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      If you are looking at a colleague with an expression that obviously conveys you think that colleague is an idiot, that’s not a good thing. You can think whatever you want about your coworkers, but you really shouldn’t be showing obvious disdain for them. If it’s something you do unintentionally, that’s something you can work on (and I’m saying this from experience as someone who has accidentally revealed too much of my personal feelings at work).

      1. tigerStripes*

        I try to remember that a person who doesn’t understand something that’s obvious to me might understand things that I don’t understand at all. Different people have different strengths.

  30. Government Worker*

    OP #2, can you just ignore these emails? I had a boss who used to send long rambling emails with Big Ideas, usually when he had too much down time on a business trip, and only a fraction of the time did he ever end up following up after he got back. My current boss, while great in many respects, will email me and my two coworkers with “Hey I was playing around with data X and I think we should [start doing yet another recurring report, tackle a big chunk of analysis]. Thoughts?” I only reply when I think it’s a good idea *and* it’s something that makes sense for me to do as opposed to one of my coworkers, which means I ignore these emails 75% of the time. My boss sometimes follows up and sometimes doesn’t, but I don’t take each of these emails as instructions to launch a new project.

    Does your boss actually expect you all to jump into action because of these emails, demonstrated by his follow up in the days after the emails? Or is he really invested in Being a Thought Leader Who Comes Up With Ideas, but actually has no follow-through and will be fine if you just keep on doing your regular work?

    1. Emac*

      This was the part that I thought might be worth at least clarifying, not necessarily pushing back on. If the OP and coworkers are taking all of these emails as instructions to start new projects, which as she says are only tangentially related to their work, it seems like they’ll be overloaded quickly. Finding out what the priorities are is important.

      The other part that caught me was that the boss sent the OP an email about the performance issues of a subordinate that doesn’t report to the OP (I’m assuming that the OP supervises others, and the boss mixed up who reports to whom?). That and the boss making changes that are against company policy seem like bigger problems than just an annoying boss who likes hashtags and long emails. Is that something that could be worth escalating to boss’s boss?

    2. JMegan*

      Yes, this! And you can usually tell in the first sentence or two if it’s going to be a long rambly Thinking All The Thoughts kind of email, or if it’s one with an actual question or action item for you. So you can do a quick skim and then ignore the rest – no need to read every word and hashtag. If a reply seems called for, you can always say something generic like “That sounds great!” or “Interesting, thanks for sharing!” and move on with your day.

    3. orchidsandtea*

      Yes! Especially if your boss is just an Idea Person, and if he’s a little anxious / has ideas hitting him frequently and can’t sort through them himself. My mother is like that (“Honey! Take this algae for improved methylation! Here’s a ten-page article on it! Do you want to start a business selling chlorella? Change the world!”) and the answers I use might be helpful.

      I ignore maybe 30% of them. I acknowledge, “That’s an idea! Thanks!” if it’s terrible or I’m busy. Or, “Oh, interesting, what do you like best about that?” if I have time and want to learn more / build the relationship up. Or if there IS some merit for me specifically right now, “Oooh, (key piece) might come in really handy in (relevant way), I’ll look into that.” And when I see something that relates to one of her recent ideas, I send it over with a cheery sentence or two. Whenever her advice is actually helpful, I make 15-30 minutes to tell her all about it and build on the idea together.

      OP, you may be able to strategically respond or ignore in a way that lets your boss feel heard AND doesn’t derail your workweek for his every lightbulb moment.

  31. hbc*

    I think it’s not quite a fair to compare the difficulty of slimming your resume when starting out to someone with decades of experience. By the time you’re applying to be a Controller, for example, you’ve probably worked up from an accounting assistant to a senior accountant through various other number-crunching jobs. It’s pretty much assumed that you can do anything an accounting assistant does, so you can drop that entirely with no impact.

    But when I was young, I had the job that showed I could take charge (refereeing), the job that showed good customer service (retail), the job that showed I could get a security clearance (CIA intern), the job that showed I could do research (undergrad research project), and others too.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t trim, but I found it much harder then than I do now. Of course, if I had known then that I could/should save some of those niche details for the cover letter and ditch the fairly generic objective statement, it would have been a lot easier.

    1. Government Worker*

      This is definitely true. I recently did a job hunt with a 1.5 page resume – I’m 35 and worked for 9 years, then went back to grad school to change fields and had a bunch of industry-relevant internships and fellowships and things from grad school. I felt like I needed some solid bullet points on the pre-grad school jobs because that was my actual work history and there were a lot of transferable skills, but I had all these smaller bits of relevant work from grad school that were important to put on there and I just couldn’t fit it on one page. Listing the subject matter of my thesis is what got me the interview for my current job and I spent a bunch of time in a different interview being asked about a one-month fellowship experience, so I think my judgment of relevance was pretty good.

      But now that I’ve had a full-time job in the industry I think I’ll be able to winnow down the pre-grad school work experience a lot, and also leave out some of the grad school detail. In a few years I’ll probably be back to a one page resume. The “lots of small things” aspect of experience while in school can be really hard to summarize succinctly.

      But a 22 year old should still have a one-page resume.

    2. Alton*

      I had the same issue. When I was a student/new grad, I felt a lot of pressure to show that I had work experience and that I had specific skills for the jobs I was applying for, which was challenging since my work experience had very little to do with my desired fields beyond some generalities like building people skills.

  32. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

    LW#5 – I have felt that frustration. A few years ago I was unemployed. I had applied to several jobs in different departments within a local government agency. I first got an email advising that they wanted a phone interview. We set up a date and time and then they never called. I sent an email to see if this was intentional, if we could reschedule, etc. I never heard back. Then I got an email about another position and they wanted to set up an in-person interview. I called, set up the time, and two days before the interview I got a generic “thank you for your time but…” email re: the position. I called my interviewer and she confirmed that they were cancelling my interview. The last straw was when I got another generic “we’ve passed on you” email for a department and position that I’d never even applied to. I ended up writing a scathing email to the hiring manager that, in the most professional terms I could muster in my anger, told them that they had their heads up their rear-ends when it came to their hiring process and that it was no wonder that the local government was known for its inability to get things done when this is how they started the process. That was actually the one email the hiring manager DID respond to. I got an apology but it was with a “we wish you the best in your job search outside of our organization” line. It didn’t matter to me at that point that the bridge was burned because by then I was pretty singed myself by the company. However, I knew I wasn’t going to ever apply there again when I sent the email. LW, just move on.

    1. Christian Troy*

      Oh man I thought I had some crazy job interview stories but wow, that is pretty ridiculous. I never understand that either, like why waste your time jerking people around?

    2. Former Retail Manager*

      I had similar experiences when applying for government jobs at various levels from local to federal. I too was very frustrated and I’ve found that the larger the organization or the more levels of bureaucratic BS there are, the more frequently this type of thing happens. I personally found large Fortune 500 companies to be even worse than all levels of government. While I never wrote an e-mail like yours or OP’s, I certainly felt like it more than once, but alas, I just moved on.

    3. BethRA*

      That’s awful, how frustrating!

      But there’s a difference between telling someone about a messed-up process, and venting at someone because they didn’t hire you.

    4. OP#5*

      1. The first time the company interviewed me the hiring manager (who was very disorganized and forgot about the interview and had to be tracked down) kind of led me on making me think the interview was “just a formality” and that the job was “going to be offered to me.” Instead I ended up getting a canned rejection e-mail several hours later. That left a very sour taste in my mouth as I felt I was a good fit and the interview went incredibly well.
      2. I decided to try again a year later as I really wanted to work for the company and felt I could make a positive impact when they were going through a rough patch. After a lengthy application process, I was scheduled for a phone screen, the person conducting the screen never called so I rescheduled for another day, this time they called more than an hour ahead of the scheduled time just as I had stepped out of the room. I tried to call the woman back immediately and try to salvage the rest of the interview time, but It went right to voicemail. I was sent a link to reschedule which I did yet again. The phone screen went well when it finally happened and I was scheduled for a formal phone interview with a hiring manager. That went well as well only several days later I found that the position had been canceled.

      During the year or so between times I was actually interviewed by the company, I applied for numerous other positions that I was rejected from without being interviewed. With my car breaking down the day before my third actual interview, I kind of got the message that maybe, just maybe I’m not meant to work for this company. Agreed, I should have handled things differently and wish I had but how many times does a person need to be rejected before they basically say “screw the rejecting party” and move on?

      If I had it to do over I would have canceled due to pursing other opportunities, apologized and wished them well in their search without even mentioning the previous rejections that in all fairness really had nothing to do with this recruiter. I may have gotten the job had I rescheduled or found another way of getting there, but I could have also gone through a lot of trouble to end up being rejected by the same company for a third time after being interviewed.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Okay, but the point you’re not getting is this: It’s fine that you’re capital D Done with this company. No one should question that. What isn’t fine is that you don’t understand how your actions salted and burned that bridge. That you’re asking if it’s reeeeeaaaaaalllllly necessary for you to apologize in order to let them know you’re still interested, should you decide you’re interested again.

      2. Allie*

        Something I want to point out, LW5, is that you come across as a little aggressive in your posts. This isn’t me thinking you are a bad person, I just want to point out that your tone may be sending a message you are not intending. You still seem angry at this company, when, frankly, some of that stuff is annoying, but really not worth your head space, especially this far out. We have a guy who interviewed 5 times before getting the job at my place, for instance.

      3. tigerStripes*

        1. Did the interviewer actually say that you were going to be offered the job? Maybe they were going to, but the next person who was interviewed had better experience, credentials, etc.
        2. Calling over an hour early was unprofessional, but you are dealing with human beings, who make mistakes.

  33. Occasional lurker*

    OP #4. One also thing to think about and it might help to push back is if their records are ever subject to legal action or subpoena, since you are doing “relevant work” on your laptop it might be confiscated as evidence and held for a long time. I have seen stories about individuals who conduct “business” on their personal phones and laptops which are them taken as evidence for a court case. Good Luck!

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      One way to reduce this concern though is to use remote desktop or VPN into your work computer from your personal laptop. Then nothing is actually stored on your personal device.

      1. krysb*

        At my company we do both of these. For those of us who don’t have work laptops, we remote in and cannot store work/client information on our machines. For those of use with work laptops, we VPN in. We work with highly confidential legal and medical information.

      2. Jerry Vandesic*

        VPN does not prevent you from downloading company files to your machine and storing them locally. I do it all the time. VPN is a technology that encrypts the connection to the remote site, so that the data is not observable while being transmitted over the network.

        1. LBK*

          Yeah, remote desktop and VPN are two completely separate technologies. VPN just creates a secure connection between your computer and your employer’s network.

  34. Notorious MCG*

    OP1 I totally get it. I work in theatre production and administration and had a ton of professional experience throughout school, but I knew I couldn’t be too verbose about it in the resumes I was creating once I graduated, even though I had an industry-specific internship every summer, worked professionally during the school year, etc. I’m 3 years graduated now, and am really pushing the limits of the 1-pager (much streamlining, so wow) and once I get my next full-time position I’m definitely going to need to jump to two.

  35. Dankar*

    I wonder if there’s a caveat re: #1 for academic jobs. I had a 2 page resume, which had all of my relevant jobs going back to undergrad, my three degrees, certifications, publications and conference attendance/presentation.

    I could probably have take off an extracurricular position as editor-in-chief of a small magazine (and did remove an internship that was less relevant), but even then it probably wouldn’t have been a single page. I realize that the CV is meant to kind of alleviate this kind of stress about what to to include and what not to, but my impression is that CVs aren’t used for admin jobs in higher ed.

    That being said, I do have a one-page resume for applications to private businesses/not universities that largely excludes my publishing history.

    1. fposte*

      In my experience, higher ed doesn’t focus as much on resume length because of the CV convention. However, that doesn’t mean content curation is immaterial even there. (Conference attendance, for instance, would be a pretty unusual thing to be worth noting on your resume all on its own.)

      1. Dankar*

        They’re these weird little academic conferences, where you have to be accepted (via submitted papers and applications) to attend. It does sound odd to say, “Hey, I went here for a week!” but I have my paper titles listed beneath.

        1. fposte*

          Are you applying in an admin area where these conferences are widely known, celebrated, and sought after? If not, leave them off. If you have to explain why they’re important enough to be listed to people reading your resume, they’re not earning their space. If it involves membership, you can list them with the associations; otherwise, I’d stick to the ones where you presented.

      2. blackcat*

        Yeah, even on a full-blown academic CV, conference attendance would be odd. All presentations is not odd depending on where you are in your career.

        I’m a grad student (aka baby academic), and I have a 2.5 page CV because I’ve given a lot of conference talks. It makes sense for me to list all of them because I’m early in my career and don’t have lots of publications (only 2 so far). The last 1/2 page is relevant volunteer experience… aka stuff that some people might be interested but is largely irrelevant. It’s a kitchen sink CV since there’s just not that much there yet.

        My advisor has a ~10 page CV on his website. It includes most of his publications, but not all since he has produced 5-10 papers per year for nearly 30 years (he drops a lot of stuff from 5+ years ago, offering “selected” publications). He only includes invited conference talks from the last 5ish years. If he were to include all publications and conference talks, it would probably be 40 or more pages. So curation matters to him. I suspect that he has a full version somewhere or at least had one the last time he switched institutions (he did make a late career move).

        1. Dankar*

          I’ve always been skittish about lisiting volunteer experience, since it’s always seemed too close to listing “personal interests” to me.

          My CV is 2 all trimmed down, since I’ve only had about 5 publications. (I just graduated with my MFA, so I’m a baby academic, too.) My conferences have all been paper presentations, but as a part of smaller panels, rather than the main event.

          As for long CVs, I’ve not come across one that curated publications, though I suspect that’s the difference between the sciences and the arts. A recent hiring for our department required a minimum of 28 publications, with preference going to candidates with 50+. Since creative publications don’t really become outdated, the push is to include everything.

          1. blackcat*

            I think, in the sciences, it’s pretty normal to stop listing older (non-famous) publications once you hit the 100 publication mark. I think my advisor has 200ish, but many of those are with grad students. Not only are some out of date, but he doesn’t remember all of them without going back and looking at them! So, yeah, his ground breaking work from the late 80s/early 90s is there, but nothing else from that era.

    2. Artemesia*

      What you are talking about is a CV and the norms are entirely different. I have seen CVs that are 20 pages long for very senior people who have published a lot. Usually more senior people keep all the publications but slim down things like conference presentations, but they are still catalogues of what they have done and entirely different from resumes. For an academic job, a resume of a page would not pass go. They want to see the research and the publications.

  36. Lora*

    LW1: I’m interviewing new grads now. Here is what I wish to see on their resumes:
    -Independent research work with name of lab head, what they worked on specifically.
    -Degree major(s), date awarded
    -Actual paying jobs. Work study counts. Jobs not related to your major count. I want to know that you have the basic idea of “we pay you to work because if it was fun you would do it for free” figured out. If I don’t have to teach professional adult behavior, that’s great.
    -If they have any of the actual skills listed in the job posting which most interests them, those should appear. If they are distributing this resume at a job fair, also put when and where and for how long they did that exactly and in what context, because job fair resumes never have cover letters included.
    -If they were an officer in some extracurricular thing, put it waaaaaaayyyy down on the bottom and I probably won’t even read it but you never know.

    That’s it. I seriously don’t care at all about the rest. I can figure out which classes you took, I know that your senior year project required you to play nice with others and I don’t care that you did marching band for a Big 10 school, sort of thing – I know it’s a big deal, I know how much work goes into it, I just don’t actually care.

  37. MoinMoin*

    #1 I’m glad Alison went into a little extra guidance explaining how to cut some space since OP already felt like she’d gone that avenue with no luck. I’d also offer that you could probably put all 3 campus jobs under one heading if you want to keep all 3. Something like:
    School of Hard Knocks (On Campus Employment)
    Chemistry Department – Sept 2014 – May 2015
    Duties, etc
    Office of Bursar – Dec 2013 – May 2015
    Duties, etc
    Student Advisor – Sept 2014 – May 2015
    Duties, etc

  38. Jessesgirl72*

    OP1: As you get out into the non-academic world, you are going to discover that the bad advice from your career center about the resumes is not going to be the only bad advice you received from them, or from your professors. They mean well, but they aren’t out working for corporations and really have no experience (or no recent experience, at minimum) to use to guide you. In a way, you already have more useful knowledge, because you came to AAM!

    Luckily, you likely have resources in your life that can help you- an aunt or uncle or friend of the family- who is out in the world hiring people every day. Or ask questions of your former employers or if you did an internship, the person you worked with there. If you don’t come from that kind of background, there are mentoring programs that can set you up with someone in the business world. Ask them what some of the biggest mistakes college hires make when applying for jobs, and then listen with an open mind, forgetting all the “But my Professor or the people at the career center told me X” You are far less likely to be steered wrong.

    So edit your resume, and good luck on finding that first “real” job!

  39. MaddieB*

    Don’t even bother reapplying to a company you so rudely chewed out. This behavior is an indicator of how you will behave when stressed or not getting your own way.

  40. SuttonK*

    LW #1: I’m going to be a graduate in June of this year and I fully agree with the 1 page resume advice. I could easily fill up two pages of my resume with all of my extracurricular activities that I’ve done while in school but they simply are not relevant to the roles that I’m pursuing or the field that I want to get into, which is the key thing. Putting every single thing that you did on your resume isn’t going to help you stand out or show that you’re exceptional. You only want to put the things that are relevant to you, and believe me I know how painful it is to realize that these things you worked your butt off to do and accomplish in the end don’t mean as much as you thought.

    However, those accomplishments and extracurriculars are things that, from what I understand and anyone please correct me if I’m wrong, you can put in your cover letter in order to show how you are a fit for the job without just regurgitating whats on your resume. For example, if you are applying for a position in which you did a similar but not a leadership role in a school club or something, put that in your cover letter! It doesn’t necessarily need to be on your resume, but that to me would be good cover letter material.

    I wish you all the luck with the world finding a position. It has been extraordinarily hellish for me and I sincerely hope you have a good shot at it.

    1. SuttonK*

      Oh and to tack onto this as other people have said, don’t listen to a college career center. Instead, maybe reach out to some alumni or someone with experience in your field and ask them to check out your resume and see how it reads to them. If you can find someone who does hiring that would be the ideal, but someone with experience who seems competent I would think would be able to help you trim it down. That too, would help you to better know what those in your field are actually looking for and want to see on a resume that shows as exceptional for a college grad.

  41. Employment Lawyer*

    4. Employer wants me to buy my own laptop

    Due to the recent weather here, lot’s of snow. My work now wants me to have a laptop to so I can work from home. The only problem is they want the money for the laptop to come out of my pocket. I am wondering if this is something they can do.
    That is a hard choice, but maybe rephrase it a bit?

    “My employer is one of the few people who will let me get paid to work from home, which means that I can take off snow days rather than being forced to choose between losing paid time and making a long and risky commute. This will save me money on gas, let me wear cheaper clothes; and let me cook cheaply at home. Should I take advantage of it?”

    Which is to say: Sure, by all means ask if they can loan you one temporarily. Never hurts to ask! But you may want to keep in mind that by most people’s experience, the employer is doing you a favor. Since the cost of a computer will pay for itself quite rapidly (compared to “not getting paid on snow days,” or “getting fired,”) this offer isn’t so bad.

    Also, FYI: you probably don’t need a laptop, nor do you need a new computer. Unless you’ll be carrying it around to and from work, you can also get a cheap desktop–they are often more robust, cheaper, and faster for any given price. Moreover, remote work is usually limited by the network and not by your computer, so an older computer will usually be fine–very few folks use anywhere near their PC capacity. So you may want to look into an used desktop. They are all over craigslist; in my city it took me 45 seconds to find an adequate one for $100 complete with monitor and a 2 month warranty.

    1. animaniactoo*

      Eh. I’d be wary of this rephrasing. Yeah, it sounds nice and all, but the company isn’t “allowing” it, they’re “requesting” it, meaning they likely either don’t want to pay the overtime to get the work completed once everyone can get into the office, or they were understaffed to begin with and even minor hiccups (like a week of snow days) throws them off completely and they are operating on such a short string that they can’t afford the production/profit hit.

      Those can be perfectly legitimate things in companies that are in various stages of life/profitability, but I think it’s a mistake to lose sight of the fact that they company isn’t asking this for the employee’s benefit, they’re asking for it for their own. If it happens to also benefit the employee, great. But since this is a new direct request vs a new option, I don’t think this rephrasing is the best way to approach the situation.

    2. LBK*

      How is the employer doing them a favor? This is just for the employer’s benefit so they can get more work out of people. If they were really that interested in doing something nice for their employees, they could close the office on snow days.

      This is a weirdly obsequious take on the situation that I’m guessing is borne out of bitterness at your employer for not letting you work from home and/or forcing you to use vacation time on snow days. I really, really doubt that “most people’s experience” would be feeling happy or grateful about their employer forcing them to buy anything that the employer should really be paying for themselves. It’s the cost of doing business: if they want to keep the business open on snow days, they need to pay for it.

      1. Employment Lawyer*

        This is a weirdly obsequious take on the situation that I’m guessing is borne out of bitterness at your employer for not letting you work from home and/or forcing you to use vacation time on snow days.

        This would be a very bad guess. My employer is probably the best employer on the whole planet. Not only is he incredibly accommodating–I can set my own hours and he has met all my salary demands–but he is good locking, mannerly, well spoken, and a great cook.**

        It’s the cost of doing business: if they want to keep the business open on snow days, they need to pay for it.

        What bubble do you live in? Don’t you read AAM? In real life, if a typical employer wants to be open on snowy days (there are no “snow days” in real life; this is not school) they tell their employees “you are expected to be at work even if it’s snowing,” and that is that. If the employees are lucky, they get paid a bit of extra time, which rarely compensates them enough. If the employees are unlucky, they can’t get to work and then they get fired.

        Not to mention that half the employees here are constantly begging for advice on how to get permission to work remotely, because it is so incredibly convenient–not only it is fine for snow days, but it also lets you work remotely when you’re too sick to travel but still want to get paid, and so on.

        Allowing people to work for full pay, without travelling to the office, is usually a favor. If the employer is rich enough to pay for it, and cares enough about that particular employee, they’ll pay for it. If not, they’ll just find someone else.

        **I am self-employed.

        1. LBK*

          I’ve gotten completely the opposite impression from the conclusions you’ve drawn by reading AAM…yeah, the letters are usually about being put in the situations you describe, but based on the comments I’ve always had the impression that most employers are pretty accommodating about working from home when it’s feasible, that most are pretty reasonable about snow days (generally falling in the “do what you can” category) and by far the majority don’t expect you to pay for your own expenses, especially a big expense like a computer.

          I really can’t think of a single time where someone has expressed gratitude at getting to buy their own computer to work from home. I can also only think of a single time that someone was threatened with termination for not being able to come in when it was snowing (the recent letter where the OP was a part-time salesperson).

        2. Anna*

          I think this is an incredibly one-sided way of looking at it and does not jibe at all with the way most things work “in the real world,” of which both LBK and I are part.

        3. Tau*

          It quits being a favour when it becomes a demand, and LW certainly doesn’t seem as if she can easily say “no”.

          1. LBK*

            Right, I don’t see how you can interpret an ultimatum as a favor. Not firing someone because they don’t want to choose between risking personal injury or dropping a few hundred dollars isn’t exactly a dramatic display of benevolence. It’s bare minimum management decency.

    3. Perse's Mom*

      I would frankly not trust any computer that’s only $100. Somehow it’s worse that it includes a monitor in that price. And from Craigslist.

  42. animaniactoo*

    OP #5 – I don’t know anyone who uses the word “chastise” for describing their own actions. I haven’t come across it online or among people I know in various parts of the country. Okay, the limits of my experience are not the limits of reality. But… I would strongly suspect that it is rare enough that if this is how you operate, you may want to give some serious thought and consideration to how you communicate with others and why. Beyond having made yourself feel better for having made the point, what do you think you will actually be accomplished by doing/saying it? How do you think you will be perceived and why? How would you perceive someone who said and acted that way towards you?

    1. ZVA*

      This is a great point. I thought it was interesting that the LW’s ultimate question was “Will I need to apologize or at least let the recruiter know that I have changed my mind should I decide to pursue opportunities with this company again? Or do you feel she’ll just forget it about it and get the idea that I’m interested should she receive new applications-resumes-cover letters etc. from me?” and not “Have I irrevocably burned a bridge here?” It didn’t seem to occur to them that they might have torpedoed their relationship with the company for good, which is essentially what Alison said they did; they seemed to assume that the company would consider their application even after they (by their own admission!) “chastised” them for what sound like perfectly normal hiring practices. So I think your questions are excellent ones.

    2. OP#5*

      I did apologize for the inconvenience and wished them well in their search if that counts for anything. I should have probably left it at that and moved on. In hindsight, there was probably no need to mention the two previous times they rejected me; following a lengthy interview process, or the fact I was going to be pursing opportunities elsewhere. I kind of took the car breaking down a day before the interview on top of the previous rejections as a sign that maybe I’m just not meant to work for this company.

      1. animaniactoo*

        I understand that you’re feeling kind of defensive about this – but take out the “probably” and you’re in a good space.

        The main thing is – the 2 previous rejections, the lengthy interview process, they didn’t do those things *at* you. They’re just part of how this stuff works. Part of the ownership is that you chose to apply to them again the 2nd time and the 3rd time. So yeah, you got frustrated – but you took your frustrations out on them when they really hadn’t done anything to deserve that.

        Apologizing for the inconvenience and wishing them well is a nice portion, but the chastisement really undercuts that portion and it becomes a question of “Well I said “please” when I mugged you and stole all your money”. The politeness of it doesn’t change the underlying fact that a violation occurred.

        At this point – take it as a learning experience, pick yourself up and move forward. The only benefit to looking back here is to figure out how to get yourself to a mindset/actions that will stop you from doing it in future.

  43. animaniactoo*

    OP#2 – I strongly second the urge to move on from this company. Because it sounds like they’re playing musical chairs with the organization, trying to work with what they have, rather than acknowledging that what they have seems to be a problem and there is no chair that they can put someone in that will magically matchup with their personality and skills and make them good and effective at what they need to do. A dedication and loyalty to employees and trying to work with them rather than fire them is to be admired and desired, but not when it turns into this level of reductio ad absurdum *dys*function.

  44. Mimolette*

    LW #1: I graduated college in May and how I removed things from my resume was by picking only the best activity in each “category.” So, rather than including all my research experience, I included my independent research project and left out my research assistant internship and my other publications. Rather than including all my leadership/organizational experience, I only included the conference I ran and the (successful) advocacy group I helped lead. I also worked food service all through college but did not include it on my resume. (Of course, I changed it up based on the type of job).

    This worked because if, on an interview, an employer was really interested in something, I had a natural way to work my other experience in. For example (and this has happened), an interviewer says: “It’s great that you have some research experience, it wasn’t emphasized in the listing, but you’ll be doing a good deal of research in this position. Can you tell me more about your experience?” I have been able to elaborate on my independent project, and also mention the skills that I’ve gained through my other research positions. If I had got rid of all the experience in that “category,” the interviewer might not have brought it up.

  45. HannahS*

    #1 I had that problem too! I had done so many extra-curriculars, jobs, and volunteer positions that I didn’t know how to best express it. Here are some things that helped me:

    1. I had one “master resume” where everything I did (and all the bullet points) were laid out
    2. Then, for each job, I chose which positions and bullets were most relevant *for that job.* (i.e. applying to be a receptionist? They don’t need to hear more than one line per position about my research work. Applying for a research position? They don’t need to know anything about my volunteering at a museum dressed like a Victorian housekeeper)
    3. I also avoided repetition of what’s not relevant as much as possible in the bullets–so, say I was applying for a research position. I had three research placements, so I’d put information about the research I’d done in each position, but I’d only put administrative experience once, under the position where I’d done it the most.

  46. Just another girl in engineering*

    #1 – Career services at my university told me that a 2-page resume was fine for me. I didn’t believe them, so I cut it down to 1 page.
    I do wonder if it varies by field, though. I was an engineering graduate student, and one of the companies that I interviewed with flattered me by saying that I was more like an an experienced hire, with just internships and graduate research positions. I didn’t believe him either, but it makes me wonder if certain types of college experience in some fields do warrant a longer resume.

  47. UnCivil Engineer*

    My approach to the one pager resume has been to have a nearly (like maybe a smidge on a second page) one page resume and because civil engineering is so project based, have a line on my resume that “References, project specific resume, and writing examples are available upon request.” My project specific resume is at 11 years in 5 pages long and categorized by practice focus area. So if an employer is really interested in my specific project experience they can get it if my one page resume catches them. The writing samples have been a great hit with interviewers as engineers aren’t really known for writing skills despite all of hundreds of pages of reports I’ve done in my career.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You can actually take that line off, because it’s assumed that you’ll provide that stuff if requested (especially the references – you could maybe leave it on for the project-specific stuff).

  48. Marisol*

    OP #4 – I bought a used Chromebook off Ebay for fifty bucks. I just need it to check email and play music, so my needs were slight. It has a slightly damaged screen, but I don’t care, and eventually it will break, but again, for fifty bucks I don’t care. If you’re desperate, something like that might be an option.

  49. Newt*

    LW1 – Cut that CV to the bone!

    You’re not trying to show every aspect of how awesome you are. You’re summarising your experience and highlighting *key* points. An example: My partner now has permanent, full-time employment. But prior to his current job he’d spent several years taking on temporary placements through agencies, varying from single days of work to one role that lasted a year and a half.

    His CV work history shows the 2-3 longer-term jobs he’s had like normal. It then has a section that basically says “2007-2014, fixed-term roles via Named Agency” and then lists the individual roles he had that lasted several months as single bullet points, with “various other short-term roles” at the bottom. Although this cuts out quite a lot of other work he’d done, he doesn’t list any role he took that was shorter-term because, frankly, his 3 week stint as a catering assistant isn’t going to impress anyone looking to hire caterers, and is irrelevant to anyone looking to hire him for something he’s actually got decent experience in.

    Your extra-curricular experiences aren’t for the CV. It may be worth mentioning one or two of them in the cover letter, if they are *directly relevant* to the role you’re applying for. And they can be used as examples given in interviews in response to questions like “tell me about a time when you displayed good leadership” or “tell me about an experience where you dealt with a difficult customer”. Likewise with any Summer jobs that aren’t either very exceptional/unusual or very directly related to what you’re applying for. At most, list those as individual bullet points.

    I get the temptation to include it all. When I was younger and looking for work, I was worried I wouldn’t look like a great candidate on paper because of my inexperience compared to older workers, and wanted to include everything and anything that demonstrated a skill. But employers don’t expect someone under 25 to have huge amounts of experience.

    Remember that an employer these days may be wading through 50 or more CVs for a single vacancy. They’ll likely do multiple rounds of culling applications before they even get to the initial interview stage, and they’ll be scanning those applications quickly. Put too much in there, and you risk the relevant information getting missed in amongst the rest of it.

  50. Anna*

    #3 – I actually do share a last name with my company’s CEO (who long predates me and is the right age to be a father/uncle/other relation who could have indulged in inappropriate nepotism). It’s not a super rare name, but rare enough that I do occasionally get a question. Usually, you can just politely say “no relation” and move on; I’ve never had it get weird. Or in lighter situations, I joke that if we are related, he’s seriously slacking on his family reunion attendance (or something of the like). Don’t worry about it!

  51. The Devil's Advocate*

    OP #5. I understand that you were frustrated by the poor judgement demonstrated by this company in not hiring you previously. At this point, apologizing to the recruiter is probably not necessary because you’ve probably burned your bridges with both the recruiter and the potential employer.

    Criticizing them for not hiring you previously is going to be a deal-breaker for any employer, decent or not, because they simply do not take constructive criticism well and are incapable of acknowledging their mistakes. Some people wouldn’t recognize talent if it kicked them in the… or if it insulted them to their faces. Yes, it is insulting to you and a missed chance for them, but that’s how hiring works much of the time.

    1. Jessie the First (or second)*

      “Yes, it is insulting to you and a missed chance for them”

      Why is it insulting to not get a job?

      One person gets hired. Are you saying that it’s reasonable for any individual person who applies to decide that he/she is objectively the Best Person for the Job, regardless what they know of the other applicants?

      That attitude is how you get resentment and totally unprofessional and inappropriate outbursts (from the applicant)- because you feel entitled to something, and so it becomes So Unfair and Very Insulting when it is “taken” from you. But that is most definitely not how hiring works, not by any stretch of the imagination.

      As an outsider, you do. not. know. who else applied and how great a fit they were. And you do. not. know. as much about the job and the company as the *person inside the company hiring for the job* does. It is arrogance to assume you know more about what the company needs than the company does.

      I don’t think humoring that attitude in a job applicant is helpful, either.

      1. OP#5*

        Jessie the First (or second)

        If you had over a decade of sales and customer service experience in an office setting and circumstances dictated that you needed to take an entry-mid level retail sales position with Walmart, and in your mind you were the most qualified person for the position due to your training, education and experience, wouldn’t you feel just a little bit frustrated if Walmart rejected you? And what if you tried again down the line and were not only rejected an additional time, but several more times as well as you applied for more than one position. Lets also add another element, lets say you taught numerous other people everything they know about sales and customer service, manly of the people you trained/mentored had illustrious stints at Walmart where they were seen as “exceptional” employees, these people have since moved on to bigger and better things, but they were able to secure employment at Walmart but you, yourself the person you trained/mentored them were not. Wouldn’t you begin to feel like you were wasting your time with Walmart and get the message that maybe Walmart just wasn’t interested in you?
        Walmart was not the place I applied and I mean no offense to Walmart or anyone who works there. Just wanted to use a nationally-internationally known retailer for my example.

        1. An entirely different Alison*

          But to clarify, Jessie’s point was that you truly can not know if you were the most qualified person for the position; you just don’t have the information to determine that. So it’s pretty much irrelevant whether you believe you are the most qualified person for a job.

          I know how disappointing it is to get turned down for jobs you think you’re highly qualified for, but as Alison reminds us, we can never know the whole situation. There may always be someone more qualified in the running. And even if you were the best candidate on paper, someone’s nephew might be hired instead, or the position may disappear or functionally change, or any number of other things may occur which lead to you not getting an offer.

  52. Annabelle Lee*

    This resume page length thing is interesting. I’ve been on the hiring end several times over the past three years and never notice the length of the resumes I read nor has anyone else on the hiring team said anything. Maybe its regional. We’re in upper Midwest in financial services. Hiring for entry and mid level positions.

  53. Mr. Goldstein*

    My resume has always been around a page and a half and has never hurt me in terms of getting interviews. The first page contains the summary-objective in not so many words, qualifications and relevant work experience. The half page contains educational details and a section for references upon request. I have been self-employed since 04 and most of my work history contains that experience. Aside from self-employment, I only held one other job that lasted longer than six months and thus made the cut for my resume. That job was one that lasted for a year and a half with a supermarket. After the store closed, I went to college for a few years and thus ended up becoming an entrepreneur. I keep the resume just in case, as in just in case I ever need to return to the general workforce or in case I see a position that really interest me that I’d like to give a go to. I set my own schedule with the self-employment, so could accommodate working another job if it was something I wanted to or needed to do.

  54. Mr. Goldstein*

    It really doesn’t seem like the company was all that interested to begin with prior to the outburst. This person was rejected twice with interviews and from the sounds of it numerous other times without being interviewed. I think most would take the hint and move on. Even if the bridge isn’t burnt and they would be willing to consider you for future employment opportunities, you’d have quite a bit of egg on your face if you approached them again.

  55. The Strand*

    #1 – Boil the resume down to one page. It sucks, but especially in an environment when a lot of millenials and younger grads are underemployed, the assumption will be that you’re inflating your accomplishments and have no perspective. It’s not fair if you’ve actually done impressive things, but the goal of your resume is to get you hired.

    My first paid work in computer science came when I was 16 years old. I was unusual, but not that unusual. I knew several people who actually quit college to work for hot startups, and one of my friends, who also started getting paid to program as a teen, ended up on the Forbes Under 40 list.

    My achievements didn’t matter a whit to hiring managers outside that (computer, new media, startup) world. After college, I realized that other places had different ideas about achievement than the computer science world – just like employers outside higher education are not going to view your experience in college the same way. People I met outside of the computer science world just saw a callow kid, and assumed by the two page resume that I was some kind of bullshit artist or that the projects I’d worked on weren’t anything special. It sucked, it was unfair. But I couldn’t and can’t change the fact that other people are short-sighted; I can change the likelihood that I get in the door in the first place.

    Keep working hard and using your creative and leadership skills. People will see what you are capable of. At the end of the day, your resume is just a document that gets you in the door and helps you win over the hiring manager. As a recent grad, your chances are much better if it’s one page. You can put the extra experience on LinkedIn somewhere (volunteering, etc) and on your personal website. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you get as much wisdom from reading AAM as I have.

  56. Anxa*


    I know it’s a little late, but I have a related question here. I’m 30, out of school, but still competing with a lot of students and new grads for positions. I don’t really have a robust career that warrants 2 pages, but I am struggling so hard in keeping it to one page. Sometimes I cut out the jobs that are less relevant (like waitressing). Sometimes I cut out the skill section, or the education section etc.

    Right now I’m struggling because my related experience is enough to fill the first page. I can add skills onto the first IF I list jobs without any bullet points. I have about 7 jobs, all of which are relevant, but not particularly impressive. Many are old, though. Would it look weird to do something like this:

    Industry X Experience:
    Current job
    -bullet point
    -more bullets
    -this job is recent and most applicable so I have things to say

    Other job

    Other job

    Other job
    -this could use a bullet
    maybe here

    Other job

    OTHER EXPERIENCE (may cut this off and replace with skill section)
    Job that shows customer service experience
    Volunteering while I was longterm unemployed
    More volunteering with some transferable skills

    The random floating jobs with no description looks weird to me interspersed with others, especially ones with more vague titles.

    Does one bullet look lonely?

    1. Anxa*

      I’m also thinking about only putting a description for my current job, making sure I leave off the one I just started to save room, and making my cover letter do most of the talking. Also I think I can trim the profile.

      1. Anxa*

        Oh, this wouldn’t be as hard as it is, except the ad specifically asks my application to address things like customer service skills, Microsoft office, the ability to work in teams and independently. Things I would usually leave off and hope they could read between the lines for.

  57. debora*

    College senior, I may have had significantly more experience simply from a quantitative standpoint but most employers don’t really care, ESPECIALLY about extracurriculars. While I understand that it shows that you manage your time well, I trimmed down everything that did not directly tell a narrative about who I was as an applicant specifically for that position–deleting mentions of my leadership roles on my nationally ranked club sports team (despite its 10/hour weekly + weekend travel tournament commitment), freshmen orientation, my work-study jobs, my student-faculty council membership, etc. etc, even occasionally an internship or two out of the seven I did in college if it did not align with my current professional interests. Don’t listen to campus advisors–unless you pursue a career in higher ed admin unfortunately extracurriculars truly do not make a difference. They don’t care that you’ve done a lot or can manage your time, they care that you have the experience and skills needed to do the specific position at hand.

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