companies that say they have a “young vibe,” do new grads really need to stick to one-page resumes, and more

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

1. What does it mean when a company says they have a “young vibe”?

I went through a 15-minute phone screening today. I think the conversation went fairly well for how short it was (wow, she really spoke FAST!) but there’s one phrase the HR person used that keeps making me wonder. I asked her what the culture is like at this company and one of the things she said is “We’re a young company.” She’s not talking about the company itself which is over 100 years old, so she must mean that most people in this office are young or hip or forward thinking, stuff like that. She said that everybody in there has a good time because “they all love what they do, and love the brand.”

Though I’ve been blessed with good genes and appear to be about 10 years younger than I am, I’m not young. With 15 years of experience on my resume, she must’ve deduced that, at the very least, I might not be in my 30s anymore, right?. And … I’m not hip and trendy, nor do I wish to be. Plus, I like and admire the brand, but I don’t know if I’d ever love it. So, what does it mean to tell a candidate that there’s a young vibe? I kind of think that’s disrespectful towards people who are seasoned and experienced, as I am.

This is for an administrative role with reception duties. She also stressed that the person hired would be “the face of [Company]” at the front desk — so obviously they want someone who projects the brand — but was she also saying “old fat farts need not apply?” Should I forget about this one?

That kind of talk — not just the “young” thing, but also the emphasis on “we have a good time” and “we all love the brand” — is very likely to mean that their staff is predominantly 20somethings/early 30somethings and that the company thinks that makes them cool (as opposed to heavily staffed by people without a ton of professional seasoning). They may under-pay. They may expect you to live and breathe work in ways that are often easier to swallow when you’re 22 but much less appealing when you’re 42. Or maybe none of that is true. It’s possible that they’re pretty functional and are just inadvertently using the same language that dysfunctional, bro-culture-ish organizations tend to embrace.

If you’re otherwise interested in the job, I think you should accept an interview if they offer you one. You’ll learn a lot more about their culture if you go there in-person to interview and have a chance to talk with them more in-depth. (And really, you could always ask at the next interview, “You mentioned that it’s a young company. Can you tell me what that means here and how it plays out?” The answer to that should be illuminating.)

2. My coworker keeps making frustrated noises in our shared office space

I work in a small company with an open-plan workspace. The newest member of the team, Gabe, and I are the only ones in the open space. The senior members of the team have private offices.

The problem is that we all work relatively individually, which means the office is silent for most of the day, which I really like. However, Gabe constantly mutters to himself, often quite loudly, and constantly sighs in frustration, throws his hands up in the air, or clutches his head. I’m the only one sharing a space with him and this gets extremely irritating. Is there a polite way I can point this out? I am privy to the projects he is working on, and as he has recently joined us I know there is nothing he could be working on that is so frustrating.

I know the senior managers are aware of it, as they brought it up privately in a joking manner — so they can definitely hear him too. But they haven’t done anything about it. I’m at my wit’s end with annoyance, but also feel like a bad person for making this a big deal.

Ugh, that’s really annoying behavior. The muttering on its own would be one thing, but the noises and motions of frustration are spewing negativity into your environment, and that’s an extra level of distracting and uncomfortable.

Asking him to rein it in isn’t making it a big deal; it’s a perfectly reasonable request to make in a shared space. The next time he does it, you could say it this way: “Hey, it’s really distracting when you make frustrated noises like that or throw your hands up in the air like you’re exasperated — and it makes me lose my focus on my work because I wonder if something is wrong. Could you try to be aware of it and rein it in?”

3. How can I ward off coworkers who will want to touch my pregnant belly?

I’m pregnant. I’m planning to announce it to my coworkers soon via email. My boss already knows, and is happy and supportive.

With my last pregnancy (different company), I found it surprisingly difficult to say no in the moment when well-meaning coworkers patted my belly without asking. This time, I’d like to ward that off before it starts, if possible. A couple coworkers are huggers and arm patters. Belly pats seem inevitable.

Is there something I could say– maybe in my email announcement or when people respond to congratulate me? I’d like to sound lighthearted and not negative. I don’t mind leaning toward the “haha, funny quirk of mine” side of things.

I know sometimes you recommend having an office busybody spread the word in similar situations, but we’re lacking an office busybody. Usually a plus, but it would be helpful now!

Aggggh, this is so rude. And yet so common! People are weird.

I think it will come across strangely if people congratulate you and you respond with “but please don’t touch me” (as warranted as that would be). But if you’re willing to say something about it in your email announcement, you could say something like, “No belly touches please — that freaks me out! But I will gladly accept your congratulations from a reasonable foot or so away.” Or at least that’s the wording I’d use personally, but what feels right will depend on your own personality, so adapt accordingly. I think anything you write will be fine as long as it’s reasonably straightforward.

And if people ignore the message and try to caress your belly anyway (shudder), I’ve always liked the idea of reaching over and petting their stomach in return. Or as Miss Manners once suggested, “You could double over in such a way as to suggest that the unwarranted blow has brought on premature labor.” Or you can just visibly flinch and back away.

Read an update to this letter here.

4. My coworker wants my help getting the job I’m leaving — but I don’t want to help him out

I’ve recently put in my two weeks notice at my company. I was in a leadership role — not a manager (I had no direct reports) but I handled the day-to-day ins-and-outs of the team and helped drive the success of the team. I’m the most senior member of the team under my manager.

This one coworker, I’ll call him H, has been there for a few years. He joined the team about a year and a half after I did. I have consistently had problems with him not following processes and procedures, which caused issues among others that we work with. I have had other people in the company file complaints about his work ethic and their disappointment in his performance, which I have discussed with my own manager. He also has shown entitlement — he said flat-out after I received my promotion that he was surprised he didn’t get promoted (even though at the time he had only been at the company for a few months) and he has downplayed my role when talking to other people in the company. My manager hasn’t really done anything to back me up. He would actually defend H on occasion and tell me I was being too hard on him, even though there was written evidence that H wasn’t properly doing his job.

Well, I finally put in my two weeks notice and have accepted a role at another company. My manager is posting my job online to try to get a backfill employee ASAP, but H messaged me today: “Hey C, I decided I am going to apply for your position. Can we meet up tomorrow so you can tell me exactly what you do on a day-to-day basis so I have a leg up in the interview process?” In any other situation, I would probably be more than happy to help a qualified candidate. Key word here: qualified. This guy can’t follow processes on his own even after being at the company for over two years, so how would he be able to enforce them? I have a sinking feeling that he just wants the title and doesn’t want to put forward the work. And it is hard work with long hours.

How can I tell him that I don’t think this is fair to other candidates? I don’t feel comfortable giving him a “leg up” when he has made my life harder when I worked there and didn’t respect the position when I had it. Also, should I give a heads up to my manager or something? I dont want to burn any bridges with any work relationships but I also dont want to help somebody get a job that theyre not qualified for.

I don’t know that there’s anything here you need to alert your manager to, especially since your manager has defended him in the past, but you aren’t at all obligated to help him out. You could say something like, “I don’t feel comfortable doing that since it could be an unfair advantage over candidates who don’t know me personally. And it’s better that you go into the interview with your own ideas anyway. Sorry I can’t help!” … But if you can credibly say that you’re swamped with getting ready to leave and won’t have time to meet with him, I think that’s the easiest way to do it. Or you could say something like, “I can talk for a few minutes to give you a quick run-down about the role, but I won’t have time to go in depth.”

5. As a new grad, do I really need to limit my resume to one page?

Everything I read online and on your site says pretty clearly that as a younger person and (soon to be) recent graduate, my resume should absolutely not be longer than one page, the idea being that when you’ve had more experience you might have enough to qualify for one longer. However, as a college student, I have way more experiences than a veteran in the field. After a few years in the field you could just have your recent jobs and since one is unlikely to switch jobs that much, fitting a resume on one page is easy. For me, however, and a lot of other students, we have had many different internships, at least one a summer and sometimes two, plus more during the school year. I have so many distinct work experiences to list (and yes they’re all relevant to my industry) that I can no longer fit everyone on a one resume page if I want to give each one more than one or two bullet points of description. My resume is already in a size 11 font as well.

Is there a way to get around the one-page limit or should I just be describing my experience with one or two lines instead of three? I know you might think there’s no way everything is relevant, but it is; the least relevant experience on my resume is my on-campus job that I’ve had for three years which shows customer service skills and commitment.

You definitely need to stick to one page if you’re just about to be a new graduate or you will look like you don’t know how to be concise or draw out the most important information.

If that means that you need to limit yourself to one or two bullet points per job, that’s what you should do. Keep in mind that your bullet points don’t need to describe everything you did at a particular job, only the most compelling or impressive highlights.

{ 651 comments… read them below }

  1. Mes*

    “However, as a college student, I have way more experiences than a veteran in the field.”

    LOL. No you don’t.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Yes, I think the plural on experiences is key here – they mean positions or employers.

        Though, LW, this isn’t necessarily going to be true. I graduated 12 years ago and I have a lot of relevant stuff to put on my resume even now. It’s still only 1.5 pages and covers a lot more than you’ve mentioned here.

        Here’s the thing: resumes need to be short because a) longer ones are kind of heart-sinky to read and b) they need to get to the point reasonably quickly. They’re like an advert, not a complete product manual. Two bullets per internship is enough. Pick the most important things.

        1. Lars the Real Girl*

          And for a series of *short* internships, 1 or 2 things (if that) is really all that you probably accomplished or achieved that’s resume worthy.

          I think internships are more learning experiences than actual work experiences, so even just listing them without bullets may be more appropriate. I would actually spend more time on the job you’ve had for 3 years: what improvements have you made to the role, what leadership or initiative have you shown, what have your reviews been like, etc.

          Your industry *exposure* is what your internships show, not experience. Your 3 year job is what shows your work ethic.

          1. Say what, now?*

            Agreed, if you were at an internship for 2 months and you wrote down five or six bullet points detailing different longterm projects it would be a bit suspect. Five or six short term projects could be condensed into one or two bullet points by saying something along the lines of:
            “Was assigned several projects in the editing department, all of which were completed same-day per the deadline.” And then another bullet point about the elements of the project.
            I’m not in love with that wording but you get the idea. If they’re projects of a similar nature it’s less important to talk about each one than it is to say you caught on quickly and did them well enough to keep getting assigned those projects.

          2. Koko*

            Also, LW, the preference among hiring managers for short resumes is reflective of a broader preference in the business world for short, efficient communication.

            There’s a quote variously attributed to the usual suspects – Pascal, Twain, Churchill – “I was going to write you a short letter, but I only had time to write a long one.”

            Cultivating the ability to ruthlessly trim your communications without sacrificing clarity or completeness is one of the most valuable skills that is needed in virtually every professional job. People are busy. They don’t have time to read long emails or other documents. Develop the ability to distill information to the most relevant bits–your colleagues will not only consciously appreciate it, but on a more subtle level you’re also a lot more likely to get what you need from someone if you can sum it up quickly and clearly, making it easy for them to comprehend and respond.

          3. Winger*

            I would love to get an applicant who is a recent college grad and had had 6-8 different internships in the field. All it needs on the resume is a heading that says “internships” and then a one, or at most two, line description of what each internship entailed. This is a great example of the kind of thing that would separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. A lot of this LW’s fellow students evidently have had the same kind of experience – wouldn’t it be interesting to look at all of their resumes and see how people handled this.

        2. Anon to me*

          When I read a resume from anyone with less than 5 years of full-time professional experience that is more than one page, I grow concerned that they don’t know what in their own experience is important and relevant. If they don’t know that about their own experience, then they will struggle in the job i’m hiring for as those skills are necessary.

          1. Anonymousaurus Rex*

            Yes. I had this problem when I was first out of school. I solved it by having a 2 page resume and then cutting back to one page and leaving only the most relevant stuff on there for each job I applied to. That way I still could use all of the experience, but only mentioned the most relevant experience for each job.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          YES! I hire fresh-out-of-college folks all the time, and I have yet to see a resume that was long than a page that couldn’t have been cut down to one. (And I see A LOT of resumes.) It’s really, really rare to need a ton of bullet points to explain what you accomplished at a short (1-3 month) internship – if you do, check it to make sure you’re focusing on achievements and not the mechanics of what you did day to day.

          On the flip side, I’m helping someone with 5+ years of professional experience update their resume and had to reassure them that going to 2 pages was fine. We edited out a lot of stuff from their post-college resume that was no longer important now that they had actual professional experience, too.

          1. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

            I’m approaching 10 yrs of professional experience and just now have I finally given myself permission to go over onto 2 pages. I really clung to the one-page rule for so long.

            1. AKchic*

              I have 20 years of working experience, and I refuse to go to a second page. I am ruthless. Temp jobs, jobs I had when I was a teenager that were retail/food service, etc. – they go away, or can be referenced in a deep background check if an employer really wants to go that far back (it’s happened to me twice).
              I’m even hesitant about my certifications because the school I got some of them from closed down 4 months after I got the certifications and there’s no real way to verify anything other than the paperwork I have at home, or the classes I have gone to thanks to other companies paying to send me.
              I do list some of my volunteer work, but only where I actually hold positions, not just Random Volunteer.

              1. GlitsyGus*

                At this point anything prior to college graduation is out for me unless it would be incredibly relevant (seeing as I don’t think I’ll be looking for another paper route any time soon it doesn’t seem likely.).

                I will put certain jobs in just as a single line with title, firm and dates, not for relevance, but to eliminate a large employment gap. Not everything needs to be elaborated on.

      2. Lilo*

        Although if OP is reading this, good opportunity here: don’t put that language in a cover letter or say it in an interview, it is easy to interpret in a way that makes you look naive and unrealistic about your background. Be careful to clarify what your internships mean.

        Internships can be great. It can show you have work environment experience that many college students just don’t get. I like to see any kind of work experience on a college student resume (even out of field, being a barista/waiter all through college tells me you know how to work). But in-field experience can set you apart from other college students. But more detail may be better suited for a resume or interview – a single line may be all I need to know about a 2 month internship. I might worry if it looks like you bounce around a lot or dabble, but that is extremely situation-specific.

        1. Lars the Real Girl*

          I think “bouncing around” doesn’t apply here. Internships are universally understood to be short stints and a variety of them is a normal thing to have.

          1. aebhel*

            Right–I think internships are the one universally agreed-upon exception (well, that and contract work, I suppose); virtually all of them are for a set time-frame, be it a summer or a college semester. Unless you were actually fired from an internship, having multiple 3-6 month stints, as long as it’s clear that they were actually internships, shouldn’t reflect poorly on the OP.

            (Unless, I suppose, that they have a bunch of internships in totally unrelated fields, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here).

          2. NotAnotherManager!*

            Agreed! Most of the resumes I get have 2-5 internships on them, and I know the difference between an internship and a job. I work with people who are very sensitive (in a negative way) to “job hopping”, and even they don’t conflate that and a series of internships.

        2. Koko*

          a single line may be all I need to know about a 2 month internship

          Cosigned. All of the little things you do in a short internship really just add up to one big thing: a basic/foundational familiarity with the field and how it operates. What seems to you as a recent grad like a lot of different things you learned are probably something that I mentally package as “typical internship-level experiences.” Even the very best internship is not significantly different enough from the worst one that it’s going to make a difference at the resume stage. I’m more likely to be looking at that point to see how many internships you had, if they were in a similar setting to our office (nonprofit/government/public company/start-up/private firm/etc), if they were in a variety of settings, if any of the employer names are recognizable to me or places where I have contacts…basically a bunch of things that I can tell just from a list of position titles, employer names, and dates.

          Even if you did something truly extraordinary, you should be able to sum that up in one line: “Honored with Presidential Medal of Friendship for designing and launching a new product line.”

        3. DJ*

          Hi, OP here. In my industry, in-field experience is basically mandatory before graduation. I’ve been lucky in that in most of my internships I’ve been given work way beyond what interns normally get so I want to highlight that as much as possible, since I’m essentially trying to get a job doing exactly what I did during my internship.

          1. Nope*

            But drop the attitude that you have more experience than most veterans. You don’t. You have scholastic experience but not real world experience.

          2. LT*

            If you were exposed to more than what interns normally experience, then perhaps you can let your resume be the backbone but elaborate on this extra work in your cover letter?

            Other advice on AAM recommends focusing on accomplishments, rather than tasks, in a resume. What was the outcome you were able to accomplish through this extra exposure? What extra knowledge did you gain that stood out from a “normal” internship?

      3. Overeducated*

        Yes, the phrasing is bad but this can totally happen. I remember having a longer resume a year out of college than my roommate because I had so many part time jobs and internships, and he had had one internship, no job in college, and one full time job after.

        The difference: I worked in a nonprofit field where unpaid internships are common and full time jobs are rare, extremely competitive, and often require graduate degrees. He was a programmer, and the one internship he had was at a software company you’ve heard of. He made more that first year out of college than I do a decade and two graduate degrees later….

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I wonder if OP could could cluster their internships into a single section – “internships” and then use the bullets to highlight key features from all of them. Not sure if this would be more confusing or not. (Also only if they have other non-internship positions they wanted to list).

      4. Gabriela*

        While students are in school, and before they have any internship experience, they are told to put things like extracurricular activities and relevant coursework, because you have to start somewhere to even get that internship. Then when they have done those (sometimes very competitive) internships, it can be a tough mindset-change to then realize that not only are your student organizations not all that relevant, but even the internships don’t mean much when compared to real, full-time experience.

        So, while I fought an eyeroll at the “more experience” comment, I get where the OP is coming from.

        1. Koko*


          If you have work experience you no longer need to list your high school, your clubs, or your coursework. You could include your GPA for a year or two after graduation but once you’ve been in an actual job I care more about your real-world job performance than using your academic performance as a notoriously unreliable predictor of job performance.

          1. Koko*

            And “Skills” section may have been stretched into a list of bullet points for every basic skill at on time, but by the time you have work experience should be condensed to a line or two. One bullet listing all special software skills. One bullet listing all field-specific training or skills. Get “Microsoft Word” and “writing and editing” off your skill list. That’s the bare minimum I want from an applicant and does not give you an edge.

            1. Lady H*

              I agree with your comment broadly but think that leaving Microsoft Word (or better yet, Office) skills ON a resume makes sense. It’s basic, yes, but a surprising amount of people don’t know how to use these tools!

              I would also worry that any software that’s scanning for keywords in uploaded resumes would reject it based on the omission of that, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. I know Allison has addressed that in the past and can’t remember if it’s a legit concern or not!

        2. DJ*

          Hi, OP here, it’s more “experiences” as in individual work experiences that are very relevant to my job search because they’re summer or semester-long internships. And trust me, I’ve already removed all relevant coursework and extra-curriculars I’m involved in but one (which singlehandedly got me two of my internships so I couldn’t cut it.)

      5. JB (not in Houston)*

        Even so, that means the OP is assuming that veterans in the field didn’t also have lots of internships or work experience during college. And while that might be true of someone who has been working for thirty years, even when I was in college in the late 90s, working and having multiple internships were common.

        1. Taylor Swift*

          Sure, but if you’ve been in the industry 30 years, you don’t need to put your college internships on your resume. If five college internships are all you’ve got, that’s a different story.

          1. SarahTheEntwife*

            Yeah, I had way more items on my resume when I was applying to this job than I would if I were dusting off my resume now. Nobody wants to hear about my admin job or the temp agency I worked for 10 years ago (unless I were applying for something closely related to those jobs, which would be unlikely), and since then I’ve been in the same job the whole time. Now I’d probably want to go for more of a skills-based resume than chronological since while my job has changed quite a lot, it’s technically just been 1 position for over 10 years and that’s going to look weird all on its lonesome no matter how many bullet points I put on it.

      6. Artemesia*

        I’d group the internships as one thing and then list them under that. After all a series of jobs that lasted 3 mos here and there would look flakey but doing multiple internship can be impressive — but each doesn’t deserve a huge entry.

      7. Shahar*

        AAM, do you think hiring managers care about awards received in undergrad/graduate school if they’re competitive? I wonder if part of the length issue is the addition of awards/similar.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Yes, I smirked at this statement too. I hope it is AAMs interpretation. If it isn’t, it comes off as clueless.

    2. Jeanne*

      I question how relevant these experiences are. You have 2 internships a summer and more each semester. How in-depth can each of these internships be? Are you actually working or are you observing? Get someone to look at your 2 page resume and help you figure out what is actually important. I bet a lot of it can be condensed. While you see it all as a big deal, you don’t want the hiring manager to not consider you because you are out of touch with professional norms.

      1. MK*

        The internships may well be all relevant; what I question is the OP wanting to go into depth about all of them. Two per summer, probably lasting a few weeks each, likely don’t merit a paragraph.

        OP, I think the operative phrase in your letter is “if I want to give more than two bullet points each”; you actually don’t want to do that. It will make you look clueless if you come across as thinking that a month-long internship is in any way equivalent to a job that lasted years.

        1. Birch*

          Yeah, I think that’s the biggest problem here. Young people eventually learn that being concise is more difficult and shows more maturity than being overly thorough. It’s a painful lesson and so tempting to believe that all your experiences are so relevant!

        2. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

          I’m wondering if the internships couldn’t be combined in some way with bullet points under the grouped list? I’m not sure this is a good idea, but I’m imaging internships as having roughly the same sort of experiences. I’m still not picturing more than 5-6 bullet points total. I just have my doubts that each internship actually had vastly different experiences than all of the other internships, but maybe that’s different in different fields?

          So maybe do something like:
          Internship (Summer 2017), Internship (Summer 2016), Internship (Summer 2015)
          -Achievement #1
          -Achievement #2 and so on…

        3. Anony*

          That’s what I was thinking. If there are really two per summer than one bullet point should be enough for each to summarize what was done. Particularly relevant ones can be expanded on in the cover letter or at the interview stage.

        4. Breda*

          A good thing to realize is that you don’t have to list skills or similar projects EVERY time you used them: if, say, three of these internships had you doing normal office tasks, you can list that under the slowest one to show you know how to operate in an office, and then use the space on the others to say things like “turned requests around on a tight deadline” or “assisted in grant-writing” or whatever other, more interesting thing you did. If you cut repetition, you usually can bring it down to two bullet points each.

      2. BPT*

        I know plenty of college students who have done this (and hired them). Especially in places like DC, it’s not hard to get an internship every semester at places like think tanks, nonprofits, on the Hill, at newspapers, in communications and lobbying firms, etc. And on the Hill internships usually last half the summer in a lot of offices, so it’s not unusual to spend the summer interning starting in one office and moving to another halfway through the summer.

        Having hired interns a lot, most of these internships actually involve working and getting good experience and all are very relevant.

        1. DJ*

          Hi BPT, OP here, good instincts because I am working in DC (on the Hill) for most of my experience. :)

          1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

            DJ, even with multiple internships, you should keep your resume to one page. Here is a suggestion to save space: combine your internships into one section that shows you have specific skills and achievements. For example, if you interned at three different offices in Washington, you can do the following:

            INTERN, Washington, DC, 2014-17
            Offices of Senator Robb Stark (Policy Researcher), Representative Samwell Tarley (Constituent Relations), Undersecretary of Defense Tyrion Lannister (Policy Formulation Aide)

            Then list one bullet point outlining the skills you have gained and 1-2 more with specific accomplishments.

            This will get your information across with out taking up too much space.

        2. BPT*

          @DJ, to @Jeanne’s point – although I have gotten a lot of applicants with often 5-10 positions listed on their resume, the best ones for entry level applicants are still just one page long. The places you’re applying will likely be familiar with the types of work you do at these internships, so you don’t need more than 1-2 bullet points for each of them. Still definitely try to keep it to one page. If you interned for one office multiple times, you can combine that into one item. If things start getting long, start with weeding out or condensing your college involvement (club activities, study abroad, etc). Try to keep it to one page.

    3. No Mas Pantalones*

      I rolled my eyes at this too. “Oh kid, you are in for a very rude awakening.”

      I graduated college over 20 years ago. I’ve been saying ever since that all college students should take a mandatory class before graduation called “You’re not special and no one owes you anything.” (I’d have benefitted from it too.)

      1. RVA Cat*

        Yeah, definitely an eye roll there. Grads need to realize they are freshman again when they enter the workforce – but this time that rookie phase lasts longer than a year.

        1. seevee*

          This attitude towards recent grads doesn’t seem as prevalent where I’m from. Is this perhaps a cultural thing? Do most American students not work their way through college? I had a steady job working near full-time hours while I was earning my B.A. (which admittedly took 6 years instead of 4) and I’m getting the sense from this thread that this isn’t the case in the U.S.

          1. Rachel*

            College is now so expensive that students cannot work their way through college. Instead, many get loans, and take on internships that are related to their field. I didn’t make more than $12/hr until after I graduated, so my income was pennies compared to my tuition.

          2. Janonymous*

            Most American students today don’t really have a hope of being able to pay their way through college as they go. Average college tuition even at state schools (public universities) is in the vicinity of $20,000 or more, not including room and board. It’s often much more if you go to a state school in a state where you’re not already a resident for at least a year before enrolling, and private colleges and universities average around $34,000. Pretty much everyone whose parents are not super wealthy have to take out exorbitant student loans to cover tuition, with exceptions I guess for the lucky ones who can get scholarships.

            Not to mention the pressure to get unpaid internships (worse than not having an income, you’re paying your college money for the privilege of working for free) to help increase your chances of getting a job in your field when you graduate because you’ve got all those loans you’ve got to start paying back right after you graduate.

            1. bookish*

              Yes, I studied a very specific field, went to a school dedicated to it (top ranked), it was about $34,000 in tuition alone. I don’t know if that included room and board. It definitely didn’t include supplies and lab fees. It was very intensive (classes 8 hours a day, missing a couple classes resulted in failing, 8 hours of homework was assigned for each class, each time). My parents straight up told me NOT to get a job because I should focus on school. Literally every time it even comes to mind I text them and thank them for paying for my college. Working my way through college would’ve required more money than my starting salary at my full time job, and, um, I wouldn’t have been able to do my undergraduate program at the same time as having a full time job.

              1. bookish*

                Ah, to be clear I mean $34k per year for tuition – not $34k total. I realize that may not be a given to everyone who reads it.

          3. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

            All of the people I knew in college worked in retail, fast food, or something similar. They had work experience, but no office experience. And no one that I knew had practical experience in what they were going to do except my education major friends since it was required for their degree. I have no idea if that’s a “typical” US experience, but that’s what I saw at a state university in the US midwest.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              Yes. Most of my friends did work in college – the pay didn’t nearly cover tuition, but it helped with “pocket money” but the jobs weren’t really much to brag about on a resume. They were in the residence dining halls or something like part time hospitality/restaurant work that might not be very impressive on an application at a think tank or something. Although when I hire new grads I still like to see that they’ve held a real job where they’re accountable for showing up on time, every day, for money.

            2. Koko*

              Same here. Graduated from an urban mid-tier state school in ’07. Most people I knew had taken out loans to cover tuition and room and board, but worked part-time in service industry jobs to afford textbooks, groceries, and fun.

          4. JN*

            They may be working while in school, but especially if they’re young students the money they earn from what are likely minimum wage jobs isn’t enough to pay for school, but rather some living expenses. I think most students rely on scholarships and loans to cover college tuition because of how expensive it is (as Rachel said).

            It used to be that students could do as you said and did and work their way through school. But wages haven’t kept up with the rising cost of tuition and the state of the economy has meant that these students have competition from unemployed/under-employed/unable-to-retire adult workers even for the low wage jobs.

          5. Elizabeth H.*

            I worked part time during high school and part-to-full-ish time during summer breaks in college. I didn’t have a job at school, I felt like I wanted to have as much time as I could for academic studies and it paid off – I went to a challenging school and I feel like I spent my time really well concentrating on school and other academic pursuits (plus a normal, not excessive amount of socializing, reading/listening to music for fun, exercise, a few hobbies). I didn’t do any internships – my high school and summer job was in retail; it wasn’t office work or especially related to my subsequent career, but it showed that I could work at the same place for a long time, and get responsibility (key holder, opening and closing the store with counting out registers, training, etc.) I don’t know how typical or un-typical my experience is these days. I have the impression that a lot of students from comparable backgrounds and at comparable schools, maybe do more career or future-oriented internships than I did. Everyone has a different experience, but it’s very difficult to “work yourself through college” while attending full time at a stereotypical average priced American liberal arts college. It may be possible with community college, state schools, with a combination of loans and scholarships, attending part time or other factors.

          6. PersephoneUnderground*

            As explained by others, it’s actually impossible to pay for college yourself in the US by working (excluding community college- I mean at traditional universities). I wanted to add- because the education itself is so very expensive, you get a higher incidence of people whose parents tell them it’s better to NOT have a part-time job while in school since you need to spend all your time making sure you don’t waste that investment of tens of thousands of dollars. I didn’t have a job because I was truly a full-time student and spent a ton of time studying to get the best possible grades and therefore return on my parent’s investment in my education. I failed a class once ever (freshman year, still figuring things out), and I was told I got one freebie on re-taking a class, the next time I’d have to pay my parents back for the tuition they had wasted on having to pay for the same class twice. I did work during the summers if I didn’t have an internship or summer classes, but not while at school. When you are spending big bucks on paying for school, the “School IS Your Job” mindset is pretty common among parents who can swing it.

          7. nonegiven*

            My niece worked 3 on campus jobs and interned at the same location of the same large company every summer. She went to school 5 years and graduated with a Bachelors and Masters. After 2 years she is still working for the same company she interned for.

            Many graduate from their universities with a number of loans that they need to start paying off after graduation.

      2. Adlib*

        When my husband went back to school (for the 2nd time after being in the work force a while), a professor asked his class how many expected to make $50k or more at their first job out of college. A huge percentage of the class raised their hands.

        Yes, a class like that would help pretty much everyone at that age!

          1. Arielle*

            I made 40K in my first job out of college (paralegal at Big 10 law firm) but I quit after a year and it took me 7 years to get back there again.

        1. ClownBaby*

          I’ve been pre-screening some applicants for dispatching/cold-calling positions at my company. The recent grads will be like “I am looking to be at $60k…I try to hold back laughter as I tell them that the position they are applying for is entry level and starts at $32-35k…which is still more than I made at my first job out ofcollege.

      3. Jam Today*

        I thank the universe every day that I’m Gen X, because I came out of the womb with low expectations and a jaundiced eye.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Ha! Me, too. :) Daria Morgandorffer is my spirit guide.

          (They made us do generational workplace training, and I am about as stereotypical GenX as they come. My boss kept glancing over and me and giving me meaningful stares.)

          1. SpaceySteph*

            Generational workplace training sounds like a terrible pit of stereotypes and nonsense. By which I mean, I’m dying to hear more!

        2. Jadelyn*

          You’ve been reading too many thinkpieces about The Millennials Ruining Everything if you think that your generation, or any other generation, was somehow immune from youthful impatience and uncalibrated expectations. No generation comes of age with their expectations of the professional world being 100% accurate. There’s always a learning curve when young people get into the professional workforce for the first time.

          Also? College kids at this point mostly aren’t Millennials. They’re Gen Z/Centennials/whatever the current term is. Millennials are from 77-95, which means that most Millennials are in their 30s and the oldest Millennials are 40 this year. Not exactly starry-eyed kids.

          1. No Mas Pantalones*

            I’d say 1980 as the beginning of the Millennial generation. I’ve also seen that in various articles, though it seems the generational dates vary from source to source. Wikipedia suggests 1980s to early 2000s. That sounds more accurate to me. They also have names for the next generation–I like iGeneration best. :-)

            1. Bryce*

              Given the (in)accuracy of generational identifiers, most articles move that starting point back and forth depending on the point they’re trying to make. I find it more interesting to look at it as people who were introduced to computers/the internet as adults, those who grew up with it, and the folks in-between who developed as it did. Learned DOS and BASIC in order to play computer games, had an encyclopedia on CD-ROM, saw the transition from “ever larger amounts of information right here” to “all the information you need out there”, stuff like that.

              It’s still full of over-generalization, but at least it’s more interesting to do a mind-delve into than the “kids these days” stuff.

          2. Political staffer*

            I’d say Gen Z starts at around 1995. If you’re not old enough to remember exactly where you were on 9/11 then you’re Gen Z.

      4. ErinW*

        When I was a grad student, I taught a Professional Writing class and taught resumes. It’s amazing how many of my students would put in that Objective space: “To find a job where I can grow as a professional and blah blah blah.” The thing about (traditional) college students is that they have mostly only ever been students–the only culture they have ever been in is one where their learning and their outcomes are the entire focus of the enterprise. You can’t really fault them for having that expectation going out into the world, if they haven’t been told otherwise.

        For resumes, I started instituting the JFK rule: Don’t tell them what the company can do for you, tell them what you can do for the company.

        1. Misquoted*

          I like the JFK rule.
          I call it the “sleeping pill” — tell them how you are going to be the solution to whatever it is that keeps the boss up at night.

    4. BigSigh*

      Not kidding, I LAUGHED when I saw that. Literally the epitome of what people imagine a Millennial to be. (And I’m a Millennial.)

      1. Specialk9*

        Hey, even if you’re a Millenial, please don’t feed that beast. Generational contempt is mean spirited and harms people in all generations. Lots of us made bone headed mistakes when we were new, so that’s enough to explain this OP.

        1. Specialk9*

          Not that the OP is making a boneheaded mistake! They sound hard working and smart to have found a resource like AAM. But a touch naive, which is just about being new to the workplace.

          1. Soon to be former fed*

            Second this, I hate ageism no matter what age group it is directed towards. I’m a baby boomer with a millennial daughter.

        2. Jeanne*

          I agree. Every generation throughout time has said that the next generation is going to hell. It’s not true. There is always change, there are always kids growing up, we all figure these things out.

      2. Jadelyn*

        No generation has ever sprung from the womb with their understanding of professional norms 100% calibrated and perfect. This is not a Millennials Are Dumb problem, this is a Young People Don’t Really Get Professional Norms Because They’re Still Learning problem.

      3. PersephoneUnderground*

        Come on- they are actually correct. They have more individual, disparate, and recent “experiences” to list on a resume than a moderately established professional might, since they have a bunch of messy short stints not a few jobs covering several years. They didn’t say they were more “experienced” but that they had more “experiences” to list. The rest of the explanation made that clear- it doesn’t hang all on that “s”. Please don’t generation-bait over a good, legitimate question. I’ve wondered this myself since when I wasn’t well-established yet my resume had to list lots of temp work assignments, internships, and retail to give the whole relevant picture, and it was hard to fit it all on one page.

    5. CG*

      This seems unnecessarily harsh – the context of the letter made it clear (maybe just to me?) that the LW is referring to number of internship positions, not overall experience level.

      1. LaurenB*

        Yes, seriously. If she didn’t list them all, there’d be some person reading the resume and shaking their head at how millennials spend all summer at the beach, not like in the old days when people worked. (I agree that she should keep it brief, but I also get the desperation to prove to employers that I really did work consistently, even three jobs at a time.)

      2. Snark*

        I….I dunno, I think you and Alison are giving the LW the benefit of very broad doubt. And whether or not you’re correct, I think the LW needs to assiduously avoid saying something even vaguely similar to that, because there’s a lot of people who will rocket their tea and laugh them right out of an interview if they hear that.

        1. DJ*

          Hi, OP here, if you’re referring to what you think is me saying I have more “experience” than older people in the industry, of COURSE I do not and I would never ever think that. Just as a young person I have many more short-term experiences that are important to my resume, while a more established person may be able to cut most of their internships or early work because they have their real jobs to highlight.

          1. Snark*

            Right. Gotcha, I understand. I retract that. My point that you want to avoid confusing language stands, but I see the distinction I missed.

      3. Pommette!*

        And frankly, it is much harder to succinctly describe a mishmash of entry-level experiences than a well-established, coherent career.

    6. Robin Sparkles*

      I don’t think she meant it that way – I hope anyway.

      OP I remember that feeling when I graduated college. Now that I am 15 years into my role – I still only have 2 pages! So I think the struggle here for you is that you will have to tailor your resume such that you only list a few things – maybe you can list your internships but really just a bullet for the most recent ones in the last year? It will definitely not come across the way you intend it to if you list it all out. On the other hand, if I saw someone out of college manage to succinctly describe her experience on a well-written resume – I am much more likely to bring her in for an interview than someone who lists everything on several pages.

    7. EvanMax*

      Depends on the student.

      For the vast majority, I’m sure you are right.

      Personally, I was undergrad for 13 years. In that time I rewrote an entire department’s worth of procedures in order to be federally compliant, more efficient, and feasible to follow; I spent five and a half years working my way up to retail management (including a lot of other voluntary projects that I took on with that firm, such as software testing, sales tool management, etc.); I did inclusion support work with special needs children; and I produced a few short films, among many other jobs and projects.

      So, upon completing my Bachelors, I had the work experience of some one who had been out in the job market for a lot longer.

      I also had the sense not to have a long resume (I was looking for a job, not a Pyrrhic victory.) My resume was two pages (front and back) while I was in school, in order to support an education section long enough to list selected relevant coursework, and once I completed my degree I got it down to a single page with a line about my degree at the bottom.

      Even that single page resume was enough for me to be told that I looked like I “hop around jobs a lot” by a kid in an oversized suit when I had an interview at a recruitment agency a little over a year ago (I just pointed to the 5.5 year stint in retail management, and explained that upon graduating I was seeking new opportunities) but soon after I landed a temp job that I was able to convert to very good full time work.

      I think a lot of recruiters, and hiring managers as well, look at resumes unfairly when it comes to recent grads, but thinking that it’s unfair doesn’t change the fact that it’s the way it is. Alison’s advice is correct because even if you are a non-standard college student with some amazing experiences, a hiring manager is still going to compare your graduation date against the length of your resume and assume that you lack appropriate judgement if you go over a page right out of school.

      For the record, even just the employment dates on my resume would sometimes throw interviewers for a loop, as they would ask if I had done certain jobs in middle school or high school. When I explained that I switched majors and went back to school they would usually move right past it though, possible afraid fo asking an age-related question that would upset their HR department (I’m not old enough for an age discrimination case, but I think it’s smart of them to be careful.)

      1. Elizabeth H.*

        Your situation seems quite different to me because those don’t seem to me to be “student” experiences or student jobs; they seem to be just normal professional experience, while you also happened to be taking classes toward a degree. You WERE out in the job market for a lot longer than a “recent grad.”

        1. EvanMax*


          But I also did graduate in May of 2015, making me a recent grad when I transitioned out of retail to an office job later that year, and still considered a recent grad (within 2 years) when I found myself laid off due to restructuring during the summer of 2016, and hunting for anything to pay my mortgage.

          I honestly wonder if I might have found permanent work quicker if I had had an EVEN SHORTER resume, but I also wanted to make sure that employers knew I was worth the “more than a recent grad” compensation I was asking for (I took every temp job that was offered, but I was clear on my minimum salary requirements for a permanent role.)

          In the end, it all worked out.

    8. Snark*

      I read that and I just wanted to pat their little head and make fond noises. Oh, honey. Ohhhhhh, honey.

    9. BusyBee*

      I think the key is grasping that a resume is not a biography of your work experience but instead the highlights of your experience relevant to what you’re applying for. Your interviewers will probe for additional detail they need.

  2. JD*

    Saying “young vibe” is not disrespectful. It is no more disrespectful than a company having an older vibe. You asked a question and she answered it. Stop being bitter. You have no desire to be hip or trendy? Then don’t apply to a hip and trendy company. You are there to fit the job, not for them to cater to you.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      When age discrimination is a very real thing, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what a comment like that means (and I’m not seeing any bitterness in the letter!).

      Jeez, tough crowd today.

      1. sin nombre*

        Yeah, this reaction seems surprisingly… bitter, actually, was the first word that came to my mind.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        They may expect you to live and breathe work in ways that are often easier to swallow when you’re 22 but much less appealing when you’re 42.

        This version is absolutely where I went with that phrase. No life outside work, not compensated with money but with we all LOVE IT SO MUCH. At least for junior staff. Burnout high.

        1. LCL*

          But, but, but, the no social life except with coworkers so you drink together and sleep together and totally implode your life is a bonus not a feature, right?

          And I’m not hating on young employees with my comment. Young employees are great! It’s the work environment that can quickly become toxic if your job is your life and vice versa.

      3. Artemesia*

        No kidding. That language is clearly designed to say ‘old farts need not apply’. What else would it mean? We have a young vibe, we live our ridiculous ‘brand’, and the receptionist will be the ‘face of the company.’ They are not planning to hire the middle aged woman. When I hear young vibe, I assume some sort of nerf implements, lots of junk food in drawers, a chaos in the office and probably no quiet work space. The ageism is pretty clearly communicated.

    2. Emmie*

      Using the “young” company tagline does read a bit like there could be some – maybe inadvertent- potential for age discrimination. I understand that it may be more commonly used to mean what AAM points out; however, that kind of language can turn off older folks.

      1. Midwest Red Sox Fan*

        I recently applied for a job at a tech co that has the “young/ hip thing” going on. I’m 46, aka a well-seasoned (and maybe a little crusty) professional. I only applied AFTER I went to the website and saw pictures of the various teams and saw that they were of various ages. I was worried that I’d be filtered out!

        I didn’t get the job, but made it pretty far in the process. But without that additional info-I’m not sure I would have applied at all.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          Yeah part of it for me is, like the OP, I don’t *want* to be hip and cool. I’m comfortably square, and if that’s going to make me the total lame-o on the team, I’d want to know that going in. (my hobbies are knitting, my cat, and going to bed at a reasonable hour. My wardrobe consists of all duplicate shirts, skirts and shoes in every neutral color – etc).

      2. Snark*

        I agree, and not in a conscious sort of way, but just the “we have fun fun fun all the time and work is so fun because we Believe in the Mission and isn’t it fun to work 60 hours a week and we have fun together and that’s fun because we don’t have spouses and kids who need help with homework and we all live in tiny apartments and don’t worry about un-fun yard work and chores.”

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I will say as someone who doesn’t have kids and works on a team of all non-families, we aren’t always as conscious of work-life balance as we could be. None of us have anyplace we have to hurry off to – we often linger after work hours just to chat or catch up, and don’t view it as a big sacrifice. It sometimes bleeds over into a happy hour. We could reduce overnight travel if we had to, except that we all enjoy it. Etc. I do hope we’d be respectful if somebody came in with a different culture, but this is kind of a division that exists sometimes.

      3. Viola Dace*

        It reads as more than “a bit” like there could be some age discrimination. And it isn’t that the language turns off older folks, it clearly communicates that older folks are not welcome. All under the guise of culture.
        Insert any other descriptor in place of the word “young” that identifies humans and you can see the problem.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Whoa, why are you attacking the OP for “being bitter”? And where are you getting the impression that OP is bitter? Because I don’t get that vibe at all from the letter.

      1. JD*

        “And … I’m not hip and trendy, nor do I wish to be. Plus, I like and admire the brand, but I don’t know if I’d ever love it.”

        That comes across as bitter to me. I wouldn’t want to hire someone who said either of those things to me.

        Also I am getting the impression because that is MY impression, doesn’t have to be anyone else’s. MY opinion.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Then I think you are reading something that isn’t there.

          Tone is subjective. I read the letter as thoughtful and measured, not bitter. I… can’t help wondering what you think bitter means.

        2. So Very Anonymous*

          But the OP isn’t saying those things in an interview, she’s saying them in the context of a letter asking for advice on what a phrase that could have multiple meanings might signify. People get to know what kind of environment would work — and not work — for them. And since interviews are two-way streets, in this case I think the OP would likely learn a lot from an in-person interview at the worksite.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think you’re reading it wrong (and it’s leading you to make fairly snippy-sounding comments to the OP, so I’m going to ask that you stop). It’s not bitter to not care about being hip and trendy, or to be honest about your level of passion for a company in a letter asking for advice.

        4. Alienor*

          I wouldn’t say that sounds bitter, just realistic. The OP is old enough to have a fully formed identity and isn’t especially interested in changing it for a job. As for the brand comment…I admit I’m not a very effusive person, but does anyone ever really love a brand? I like Converse shoes and Diet Coke and Kat Von D makeup a lot, but at the end of the day, they’re just products, not a way of life.

          1. nonegiven*

            I try not to love any brand or anything else, too much. They’ll quit making it and I’ll be disappointed, again.

            1. Lora*

              I believe that you have the correct opinion in this regard.

              Dear Apple, who stopped even servicing the iPod classic, never mind making them EFF YOU TRENDY SHALLOW A-HOLES, FIX YOUR STUFF FOREVER.

              I agree with the suspicion of brogrammer type culture. Which is fraught with its own peril. Can think of many innocent-sounding but ultimately ominous phrases that go with “young company”, but I have old people things to do like being responsible and eating dinner before 8pm.

              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*


                I’m nursing my iPod classic along and will continue to do so for as long as I possibly can. I’m emphatically not interested in using my phone as a music player, and I’m very salty about being expected to trade storage space for something as frivolous as a touchscreen.

                “Sure, you want this pseudo-iPhone that holds 8 gigs more than a solid, effective music player that holds 160 gigs, right?” Eff you, Apple.

                1. Snark*

                  Honestly? Why…..does it matter? Half my phone’s 256 gigs is music, it works great, I don’t have to carry multiple devices. And the iPod Classic never came with more storage than that.

                2. Future Homesteader*

                  This is too good not to contribute, even several hours later. I had my G3 iPod (it was backlit but still had the four buttons up top) for YEARS and loved it. When it sadly gave up the ghost, I switched to what I think is a Shuffle. That was in 2009 and it’s still going strong. The battery lasts a solid week and the thing is so dang light – I can’t imagine lugging around a phone or giant iPod to do chores and exercise.

                3. LCL*

                  My ipod classic was always a little bit buggy. It would stop. No reason, just stop. Had it serviced, same problem. I wanted to get attached to it, I loved the interface, but it just made me sad so it’s hidden away somewhere in the house.

                4. A person*

                  Seriously. The move to touch screen only is so irritating. I hate how they’ve done away with the nanos/classics, they’re so practical in so many ways.

                5. Perse's Mom*

                  My ipod = music, podcasts
                  My phone = games!

                  My ipod can’t run these games, there’s not enough space on my phone for games AND all the audio stuff from my ipod. Plus the battery on my phone is kinda terrible even with minimal use; if I were running it all day for audio, I would have to have it charging all day as well. My ipod can go days without charging.

                  And no, I’m not upgrading to a new phone (and dealing with a new contract) just for more storage when my existing phone works fine.

                6. Kate 2*

                  This! I miss the click wheel. I have super dry skin and the touch screen makes me crazy. I never know if I will have to touch it 5 times to get it to register once or not.

                7. Lunchy*

                  This. As much as I try, I don’t have the discipline not to use a phone for games etc. I want my mp3 player to just be just that – an mp3 player. Nothing more, nothing less. Plus, I don’t want to have to worry about cracking a much bitter screen. You can pry my Classic from my cold dead fingers.

                8. Elizabeth West*

                  FWIW, my Android phone has a microSD card slot, and I have a 32 GB card in there with hundreds of music files. If the phone breaks (which my old one did), all I have to do is transfer the card.

                  But I do like my iPods (a Classic and a fourth-gen Nano that has a wardrobe of cute cases). I too am coaxing them along because it’s kind of fun to go retro once in a while. Plus, they’re smaller than my phone.

                9. Thany*

                  I thought I was the ONLY one who used my classic Ipod and prefer it over my phone. I’m happy to know I am not the only one!

                10. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

                  Everything touch annoys me, especially if I don’t want to whip my (expensive-to-me) phone out in a crowded place or if I’m exercizing or something and want to skip a track. I ended up buying a cheap refurbished Sansa Clip player that has an SD card slot and old-school buttons, and then I put RockBox on it so that it can handle more file types and has a better interface. Even if it gets lost or stolen I think it cost me £12 plus a few extra for the SD card.

              2. AnonForThis*

                I’d be on the lookout for a brogrammer type culture too.

                As an interesting aside, dinner is served before 8pm at many big tech companies ;)

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Ha, I get this. The only brand I love right now is Alamo Drafthouse. I want to marry it. *insert heart-eyes emoji here* But as always happens when I love something, it goes away or I lose access to it. :(

            3. Starbuck*

              The only brand I feel confident loving is the watercolor paper I use that’s been around since 1492.

          2. JamieS*

            I think some people do legitimately love brands although saying so in an interview strikes me as saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear even if it’s true. I don’t understand it either though. If it’s not birth control I’m loyal to the brand with the lowest price tag that meet a minimum quality standard.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              I’m typing this on a Mac–have always had Macs–have an iphone, and I would describe my relationship with Apple as “pleasant, occasionally tinged with frustration.” (Getting around the icloud nightmare on my new laptop…. it’s good my husband is a techie.)

              I’m with nonegiven that brands don’t love you back, and when you get too emotionally invested can vanish.

              To me, a company emphasizing that every there just LOVES the brand and that’s why they work there comes across as “there is literally no other reason, like pay or working conditions” and it sounds like some nonprofits, burning through the passionate. (I would still likely take the interview, as it could be that’s just the interviewer trying to convey “energetic, passionate” and not hitting on the right metaphor to connect with me.)

            2. Turquoisecow*

              Yeah I love my Apple products and always have, but I’m not going to die on a hill for them, work weekends, 10 hour days, give up my social life or family, or any number of other sacrifices that this wording would imply, coming from an interviewer.

              At the end of the day, it’s a job. I might have interpreted this like “we all work verrrry long hours and LIVE the JOB!!” No thanks.

            3. Artemesia*

              I discovered something I didn’t know about Apple yesterday. They won’t service — even replace the battery — in a product older than 5 years. Their young hip vibe I guess. And me with a Mac Air that is just fine except it won’t run from the battery and they won’t fix it or even replace its battery.

            1. SarahKay*

              Oh, yes, Irn Bru, definitely!
              Although can I say how unimpressed I am that their new Irn Bru Xtra (ie artificial sweeteners) looks far too similar to the real sugar version, which led to huge disappointment last night as I took my first – and last! – mouthful from the bottle.

              1. roslin*

                When I was in Scotland over the summer for the first time in years, I was so excited to have an Irn Bru which I remember fondly from my time studying there. I accidentally bought the one with artificial sweeteners, so I completely understand your pain! It was so disappointing!

              1. SarahKay*

                Well, it’s sugar and caffeine, and some food colourings for good measure, so I can see how it might do that :)

          3. Marillenbaum*

            Vicks Vapo-Rub. Me and my multiple winter colds will love that stuff until the end of time.

          4. a Gen X manager*

            Totally agree, Alienor! OP doesn’t seem bitter at all, but rather self-aware and mature (NOT A SYNONYM FOR “OLD”). It sounds like OP and the company are (likely) a mismatch, which isn’t a negative reflection on either party, just the reality.

          5. Anon to me*

            Not to mention, I think the whole “love the brand” thing can often (not always, but often) imply that the expectation is that employee’s build their life around their employer. Sometimes a job is just a job, not a lifestyle.

        5. greyskies*


          How is it bitter to say you like and admire the brand? To me, if someone said they ‘love’ a brand it would come across as disingenuous or deeply sad.

          And how is it bitter to admit you’re not hip and trendy and are at a stage in your life where you no longer care about being hip and trendy? I don’t understand how that suggests a bitter attitude… There was no suggestion that the writer thinks there’s anything wrong with being hip and trendy, it’s just that she knows she’s not and she’s not bitter about that fact.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            That’s how I read it, as well. It sounds like the OP is still interested in the job and is honestly assessing her attributes against the new info the HR person gave her about the company. She likes the product but doesn’t looooove it; she’s not hip or trendy. She probably wonders if these things that she’s not are likely to hinder her likelihood of getting or enjoying the job. She’s just asking for guidance on that, not being bitter.

          2. peggy*

            It’s weird that you think it’s “deeply sad” to love a brand. I’m a brand-loyal person, when I find something wonderful that completely works for me, I stick with it. I have a favorite brand for purses, shoes, mascara, eye cream, coffee, popcorn, etc. I work in marketing, and I love the company I work for, love what they do and how they do it (we’re not a physical product, I work in tech). If I were to go apply for a marketing job at Frye boots I’d be like “I LOVE YOUR BRAND!” in my interview. That’s not disingenuous or deeply sad!

            1. bluemarie*

              I think for me, there’s a distinction between loving a product and loving a brand. What you describe sounds like what I think of as loving a product. I’m always excited to find something that suits me exactly and will stick with it once I do, but if the product declines in quality or otherwise starts to fit my life less, I’ll find something else. Whereas, to me, loving a brand implies that my loyalty is to the brand for its own sake, and that I’ll use products from that brand because of the brand name rather than any intrinsic qualities of the products themselves. Whether they work for me would be secondary to the fact that they are the brand name that I identify myself with. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call that “deeply sad,” but I do find the concept a little foreign.

              1. peggy*

                I’m talking about loving the brand though. If I loved a product, I’d say “I love my black leather Veronica combat boots by Frye.” I love the brand because I love all of their products – bags and shoes, I love their craftsmanship, their aesthetic, their marketing, the whole 9. I guess I probably don’t feel as strongly about say, a popcorn brand. Maybe that was a bad example to include with the others, that’s about being brand-loyal because I love a certain product that is made by that brand. I am actually talking about loving brands – I love Starbucks. I love their fonts, their color choices, the design of their stores, the aesthetic, and I love many of their products. I pay attention to things like logos and marketing style, and definitely have feelings about brands and not just products.

        6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I really think you’re reading into the OP’s tone. I totally understand that we each read things with different perspectives, but your comments seem disproportionately harsh toward the OP.

          OP’s comments sound not at all judgmental or bitter to me—they just sound like a realistic and self-aware assessment, probably borne from experience, of OP’s personality. I think there are a lot of people who are in no way “bitter” who would also want to opt out of a company if its culture was overly trendy/hip, or if it required devoted and unquestioning Kool-Aid sipping.

          The company’s culture may not represent those dynamics, but it’s fair for OP to ask and consider whether this is a good personality fit or whether the employer is sending signals that it discriminates on the basis of (older) age.

        7. WeevilWobble*

          I think the first statement is just an honest and kind of charming fact and the latter is a mature way of viewing brands.She knows who she is and is fine with it. And it’s more healthy to admire and respect a brand than to love it.

          Plus if the culture is a bad fit she should know that now.

        8. Myrin*

          I feel like you have a very different understanding of what “bitter” means compared to most other people.

        9. Stellaaaaa*

          I’m delusionally okay with myself (TM New Girl). I think I’m the prettiest and smartest person in any room. Helps me get through the day. But I don’t think I’m hip or trendy. I’m just not. Do I sound bitter?

          You can call yourself uncool without being full of self-loathing.

          1. Not a Morning Person*

            I love this. “You can call yourself uncool without being full of self-loathing.” Yes, not bitter, just realistic and fine with knowing yourself!

        10. Snark*

          Even if that’s bitter – and no, it’s not, you’re choosing to see that there – you’re being a dick to the LW, so stop that.

        11. MrsCHX*

          Oooh. I didn’t read bitter at all. I could see being interested in the company (role, vision/mission, etc) but having that be a turn off.

          I applied to a few jobs recently. One company, the position sounded like a great fit! I was completely turned off by the “bring your dog to work!” and “we have foosball! air hockey! we have FUN!” messages.

          Uhmm. No thanks.

          And yes, we know it’s your opinion but the basis of it is??

          1. nonegiven*

            >“bring your dog to work!” and “we have foosball! air hockey! we have FUN!”

            Sounds like they want everyone to not want to go out with friends for their fun or go home to play with the dog. Stay here and work exempt extra hours. We’ll have pizza delivered.

        12. JB (not in Houston)*

          That’s a really weird read of that letter. I have curly hair. I don’t wish I had straight hair. I am not bitter that other people do have straight hair. Acknowledging and being comfortable with who you are doesn’t make you bitter about not being someone else. And how is admiring but not loving something being bitter about it? You are projecting feelings onto those words with absolutely no basis. It’s strange.

        13. Kate 2*

          I read it as honest. I mean, some of us aren’t hip and trendy. I love vintage things, so I’m on the cutting edge of fashion and technology 50 years ago!

          And how on the earth is saying you like the brand bitter????

        14. Bartlet for President*

          Some people just acknowledge they aren’t cool. My dad is very much not cool. He is not bitter about that; it’s simply an accurate description of him. I think the vast majority of people who care about being hip (and therefore might be bitter about not being cool) are teenagers or younger, because being cool is an important factor in one’s place in a school hierarchy.

          Although, most hipsters I know (I’m from a hipster city) would also say they aren’t hip or trendy – and, would be mighty offended if someone described them as such. Isn’t being uncool or not trendy THE THING now? Isn’t saying “that’s so trendy” something we’re supposed to say with derision?

          1. Old Unhip OP*

            Hey! I didn’t say I’m not cool! I am very cool. People always tell me that for a lot of reasons I won’t get into here. I am not hip, though – meaning I am not hip to most of what’s popular in our culture (example: there’s a convo elsewhere on this page in which people are saying they wish iPods were still around – um, I never even knew they stopped making them. See? Unhip!) – and as for following trends, I abhor the idea of letting trends dictate how I live my life, what I buy, what I wear. Give me style and self-expression over trendiness and fashion any day. So, I am not trendy, either.

            But I’m way cool.

    4. JamieS*

      Are there a noticeable number companies out there that say “older vibe” though? Actually, are there any?

        1. Tuesday Next*

          I think your play on words is obvious but it’s pretty telling that there is no company talking about its “old” vibe.

        2. JamieS*

          I know what it was. My point was the point you were making is moot if nobody (excluding maybe a couple eccentrics) actually says they have an “older vibe” or something to that effect.

          1. Tau*

            And if I saw a company say “older vibe”, I’d wonder if I was welcome there and whether it was a place I’d like to work at. So that kind of proves the point, really?

        3. justcourt*

          Uh… “young vibe” or “culture fit” are often code for discrimination. Further, as AMA said, “young vibe” can be code for exploitation.

          You’re asking OP to ignore subtext and that just isn’t reasonable.

          1. Catalin*

            I hear ‘young vibe’ and think of the LW who drove the older coworker out because she wasn’t part of the ‘in’ crowd of her friends. Beer lunches and bullying, anyone?

      1. HannahS*

        Well, no, because they wouldn’t use the word “vibe.” But I’ve certainly heard older companies with very,traditional structure and culture refer to themselves as “well-established” and emphasize how old they are, tradition, and how long they’ve been successful for.

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          I just saw an ad for a job (in a field that tends to have weird ageism issues in both directions) that emphasized the “traditional” nature of the organization. I’m still thinking about that, because on the one hand I’m starting to worry about aging out of the market (and I really want a different job), but on the other hand in some ways I’m also not really a “traditional” candidate, and “traditional” tends to be read negatively in this field. I’m going to apply because I’m curious about the position. I have a colleague at my current job that it would be perfect for, though, and he would describe himself as “traditional” in this field, even though he is ten years younger than I am.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          In my experience, “well established” or “traditional” doesn’t mean an “older vibe,” though. It usually refers to socioeconomic norms/cultures associated with white-shoe employers. Although now that I’m thinking through it, I’m not even sure what the characteristics of an “older vibe” would be.

            1. Purplesaurus*

              Hah! One of my coworkers does this, drives me nuts!

              “Will you skim this quickly for errors?”
              You used the Hubble to create this, Wilford. I can only read the header right now.

            2. Falling Diphthong*

              All my assignments this month are coming in greatly magnified, and it makes me wonder what size screen everyone is working on. (And I wear graduated lenses.)

            3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              That totally made me laugh, and then I realized that I have worked at a place with an “older vibe”! (All docs written in size 14. Printing emails for review and sending responses by fax with a return email that says “please see fax.”)

            4. Beancounter Eric*

              I keep threatening to pass out magnifiers to my coworkers who complain about the tiny type on my reports…..they keep demanding more and more on the page, they will get 8 point Arial, adjusted to fit. I keep telling them “that’s what reading glasses are for!”

              As for me, time to get the eyeglass prescription checked – the reading section of the progressive lenses isn’t quite enough.

          1. Old Unhip OP*

            Hi all,
            A few things…
            The HR person did not use the word “vibe.” I did. She said, “We’re a young company and everyone has a good time because they love what they do and love the brand.” That statement really wasn’t very useful nor revealing of anything. She also told me it’s a collaborative environment with an open working space – now that was useful.

            But really, is there anyplace where everyone is so in love with their job that they’re happy all the time? “Collaborative” and “open” were very useful descriptors to hear, but her remark that “everybody loves what they do” makes it sound like fairy land. I’d rather hear something more realistic, something like “at times it can be very stressful but we have a cohesive group that gets along well and pulls together when the going gets tough.”

            In addition, her tone changed when she spoke about the person in this position being the face of the company. She was tentative and it t came across like a warning. Of course, I would think knowing you’re representing the company when you’re the first point of contact at a reception desk is a given, so it made me wonder why she felt the need to place so much emphasis on it.

            Now, I am not bitter about anything to do with a 15-minute conversation in which two people tried to suss each other out. The idea that I would be bitter doesn’t even make sense to me. At this point, I don’t have any emotional investment in this position. I just think it would be a nice place to work and was simply trying to decode what I was told. It was actually surprising to hear it’s a “young company” because it’s been around a long time and has a “classic” image.

            BTW, before the screening, I Googled the HR person’s name and found her. I am at least twice her age.

            1. Old Unhip OP*

              Let me amend my last statement. I may not be *at least* twice her age. But I am close to it. Oh, and I wanted to add that the salary range she named is acceptable to me, though not earth-shattering.

              Here are a few questions for Alison.

              First, how do the HR people get the names of candidates they need to interview? Do they choose them or does the software or an HR manager choose them and then the names get distributed randomly among available interviewers?

              Second, how common is it for an HR person/interviewer to force their own agenda on the hiring process? Like, here is a company that’s been around 100 years, with an image that is classic and not quite conservative but closer to traditional than not. And here is this very young HR person who maybe wants to see more young people there, telling older candidates it’s a young company.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                First question — depends on the company, but it’s pretty rare for them to use software that spits out names of people to interview. It’s more common for someone — the hiring manager or someone in HR — to decide who to interview (sometimes with the assistance of screening software, but not delegating the decision entirely to the software), and then either do it themselves or delegate it to someone who does it.

                Second question — not typical. I would assume that’s not the case here, unless you see a lot of evidence to the contrary.

                1. Lars the Real Girl*

                  To add: in my experience, one HR person and hiring manager per role. I never seen like 5 HR/Recruiters just sitting around and being handed random people to interview. They’re working with the hiring manager to figure out what’s needed, what type of role to look for, what to screen for, etc.

            2. CM*

              I have a friend who works in a company that has been around forever and is a very established brand, but has a “young vibe” — in her case, it means that youth is valued, the non-executive leadership is in their 20s and early 30s and if you’re older there’s a lot of pressure to look and act young. Everybody is expected to be an enthusiastic fan of the brand, and to constantly project enthusiasm in general. They also have an open, collaborative office where they not only do hotdesking, but if you get there late you may not even have a desk. It sounds exhausting to me.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                I recall a letter from someone who tended to be very reserved, and worked in a nonprofit field where everyone was expected to do the work for passion, figuring out how to convey “I’m not effusive because I’m just so singularly devoted to the cause that I always look very serious. The more I think about the cause, the more serious I appear.”

              2. Aphrodite*

                Right now, the community college is upping the ante on their continuing edu program, and everyone is expected to be Pollyanna-on-steroids. I am, thankfully if not wholeheartedly, being transferred to elsewhere–actually the more interesting part–but I am beyond thankful to be out of range of these insane Pollyannas who are so BUBBLY! and BOUNCY! and ENTHUSIASTIC! and, frankly, insane. I am not negative but I do know myself and I know that I thrive on aloneness, on calm, peace and tranquility. Not steroids, not uppers. So while the transfer was not initially welcomed, it has its definite assets.

                1. Mike C.*

                  OMG few things piss me off like people who act like that about things like pay and benefits cuts. I’ve seen this in the wild and the whole thing was so insulting!

              3. nonegiven*

                I’ve wondered about hotdesking. What happens if you have to go to the bathroom. Do you have to leave your purse in the chair?

              4. Bartlet for President*

                Hotdesking is a concept that I simply do not understand. I mean, I guess it would be more useful if you had a staff that wasn’t in very often – ie, they really only need a place to plop down for a hours on Tuesday, and then again on Friday. Otherwise? Why? What on earth makes it a good idea?

                Frankly, just thinking about hotdesking is making me stressed out. Do they roll around their office chairs or just sit in whatever? How do you handle the ergonomics? What happens if someone needs to go to the bathroom? Do people have lockers, or, just lug their stuff around college library-style? So many questions!

                1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

                  I have worked in a couple of offices that did hotdesking, and generally if I came in and claimed a seat it was mine for the day. And even people who were only there on some days usually worked at the same desk when they were there, often alternating with someone else who sat at the same desk.

                  My husband’s office does something similar and I think he has a locker and a little basket for his desk stuff so he can sweep it all up and put it away at the end of the day, but I think in practice he usually uses the same desk all the time and leaves his stuff out unless he knows he’ll be going to a different office the next day. I guess different places do it differently, but I don’t think it’s always a crazy competition for the best seats.

            3. Lehigh*

              To be honest, for me it would flag as questionable if someone used your suggested language about it sometimes being very stressful. I’ve been in a job where everyone is miserable, but our manager always talked about how well we work together and how “collegial” everyone was. I’d love the idea that “everyone has a good time” because for me that would read as code for “people very rarely complain while at work.”

              But, I agree with others that if that kind of language gets your hackles up this may not be a good fit for you, especially in a receptionist position, where it sounds like they want someone to project a very “happy/good time” brand. I think that’s what the face of the company means. “Young” can be used in a discriminatory way, but it can also refer to, as you said, a vibe – one that really doesn’t depend on one’s actual age or even appearance.

            4. Jennifer*

              I think I’d have pretty low expectations of getting this job if I were you.

              But that’s probably okay, because I’m not (har) getting a good vibe about them being that awesome to work for.

            5. Super Anon for This*

              Honestly OP, I would go to the interview if I were you, but if your worries aren’t assuaged at it, OR if you see even one more warning sign at the interview DON’T work for them.

              I say this, with caps, because I ignored warning signs at one of my interviews, and I have deeply regretted it ever since.

            6. HannahS*

              Yeah, I think your instincts are right to be a bit put-off. I tend to be suspicious when work is described as being “people having a great time.” To me, work has never been fun. Like, fulfilling and wonderful, sure, have I enjoyed my colleagues and laughed with them, sure, but I dunno, what part of being an admin or a market researcher or a health-care provider or whatever is “so much fun”? It just sounds like they’re trying to get that Buzzfeed-type feeling of collaboration! open concept! shared spaces! creative! synergy! and while I’m in the right age group, I’m too grumpy for that.

          2. Elizabeth H.*

            I partly chose what grad school to go to because I was charmed by the departments “older vibe.” (Like card catalog, typewriter, the grad director still smoked in his office older vibe.) I feel like there are some types of institutions like universities, banks, tea shops, bookstores where an “older vibe” is more appealing, familiar and reassuring!

          3. Anna*

            What is a white-shoe employer? Is it like white collar? Or is it an employer that only hires before Labor Day?

            1. Triangle Pose*

              I’ve only ever heard white-shoe in reference to law firms – generally means very traditional, hierarhical and formal in all respects.

              1. nonegiven*

                From the Wikipedia article, it looks like my niece works for one of the original white shoe firms, just not law.

        3. JamieS*

          I don’t think that’s the same thing in most cases. Phrases like “well established” are generally referring to the company itself and not the culture which is what phrases like “young vibe” refer to.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, at least where I am, “well-established” or “traditional” just means that the place has been around since the 1800s or longer and maybe that they’re still, IDK, baking bread the same way five-times-great-grandfather Wilhelm did; companies can be like that and still advertise their “young vibe”, they’re not mutually exclusive (although I’d say it’s not common either).

        4. aebhel*

          Right, it’s different code words. If ‘young vibe’ is, at its worst, code for a workaholic, ageist, undercompensated culture, ‘traditional’ or ‘well-established’ or ‘old-fashioned’ are, at their worst, code for stuffy, conformist, sexist culture.

          There are positive versions of both, but it’s reasonable to question whether a company is going to be a good fit for you before you invest a lot of time and effort into the interview process.

        5. MrsCHX*

          We have an older workforce here–about 60% of my employees are Boomers. I have two Millennials. I usually get this message across to candidates by discussing average tenure; it’s 13.5 years, and a good half dozen people have been here 25-30 years.

          Obviously it doesn’t mean younger people won’t / can’t fit in here, but I do like to make it known.

      2. Stellaaaaa*

        I don’t think any companies SAY that, but I can think of a million companies that inherently have an older vibe, and I can understand why a newer company would set itself apart from that.

      3. LKW*

        No, they use the phrase “traditional”, “established” or “conservative” to imply a particular schedule, dress code, etc.

      4. NaoNao*

        Maybe their version of “older vibe” is “historic” or “legacy” or “storied”.
        All that aside, when a company says they have a younger vibe, many of us instantly think of:
        A lack of work life balance (sleeping pods at work, round the clock coding wars, etc)
        A high energy, all hands on deck, mandatory fun, atmosphere
        A flat structure or holography
        A workforce that is physically young, interested in trends (fashion or otherwise) and is purposefully “hip”
        A product or service that appeals to under-40 crowd

        It’s not bitter to feel you’re not a match for something. It’s not bitter to know yourself and be up front about it.
        Saying you have no desire to be x, y, or z is not bashing x, y, or z. I can see, if squinting hard enough, that maybe “I have no desire to be x” could maybe be, in the right tone, a negative, but….

      1. Anna*

        But she doesn’t know she’s not a fit, yet. As Alison recommended, it would be a good idea to accept an interview if they offer one to get a better idea of what the “young vibe” description might have really meant.

    5. Old Unhip OP*

      One need not be hip and trendy personally to be an integral part of a team and do a great job supporting a company that promotes a hip and trendy image of itself. The work should count. However, as I’ve said elsewhere on the page, I would never have considered this company hip and trendy, but more classic and traditional. I think my interviewer was trying to project it as hip and trendy, as if that is what should appeal to a candidate instead of other more important elements.

      1. Rick Roll*

        I think you may be reading into what your intervierwer said a little too much. It’s entirely possible that your perception of the company as “classic and traditional” is something they are actively working against, and that the “hip and trendy” image is something they are intentionally cultivating. I would caution you against assuming that this is one person’s agenda here!

        1. Old Unhip OP*

          I am sure the company as a whole wants to be perceived as timely and not locked in the past. But she is the one who referred to it as young, and that’s what I’m trying to decipher. But perhaps she didn’t mean “hip and trendy.” Maybe she used “young” to say “high energy.” I dunno.

          1. Lars the Real Girl*

            I think the role you’re applying for here (one with receptionist duties) is a really important factor. You are the face of the organization. That means they may really want someone who is SUPER excited about the company (or can at least project that feeling well). Being really good at your job but not being high energy and jazzed about the company may make this a bad fit – because an integral part of the job may be the high energy/jazzed part.

            1. Laura*

              ^^^ this ^^^ (under Lars). You sound delightful, OP, but I don’t think this is the place for you.

            2. a Gen X manager*

              YES, Lars the Real Girl. An excellent point! If OP was applying for a back office accounting position, it is likely that none of this would be a potential issue.

            3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              This is a really great/insightful (and likely accurate) interpretation of what the HR person was trying to convey. I can think of a lot of “older/established” companies that still wanted a bubbly or enthusiastic receptionist, which are characteristics that folks often associate with being/acting “young.”

            4. Specialk9*

              I actually disagree about the high energy / manic pixie dream girl receptionist idea. The two male receptionists at my work are utterly charming, in a very low key way. Every single day, the warmest genuine welcome, even though they welcome literally hundreds of people. I know their name, they know mine. There is no effusive bubbly cheerleader thing going on, just a really nice warm face of the company.

              1. JamieS*

                True not all companies want the super bubbly type for a receptionist but I think companies are more likely to want that from a receptionist than other positions so it’s pretty plausible that’s what this company wants.

                Also, purely my opinion, but I think some people tend to be turned off by males being “bubbly” whereas there’s a pretty good chance they’d find it endearing on a woman so companies are less likely to want a bubbly male receptionist but they may want a female receptionist to be bubbly.

                1. Lars the Real Girl*

                  I’m not saying that the MPDG idea is “correct” in that every company should be looking for it – just that this company might be. It strikes me as a “you’re required 14 pieces of flair but you should really have 30 or more” type role.

          2. JulieBulie*

            I think any company that really wants to be seen as hip and trendy (which, btw, to me means “not gonna be around for very long”) needs to act hip and trendy… not just try to convince people that they are hip and trendy by throwing around phrases like “young vibe.” It’s like going around telling people that you’re cool. That makes you seem desperate and uncool. (Fonzie got away with it, but he’s an exception.)

            I’d take the interview to see what the place is like in person. Assuming that you won’t be reporting to this HR person, you may have a different experience when you meet with the hiring manager.

        2. a Gen X manager*

          THIS ^^ Totally agree, Rick Roll. In reading OP’s post, it struck me that this sounds like a strategic idea being played out in the hiring process. Some companies are starting to freak out a bit about the retired/retiring boomers and that the next population bump is the millenials group (since gen x is a smaller population that isn’t large enough to replace the boomers).

        3. Jillociraptor*

          The law firm my partner used to work at had some impulses in this direction. They are known as a pretty cerebral (you know what, just read that as nerdy) firm, with neither the cutthroat workaholic vibe nor the hip, young vibe that can make a firm more sexy than staid. They tried for a minute to be more of a trendy firm, but that just wasn’t their culture. So I can totally imagine a similar attempt to shake off a past identity in this case.

          In the case of my partner’s firm, they eventually just accepted their reputation and gave up on trying to be something they really weren’t, but for OP’s case, it is worth considering that even if this isn’t the culture of the organization now, it may be the culture they are trying to cultivate going forward. In any case, it’s smart to continue to probe.

      2. Stellaaaaa*

        People are railing against you too hard. You’re absolutely right to wonder if you’re a good fit for a company when the interviewer uses employee descriptors that simply don’t apply to you.

    6. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      Is it mean of me to want to reply to H (#4) along the lines of “Yes, my job involves following X processes and Y procedures. To the letter.”

      I work with someone like this (he’s leaving soon), and he was a team leader and it frustrated me no end that the three other departments would meet their targets and deadlines (and help my department) while his…. has led to a massive backlog of unprocessed customer debt.

      1. MrsCHX*

        I’m sure the posting has a job description!! I wouldn’t help him at all. There’s far too much pressure (on women especially) to be nice for the sake of being nice.

        He was a d-bag, to her especially. No. She shouldn’t help him get a job AND it’s one that she truly doesn’t feel he’s qualified for!

    7. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

      I’m a twenty-something, and the “young vibe”/”love the brand” language would have me running for the hills. It definitely brings to mind a kind of “bro-culture” that I would never fit into. So I guess I’m bitter, too. *shrugs*
      OP, I think your instincts are correct here, and you should absolutely ask about the “young” culture in the interview if you can.

    8. LSP*

      Equal Employment Opportunity laws actually protect people from age discrimination over the age of 40, so it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to have their ears perk up at the mention of a “young company,” and Alison’s answer is pretty on point on what to watch out for.

      Your response seems a little harsh, considering there was nothing offensive in the letter writer’s wording.

  3. Cobol*

    OP #5 I want to reinforce what Allison said. Even though you’ve had a bunch of different internships (and boy was I worried when you said you did more than somebody with a few years experience, but I do get what you’re saying), the veteran has likely done much more relevant work. Think about what you did at each internship that was most important (don’t feel you have to talk about the company at all, nor soft skills that aren’t relevant). If you still feel like you need to say more, cut out duplicate responsibilities at different internships, e.g. if you designed teapot spouts at every internship just put it as a bullet once for your internship at Teapots Inc, then use your space under Teapots Co to focus on other responsibilities.

    1. TL -*

      Seconding this and adding: how much did you really get done in a 2-3 month summer internship or a part time 3-4 month semester internship? Probably not more than 1-2 lines’ worth, really.

      1. periwinkle*

        It might depend on the internship (and the intern). My employer (huge, huge corporation) brings in a lot of summer interns and expects them to make real contributions while they’re here. They’re working on projects –
        with returning interns actually running projects – and presenting to leadership. Definitely more than a couple bullet points’ worth of resume space.

        This might not be typical, of course.

        1. JamieS*

          I could be way off base here but if an internship or internships were that in depth my instinct is to showcase those (select 2-3 that were most “prestigious”/relevant if all were in depth) then have something like “also interned at companies A,B,C” (obviously put into resume speak though). I’m not really sure if mentioning the lesser internships at all would even be necessary but since each is only a few months long I figured they might need to be listed to show continuous work experience.

        2. AcademiaNut*

          I did four month work-terms as an undergraduate – making real contributions with a project, and presenting results at the end – and I could still get a pretty good summary into one or two bullet points. For example, an actual example for one workterm where I did two smaller projects would be

          – analyzed noise characteristics for magneto-encephelograph designs (Matlab)
          – developed/ implemented adaptive filter algorithms for real-time data streams (C)

          There’s quite a bit of high level work compressed into those two bullet points, but it’s enough for a resume. I could highlight it in a cover letter if it were particularly relevant to an application, and if the interviewer were interested in details, they could ask me about what I had done.

          I think the tricky thing is that when you’re still an undergrad, it can be difficult to figure out what the best two bullet points to list actually are, and which things can and should be pared out. From that perspective, it all looks important, but if you look back on it with more experience, it’s often clear what should be highlighted.

        3. Optimistic Prime*

          My employer is similar, but if people who have worked full-time jobs for years can fit their accomplishments into 3-5 bullets under the heading, I think an intern who has worked for 2-3 months can limit theirs to 2-3. The key is that you don’t list EVERY accomplishment; you just highlight some really key ones.

        4. InfoSec SemiPro*

          My company develops intern projects specfically to send interns back with 2 impressive bullet points for their resume. Real projects, real work, and we will help you write the bullets before you leave.
          But we do all sorts of things to make that possible, pull favors to get interns in front of review boards sooner, give a lot of support to get processes to run smoothly the first time, etc.

        5. TL -*

          Even if your interns own their own projects, there’s still a limit to what you can do in that time frame. So… “designed a mint chocolate chip teapot” might be a great summer intern project that is meaningful and that you present on and that has value…but it’s still just a line.
          I wasn’t making a point about quality or depth of work, but time limitations are a very really thing.

      2. Snark*

        This is the thing a lot of recent grads overestimate about internships. They’re educational and get your toe in the door, but you did not actually accomplish much, and you weren’t working independently, so don’t spend too much time discussing them.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      Also, even if your average settled career veteran has fewer recent positions, there’s other stuff that starts to take up space like relevant certification or accreditation that means you can do things others can’t, awards, and so on.

    3. Nico m*

      I think the issue is that relevant experience can be expressed much more succinctly than semi-relevant.

  4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    Oh, dear OP#5, I think it might help to take a step back and consider your resume from the perspective of someone hiring. I can almost guarantee you that multiple internships, campus jobs, extracurriculars, etc., are not perceived as having greater relevance or import than a veteran in the field. Unless you pursued college later in your adult life, two pages is going to look like you don’t know how to fairly assess or filter your experience. It also runs the risk of looking like you’re really digging for applicable experience, which comes across as less effective than simply sticking to a one-page, normal-font-sized, normal-margin resume.

    I know it might feel like all your internships provide relevant experience in your industry. Maybe they do! But I bet if you ask someone who’s a few years ahead of you to help you trim your resume, you’ll find a lot of shorter-term internships are not going to be perceived as providing “more experience” or greater expertise.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      It seems to have been a comment about quantity, not quality. Hopefully.

      But honestly it still came off as a bit naive.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Oh, I understand it was about quantity (or at least that’s how I read it). I just think it’s helpful for OP to realize that neither the numerical nor substantive characteristics of multiple “experiences” will outweigh years of (single quantity) in-industry experience.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          I don’t think that’s at all what she’s saying. I remember this well from my own early career experience, when you’re cobbling together two summer internships, a part-time college job, and a research assistantship to demonstrate that you have exposure to your field. I’m 38 and I agree with the LW that it’s easier to write a concise resume now than it was when I was 22.

    2. Tuesday Next*

      Excellent idea to ask someone to review your resume, if you can find someone with *recent* experience of the recruitment process. Remember that if the interviewer wants more information on something in your resume, they will ask during the interview.

    3. Engineer Girl*

      Yes. A resume is an advertising document. You don’t put the specs or details in advertisements. Just sales points.
      Does 0-60 in 2.5 seconds!
      50 miles per gallon!

      1. Sylvan*

        Yep. Also, the people reading your resume already know the basics of what an internship in their field looks like. They don’t need elaborate explanations. They need to know you were a Sculpture Intern at Rice Sculptures Inc. from February through May 2014.

      2. the gold digger*

        This is my job. I want to lead with, “The fastest car you will ever drive and it will clean your bathroom!”

        My engineer co-workers want to start with, “This is how an internal combustion engine actually works.”

    4. Lilo*

      I actually just participated in a mass resume review a couple months ago (a committee went through hundreds of resumes) and we got a couple many page resumes (5+) from recent grads. As one thing we looked for was “clear and concise writing”, it was a genuine red flag and some were immediate nos. I probably would not throw out a two page resume from a recent grad on that alone, but some would or would consider it a negative.

      1. Purplesaurus*

        We’re been reviewing resumes the past couple months, and one listed “clear and concise writing” as a skill on a four-page resume.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I was thinking about “experiences” and how most 30 year olds wouldn’t want to list their work experience for the last 5 years as a bunch of brief jobs, while for students that’s normal. But on reflection, you can have a grown-up job that takes place in small chunks for different employers. Freelance graphic design. Specific types of code debugging. Consulting. And if that was the case, you’d be expected to summarize and edit so that a prospective employer could scan a page and think “Yes, skills well-matched to what we need for this” rather than list every consulting gig you’d had in 10 years, since they were all relevant experience.

    6. Harriette*

      For that reason, I would strongly caution against LW using 11 point font. For us older folks, that’s too small. 12 point is standard for a reason.

      I know of a hiring manager who got a resume in 10 point font and immediately binned it. Why? (1) He could read it without a magnifying glass and thought the applicant inconsiderate bc the applicant knew several middle aged and older folks would be reading the resume. (2) He thought the person was trying to “cheat” by using smaller font instead of more pages. (3) he thought the person could not be concise or self-reflective, both of which were required for the job.

      1. the gold digger*

        It would never have even occurred to me when I was that age that someone might not be able to read the font. I think your hiring manager read wayyyy too much into the font. (Or didn’t read, as the case may be.)

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I think the most tone-deaf thing about saying “I have way more experiences than a veteran in the field” (and I say this with an eye to help you avoid giving off this impression, OP) is that, depending on the field, some or even most of those veterans whose experience she minimizes had similar internships when they were in college. It’s just that now that they have had decades of work experience, they are no longer worth mentioning. The OP needs to realize that these are people who were probably just like her when they were new graduates. Not all, maybe, but certainly some.

  5. Tuesday Next*

    OP3, a large bag, strategically positioned, will shield you from your grabby co-workers. They would have to try and reach around the bag to find a place to pat you and hardly anyone is that clueless/chutzpadik. If you don’t happen to have a bag handy, grab a printout off your desk, or just fold your arms strategically over your tummy. A physical barrier will serve as a check to those who impulsively reach out.

    1. Stinky Socks*

      I had no idea there was an adjective form of chutzpah! I’m filing that away for future use.

    2. Hey Nonnie*

      The “rub their belly back” advice made me laugh. I kept imagining her doing it with an over-the-top leering grin. Maybe uttering a soft “hur hur hur” for emphasis.

      1. Anony*

        It does bring home how weird that behavior is. This reminded me of a Captain Awkward letter a few years ago ( in that the advice there seems to work here as well. Intercept their hand and tell them not to touch you. If they try again, make a bigger deal of it. Set back out of reach. Say that you dislike it every time it happens, preferably loud enough to be heard by other people. Any reasonable person would only need to be told once (or never…) so once they go to a second time, don’t minimize your reaction or try to make it less awkward.

      2. LSP*

        This reminds me of going to visit my godmother in the hospital when I was just getting into my second trimester, and she was not doing well.

        She was always kind of an “eccentric” personality, to put it mildly. I was standing next to her bed and telling her about the pregnancy and she rubbed my belly (totally ok, because I loved her).

        Then she turned to my husband, reached out her hand and said, “Now let me rub your balls!”

        I miss her!

      3. Long Time Reader, First Time Poster*

        A friend of mine had a great phrase she used when people touched her pregnant belly — she’d say “oh, your hand seems a little too close to my vagina for me to be comfortable with that!” and watch them recoil. It was hilarious — dropping the V word made people suddenly alert to how intimate their touch was.

        1. zsuzsanna*

          Oh, that’s *excellent.* Unfortunately, when it comes to pregnancy, a lot of people don’t see women as actual people in their own right, anyone – just these animated public incubators. They think they’re being “excited” about your condition and don’t see it for the outrageous personal violation it is. I mean, I have friends who told me *total strangers* tried to do this to them on the bus! I say scream – like you would on the bus.

    3. Amber T*

      I think that’s a great idea! And hopefully if OP says *once* (to one butthead coworker) “please don’t touch me,” the rest will follow suit.

      I’m going to admit that I haven’t had my coffee yet, so when I read Alison’s advice about congratulating OP from a foot away, somehow my mind contorted that into advising the OP to shoo away belly rubs, but ask for foot rubs. I think it’s time for coffee.

    4. Ms. Annie*

      Oh, Tuesday Next, Yes, there are people who are indeed that clueless. And they will reach right under that bag and then say that OP is too sensitive. Been there, done that, got the stretch marks.

      OP, throw your arms around your belly, flinch visibly, take a step back, turn half away and say “please, don’t do that”. Keep repeating “Please, don’t do that” to each and every justification they through at you to get you to let them assault you.

      Next time they do it, do the above, but grab the hand and push it away gently and use the same facial expression you would use when pushing a plate of [insert morning sickness inducing smelly food] away. Bonus points if you actually retch a bit.

      Third time, step back and say “We have had this conversation before. Do not touch me. Do we need to go to HR?”

      I wouldn’t put it in the email. I actually wouldn’t even send an I’m preggers email to the office at large until I was laying out the maternity leave plan at 35-36 weeks. (Mom of 5 with 4 born while I was working). Putting the don’t touch me in the office-wide email will come off badly to those of us who were raised better, confuses those who do not deal with you daily, and will not stop those who were not. After all, you couldn’t *possibly* mean them.

      Practice your belly defence in the mirror until it is natural. That way, you will be ready and won’t be surprised when it does happen.

      1. Grapey*

        “Practice your belly defence in the mirror until it is natural.”

        Yes, after all, warding off unwanted behaviors constantly and consistently is going to be something you should do as a parent!

      2. Snark*

        Yeah, don’t put it in the email. But if you see the touchy coworkers coming, how do you feel about preemptively warning them away?

        1. Ms. Annie*

          No, I wouldn’t warn them off preemptively. Then, that is me starting the issue, not me finishing it. A preemptive step back though may work.

          1. Snark*

            Yeah, good point. And if they do try, and she refuses in the moment, she could circle back with them and say something like “Hey, Fergus, I realize you mean well, but I’m not a touchy-feely person, and I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t try to touch my belly moving forward. Personal space is really important to me.”

            1. K, Esq.*

              I’m pregnant and just started showing, and I love this language. My step-mom and best friend have been all about the belly touching and I grin and bear it because I love them. My co-worker asked to touch my belly when I shared the news and I let her because she was so excited for me, but I’ll use a softened version of this if she tries again.

            2. Observer*

              No, don’t do that. Apologizing makes it sound like Fergus was really in the right and the OP was being REALLY strange. If she can manage to pull of a light “this is my quirk” in the moment, that’s one thing. But afterwards, no.

                1. Observer*

                  The circling back and softening with “I know you mean well but” comes of as an apology. Even if it didn’t, it’s way too much softening. A woman does not need to excuse, explain or justify the fact that she asked someone not to touch her, nor is there any real reason to pass this of as a personal “quirk”. It’s NOT. So, in the moment it still can be useful because it helps to defuse a situation. But once the situation is over, it’s on the toucher not the touchee to process this appropriately.

                2. Snark*

                  I disagree that it comes off as an apology. And I think there’s merit to not being too harsh, just to avoid alienating the person you’re making the request of. I mean….

                  “Hey, Fergus, I’m not a touchy-feely person, and I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t try to touch my belly moving forward. Personal space is really important to me.”

                  Mmmmh. I dunno. That might not be too harsh. But the kind of people who do this tend to get defensive. YMMV.

                3. Snark*

                  Oh, and I’m also definitely not passing this off as a quirk with that wording either. It’s pretty plainly stated as a nonnegotiable requirement.

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Yeah, I don’t read that as an apology either — just softening language that you include with coworkers who you want to maintain decent relationships with.

      3. Samiratou*

        I agree that a pregnancy announcement is unnecessary, as is putting “don’t touch me” in there. You may end up with touchy coworkers, you may not. Just because you have coworkers that are on the huggy side doesn’t mean they will be belly-patters, too.

        If someone reaches out, I would step back, put a hand up and say “I prefer not to be touched” or similar. Most people will get the hint from that. Those that don’t, then yes, escalate the response as seems appropriate.

      4. NF*

        I’ve been pregnant in the workplace twice, OP#3, and can attest that people are weird and will randomly assume they can touch your body because you’re pregnant which apparently means you’re a public space now. Ahem. In my experience, I found that a balance of no-nonsense, civility, and brevity was the key. You do not need to explain yourself or use defensive language along the lines of “I need personal space.” My personal formula was:
        1) No, thank you. (Worked on 95% of wrongdoers.)
        2) [Put my hand on their belly and stared at them wordlessly.]

        I only had to escalate to #2 once, and now it’s one of my favorite memories from my time at a conservative liberal arts college. The guy said “why are you touching me?” And I said: “Oh. I thought it was some kind of greeting?” I was soo not a good fit at that place.

        1. Anna*

          LOLOLOLOL! That is the best!

          I can’t fathom not asking first. It’s so weird to me. And I couldn’t even begin to imagine asking someone I work with. For me, that’s a thing reserved for very close friends and family. And not even all family. Like close siblings maybe. I usually wait for them to take the lead, anyway. SO WEIRD!

        2. zsuzsanna*

          NF, will you be my best friend? I love that response. Also, the phrase “conservative liberal arts college” made me laugh out loud.

    5. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Here’s what I don’t get: if anyone tried to rub the belly of a non-pregnant person, they would be seen as insane or creepy. So why is it that when someone is gestating, the belly suddenly becomes public property??? I mean, it’s no less a part of that someone than her breasts are and someone touching THOSE without permission would be harassment or assault. Right???

      I get it, gestation is a weird and wonderful thing to witness, but still, keep your hands to yourselves, people!

      1. Mookie*

        (I don’t want to de-rail, but you’ve accurately summed up how some cultures do treat pregnant people, like their bodies no longer are their own but a vessel for a human. There’s also that weird monkey-see monkey-do thing, where we’re conditioned to think of pregnant people clasping their bellies (in some observers’s minds, “touching the precious baby”), and think we’re supposed to do the same, like it’s a way of acknowledging and honoring the pregnancy. The intent doesn’t matter, of course, because the default position is that touching without permission is not kosher; in practice, we flout this expectation all the time, unfortunately.)

    6. 2 Cents*

      OP3, I recently announced my pregnancy and maybe I’m just super fortunate, but I got a lot of hugs (I don’t mind), but NO belly touches. I’m not really showing yet (though I think I am), which probably helps. But I think I’d end up karate-chopping anyone who extends a hand out for my midsection. Good luck!

    7. Snark*



      It bugs me so hard and I’m not even a woman. My wife had a total stranger at a mall go for the tummy-pat, and literally had to threaten the person with violence to dissuade them. Like, physically dodging and backing away, swatting the hand, going, “If you continue to try to touch my body, I will defend myself and I will probably break something. Back the f*** off.” And then the person just kind of looked disappointed and wandered away.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Let me say I would NEVER do this … but there is something that draws one in about the belly once it pops out. I do understand the impulse. Again, I would NEVER touch someone’s belly or even ask if I could, except like my sister. But I might want to. Sometimes the baby pushes back against your hand and it’s … woah.

        1. Snark*

          But, like….there’s a gap between the impulse and the action, for you. That’s fine. I just wonder why the hell that gap doesn’t exist for everyone.

    8. Friday*

      Third tri preg chiming in – here’s what has prevented me from any at-work (or at-anywhere else) rubs through 1.67 pregnancies now:

      1. Increase your personal bubble when talking to people. You know what feels natural as far as closeness to someone else when talking – then take a small step back early on in each conversation.
      2. Keep your own hands on the belly, rubbing it. Or
      3. Something else blocking the belly, like a bag or a folder or your drink or your arm or whatever.
      4. Expect that people who just find out or who gush excessively over how your body looks will be the most likely culprits. Be polite and friendly but relentlessly on guard. Be especially aware of hugs and go for a side hug while holding your own belly if you must, and be mentally and physically prepared to gently block a hand. I did this on a family member a couple of weekends ago.

      And it also helps to have a bit of a “don’t mess with me” face, which I guess do since I rarely have to use active blocks on people. Probably helps that I’m advanced maternal age so I look all haggard and tired. ;-) Good luck OP!

      1. MrsCHX*

        I’m glad I kept scrolling! #1 is the ticket! Keep a larger distance and you have time to step back if it feels like someone is about to reach out.

    9. Fizzchick*

      Yeah, keeping a larger than usual personal space bubble and a bit of RBF will help. But also, there are some folks who are just determined. I had a farmer’s market vendor reach across the table to rub my 8 month belly while I was picking out peaches. If I hadn’t had my son with me I would have dropped the fruit and walked away, but I wasn’t up for disappointing him on promised peaches. Ugh.

  6. RB*

    #2. Oh dear, I may be one of those types. Sometimes throughout the day I make an exasperated “Aaaarghhhhh” out loud but it’s not bitter or negative, just a reaction to a spreadsheet that won’t cooperate or getting an e-mail that is going to open an entire can of worms.
    #3, pregnant belly. You could do a milder version of the shrinking back when you’re touched. Just jump back a few inches as though you’re weirded out by it. People will get the message without being offended if you don’t overdo this move.
    #4, don’t help them and maybe you could also warn your old manager that this person is not suitable for the job. This is one of the ways that poor workers get promoted. Your former teammates will thank you.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I also make frustrated noises to myself sometimes. But I’m sure it annoys people and I’ve made a conscious effort to do it less. You can change this stuff if you try.

      I recommend a squeezy stress ball.

      1. Sherm*

        My office-mate makes long, exasperated sighs and moans throughout many days, and it does indeed get annoying, even demoralizing. It’s hard to enjoy your day when the person next to you is acting like a tooth is being drilled.

        1. AnnoyedCoworker*

          OP here, exactly! Not saying he has to be totally silent and I certainly don’t expect him to…but it is constant, almost every fifteen minutes. Thoughtless at best, rude at worst.

          1. Snark*

            I think you can just cut it down to a “Yo Dweezil, rein in the drama.”

            “No, seriously, Dweezil, I just said this 15 minutes ago, cut out the drama, it’s super annoying and distracting.”


            1. Artemesia*

              And occasionally substitute ‘attention seeking behavior’ for ‘drama’ — the loud side is a childish begging for attention — oh was wong w diddums? Maybe try that last baby talk phrase. (maybe not)

          2. K, Esq.*

            I started a post-it tracking my co-workers grunts, groans, and sighs. It made me feel better in a passive-aggressive way.

            1. Anon In This Moment*

              Oh God, I thought I was the only one using this…can I call it a coping strategy? That’s probably putting too good a face on it.

              My state of annoyance with my unliked boss is right up to BEC level. Despite working fewer hours than most, he’s quite apt to yawn as if in exhaustion about 3PM (or 2. Or 1) and take off for the day about 4. There are good reasons we work until 11PM and mediocre-to-terrible reasons he doesn’t, but him being loudly tired around us annoys me more than is warranted. To keep from snapping, I note the time of his yawns to myself and freely hypothesize about how he can possibly be so sleepy. Right now I’m going with “gambling addict, up all night at the casinos,” and it keeps me cheerful

            2. Also anon*

              One of my colleagues started a bingo sheet for much the same purpose. The colleague being tracked on the bingo sheet makes long personal calls to his wife during the work day.

        2. Lil Fidget*

          Mine curses loudly under his breath. It’s so distracting! (and unprofessional, if you ask me). Initially I thought something really bad must be going on, like he’d made some huge mistake … but it’s SO common and I’ve sussed out by now that it’s always over stupid stuff – entered a password wrong, etc.

      2. CeeCee*

        I think frequency of the frustrated noises probably makes a difference as well. Sometimes, when someone is doing it often, it’s more of attention seeking behavior. I once worked with a person who would constantly make exasperated noises and would then look over to see if you would ask them what was wrong. If you ignored them, they’d do it a bit louder a few more times and then give up, but it was always very annoying.

        It doesn’t sound quite like that’s what OP’s coworker is doing, but if they typically work in a silent environment and the coworker isn’t used to or comfortable with that, he might be doing it in (potential unconscious) hopes of having a small conversation to break up the silence.

        1. RJGM*

          Oh my gosh, I think I work with that person now. They also yell OW! extremely loudly if they bump their knee on the desk, get a paper cut, whatever. [rolls eyes].

          Your second paragraph is also spot-on, I think. I’ve had a coworker like that, too, and sometimes (like twice a week), it helped to ask what was up just to get it out of the way. But I was also too socially-anxious to use a script like Alison’s, which probably would have worked better. :(

        2. MissDissplaced*

          Or it could be they’re forced to use a really old and crappy computer that crashes or takes 10 minutes to open Word.

    2. idi01*

      #4 – Just tell your ex-colleague “I am quite busy, but you pretty much know what I do and what this position entails anyways. Also, I would be stunned if they didn’t give you my position, you probably don’t even need to apply.”

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        The attitude “My team lead, whom I’ve worked with for years…. huh, I wonder what it is they do?” is making me cringe.

        1. JulieBulie*

          That jumped out at me too. Not only “I wonder what they do” but also “in spite of not knowing what the job is, I am entitled to it.”

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        Also, I would be stunned if they didn’t give you my position, you probably don’t even need to apply

        I like it.

    3. aebhel*

      I grumble at my computer too, but I have my own office so I’m pretty sure I’m not bothering anyone else.

      1. Blue*

        Yeah, it’s been about 7 years since I shared an office space, so I don’t bother to check my tendency to mutter to myself or sigh or gesture at my computer. It’s not a constant thing for me, but I would still have a hard time stopping if I no longer had a private office. I do have a coworker who will occasionally sigh SO LOUDLY that I can hear him down the hall while we’re each in our own offices, which is unbelievably annoying.

    4. k.k*

      I’m married to an office mutterer, as I discovered when my husband started working from home occasionally. I don’t think he even realized how much he was doing it and now he’s more conscious of containing it. Being a spouse and not a coworker, I was able to be much more blunt in calling him out on it.

    5. Risha*

      I’ve spent the last year sharing a small room (can’t fairly be called an office) with a daily mutterer. The most frequent phrases are “I can’t take this,” “kill me now,” and “I can’t do this anymore,” interspersed with the code he’s actually working on, which are all very annoying. He’s also a loud eater, and sucks on his teeth.

      Unfortunately I haven’t felt like I can complain, because I am a long time computer talker myself! (On much less frequent occasion, when things are genuinely going wrong.)

      But rest assured that your Aaaaarghhhh cannot possibly be as annoying to share an office with as he is.

  7. Snarl Furillo*

    Listing 6-9 (!) internships on your resume is a good way to let hiring managers know you’re going to send an 8-page memo on where to order lunch for the quarterly meeting. You gotta prioritize.

    1. Safetykats*

      Part of the problem, I think, is assuming you should use the same resume for every job application. I would be really surprised if all the internships were equally applicable to every job. You should always be tailoring your resume to the job description – and if you have actual technical experience you can probably skip saying much (if anything) about the jobs that only show that you can show up and interact with people. If you have room to show those as single lines in your work history that’s great. If not, and especially if you’ve had a lot of those jobs, probably better not to list them at all. I still remember a resume from a college grad that listed two (2) full pages of volunteer experience. Not detailed descriptions of responsibilities – just every event and organization the student had supported. The most telling thing about that extensive list of experience was that apparently he was never invited back to a single one. We were not impressed.

      1. RaccoonLady*

        Yes; this! (Recently graduated from undergraduate) Before I found out I was accepted to veterinary school I was looking at applying to jobs in a variety of animal-related fields; and the experiences needed for each employer varied even in the same field. Or what I wanted to emphasize depending on the work I would be doing! Plus, I know as a student all of your experiences feel important to you- but not all of them really warrant being on the resume. I worked a retail job some summers for extra cash and while it did give me customer service skills, once I’d done other jobs more focused in my career area that gave me similar skills I decided to leave it off. So things may seem relevant but they might not really be to the employer. Just things to keep in mind!

      2. C.*

        When I was applying for jobs after college, I had 3-4 resumes saved and named them according to job type, i.e. “resume – nonprofit” “resume – political” etc. and good lord that was helpful. I’d still further customize it for the specific job, but it was so nice to not have to hack away at certain sections every time.

      3. Mr. Rogers*

        This is so true! I’ve helped with hiring at the assistant level and when we see people with 5+ internships it actually starts to look a little bad. We can’t help but think “well, why did none of those places want to hire you full time, invite you back, or have a longer internship (where you could have presumably been involved with higher level work)?” And when we’ve interviewed many of those people, it was clear why. They were perfectly nice, but couldn’t learn tasks to save their lives, or some other factor that made them always hohum instead of stellar.

    2. smac*

      I do think they could all be relevant. I went to uni in DC and then worked in politics so when I graduated all my internships were very relevant. I think I had two most summers, plus school year stuff for a total of 9 over 4 years, all in DC offices, home state offices, lobbying groups, special issue groups, polling firm, exec branch offices and PACs that had the /correct/ politics for my desired jobs. I only expanded on the most prestigious (senator’s offices, one Lobbying group, a very well-regarded special issue group, the polling firm) and actually listed the rest with just dates and no bullets. This was what Gtown was saying to do at the time, and it got me into a sr. senator’s DC office.

  8. HannahS*

    Oof OP 1 I’m more concerned about “they love the brand” over “young.” To me, it’s code for, “we don’t pay enough, so you’ll have to love it.” It’s just such a weird and specific thing to say. I can see loving a company for it’s great benefits, or it’s fulfilling mission, but that would be more like, “They love working at Llama Herders Int’l” or something, because that invites you to ask WHY. Whereas “they love the brand”…why? To my understanding, the brand is literally all the marketing stuff–name, logo, reputation. What’s to love there?

    Here’s a better example, actually: the difference between “People love working at Buzzfeed” vs. “People working at Buzzfeed love the brand.” (And I suspect that Buzzfeed IS a place with a “young” vibe where people love the brand and are taken advantage of.)

    1. JamieS*

      Yeah reading that instantly brought back memories of reading about this young woman who had her interview cancelled with the interviewer saying her “priorities weren’t in sync with the company’s” because she asked about pay and benefits. Huge red flag to me.

      1. Mookie*

        Company must have a no-pay, pro-bono policy. How gauche, talking about the only universal reason people the world over work. Reminds me of the letter where the manager woldn’t tell a new hire what she’s going to be making until she finished her first day. That’s not how it works.

    2. Old Unhip OP*

      Hi, I’m letter-writer #1. I just posted a comment elsewhere up the page. But you make a good point. She probably thought the phrase would impress me or warn me off, I’m not in love with the brand. I got the sense that she didn’t particularly like my answer about why I want to work there, either.

      The more I think about it, the more narrow of a view of the company I think she put forth.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        We should note that it may just be a young and inexperienced but very enthusiastic HR person, translating everything through the Bouncy Filter. If it gets to that point, I’d go by the feel of the office over the pep-level of HR.

        1. Allison*

          ” young and inexperienced but very enthusiastic HR person, translating everything through the Bouncy Filter”

          I love the phrase Bouncy Filter, and yes, it could be that. I even worked with an older recruiter who would always tell candidates what a cool startup vibe we had. We didn’t, really. Our office was pretty standard as far as the industry went. I just wanted to yell “no one cares about the bocce ball court, Linda!”

        2. Lil Fidget*

          Yeah FWIW I’d reserve judgement based on what I’ve read so far. One HR person isn’t going to impact your experience once you start – you probably won’t talk to her again after you’re onboarded. If my potential supervisor said such things, I’d be more concerned.

    3. Lilo*

      I agree. I have some friends who work in startups and that kind of loyalty language is often used as.code.for “we expect you to be okay with being underpaid and overworked”. It is very weird to get it from an established company. I wouldn’t cancel the interview, because the person may have not meant that, but I think asking more about what that means and keeping your eyes open is a good idea.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      My sister works at Refinery29. Oof, the stories I hear. She’s already worried about what she’s going to do if/when the online blog thing stops being able to support an entire business, as that writing is already on the wall. She does love the company though.

      I love my weekend employer. It’s a boutique coffee company! That’s a company I can get behind. But a “regular-ish” office? Nope, I’d never say I love that.

    5. This Daydreamer*

      I’m also getting a beer run vibe. Definitely take the time to observe the office culture.

  9. Jess*

    #3 – I have also had success with the touching the belly of the person touching mine. In my last office when I was pregnant with Miss 2, I had a co-worker who was the loveliest woman who would just keep. on. touching. my. belly.

    (What made me more uncomfortable was 1) when it was earlier in my pregnancy and so strictly speaking baby was still low in my torso so to ACTUALLY touch the bump would have meant placing a hand just above my pubic bone and b) I’m curvy and it took until about seven months to really have a bump so until then it was just the same as touching my belly fat which…no.)

    Anyway, she was reading my body language because she made a joking comment after I instinctively turned away from her hand that I was “don’t touch don’t touch!” like her (also pregnant at the time) daughter. I was on the verge of talking to her manager – which I didn’t want to do because like I said this co-worker was just super lovely and I think was just crossing boundaries because she was excited for me at the same time she was excited for her daughter.

    Finally one day I reached out and touched her tummy when she touched mine and – that was it! She laughed, got the message with no hurt feelings at all, and so it was happy resolution all round :-)

    1. Lars the Real Girl*

      I’ve also found that a wide-eyed, incredulous, surprised (but not angry) “excuse me” while moving their hand away gets the point across that they just did something that wasn’t appropriate.

    2. VerySleepyPregnantLady*

      How do women who have previously been pregnant *not* know that the top of the belly is just fat?

      I am normally quite thin and petite, and I’m now 6 months along. The top of my bump is like all of my belly fat concentrated in one spot along with my squished stomach. Baby comes up a few inches above my belly button (NOT THAT LOW). And yet belly rubbers still go for the top of the bump. WHHHYYYYYYYYY?!?! Why do you want to rub my squishy parts?

      But really, why does anyone think to rub the belly of a pregnant woman? The only people who have free reign to touch my pregnant belly are my husband and midwife. And I reserve the right to revoke my husband’s privileges. My attitude is that if you 1) didn’t help put the baby in there or 2) aren’t going to help get the baby out, you should not be touching my belly.

      1. Maiasaura*

        I had a lovely coworker in my last job who happened to be a semi-retired gay man who had never had children. We were quite close, and when I started to really show, he asked if he could ever touch my belly to feel the baby kick, since he’d never had that experience before and likely would not in his family life. He was *very* respectful and I know he would have been fine if I’d declined. It didn’t bother me at all, and honestly, the joy and wonder on my coworker’s face when my son obligingly tried to knock his hand off my belly was wonderful. It wasn’t creepy at all.

        Context matters, though– the long friendship, trust, and his careful request for permission were all key to why it didn’t bother me.

      2. Specialk9*

        “The only people who have free reign to touch my pregnant belly are my husband and midwife. And I reserve the right to revoke my husband’s privileges. My attitude is that if you 1) didn’t help put the baby in there or 2) aren’t going to help get the baby out, you should not be touching my belly.”

        Ha ha perfect.

      3. Artemesia*

        No one ever touched my belly when I was working and pregnant with my kids 40ish years ago. No one. My daughter hasn’t mentioned it as a problem either. With hers I asked to feel the babies kick and totally took the lead on when it was comfortable for her to let grandma have the experience. I am astounded, not that the occasional toad does this, but that it is common for colleagues or even strangers to put their hands on a woman in this intimate way.

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

          I remember going to the mall with a pregnant friend when I was an undergraduate. It was crazy how many total strangers touched her.

          Sometimes pregnant friends or relatives have told me to feel it when the baby was kicking, or I’ve asked if I could do that, but I’d never do it uninvited.

    3. LW #3*

      I love this story! Your coworker sounds a lot like some of mine. Well-meaning, friendly, a little oblivious. It’s good to hear from someone who tried the “pat their belly back” strategy and had it work. I think I could pull that off.

    4. Flossie Bobbsey*

      I’m almost 6 months pregnant and luckily cannot even fathom my coworkers touching my belly (or any other part of me frankly – we’re pretty arms-length!). I am pretty blunt and (think I) would have no problem moving someone’s hand away or stepping back if anyone tried to touch my stomach.

      My issue is more with comments about my body/belly and people making a point of clearly inspecting me, although none of the comments have been rude (except insofar as I think it’s generally best not to comment on another person’s/coworker’s body in the first place regardless of what you’re saying). I just don’t like my body to be the focus of conversation, especially at work! I try to remind myself it’s harmless and that people only mean well, respond with something mild and noncommittal, and move the conversation along.

      One admin assistant who I’m friendly with (and had told I was pregnant before word had spread too far) is really outgoing and was originally constantly saying something or other about my belly every time she saw me — again, well-meaning, but not my thing. Once more people knew, she asked at one point, “Are people starting to comment now?” which gave me an opening to say, “Yes! I’m not sure why people feel the need to comment on my body.” — and I noticed she toned it down herself after that. Mission accomplished, and she’s still friendly without making those same comments.

      1. swingbattabatta*

        I used to get a comment about the size of my belly/bump/tummy/abdomen/baby location every single time I went to the grocery store, and pretty much every time I went out in public for months and months. It was exhausting having everyone evaluate me and then feel the need to comment on my likelihood of making it to my due date. Or asking if it was twins.

  10. Drew*

    OP4, I understand the desire to be polite to this person, but…why not be honest? Just tell H, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel right helping you try to get a role that I don’t think you’re ready for.” Sure, it might make things awkward, but you’re only there two more weeks.

    1. Jeanne*

      I agree the 2 weeks makes it pretty easy to say no. “No I can’t/won’t do that.” No explanation needs to be provided. Say no.

    2. A Bit Miffed*

      You could actually be doing them a favour of you said something like “actions have consequences – your bad actions A, B, and C have led to the consequence that you have negative credit to earn favours with me now.” Like, not in a aggressive way, but in a plain, factual way: social skills matter. Being a jerk at work can have short-term gains, but it also has long-term costs.

      But I’d only bother with doing a gentle version of that if I thought the jerkitude was mostly out of ignorance or cluelessness, and if I thought the person was capable of learning and willing to change.

      I might say it a bit more harshly if I was so thoroughly narked off that I wanted to shut the conversation down completely and forever, like “and don’t ever use me as a reference!”.

      1. Jules the Third*

        H sounds both clueless and entitled, that usually means that feedback is brushed off.

        OP4, just say you’re too busy getting everything the clear documentation of the processes the next person is going to need to follow and enforce. And remember that your boss’s bad choices don’t impact you anymore.

      2. Artemesia*

        I wouldn’t because it sounds like the manager has no discouraged him and he may very well get the job. I’d say something like ‘oh I couldn’t do that, it wouldn’t be fair, but I would think they know your work already.’ I’d also try to poison the well if I could with those doing the hiring, but again if it is the manager who thought he was just fine — well odds are they will promote him.

    3. Liane*

      If I was OP4, I would consider adapting Alison’s scripts for when someone wants you to be a reference and you won’t be a strong one.
      “Hieronimus, I am not comfortable advocating for you to succeed me as Ringwraith VIIII, as I would have to be honest about how you don’t follow processes XYZ. You could probably find someone who could make a stronger case.”

    4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

      This is what I’m thinking. It seems incredibly cheeky for H to ask for a thorough briefing on what the OP does every day when they couldn’t be bothered to learn how to do their own job correctly. Since the OP is leaving anyway, I’d be tempted to tell H that they can’t help them unless the OP thinks it might impact on their reference in some way.

  11. bookartist*

    #4 – Consider that you might be doing H a service if you told him exactly why you would never entertain the thought of recommending him. You’re not burning a bridge (though I suggest it’s not a bridge worth preserving), you’re giving a coworker tough-love advice.

    1. Lizabeth*

      Is H worth even investing that much time or thought into it? That would decide for me what to say…..

  12. HannahS*

    OP3, even more options:
    1) Pretend this is a weird thing no one has ever done to you before. Look alarmed or weirded out. “W–what are you doing?”
    2) If you see their hand sneaking toward your belly, seize it with both hands and turn it into a hearty hand squeeze while smiling aggressively. “AW YOU’RE SO SWEET” you say, through clenched teeth.
    3) Sidestep plus “Oop, not the belly please!” and straight into continued gushing so that the conversation moves past any awkwardness.
    4) In the email, “I’ve been feeling a bit off-balance lately, so please don’t grab my belly, because it startles me and I might fall over.” or “I’ve been feeling really nauseated, so please don’t touch my belly as it makes feel ill” or “I’m not loving having other people touch me right now, so no belly-touches please! Happy handshakes are most welcome.”

    Side note: I’m realizing that it’s a bit weird that I’ve only heard “belly” used to refer to a pregnant woman’s abdomen and nothing else. I called that general area a tummy when I was little and a stomach now, but neither of those seems right in pregnancy, since one is a baby-word and the other is inaccurate. Huh.

        1. Agent Diane*

          Yep. I must admit, this topic is making me very happy about British reserve – I don’t think I got any unwanted bump touching aside from idiots with backpacks on the Tube.

          (I also wondered if OP had two curious colleagues who could hear her morning sickness, one of whom has offered not to share a room with her on an upcoming trip.)

          Semi-serious advice for OP: get a badge (pin) to put on the bump saying “don’t touch”. Or raise an eyebrow and say “It’s still my body you’re touching: please don’t.”

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I cringed at having to write “belly” in the headline but couldn’t think of what else to put there.

        At least you didn’t say “baby bump” {gags}

      2. SarahTheEntwife*

        “Abdomen” is probably most technically accurate, but sounds weirdly clinical outside of a medical context.

    1. Jeanne*

      I really prefer “Please do not touch me.” Use a flat tone. Word will spread that you are not cool with it.

      1. Cherith Ponsonby*

        I think this depends on your environment – of my Coworkers Past, the most likely unauthorised bump-fondlers are also the ones who would be loudly and volubly Hurt And Offended by that response*. Up to OP, of course, but it might not be a can of worms she wants to open.

        * Either that or so happy that they briefly forget their manners, in which case it’d sting but be effective.

        1. Liane*

          An advice columnist once wrote that he didn’t care if his daughter grumbled and stomped while loading the dishwasher because, “I need her to do the dishes, I don’t need her to be happy while she does them.”

          So Team Belly-touchers can be “loudly and volubly Hurt And Offended by that response” all they want as long as they keep their hands to themselves and off OP’s bump.

          1. SarahKay*

            That has perfectly articulated how I felt about it.
            If you want to be offended that I didn’t let you assault me you go ahead and do that, but you still should just keep your hands to yourself.

          2. LW #3*

            I get that perspective, but at the same time, I have to see these people every day. I’ve loudly and sternly told strangers not to touch me before. No regrets there. For coworkers– especially the first time they try– I’d like a milder approach. If not for their sake, then for mine.

            1. Michelle*

              I had a complete stranger try to touch me while I was pregnant with #2. I grabbed her hands and said “I don’t know you, please don’t touch me”. For coworkers who wanted to touch me I tried:
              1. “Intercepting” their hands when they came toward me.
              2. Folding my hands over my stomach area or have something (printout/cup) strategically placed
              3. If other measures fail and they still try to rub your stomach/bump, tell them it makes you uncomfortable and if they still try, then rub their stomach back.

              People really do need to keep their hands off! It’s weird how people think a woman’s pregnant belly/stomach is public property that they can handle/touch as they please. (Sorry if that sounds aggressive- it’s a pet peeve of mine.)

              1. Michelle*

                Quick follow-up- after I announced my second pregnancy, I always picked up a printout or cup when I left my desk to use as a “shield”.

              2. zsuzsanna*

                Michelle, Maybe Ive got harassment on the brain, with Weinstein et al – but people keep asking, why do women put up with it? (as though it’s our fault). And yet you say, “sorry is that sounds aggressive” – as if it’s YOU, and not the other person, who’s being aggressive! It just shows how we’ve all been pressured/conditioned not to stand up for ourselves and personal boundaries.

                And no, you do not sound aggressive. You sound like a woman with dignity.

        2. Snark*

          And if one is Hurt and Offended by a reasonable establishment of boundaries and bodily autonomy, that’s their row to hoe.

          1. Cherith Ponsonby*

            Of course it is, but I know I’d rather establish my boundaries a bit less curtly if it means I won’t have to put up with months of “oh I just LOVE babies isn’t it too bad that SOME people are so TOUCHY about it” (heh, irony) while they’re hoeing it.

        1. VerySleepyPregnantLady*

          The first time my cat got kicked by the fetus while trying to cuddle me, he hissed at my belly. And then he gave me this super concerned look like “I think there’s something in there.”

          A gentle batting a hand away is what I do, not so much because it’s what I plan to do, but more because it’s a reflex.

      2. HannahS*

        Well sure, but if the OP was comfortable doing that, she wouldn’t have written in to an advice column. She says herself she wants to go for lighter-hearted.

    2. SusanIvanova*

      “Belly” also gets used next to “fat” in late-night TV ads :)

      Somewhere in the back of my closet is a spiky black belt. If I were pregnant I’d consider digging it out and wearing it as a warning to any overly touchy-feely sorts.

    3. Kheldarson*

      Another option too is retraining. But this depends on if the OP is willing to put up with touches at all.

      In my case, when the touches started, I backed up and said, “Please don’t touch without asking!” Eventually it got around that I was more amenable to belly touches if you asked. Otherwise I got cranky.

      So it’s an option that allows for compromise.

    4. Adhyanon*

      Things I did – If you’re able to do it – maybe practice with a friend, a swift swat to the incoming arm is very effective.

      Or, tell a story to the biggest office gossip about your MIL or friend touching you without permission and how you hit them in the hand as a reflex.

      I wouldn’t announce pregnancy via until the maternity leave email either. Trust me – it gets around.

      1. nonegiven*

        Or how you reflexively punched MIL in the solar plexus and she went down like a ton of brinks.

    5. Specialk9*

      I use the word belly with my toddler, that seems to be the consensus word used at school and in books. “Touch your nose! Touch your belly!” But that’s largely bc they can say something that kinda-sorta sounds like belly (“beddy”) but “stomach” or “torso” or “abdominal region” might be harder for them.

  13. Jess*

    OP5- I know it seems really important to include everything you’ve done on your resume now (I felt the same way when I was a new grad) but I promise you that in a few years you will understand why it’s really not as important as you think. I think it’s because when you don’t yet have full-time, professional positions each internship, part-time job, or other activity demonstrate a couple distinct relevant, important skills in your mind and it feels like you’re detracting from your candidacy if you leave them off. I find it much easier now (I graduated in 2009) to keep my resume to one page than I did when I was fresh out of school. Also, you really don’t need a ton of bullet points for everything. I think I include a couple jobs on mine with just one bullet point b/c I think highlighting the jobs does add some value but they also may not be relevant enough to devote any more space to than that.

    1. nonymous*

      If OP5 has a bunch of positions with similar skills (e.g. organizing fundraisers for different groups) she can present that as a single item, with a brief mention of extraordinary achievement. So: “Coordinator for 5 separate fundraising events at StateU/Big City with budgets between X and Y, volunteer staff of up to Z. Arranged for President to speak at commencement.”

      There are career paths which require a lot of movement (for example, freelance work or consulting), but there’s still a way to tie it back to a core competency with evidence of performance growth.

  14. seejay*

    OP #1: I’m running into this really weird conundrum right now where well-established, big-name companies are calling me based on my experience in my resume, but I’m getting flat-out rejections from young start ups. I was confused… why would a startup turn down someone with 10+ years in the field without even a phone screen, when I’m easily getting calls by companies that make and sell software in the millions?

    Then my partner pointed out that it’s quite possible that there’s a bit of age discrimination going on. It’s not hard to figure out based on my undergrad graduation date of 2002 puts me at *least* in the late 30s range, if I graduated on time (and here’s a hint, I didn’t. I started at the right time, then dropped out. I actually graduated 6 years later than I should have). The startups probably want young grads who are willing to work in that “young vibe” atmosphere: 60+ hour work weeks, live and breathe code as a hobby, have a GitHub repo with a tonne of projects, etc etc. I don’t mind putting in extra hours when there’s a hair-on-fire scenario but that better be something that happens less than once a month and not the norm. I don’t live and breathe my work, I like 40 hour work weeks, and I might write a few things for fun but there’s no way I have the mentality of many new grads or early 20s engineers at this point in my life, and that seems to be what a lot of these startups are looking for. The older, more established companies have working products that don’t need this type of crazy schedule and they’ve also worked out the bugs of grinding their employees down, so they’ll take older ones and not work them to the bone.

    Check the place out but keep an eye out to see if that’s what they’re looking for. It might be staffed by young 20-somethings/early 30s and expecting more time out of you than you’re able or willing to give.

    1. Optimistic Prime*

      I think it also has to do with team culture, too: a lot of startups like to at least maintain the appearance of a celebratory atmosphere. Happy hours every week, paintball tournament morale event, Nerf gun wars, etc. Not all start-ups are like this, of course, but I’ve found that the ones that describe themselves as having a ‘hip, young’ vibe are disproportionately likely to also want to have this kind of work culture.

      It’s also massively stereotyping. I work at a large, well-established tech company with people of all ages. I’m personally in my early 30s and I know lots of people my age and younger who do not want to work 60+ hour work weeks when every month is crunch time and we’re all racing against the VC funding clock. Conversely, I know some folks in their 40s and above who thrive on a crunch culture and love the thrill of nurturing a startup from jump (in fact, every year several of them leave Big Company to go start or work at a startup for this reason). People who are hiring based on age may be missing out on a lot of very well-qualified older folks who will not only fit into their culture really well but also bring much-needed/valuable senior expertise to the team – and may inadvertently hire people like me, who will probably leave after 1-2 years and some burnout.

      1. Undine*

        The most extreme cases don’t want senior expertise, and wouldn’t want it from a twenty-year-old either, if that was possible. They want fun fast code, not robust code.

        1. seejay*

          I have seen this many times unfortunately. I struggled with a coworker who was more interested in showing off how quickly he could churn out the “latest and greatest” in frameworks and APIs and whatever new fangled development was coming out, only for me to get my hands on it and get *really* frustrated over having to spend another 8-10 hours testing and fixing it for error conditions and edge cases that he never thought about because all he wanted to do was “make it run”.

          UX shouldn’t suffer just so it’ll be hip and awesome. You do that and I’ll take a newspaper to your nose and send you back to redo it.

    2. KRM*

      Also, sometimes startups reject people with lots of experience because they can’t afford to pay that person what they would be worth. Some startups have the funding to be able to pay for experience, and some can’t sink all their capital into salaries, even if that would benefit them down the road.

      1. Julia*

        Haha, 2 things:
        1: As a tech-inclined user I see the results of the “young, hip, too cool to consider the end result” approach everywhere! It makes the Divvy site useless, Adobe almost useless, some web sites unusable or so annoying I won’t use them – and I simply refuse to use anything that doesn’t work. I’ve known for several years life is too short to spend time on glitches! Especially when incompetent programmers are expecting me to spend MY time on THEIR mistakes!!!
        2. Flashing back to the late 1990’s, when the public was first using the internet and every company was trying to build web sites and use new technology, often inappropriately. As a technically inclined temp I dabbled in writing code, did a little HTML and decided not to pursue it because I never want to be involved in marketing, and I can’t count the number of job ads I saw that said things like “Best place to work! All meals provided! Happy hours Friday afternoons! Massages, fitness, laundry done for you on site!!!” All designed to persuade young programmers to work there instead of somewhere else, and they were expected to basically live there. That’s why meals, etc. were provided.

  15. I Coulda Been a Lawyer ;)*

    Another way to list internships, or volunteer work as well, is to list them like one job.
    Jan-Mar 2015. Sales Intern, Lilly’s Teapots
    Jul-Sept 2015. Marketing Intern, Bobs Teapots
    Oct 2015-Mar 2016 Production Intern, Teapots R Us
    Jul-Nov 2016. Management Intern, USA Teapots
    . Participated in various aspects of teapot sales, design, and production as intern, including cold calling clients, designing logos and artwork, testing paints and glazes.
    . Did this exciting at Bobs, and this similar cool thing at USAT.

    Also, what is wrong with people? If someone touched my belly when I was pregnant 30+ years ago they ran a very real risk of being vomited upon. I couldn’t even wear maternity pants comfortably.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      That’s still a bit longer than it needs to be. If you list the position as sales intern you don’t need to say you participated in various aspects of sales or mention cold calling – it’s obvious from the title so it really doesn’t warrant repeating. I would not bullet anything that can be easily extrapolated from the title.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

      I do something like this with my professional field experience when I’m trying to condense it down into something that shows what I’ve been up to in chronological order, but for a post that has nothing to do with that field. My field tends to have a lot of short-term contracts but the jobs are essentially the same and I tend to end up working for the same companies over and over, so if I listed them all like separate jobs it would be very repetitive. So my resume for jobs in other fields goes a little like this:

      Irrelevant Professional Field Experience
      Company A (Location). July-December 2016
      Company A (Different Location). January – June 2016
      Company B (Location). October – December 2015
      Company A (Location). February – July 2015
      Company B (Location). August – December 2014
      – did things that are common to all jobs using a particular system
      – did special thing that I only did at one job but is only relevant to this application because it demonstrates I have used a database recently
      – did other things that are only relevant because they show public speaking experience

      For a recent application where I was trying to keep everything to one page and including some ancient experience because it was directly relevant, I condensed it even more so that it said
      Company A (Location and Different Location). February – July 2015 and January -December 2016
      Company B (Location). August – December 2014 and October – December 2015

      Of course if I’m applying to something in my field it is completely different. I don’t spell out the stuff that someone in my field takes as a given, but I give a bullet point or two that says what the primary project was about and any special thing I did there.

      This approach might be totally stupid, because I’m having absolutely no luck getting a job, but it seemed like a sensible way of dealing with a long list of technically separate but repetitive jobs.

    3. CM*

      I was also thinking that OP#5 should group similar experiences together. You could do something like a Sales Experience header and have each internship be a bullet point, rather than listing each internship as a separate job with its own bullet points. (Also, can we lay off OP#5?? I think the wording of “way more experiences than a veteran” made people bristle, but the rest of the letter is just about how to fit a billion jobs on to a resume. I don’t think OP#5 really meant to say that they are much more experienced, valuable, etc. than someone more senior.)

      For OP#3, I would add a straightforward “no belly patting please!” to the email. Personally, my approach to unwanted touching during pregnancy was the same as it is during non-pregnancy — I remove the person’s hand and say, “No.” People are always a little shocked and apologetic. But I can get away with a lot because I look so small and non-threatening.

      1. fposte*

        Totally agree on all of this. College is often a career of multiple short-term experiences, all of which were very valuable to the student. However, they’re not that individually valuable to a hiring manager, and that’s a hard difference to get your brain around at first. It seems gravity-defying not to talk about any hard-won individual experience–but the fact is we don’t want to hear about every semester-long internship.

        If you think it’s important to at least name-check them all, doing them under the kind of work, as you suggest, or as a chronological grouping by year or duration can be a way of doing that; you can also disproportionately feature some and lump others into a bullet-point or text list.

  16. Junior Dev*

    Alison, I’m assuming your “no resumes over a page for recent grads” doesn’t apply to people who went to college later in life, right? My friend has over a decade of marketing experience but he just got his degree last year–is there anything he’d do differently than someone with similar work experience who hadn’t graduated recently?

    1. Allypopx*

      I’m in a similar boat (not quite a decade but 6+ years of nonprofit management experience and currently pursuing my degree) and I’m trying to keep my resume at the very least super tailored to the jobs I’m applying to, both in terms of jobs listed and how accomplishments are framed, which helps with length but doesn’t necessarily keep it under a page.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      Semi-related: How do you deal with that with an older graduate once they’re no longer a new grad?

      I interviewed someone last spring who graduated around the same time as me, and he only included his post-college experience. Graduation was 17 years, so it makes sense to NOT include his pre-degree experience, but I found it offputting to expect someone to be around 40 and instead they’re around 55. I understand people want to avoid age discrimination, and it’s okay to roll off decades-old experience anyway, but as the interviewer I felt a little off balance when reality didn’t match expectations.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s really, really normal for people to only list 10-15 years of experience and not go back further than that. I know that it’s hard not to form a picture of a candidate in your head before you meet, but finding it off-putting that someone is older than you were assuming from their resume actually is age discrimination, so I would fight that urge in yourself!

        1. Harriette*

          Most c-level people I know only have the past 10-15 years unless the experience before that time is important enough to include. They either leave it off entirely or just list the job titles. The choice depends on whether those jobs are relevant in any way.

          A resume is the start of a conversation, not the end of it.

          It should be understood that more info will be provided if the interviewer want the info.

          I think part of LWs issue is they want to say everything up front instead of saying enough to pique the interest of the hiring person.

          Also, I have a last name that is tied to my husbands ethnicity, not my own. I’ve had plenty of people say “you’re white!” As they expected something else. I am always wary of interviewers who say that to me. Both bc of the fact that they may have wanted me bc they thought I was Asian and also bc they are stupid enough to say it to my face.

          This is why I really believe in blind grading and anonymizing resumes. Even good people have bad biases. We all need to work on this!

          Thank you AAM for kindly pointing that out.

  17. GermanGirl*

    OP #1 In my rather limited experience “young vibe” is a mixture of wishful thinking and half of the employees being in their mid to late 30s – I was definitely the youngest at 25 – and it had nothing to do with being hip and trendy. I think they said it because they didn’t know what else to do with the office culture question.

    The actual office culture was really nice. No pressure to be hip and trendy. Just supportive coworkers.

    So yeah, I’d go to the in person interview and see what it’s like.

    1. Cherith Ponsonby*

      I can imagine someone describing my current workplace as having a young vibe – the company is about the same age as our competitors, but we’re more agile and can respond more quickly to market trends, we have a more laid-back culture, and we make better use of social media. Probably about half of us are 40+.

      There’s no way anyone would say we all love the brand, though – I mean, I love my job and I enjoy the culture here, but I don’t love the company. That’s definitely wishful thinking!

    2. hbc*

      Ha ha, yes, my company was definitely doing the wishful thinking. I made them stop using “young and dynamic” and just go to “dynamic”, but even that was a stretch. In our case, it was probably more about the fact that we didn’t have a lot of official procedures, so if you came from a more stodgy environment with actual rules on who made decisions and whether there would be annual reviews and raises, you might be in for a bit of a shock.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      “Pleasant” isn’t a buzzword, but probably sums up what most people are actually looking for in an office environment.

  18. Rubyquartz*

    Nothing but good vibes for a healthy pregnancy OP #3!

    I feel you so hard on this question. I hated random strangers and people I knew touching me without asking like my belly somehow became communal property once people knew there was a baby in it. I like the suggestion of heading it off in the announcement email. I also embraced the power of “Why did you do that?” followed by a cold look for people who touched without asking. It’s funny watching them trip over themselves to try to explain.

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      Probably a better way if you want to avoid drama than screaming. Which I would want to have courage to do if someone touched me when I was pregnant. Followed by reporting to HR.

      People who touch me without consent don’t deserve more.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      I have had a few coworkers try to get me to feel their pregnancy bumps (so I can feel the baby kicking) and it freaks me the hell out. I think I would get a belt with spikes if I were pregnant!

  19. Uyulala*

    For the belly touches – I really don’t like being touched by strangers or acquaintances. I think I would carry a folding hand fan around. They touch once and I touch their stomach too. They reach again and I smack them with the fan in self-defense.

  20. Edina Monsoon*

    #3 When I was pregnant I was all geared up to fight off random hands touching me, but it turned out only one person throughout the entire pregnancy wanted to touch my bump, and they asked me first!
    I think more people are aware now that pregnant ladies don’t like being touched, either that or I’ve unknowingly perfected the ‘don’t touch me’ face.

    1. VerySleepyPregnantLady*

      In my experience, younger folks tend to be aware of this. All of my belly touchers have been 60+ year old women. No men, no one younger.

      1. Annie Moose*

        Amusingly (to me, anyway!), my very single, very not-pregnant, very skinny sister “Jane” once had an old lady at church pat her belly and ask her when “the little birdie” was due.

        Apparently the old lady had Jane confused with our other, married sister. Who was also very not-pregnant. Needless to say, Jane never wore that particular outfit again.

    2. aebhel*

      Same; I think I just have one of those faces, though, because I’ve definitely known people who got grabbed at constantly while they were pregnant.

      OP, if you don’t want to go the ‘cold hostility’ route, I agree with posters who suggest jumping back and looking very surprised–basically, the same way you might react if someone stumbled into you suddenly.

    3. LW #3*

      Agreed– with my first pregnancy, I was pleasantly surprised by how few people wanted to touch me. The only real offenders were a few coworkers who loved pregnancy and babies and were clearly coming from an enthusiastic place. (And my MIL, but she’s learned.) I’d rather there be zero people interested in touching me. At least people in general seem to be learning that’s not acceptable.

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I had one guy ask me if he could “wish the baby good luck” which I didn’t realize was code for touching my belly. It took me by surprise, but in he defense, he did ask. I just didn’t realize what he was asking. I filed it away as a weird one-off and as good to know for the next time.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        No, he didn’t ask. No one would assume that meant “touch you.” You didn’t give informed consent.

      2. Specialk9*

        When around Christians who I know or suspect are inclined to pray in tongues, I’ve learned to answer “may I pray for you?” With “I’d love if you would, so long as you don’t touch me or do it around me.” There are few things of more utter sensory horror than someone putting their hands over one’s ears (whyyyyy?) and then vibrating the hands to simulate the Holy Spirit. Ugggggghhhhhh.

      3. Super Anon for This*

        I agree with Rusty, that was a bait and switch, intentional or not, it wasn’t okay.

    5. Anonarama*

      Yeah I’m at 36 weeks and the people who have touched my stomach without being invited to do so are: my sister’s MIL, my grandma, and my aunt. I certainly hated it when they did it and just stepped back and they mostly got the hint. No one at work or in public have even come close to touching my stomach. I wouldn’t put it in the email, but I would have a plan and practice how you want to address any attempts.

    6. Blue Swan*

      Add me into the “pleasantly surprised no one tried to touch me” camp, and I work in an office where I was expecting it. Now, people constantly asking me how I felt, that’s a different story.

      Without knowing your office culture, OP #3, you may want to rethink the “I’m pregnant” email. I told my boss and my three other (same level) co-workers about my pregnancy, and then a few others on a need-to-know basis (lifting items, etc). As I began showing, other people would have to ask me if I was pregnant. I never tried to hide it, but I think maintaing a lower profile helped with the lack of touching.

      1. Specialk9*

        Dude, not cool making people ask you. We’re not supposed to ask, you’re supposed to tell.

        No, Not Pregnant Just Fat

      2. hellcat*

        I’m 30 weeks along on my first pregnancy, and apparently a lot of coworkers had no idea – everyone knows now because the shower announcements are up, but I’m a little surprised I was under the radar for so long! (Pleasantly surprised, as I definitely don’t want anyone touching me, and answering the same few questions gets pretty old.)

  21. Valentina*

    LW2, I work with someone like this and it drives me insane. Every day is an endless, constant performance of talking to herself, muttering, complaining about people she just got off the phone with, frustrated sighing, swearing, incredulous exclamations, yelling about how something on her computer doesn’t work, … I say performance because I feel like she does it so we all think her job is very hard and demanding, which having worked at the adjacent desk for a year, I know it’s not.

    Subtle remarks have NOT improved the situation. It’s really getting to me because I like my job and this unrelentless stream of muttered negativity really brings down my mood from the moment she comes in and starts in with a deep sigh on how her commute was the worst ever and other people on the train are terrible. I need to take more direct action.

  22. Kerr*

    OP #5: Reviewing resumes for the first time gave me a new perspective on resume writing. This was for a job where writing down responsibilities (versus accomplishments) was A-OK, so nothing fancy. Anything past a page, or a page and a half max, was hard to compare easily. A few went overboard – I don’t need to know ALL the tasks. Highlights are good.

    You can – and should – create one giant “master resume” listing everything for your own reference, and then create different one-page resumes depending on what you want to highlight on a job application. Maybe Internship B is the one you usually distribute, but Internship A would be relevant to Chocolate Teapots R Us, so you send them the resume devoting more space to A.

  23. Kiwi*

    #4, I’d be really tempted to have the meeting and talk up the difficulty of the job. Tell him how he’d end up spending lots of time working from home, there’s lots of pressure, and on top of that he’d constantly have to deal with idiots who refuse to follow process-he-never-followed and another-process-he-never-followed and have to figure out how to get them to do their jobs …

    Probably not a good idea, but I’d be so tempted.

  24. Nico M*

    #1. I fear it’s code for sexist big boss wants a pretty face on reception.

    #2. React to Gabe as if a stoical quiet colleague made the noises. Ie. grave concern, offers to call an ambulance, etc

    #4. “No” and tell the bosses what a useless cockmonkey they are

  25. Trout 'Waver*

    I know that this is an unpopular opinion around here, but I’m struggling to find a reason why any resume should be more than one page. A multi-page resume seems to be a “see what sticks” approach, rather than clear communication about what’s most important.

    Also, it’s not like hiring manager pore over each resume extensively. Why not concisely put the information they want front and center and dispense with the details and filler?

    1. Snorlax*

      It’s a good question. I’ve worked at four companies since I graduated college and only include two on my resume. I worked at the most recent for over 20 years and had six job titles due to promotions. At the company before that, I had three job titles. Just listing the dates/titles takes up a lot of real estate, and I only include one or two bullets for the older titles. I don’t think I could stay at one page unless I leave off all but the most recent company.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        What are the bullets 4-6 promotions and 15-20 years ago conveying other than the fact that you’ve been in the industry 20+ years, unless you’re applying for a job on that level?

        1. Snorlax*

          The older bullets are mainly conveying that my client base has been across many business types, thus I’m versatile. (Many people in my industry have pigeon-holed themselves by specializing in one type of client). But really, the older bullets are probably there because it feels strange to me to list a job title and say nothing about it. You’ve given me a lot to consider.

        2. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

          In my field publications are important, not academia level, but can still be the deciding factor, so now that I am at 10+ years experience I can’t fit relevant jobs, required credentials, and publications on one page anymore.

    2. Birch*

      Once you get to a professional level in academia, CVs are always several pages. Education (three or more degrees), awards and funding, teaching, conference presentations, and publications are all relevant.

      1. (Different) Rebecca*

        Came to say exactly this. I’m at six pages and growing. If I had to pare it down to just education and relevant academic employment, I’d still be at a page and a half/two pages.

    3. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

      Depends on how many jobs you’ve had and how long the identifying information is, I think. I tend to work short-term contracts so I end up with multiple employers per year. It can be tricky to list these in a concise way and still have room to put in any information about my performance at each one. I generally only put the last 10 years on my resume, though, unless there’s a specific and compelling reason to include something older.

    4. Harriette*

      Any resume?

      Most c level executives over 50 have 2-3 page resumes bc they have enough relevant experience to put it down. That’s even with having the early jobs only listed as one line or not at all.

      A friend was a c level officer at 5 different fortune 100 companies. His resume is 2.5 pages and that’s being concise and leaving off a lot.

      I also know several lawyers whose resume is about the same length. If you’ve argued before SCOTUS and won, that is going on your resume.

      None of those people get jobs bc of the resumes. I doubt they are ever looked at. But they are tendered and put on file.

      I’m an old and I’ve found that there is a correlation between justified resume length and the irrelevance of the resume to getting the interview and the offer.

      For LW5: I know top tier people who only have 2 pages. No one fresh out of college who is of traditional age should have more than a page.

      Even the MIT and CalTech grads I know who have done real lab work with Nobel winners only use a page. The law school grads who have clerked at SCOTUS and ran law review ar Yale only use a page.

      Going over a page when you are young doesn’t make you look more experienced. It makes you look clueless, vain, or rebellious.

      If you really were *that* special, you would not need the resume to get a job. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s truth.

      1. NaoNao*

        I think the difference with those examples you listed is that Nobel winners, SCOTUS, and top tier schools are widely recognized and understood by almost *everyone* in the working world, as well as “multiple C suite level jobs”. The rest of us who have worked specific projects in jobs that are very tailored to our company’s products, services, and clients need more than “CEO of Widgets Inc.” or “Law Clerk to SCOTUS.” ! Granted, anything over 2 pages looks clueless, but “CEO” sort of speaks for itself. “Mechanical Engineer II: Assistant Level” does not.

      2. Trout 'Waver*

        Harriette, you touch on a very important point. When someone is further along in their career, blind-firing resumes to open postings becomes a lot less common.

    5. NaoNao*

      Well, I will say this:
      When I switched to a format that had a one page “quick look” and then a second page with more details and an in depth look at my work, education and awards and honors, I got looked at much more seriously by potential jobs. I wanted to tell a story of experience, expertise, and a wide range of projects in my field.
      I work in an entirely project based field and have quite a few metrics-based, concrete examples of improvements, cost savings, etc for my projects. I also need to include very specific tools I use, since I’m *always* asked about them in phone screens.
      I would find it very hard to simply keep it to one page in total. I feel that it doesn’t tell the story of my 8 year career.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        But a resume is a marketing document. It’s not a complete story.

        And, of course it’s hard to edit it down to one page. That’s why so few people do it.

      2. H.C.*

        I think around the decade mark in your career is reasonable for your resume to expand beyond 1 page, particularly for industries & roles where there’s a lot of project based work. AAM’s advice is more strict here because LW5 is a new grad.

  26. C.*

    For #5, you mentioned that your on-campus job is the least irrelevant thing on your resume. I think you meant that in the sense of “The information on here is so key that this long-lasting job is the least important thing!”, but I would advise reclassifying your opinion of it. You might think that it’s not relevant in the sense that you were working in customer service and you’re applying to a job heavy on research and writing, but I think hiring managers would care a lot about your commitment to a job for 3 years while in school. It sounds like you’re really high-achieving and I would guess that a lot of the other applicants for the type of jobs you’re looking for would also have similar internship experience. The on-campus job helps set you apart and shows that you can excel long-term in a work environment (especially when summer internships aren’t always representative of what it’s like to work in an office). Obviously keep some of the internship info on your resume, but when you’re looking for something to cut, keep the on-campus job in!

  27. Katie the Fed*

    #3 – I don’t know what it is about pregnancy, but it’s made me far more assertive than I used to be. It’s like a great superpower has been unleashed, and I really enjoy it. Nobody has tried to touch my belly yet, but I’ve gotten some comments about my belly. For example, the other day a male coworker commented “WOW, you’ve gotten HUGE!” and I said “yeah, it’s a baby” and he said “No I mean, you look HUGE” and I just said “hey, you know what? that’s really f**king rude and you shouldn’t say things like that.” Old me would have never done that, but I have very few f**ks to give right now. I’m tired, everything hurts, and I have no patience for people who want to be rude. AND I’ve lost 5 pounds since I got pregnant (I was overweight to start with) so he can really go shove it.

    Bottom line – I wouldn’t worry too much about what you’re going to say. You might find yourself in the moment being far more ready to ward it off than you realized :)

    1. MicroManagered*

      “No I mean, you look HUGE” and I just said “hey, you know what? that’s really f**king rude and you shouldn’t say things like that.”

      LOL I love this response!

    2. CG*

      +1 to this response!

      I always wonder what is going through people’s heads when they say things like that… I like to hope that a normal person would realize they said a rude thing after your first reply and then apologize or tone it down, but did your colleague think, “OH! She doesn’t realize that I meant that she looks fat. I should explain!”?

    3. LW #3*

      Ugh, people. Last time I was shocked by how many people openly assessed my body after I came back from maternity leave. Literally looked me up and down, then said, “You look good!” Way more people than ever tried to touch me. For the most part, I know they were trying to be complimentary, but wow, do not comment on my body, ever.

      With one guy, I said, “What?” and he said, “You know, because you just had a baby!” I repeated “What?” until he ran out of explanations and excused himself.

        1. VerySleepyPregnantLady*

          YES! Women are the touchers, men are the commenters.

          Yeah, dude, you didn’t see me for four weeks and now I’m bigger. No shit. That’s how this works.

          (My go-to comment in response to comments on my size is generally to ask, “What were you expecting?” This tends to make people realize it’s rude.)

        2. LW #3*

          Interestingly, I got the most “You look good!” from women my age who didn’t have children. (I’m in a woman-dominated field.) I knew they were trying to be encouraging, but it said a lot about their views on pregnancy and bodies.

      1. CM*

        I could not believe how many times people commented that from the back, they couldn’t even tell I was pregnant. Said in a “good job!” tone, implying that I was supposed to be happy and appreciative. But instead, I was like, “Are you really checking out my ass right now and letting me know whether it looks acceptable to you??”

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I actually just walked off so I didn’t stick around to find out. But he’s kind of socially inept in general so he doesn’t usually take it personally when you call him out.

  28. MicroManagered*

    For #3, at least in my office, it would be very weird to put “but please don’t touch me–it freaks me out” in a pregnancy announcement email to everyone. It just seems…overly vigilant, or defensive, or something (?) particularly if you aren’t showing much when you make the announcement.

    I’d probably wait and handle those situations individually as it came up with some of the body language or direct statements others have suggested. Maybe when people start to comment that you’re starting to show, you could pepper in off-hand comments like “I know! I’m almost at that stage when people start trying to touch you without asking.” *shudder* or “I know! During my last pregnancy, my old coworkers started patting my belly about this stage! Without asking! Can you believe that?”

    I also especially like the suggestion of touching the other person’s abdomen when they do it to you! LOL

  29. Hiring Mgr*

    Just to throw my 2 cents in, as someone who has done a fair amount of hiring over the years, the one-page resume thing seems pretty arbitrary to me. I don’t know that I would take someone’s resume content as a proxy for how they draw out important information in another setting. Maybe it’s industry or role dependent, but I don’t mind seeing all they’ve done and being the one to filter it myself. Anyway, sounds like I’m in the minority OP, so proceed with caution

  30. Lynca*

    Honestly, I’ve just found out I was pregnant and the assertive direct response seems like how I’m going to go if anyone tries. Our office is pretty good about no hugging when it’s unwanted, etc. so I don’t feel anxious about it.

    “Don’t touch me” is pretty much my planned go to whenever someone makes an unwanted attempt. Same response I give if someone tries to hug me and that works well. I might soften it but most people don’t make a big deal about it here. (thankfully)

    1. Murphy*

      I always thought that this is how I would respond, but in the moment (at least for me) it was really hard to do that. I only had one person randomly grab my belly and it was a co-worker, who did it in front of several other co-workers. She was just like “Oh, you’re getting so big! *pats belly*” It happened so quickly that I couldn’t really prevent it and I was just really surprised, so I barely reacted. I know I would have been within my rights to say “Whoa, not cool” but it felt weird in the moment.

      Now if is was a complete stranger (as I know happens to some people) I’d probably respond more assertively, but maybe not.

      1. LW #3*

        Yeah, that’s the challenge. There’s usually not an announcement it’s coming or a slow hand being extended. Just chatting, then a quick pat while continuing to talk. Or even passing someone in the hall and they quickly reach out. A startled look is the most forceful response I was ever able to muster in the moment with a coworker.

        1. Jerry Larry Terry Garry*

          I would act like they did ask and step back with a quick, “No, thank-you”.
          If it’s in passing, a “Oh! Please don’t” in a surprised tone with a hand up and a smile should allow you to keep going.
          I don’t exactly disagree with the more aggressive options, but it’s really hard to channel annoyance in the moment- it’s always a surprise pat that gets you.

  31. M is for Mulder*

    LW #5, study resumes from careers that tend towards freelancing or temporary contracts. That will give you guidance on formatting when you have a lot of short-term positions.

    Also, remember that your resume is a greatest hits list, not a historical document. You can consolidate repetitive work down to skill sets when tailoring your applications. Blue Teapots Unlimited may want to see that you had a summer with blue teapot spouts, a summer with blue teapot lids, and a summer with blue teapot handles. For Red Teapots Unlimited, though, you’re probably better off consolidating those down to three summers of Blue Teapot Research and Development.

  32. KaraLynn*

    A company with a mix of younger and older employees, or one that skews toward the older side, would never use the term “young vibe” when describing themselves – not because it’s wrong (maybe they just feel like they’re young), but because they’re old enough and experienced enough to realize that it sends the wrong message to older applicants).

    Therefore, you’re dealing with a company made up of younger, less-experienced people who may be actively trying to turn away older employees. Stay away.

  33. Jo*

    ‘And if people ignore the message and try to caress your belly anyway (shudder), I’ve always liked the idea of reaching over and petting their stomach in return.’

    LOL. This is a great idea!

  34. Mary*

    #2 – I have a colleague in a shared office space who does a lot of chatting to herself, and most of the time I ignore it but if it’s a day where it’s getting on my nerves I start saying, “Sorry?” “Sorry, did you want me?” “Sorry, I missed that? Oh – were you not talking to me?” etc. It just makes her aware that she’s doing it and she works a bit harder to keep her internal monologue internal!

  35. rosiebyanyothername*

    I am an actual young person (I’m almost 23, lol), and I kind of bristle at “young vibe.” I want to work in an office, not a frat house.

    1. CG*

      Yeah, I’m young(ish), and that adjective choice would send up a red flag for me too. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with a young environment, but the fact that that particular adjective is the only one that came to mind as the best descriptor of the office and not something like smart, collegial, hard-working, exciting, etc. would be a concern that I’d want to keep in mind.

      I don’t mind it as a trait of an office, but if “young” is the most prominent aspect about the office, then I’d probably worry about the same two things as mentioned in the post – that they were looking to hire young or young-looking folks and/or that they had a low-paying/fun/”work hard, play hard”/startup-like environment. I would probably be picturing foosball tables and unpaid overtime unless the interview implied something different to me.

  36. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    #5 – It’s a weird switch in mindset from college, but when it comes to your resume, longer isn’t better. Brevity — concisely highlighting the most salient aspects of your experience — is really the soul of a good resume, and for short internships, you aren’t going to have much per job to highlight. Alison’s general advice on resumes is to highlight accomplishments rather than routine job duties, and most accomplishments take more than a couple months per each to manage.

  37. LKW*

    LW#4 – If you outline what you do – then he’ll just repeat that in the interview. Don’t fall for that!. If you really want to sabotage this guy advise him to talk about how he’d improve how things are done. Since he doesn’t follow process, he probably has no idea why those processes are in place. Let him come into that interview with both barrels firing and hopefully he’ll put his foot in his entitled mouth.

    Or… they’ll love it and he’ll get the job and he can make his way or fail.

  38. caryatis*

    LW#5: You don’t have to have the same number of bullet points for each job. It’s normal that older or less relevant jobs come with fewer bullet points. I would even do zero bullets for something like the on-campus job, if the job title makes it fairly obvious what you did.

  39. Grey*

    #2. Gabe wants you to know that his job is clearly more challenging than yours. You must have it pretty easy if you can sit there in silence all day.

    The next time he makes a noise, interpret it as confusion and ask him if he needs help understanding something. If he thinks he’s making himself look bad, he might stop.

  40. Nervous Accountant*

    Re #4—I’ve worked with an H here and there. I’d have no problem telling him flat out no. OTOH if he was pulling something like this the relationship would already be fractured and I’d have no issue saying no—it’s when I actually have a good relationship w someone that I’d struggle on what to say.

  41. Pithy Moniker*

    I support touching their belly right back. It worked wonders for me. And if you’re “lucky” enough to have it public setting (e.g., the breakroom) the message is spread loud and clear right away.

  42. Allypopx*

    I’m under 30 and the idea of working in a place that has a “young vibe” would be an instant turnoff for me, though not an outright dealbreaker. I want to work somewhere with a diverse group of individuals that I can learn from, that can learn from me, and that I can collaborate with. A “young vibe” doesn’t necessarily count out those things but pigeonholing your culture is rarely a good thing.

    That’s my two cents and not necessarily helpful to the OP except to say that you might be a welcome addition if you are a little outside a demographic that’s leaning homogenous.

    I agree, go into it with your radar on and do your due diligence. It might be fine for you.

  43. bohtie*

    to the pregnant OP: I am not pregnant and won’t be, but I often have people touch me unsolicited (I have lots of tattoos and naturally goofy hair so people are constantly patting and poking me) and I find that surprise is sometimes a really good response (plus you might be actually surprised anyway). Like “Whoa! Hey! What are you doing?” They then have to either back off or double down and basically say, “I am touching you without your consent,” which very few people actually feel entitled enough to say. It makes things JUST awkward enough that they are highly unlikely to do it again.

    One time a coworker stroked the tattoo on my arm, and I was so freaked-out that I just blurted out, “What the f are you doing? Don’t touch me!” That worked out pretty well for me only because my coworkers were like, “WTF dude? Why would you do that?” but I wouldn’t recommend it as a professional tactic, heh.

  44. LSP*

    OP #5 – I used to help manage a number of interns when I worked at a state office. Many of them were incredibly impressive in terms of intelligence, ability and eagerness. These were the cream of the crop, so to speak.

    I would often help them polish their resumes, and without fail, every one of them would come to me with multi-page resumes, listing out every single internship, every academic accolade, and every summer job. They would often be incredulous when I told them they absolutely had to cut it down to one page. As I put it to them: “You have to earn your second page.”

    After ten years or so of working, depending on how many jobs you hold in that time, you will likely have enough to move on to a second page (something I have only recently done after having graduated from college 14 years ago), but until then, you need to show that you can edit, and that you can judge what is going to be most relevant to hiring managers. By not doing that, you are going to come across as tone-deaf and a little self-important, to be honest. I believe you when you say all these jobs have aspects that are relevant to your industry, but I’m also certain that if you gave it some thought, you’d be able to pare it down to only information that will make you look like the star candidate you want to be seen as.

    Think of it this way: if you had a job you really, REALLY wanted, and before your interview you were told to cut your resume down to one page or you wouldn’t even be considered, could you do it then? I’m sure you would find a way.

    Best of luck!

    1. Artemesia*

      You can under the category ‘Internship in the Field’ Indicate that you had 6 in rice sculpture, 5 in marketing of rice sculpture, and 3 in rice sculpture compositing. and then choose an example in each category to elaborate in terms of the skills. Or something like that. You could even elaborate the skills in the category in a sentence and then give an example of one project/placement where you used that skill productively.

      I am impressed that you have done many internships, but every 3 mos or 6 week stint is not worth a full entry as if it were a job you had had for years.

  45. it_guy*

    #1 – Be wary of working with clueless people who don’t know how to react professionally, and assume everyone is that way.

    #3 – Putting something in the email would sound kind of weird and defensive, but if they do rub your belly, you could always rub theirs back and say “Wow yours is getting big too!”.

    #4 – Just don’t even respond to the email, and if they corner you and ask you directly, just inform them that you couldn’t recommend them.

    1. Artemesia*

      You don’t have to say ‘I couldn’t recommend you.’ You could say ‘Oh I couldn’t do that!’ and if pushed say ‘well that wouldn’t be fair.’ Don’t waste energy on this.

  46. BadPlanning*

    For OP2 — I totally had a Gary. We had offices, but they were super close together and I could partially see Gary from my desk. I have no particular advice other then I generally liked Gary and just got used to the frustration (the grumbles, the “What the?!”, etc). It became a bit of inside joke between my officemate and I — what the Gary level of frustration was. There was level where we’d ask if he needed help with something and then we’d try to help out with whatever he was stuck on.

  47. Allison*

    1) When I think of the phrase “young vibe,” I think of the offices of software companies that have been around for the last 5-10ish years – bright, open spaces with colorful decor (painted walls, company logo on everything with the company’s motto and various inspirational yet on-brand phrases everywhere), fully stocked kitchen with junk food and soda as well as healthy food, often vegan and gluten free options; benefits are decent, and include the latest stuff like 12 weeks paid maternity leave and pet insurance; hours are at least somewhat flexible, you may get playfully teased if you come in a little late or have to leave early but your manager is cool with it, you can also work from home when you need to; happy hours and fun team outings are not uncommon; clothing includes jeans, t-shirts and hoodies, trendy clothes, and business casual; people are not just displaying a calm and pleasant demeanor but actually seem happy to be there.

    Of course, my first company had a young vibe and while some of the above was true, the benefits were terrible and we had to stick to a rigid schedule, but we had to act like getting to wear jeans on Friday somehow made up for that. so “young vibe” can mean/include a variety of things, and there’s just no way to know until you get there.

    Companies with a young vibe don’t exclude older people, but they might be hesitant to hire someone who doesn’t seem super on board with schedule/WFH flexibility, or a relaxed dress code. Someone with a more old fashioned approach to work might be more rigid with their direct reports than the company generally is, which could hurt morale, r even if they’re not a manager, no one wants a coworker passive aggressively expressing displeasure when they come in at 9:15 wearing something that wouldn’t fly at a conservative workplace. Basically, you don’t have to be young, but you do need to seem on-board with newer ways of doing things.

    1. Artemesia*

      My son in law has worked for companies with a young vibe for the births of both of his children and the long paternity leaves are really great. (and always longer and better than the maternity leaves for his wife in her workplaces LOL).

  48. NewEnglandKate*


    I work for a company that we describe as “young” and we mean that mainly in age. We’re a totally functioning company with a fairly normal work/life balance, but with a high volume of entry level roles across the company, we have tons of people in their 20s. I gave my dad a tour once and he asked, “Where are all the old people?” haha Granted the middle aged folks are in high-level roles and important so I told him they were probably in meetings.

    As for “being the face of the company”, that generally means that you’re the first person visitors interact with so the impression you give is important. I wouldn’t necessarily mean this appearance/age-wise, but the visitor’s overall experience starts when they greet the receptionist.

  49. Mona Lisa*

    OP #2, ugh, I used to have a co-worker who did this all of the time. She would also laugh loudly and pointedly at anything she found remotely funny on the internet. Her reasoning for doing this was that she wanted me to ask about the thing she was sighing/laughing about so she could spend the next 15 minutes telling me how frustrated/amused she was by the thing.

    Perhaps your co-worker just has some involuntary ticks that you can ask him to reign in, but if he’s engaging in a more performative behavior, I’d encourage you to ignore him as best as you can so you don’t get drawn into his web. And if you’re allowed to wear headphones, I’d invest in a decent noise-cancelling pair so you have plausible deniability over not participating. (My co-worker never knew that I can’t actually focus with music playing. I just always wore the headphones so she had to actively get my attention if she needed/wanted it, which she was less inclined to do.) If you don’t ask about the thing/reward the behavior, you may find he does less of it.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Her reasoning for doing this was that she wanted me to ask about the thing she was sighing/laughing about so she could spend the next 15 minutes telling me how frustrated/amused she was by the thing.

      I really hate when people hint like that, and the harder they play “Ask Me What I’m Upset/Happy About,” the harder I work at ignoring them.

      1. Mona Lisa*

        It was vaguely amusing how much she would escalate it before finally giving up or addressing me directly, and it would happen at least twice a day.

        Co-worker: Oh, for goodness sake.
        Co-worker: I just can’t believe that.
        Co-worker: OR Hey, Lisa, you’ll never believe what just happened.

        If she would choose the latter, I would take my headphones out and pretend to be surprised like she hadn’t been trying to get my attention the whole time. Unfortunately our manager, who was also within earshot, decided not to join me in this plan (yes, I did tell her that I was basically ignoring the co-worker at this point), which meant that the co-worker knew that she could still get responses from people by behaving this way.

        1. Mona Lisa*

          Ack, it ate all of my tags! The dialogue should read:

          Co-worker: *sigh*
          Co-worker: *mutters* Oh, for goodness sake.
          Co-worker: *louder noises of discontentment* *frustrated hand gestures*
          Co-worker: *glances over shoulder* *in a louder voice* I just can’t believe that.
          Co-worker: *returns to silence* OR Hey, Lisa, you’ll never believe what just happened.

  50. Lucille B.*

    I nominate Alison for sainthood for taking the time to answer the new-grad-one-page-resume question for the eightieth time. Extra sainthood points for not answering it “Yeah really” and linking to the other posts.

  51. Once More With Feeling*

    #5. I think this right here is where AAM starts to rub me the wrong way at times. I LOVE this blog and have learned so much from it. But I’ve also started to realize that Alison is an older veteran professional in the HR and management fields and that most of the readers/regular commenters are also either older or working in more traditional fields. While the vast majority of advice in this blog is spot on and does a good job of reflecting changing work norms, it isn’t infallible. I’ve had to slighter alter a LOT of things I’ve read here to fit my unique history/personality and the norms of my distinct field (non-profit sector on the cutting edge of modern understandings of the link between food systems and environmental and social justice). In this particular case, I can see that the advice in #5 wouldn’t work for me. I am a “recent” grad. Got my Bachelor’s in 2013, took 1 year off and am now in an extended grad school program. My resume is a firm two pages and has been since 2013. In the last few years when I found this blog, I completely altered HOW my resume was worded and formatted because of this blog, but I’ve had many people FROM this blog tell me that I should still pair it back because I’m still a student (and not in the sense that I worked for several years and then went back to grad school). But that is NOT the feedback I’ve gotten from professionals in my field. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on my resume and cover letter and have had no problem getting the work that I wanted with it. Basically, what I’m saying is that there really are some cases where the hard and fast resume rule that the community in this blog hold to is not the best idea. It doesn’t reflect the competitive edge of some of the newer, cutting edge fields dominated by either younger people or exceptionally forward-thinking older professionals. And it doesn’t take into account the trend that the new hard-working young college student actually often does twice or three times the amount of work that these older professionals did in their college days! When I was an undergrad not long ago, I kept up 16 credits minimum each semester, a 20 hour per week on-campus job for 4 years straight, internships that overlapped these, regularly participated in extended research projects with professors, and was an active leader in several student organizations. I graduated with a 3.9GPA and won the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the gold level during those last three years for completing 250+ hours of volunteer service each calendar year. No WAY does this fit the “1 Page Resume Rule” even when you pair down experiences to tailor to the individual job (i.e. taking off that 3 year steady volunteer gig because it doesn’t pertain to the job you are applying for).

    Anyway. Phew. I’m usually way less long-winded that this, but it touches on a nerve for me! MY advice is to just be SUPER sure to follow the other resume and cover letter advice that is in this blog. Be sure that you are being concise at all times and that your bullet points aren’t just a list of what you did but a list of accomplishments. Take out superfluous categories like the “Skills” section that lists vague things like “Exceptional Communicator.” What I do, is I have a Master Resume that is saved as a Word Template. It is 6 pages long and details every professional, volunteer, and leadership experience I have, with about 8 accomplishment orientated bullet points. When I apply for a position, I open this resume and save a copy under that title. Then I begin to delete experiences, pair the bullet points down to the best 2-3, and re-word things as needed until the resume reflects the position I am going for. It’s always two pages. But that’s MY situation. Take the advice from here that best suits your situation and modify the rest.

    Rant Over.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      To be clear, I would never expect every piece of advice on this site to apply to 100% of people or 100% of the time! With everything on here, you need to modify for what you know of your field, your company, and your own particular situation. Not just with resumes, but with everything! It’s impossible to give advice that will work for every person in every situation. Adapt accordingly.

      That said, the thing about college students doing “twice or three times” the work that people did during their college days previously is not really true (and that is not a great thing to go around asserting, because it will make you look naive and less credible to people who know firsthand that it’s incorrect!). There are lots of people older than you who had similar experiences to what you describe; that is not a new thing. (And there are still loads of college students doing way less than that, just as there have always been.)

      If your two-page resume is working for you and you’re getting interviewed and hired for the jobs you want, then great! Keep using it. You may be an exception. Who knows, your whole field may be an exception! That happens. But for the vast majority of people who have a couple years of post-college work experience, it’s still a bad idea.

      1. New name*

        Hard disagree that “college students doing ‘twice or three times’ the work that people did during their college days previously is not really true.” I also disagree that others see it that way. My colleagues who are my age (20s/30s) all complain about how rough it is today. My colleagues who are older (40s/50s) express a lot of sympathy for us. I don’t think they get how bad it really is, but they get that it is definitely harder.

        I finished college about a decade ago. I had the experience that Once More is describing, but it definitely was not the norm. Getting an internship wasn’t even an option until Junior/Senior year of college. And you only needed one. My cousins who are in college now are starting internships as freshman…. and they have to do it every year… and it is expected to even find a job….

        1. McWhadden*

          But that’s not more work. That’s colleges adding experience to their curriculum. It’s just more variety.

          Most previous college students still worked during that time.

          I get this myth feels awesome for people but it’s really not true.

          1. New name*

            I’m not referring to the curriculum… I’m referring to doing internships and working in the field outside of the regular classroom. Yes, a lot of people worked back then too, but you used to be able to pay tuition and not take out any loans by just working in the summer. You can’t do that anymore. The fact is that you need more education and more experience to make less money today than you did 20 years ago.

            1. McWhadden*

              I know what you are referring to. Doing different kinds of jobs/internships is not more work than doing steady job. In fact, it’s probably less work since there is always the catch-up period. It’s variety.

              WHEN were you able to pay tuition by working in the summer? You are going back to the 60s for that scenario. FIFTY years ago. I graduated in 2003 with tens of thousands of dollars of debt having had a full-time job, internships, student-service, and a good GPA.

              What are you basing this on? I get that your colleagues humor this ridiculous attitude but don’t think anecdotes are the same as evidence.

            2. WeevilWobble*

              You need a source that says in 1997 college was so cheap you could pay it off with a summer job. I was in college in the 90s. That’s ridiculous.

            3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

              Yeah, no. You could not pay tuition with a summer job when I graduated 17 years ago. I did pay my tuition with a job, but it was full time+OT as an EMT. I took a full course load and then worked 2 24 hour shifts on weekends. It helped that I did 2 years community college then state school transfer and that I lucked into being from a place where my state school is rather prestigious. You are correct that tuition is higher and people have to take more loans now, but do not exaggerate how easy it was in the past because it wasn’t as easy as you think.

              1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

                I knew people when I was an undergraduate (I started college in 1992) who were able to pay off their tuition through working, but: 1) it was the local branch of the state university, 2) they lived with their parents in the same city, and 3) they all had part-time jobs all year long and worked full time on breaks when they could. At the time I was there per-semester fees were about $2,500. Right now they are around $8,500.

                I’ll concede that in my day at least internships were a rarity. I don’t know anyone that did one. But plenty of us did extra research projects, participated in clubs and volunteer work, and had on-campus jobs.

      2. TeacherNerd*

        Indeed – there are always these exceptions. I think a lot of people also still think “new grad” is someone who’s young – early 20s – but if you’re a “new grad” in your 30s or 40s, one needs to adapt the advice. At least the experience I had, limiting a resume to one page was hurtful because clearly I was not 22 when I got my BA, and I got quite few, “Well what job experience did you accrue before college?” It’s this weird niche in that one still has work experience that may have no relevance to one’s shiny new degree, but leaving off that work experience can give the impression that one was unemployed for more than a decade. Caveats, etc. :)

      3. Once More With Feeling*

        Wow, the comment replies to this really have me laughing! This all basically reads like the same BS I hear every day from baby boomers shouting that if us millennials just worked harder and stopped eating avocado toast we’d have a house too or the “in my day I had to walk 5 miles to school, up-hill both ways in the snow!” The FACT is that not only are modern college degrees much more costly (as related cost of living and average wages 20-30 years ago vs today) and taking longer to complete on average (5 yrs vs 4 for undergrad, 3 vs 2 for grad), the job market is also much more competitive, requiring students to, as I stated, do 2-3 times more than people used to. This is backed up everywhere! As well as other issues that have gotten worse over time, such as the increasing mental health issues, sexual harassment, which all make it harder to navigate college now. I have close friends and cousins in all sorts of different fields who are also observing this. But more than that, I have research to back it up. Even a quick google search reveals dozens upon dozens of research studies and news articles about this issue (see below). Yes, people have always worked hard. Yes, it was normal to be a full-time student with a job and summer internships. But that doesn’t cut it today. Not even close. Everyone has 4 summer internships, a 3 year student job, a 3.5-4.0 GPA, had a job or two in high school, and several volunteer experiences. To actually be competitive, you have to do MORE. Which is why I stated how much volunteer service I did, that my internships and professional learning experiences always overlapped, that I was a leader in several student orgs, and kept the grades and did the part-time job. And 3 month summer internships? Not anymore. 6-9 months are the minimum with most lasting a whole year and overlapping with your other responsibilities so you work 60 hours a week, generally unpaid or stipend.
        I particularly LOVE how this one starts with someone considering selling blood to make ends meet….there was a shuttle at my school that drove students to the plasma center twice a week just for this purpose!

        But yes, keep telling me how “cute” I am for “only” working 20 hours a week (not true). That “internships are not steady jobs and therefore not more work” when really, a 9-18 month internship IS steady work. Tell me that my level of experience is “unusual” even though the research says that it isn’t. Tell me how someone who stopped actively working in their nonprofit sector over 7 years ago and graduated college in what appears to be the 90’s knows more about how college works today and how the job market treats them after. Tell me that I’m exaggerating and outright lying when I say that employers have complimented my resume and cover letter…and not because of the format, but because of the depth of experience and insight into the field I show over the average candidate my age. Because today, if you work one job and take only summer internships, you are average. And yeah, no one cares about the President’s Leadership Award. That’s why I don’t list it. But they DO care about the volunteer commitments I’ve made that won me those awards. That in addition to my paid work, schooling, and internships I volunteered with all these places for huge chunks of time. Those go on the resume. Yeah. These comments are what is really cute. I imply you are out of touch, because you ARE.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I only skimmed each of these articles, but they don’t appear to support the original contention that you made that so many of us disagreed with — that college students are doing “twice or three times” the work that people did during their college days previously. Some of these articles talk about it being more difficult for new grads to find jobs (I don’t think anyone here would dispute that) and some talk about students working during school, but none of them say what you originally said. I’m not trying to give you a hard time, I promise, but you’re posting articles that don’t actually back up the original claim. We disagreed with it because it’s factually inaccurate.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      There are always going to be exceptional cases. That doesn’t mean the blog is wrong. And it also doesn’t mean that your resume would be weaker if you were to pare it further.

      Also, keep in mind that the level of experience you’ve detailed is highly unusual, especially for new grads.

    3. Tomato Frog*

      I’m of the school of thought that if Alison’s advice doesn’t work for your field, then your field is wrong. ;)

    4. McWhadden*

      It’s pretty cute that you think working 20 hours while going to school is impressive. Many of us older people worked full-time and went to school full-time. And still managed to do quite well.

      I don’t know what college pep talk you are basing your data on but it’s not true that current college students are doing so much more work than previous generations. And in previous generations college, itself, was something of a luxury afforded to few. So the comparison is especially meaningless.

      Also doing more of different types of internships (while great) is not the same as doing more work. It’s just more variety.

      1. Gabriela*

        I will never understand this impulse to be as snarky and rude to millennials and recent grads as possible. Why would Once More be embarrassed if what she is doing is working for her and getting positive feedback from professionals in her industry?

        1. WeevilWobble*

          Writing that AAM is TOO OLD to really get the young “progressive thinking” employers of today? Saying how much harder kids have it now because he worked a part-time job? Thinking anyone cares about their volunteer award?

          It was rude, condescending, and terrible advice. Yeah, they may get a job despite it. Not too hard with unemployment as low as it is (unlike grads in the early 80s, early 90s, mid-00s.)

          1. Snark*

            Because, hate to say it, my dear, but nobody even in their oh so very progressive field gives a shit about their President’s service award, GPA, student organizations, work study job, or credit load, and when they cap a two-paragraph rant about how we’re all just old, out of touch, hidebound fuddy-duddies for not listing college crap on a resume, they gonna get some clap back.

            1. Gabriela*

              Except that she has gotten feedback from people in her industry that what she is doing is helpful. So, *someone* does give a shit. I’m also not seeing where she called anyone “out of touch”. The disdain dripping from these responses is much more scathing than anything in Once More’s post.

              1. Snark*

                Doesn’t mean every line on that resume is critical. And out of touch was so strongly implied, I don’t need to defend that.

              2. McWhadden*

                If she’s someone who thinks doing very basic school things is noteworthy she could be interpreting basic platitudes as great feedback on her resume. “You have an impressive resume” usually means I like your experiences not your literal resume is super amazing.

    5. Snark*

      Have you ever heard of the Dunning-Kreuger phenomenon? Where people who don’t actually know that much tend to wildly overestimate their knowledge and understanding?

      I’m 34. I graduated college in 2005. Grad school in 2010. I worked 20 hours a week through college, I did my own original research, I worked a full credit load, and I studied abroad, and I had 300 hours of community service. I graduated with a better GPA than you did. I’m a scientist. I work in a field that’s by nature forward-thinking and unconventional.

      And if I got a resume of more than one page from someone just out of college, I’d think it was the kind of person who’d rant for a solid paragraph trying to impress people with a standard-ass college workload and how progressive their field is because they don’t actually understand that their class/internship load was not exceptional and don’t have much direct experience with their own field, let alone anybody else’s, and think they’re at the cutting edge of the working world. And lo, I’d apparently be right.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        Can I ask why people care how many pages a resume is? Yes if the position is for an editor or something of that nature then I get it, but other than that I honestly don’t get the correlation between a two page resume and some kind of predictor of cluelessness. Personally resume length doesn’t even occur to me when i review them…but apparently others see it differently

        1. Snark*

          It’s more what people feel the need to lard multipage resumes up with, like their college GPA and random awards, that shows or implies bad judgment or cluelessness about professional norms. And it obligates me to read through too much filler to get to what I actually need to know.

          1. H.C.*

            Ditto, and note that this really mostly apply to new grads and those early in their careers – where one page should more than enough space for their relevant experience thus far.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

        Indeed. My first thought.

        And apparently paragraph breaks are out of date as well.

    6. H.C.*

      When I was an undergrad not long ago, I kept up 16 credits minimum each semester, a 20 hour per week on-campus job for 4 years straight, internships that overlapped these, regularly participated in extended research projects with professors, and was an active leader in several student organizations. I graduated with a 3.9GPA and won the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the gold level during those last three years for completing 250+ hours of volunteer service each calendar year. No WAY does this fit the “1 Page Resume Rule” even when you pair down experiences to tailor to the individual job (i.e. taking off that 3 year steady volunteer gig because it doesn’t pertain to the job you are applying for).

      My undergrad experiences are very similar (crammed a 6-year course load into 4, concurrent part-time jobs that almost equal full-time hours, multiple internship/research/teaching experiences, service clubs & dean’s awards) and yes, I did manage to fit the relevant things into a one-page resume & had no professional problems with it — which makes your “I can’t do this on one page” claim even more puzzling to me.

      But, I, too, use a similar multi-page “Master Resume” format that I then pare down to fit the jobs I’m applying for and can vouch for that method’s effectiveness.

      1. Emmie*

        My background was quite similar – except that I held down 2 part-time jobs (working 45+ hours a week) while doing everything else she did. When you feel like a high achiever, it is difficult to pare down your resume. You may feel like so many accomplishments are important and special. And perhaps they are. But, you have to look at the job description and focus your resume on how you can excel at that particular job. You have to take your resume away from being a high achiever generally to being a high achiever at the specific duties of the job. It becomes more important as a person excels beyond entry level non-academia work. It’s hard. I took off a bullet point on my resume about taking a case from start to the state supreme court during law school by myself under a professor. Darn special. Super proud. Not relevant and it sucks.

    7. Trout 'Waver*

      Correlation, not causation. And low sample size. I’d argue you got your jobs in spite of, not because of having a longer resume.

      Also, “And it doesn’t take into account the trend that the new hard-working young college student actually often does twice or three times the amount of work that these older professionals did in their college days!”

      lol no. Bless your heart.

  52. a girl has no name*

    My mother-in-law works for a very old traditional company, but they also have a youngish vibe. They do the open floor plan, lots of unique team outings, collaborating is a big deal, fun work spaces. They were voted one of the best places to work in our city, and she loves it and has been there for years. Ironically, this would not be my cup of tea, and I am in my late 20s. I think the only way to really tell is like Alison said, go to the office for an interview if you’re invited. If it’s like my MOL’s company it might be a good fit for you. If it’s like a tech startup with lots of gimmicks it may not be. I think you need to get some more info.

  53. C in the Hood*

    #2. Just to play devil’s advocate: really, what is the difference between “Gary” and yesterday’s annoying coworker? I find it interesting that the responses to each are totally different.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yesterday’s coworker had personal traits that were annoying, but the OP didn’t say anything bad about her actual work. Gary has real work issues: “I have consistently had problems with him not following processes and procedures, which caused issues among others that we work with. I have had other people in the company file complaints about his work ethic and their disappointment in his performance, which I have discussed with my own manager. He also has shown entitlement — he said flat-out after I received my promotion that he was surprised he didn’t get promoted (even though at the time he had only been at the company for a few months) and he has downplayed my role when talking to other people in the company.”

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oh, I’m sorry! For one thing, Gabe’s noises sound more controllable (vs yesterday’s nervous giggling), and they’re particularly negative — something like humming would be bad enough (and you could still ask the person to stop), but frustrated and exasperated noises are a special kind of unpleasant distraction and tend to be more jarring.

          And he’s doing it while the OP is trying to work. If yesterday’s coworker was making distracting noises while the OP was trying to work, she could use similar language to ask her to stop or to keep it down.

          Yesterday’s post wasn’t “my coworker makes distracting noises while I’m trying to work.” It was “I find my coworker’s personality annoying and it’s made me freeze her out.”

          1. OP#2*

            OP here! It is terribly distracting, and with only the two of us here, it does create some negativity. I’m honestly unsure if he is doing it for attention, as some people have suggested here, or if this is just how he works and is completely thoughtless.

            He does wear headphones while he is doing this, so saying anything when he starts making sounds would require me to walk up to his desk and ask him to stop/if everything is okay. I’m sure because he is blasting music so loud he can’t hear me when I speak to him, his noises might be louder than he intends. But regardless of volume, they are also too frequent. Gasping/groaning/exclaiming a few times a day would be understandable, but this is every twenty minutes.

            For now, I have my own headphones in and am trying to ignore him as best as I can. I hesitate to bring it up with him in case this is something he has not realized he is doing, or is doing involuntarily…in such a small team it could create awkwardness.

  54. Pearl*

    OP#3: I feel your pain! I’m seven months pregnant and I’ve found it so hard to tell people not to touch my bump. I’m having a scary high-risk pregnancy, and I’m finding that it’s making me feel really vulnerable and protective of my bump. Literally the only person I want touching me is my partner. I’ve only had belly patting happen twice, but both times it’s been older women I like and don’t want to be rude to, so I’ve just stood there and felt incredibly uncomfortable. On the other hand, I work in a small office with a couple of other women, one of whom (my favourite colleague ever) told me as soon as I announced that she loves touching pregnant bellies and I must tell her if I don’t want her to. I was VERY clear that I didn’t want her to, and she’s respected that. It was a weird conversation but I appreciated her clarity!

    1. LW #3*

      With my last experience, it was always friendly older women who were touchers. It makes it so much harder to respond (for me, at least). Especially in your case, it makes complete sense that you would feel extra protective of your bump. Sending you good vibes for the rest of your pregnancy!

      1. Pearl*

        Thank you – good vibes to you too! Things are getting less scary as time passes but I still don’t want to be patted, even by friendly older ladies!

    2. Katie the Fed*

      > told me as soon as I announced that she loves touching pregnant bellies and I must tell her if I don’t want her to

      What is this, Facebook? You shouldn’t have to opt out of automatic privacy intrusions :)

      1. Pearl*

        Ha! You’re totally right, but in the context of our relationship I found it sweet and funny, particularly because I trust that she wouldn’t have ever touched me without asking first.

  55. LW #3*

    LW #3 here. I really appreciate Alison’s response, and all the commenters’ feedback and suggestions.

    Question for everybody: A lot of responses focus on how to respond in the moment. Does anybody have ideas on how to prevent it from happening, period? Not happening ever– I know that’s not realistic– but not happening with people in my department. Those are the people I interact with the most. The department is pretty siloed, so I can’t count on responding forcefully once in the moment and having word get out.

    That’s where my idea to include it in the email announcement came from. But like someone said, I don’t want to seem defensive in what should be happy, positive email. And like someone else pointed out, I don’t want to insult people by assuming they have bad manners and need to be told how to behave. I’m just hoping there’s something light and friendly to say upfront to avoid needing all these in-the-moment strategies and responses.

    Right now, the best I can think of is when people respond, saying something like, “Thanks! I’m really excited to have another baby. [Insert a couple more sentences about happy baby stuff.] Hopefully this time I’ll get fewer belly pats! Crazy how people do that.” But that might be too subtle for someone who’s already inclined to touch pregnant people without asking.

    Thanks, everybody, for your help!

    1. Dee*

      I’m really not sure you can head it off at the pass, unless you say something like “I’m having pretty rough morning sickness, so please, don’t touch my belly.” I’m afraid your wording will read as passive-aggressive, even though I’m totally on board with the weirdness of people touching you without your consent.

      1. LW #3*

        Yeah, I think you’re right. I was hoping there was some miracle wording I hadn’t thought of. But like most things, it looks like there’s no one-time, one-size-fits-all solution.

      2. Allypopx*

        Eh, for verbal things I don’t think wording matters as much as delivery. And in the off chance she does come off as passive aggressive (again, I don’t think that’s super likely) people are more willing to forgive weird behavior from pregnant women.

    2. Allypopx*

      Instead of “hopefully this time…” you can say “As long as no one touches my stomach I have a feeling this will be a great pregnancy. Crazy how people do that, I hate it!” Still keep a lighthearted tone, still keep the ‘crazy how people do that’ because I think that’s a really great dissuasive line, but make yourself clear. So much relies on tone.

      I think including it in the email is a great start! It can be lighthearted. I think Alison offers great language.

    3. Robin Sparkles*

      My second one is almost 6 months old now and I remember this worry. No one ever touched my belly and I think the reason mostly had to do with my body language. I held my hands in front on top of my belly every time I talked to someone so it was not easy to touch my belly. If someone tries to, it would be super obvious and awkward and you can still head it off but sticking your hand out stop sign style and say “oh no thank you I do not like people touching me.” Don’t say “touch my belly” say “touching me” because it makes clear how awkward and rude it is to attempt it and just because you are pregnant, the rules don’t change. I learned this language from my 3 year old by the way! She is polite but does NOT like being touched and she makes it clear. I apparently also give off a “don’t touch me” vibe (that I am not aware of) but combined with being friendly and chatty, it seems to work well. Good luck!

      1. LW #3*

        You have a smart 3 year old! I like the wording distinction. You’re right, it does make it clearer how bizarre it is to reach out and touch someone without asking.

        My two year old is similar. If he doesn’t want to be touched, he says, “MY body,” and moves your hand, which I taught him. Maybe I should take my own advice.

      2. Sarah*

        I agree with body language. I’m 7 months pregnant and so far the only people who have touched my bump have been family members/doctors/etc. where I’m okay with it (and even my parents and MIL asked first — so I do think there is something to the idea someone posted above that people are starting to learn that touching without asking is uncool). When I’m having a conversation with coworkers or similar situations, I usually rest a hand on top of my belly and just in general give a little more breathing room/personal space than I might have before I was pregnant.

        Honestly, I think if someone does reach out and touch my stomach, my likely reaction will be to jump and shriek, because that would be my normal startle reaction and I would be very startled. :) If you can pull it off naturally, this would definitely get the message across and you can’t be blamed if it at least appears involuntary.

    4. nnn*

      Passive-aggressive solution: start asking your co-workers for advice on how to prevent people from touching your belly

    5. Cafe au Lait*

      Current preggo! When I told people, I tend to place my hands on/over the belly. It seemed to say “MINE!” without actually saying it.

      That being said, my coworkers and patrons have been really great about not touching. I really thought just-out-of- high- school students would need a word, but they’ve been the most respectful. Other than being loudly enthusiastic about a BABY!

  56. puzzld*

    Google image “don’t touch my belly”
    There are a number of cute graphics, tees, etc. that might be suitable for inclusion in your announcement email. Or if you work in a tee shirt friendly office???

  57. Amber Rose*

    Stuff like “we’re a young company” is usually an orange flag, I think. It means go into the interview with caution and a plan to learn a lot more about the culture. It’s not necessarily a sign that it absolutely won’t work.

    We are also a “young” company, in terms of the kind of vibe we have the in the office, like an oversized dysfunctional family. Lots of casual swearing, friendly chat about personal stuff, and company outings for things like camping and parties. But we hire people who are not that young all the time. And it doesn’t matter if they are as casual. The question is, can they be in the office all day with my boss yelling the F-word and the teapot production dudes making sexual jokes without wanting to run screaming into the hills to live with the deer, or alienating everyone by constantly reprimanding them.

    Fit sometimes just means, can you do your job well without making yourself and/or everyone else miserable. Which is an important thing to know.

  58. Former Computer Professional*

    Ugggh, the pregnant belly.

    I once had the reverse problem. A pregnant coworker would come up to me, a fat woman with a belly, and yell, “Big belly bump!” and insist on jamming her pregnant belly against my big belly.

    Every time I would say Please don’t do that and try to back away, and she would just ignore me. I started trying to avoid her but sometimes it wasn’t possible.

    I eventually had to complain to HR who told her to knock it off. Then she told all her work-pals about what a horrible, mean, child-hating jerk I am and the place was miserable until she took off for maternity leave and, fortunately, never came back. Eventually the hate for me faded away.

    I don’t hate children. I don’t have any due to a health problem, not that that was anyone else’s business if I don’t want to share it.

    1. Brandy in Tn*

      So basically they were made that you had the nerve to be mad she called you fat! In any other circumatances you cant get away with this. Only because she was pregnant. Im sorry they put you thru this and am glad HR backed you.

  59. Observer*

    #5 The fact that you asked the question in the way you do shows that you really do NOT have more relevant experience than someone who’s been in the field for a while. Here is the thing – a lot of short term positions, especially internships, don’t give you the same depth of experience that a longer term job gives you. So even though there are more numerical positions, that is NOT the same thing as more experience.

    Also the level of detail you want to put in there says that you haven’t really gotten the bigger picture. If I’m looking at someone’s resume, if you tell me:
    * Ordered Office supplies
    * Keep housekeeping supplies in stock
    * Interfaced with computer suppliers and technicians
    * Worked with copier maintenance company to keep copier working and supplied

    I’m not hiring you for an Office Manager position, because you may have gotten some of the details down, but you have no idea of what the position actually means.

    If you tell me
    * Maintained supplies the organization by proactively monitoring supply levels and ordering items as needed
    * Worked with facilities and technology support vendors to keep systems functioning well

    I’d be interested. You’ve described the main areas of responsibility succinctly and in a way that indicates that you understand what needs to be done.

    If I’m hiring a teapot design specialist, I don’t want to see:
    Internship 1
    Helped with the design of Elephant spout teapots
    Helped with the design of Elephant shaped teapots with blunt spouts
    Helped with the design of Rhino shaped teapots
    Internship 2
    Helped with the design of Elephant teapots
    Helped with the design of Jaguar shaped teapots with Long spouts
    Helped with the design of Jaguar shaped teapots with regular spouts

    1. Snark*

      This is a really great point. With internships, generally you don’t actually have much responsibility or autonomy, and you’re not functioning with full training and independence. You need to boil it down to the essence of what you learned from what you did, in a line or two, and move on. An exhaustive listing of frankly superficial work experiences isn’t the same as a decade of actual work in the field – even if my decade in the field is accounted for by a total of three positions and takes up less physical space.

  60. Snark*

    OP4: Maybe this is unnecessarily confrontational (WHO ME NEVER) but if your coworker is asking you for a leg up on the interview process….you could say something like, “Also, one thing I think you should know is that following processes and procedures is a super-important part of this job, and frankly that’s something you have a long way to go on. So I think you need to decide if you can really up your process control game or not, and if you do, that’s something you’ll need to sell the interviewers on.”

    This guy is not a peer. I don’t think you need to worry about burning a bridge.

  61. Allison*

    #2 I don’t have any advice to add onto what AAM said, but I do sympathize, having been in this situation a couple of times. There are plenty of reasons why some people make these noises throughout the day, but the fact is, having to listen to an 8 hour symphony of woe is never pleasant.

  62. Niccola M.*

    For #3, I’m​ almost wondering if “I’m sorry, but surprise belly pats are against my religion” would be a good comeback in some quarters.

  63. Don't tell anyone I'm here*

    I never understood people’s desire to touch a pregnant woman’s stomach. I stay as far away from pregnant women as I can because I don’t want to catch that bug. :-P

  64. M is for Mulder*

    Also, just as there exceptions to the “1 page resume” rule, there are professions in which interviewers will double down on the importance of that rule. If I’m hiring a technical editor, I don’t want to see a two-page resume, even with decades of experience. If you can’t be concise via first impression, you’re not what I’m looking for.

  65. bookish*

    Whew, LW4, I bet you’re glad to be getting away from this company, specifically this coworker! He’s not your problem anymore, and you definitely shouldn’t give him a “leg up.” Agree with the advice given. You can also be like “you know, I’m too busy wrapping things up right now!”

  66. Phoenix Programmer*

    If you have a skills section cut it out.
    Make sure education section is 2-3 lines max (this from summa cum laude, university honor, departmental honors grad)
    Make resume accomplishment and not duties based.

      1. Delta Delta*

        Especially when they’re not exactly correct. Sure, someone can say, “proficient in Microsoft Word” but if they can’t figure out how to change a font, I’m not sure we’re using the same definition of “proficient.” Not that this has happened in my life, or anything.

  67. MJLurver*

    OP#2, I just left a job where I had the same type of co-worker: constantly huffing and puffing and slamming the keyboard while typing, non-stop muttering about how busy she was and how stressed out she was. Our boss would occasionally ask her “Is everything OK?” to which she’d reply “yes, fine” tersely. For some reason (squeakey wheel syndrome?) my boss would take this as “Jennica is really busy”-(then add) “can you help her out MJ?” so I’d have to help her with her half and then do my half of the work- because I stayed calm and appeared to have my workload under control, despite being just as busy but not as vocal and theatrical she was .

    I’d really try not to let it get to me but it was hard sometimes; I would want to turn around and scream “if you spent as much time *doing* work as you did *complaining* about work, you’d be able to handle your workload without getting so stressed out about it !”

    I Certainly don’t miss that at all. I always learned that presentation is everything and if you appear to have everything under control, people believe you have everything under control. Not everyone handles things this way. Some folks like to make sure others know how busy they are. Some simply handle their workload effectively without needing to alert their associates to how much “busier” they are…..

    1. Allison*

      I actually felt self-conscious about this a few years ago, everyone was speed walking around the office in a frenzy, huffing and puffing and grunting and telling anyone they could about how they were soooo busy, and I worried that because I wasn’t doing that people might resent me and think I’m useless to the team. My boss explained that I just have more composure than they did, but he also moved me to a cubicle away from the high traffic area.

    2. Snark*

      “For some reason (squeakey wheel syndrome?) my boss would take this as “Jennica is really busy”-(then add) “can you help her out MJ?”

      Yep. This was a feature, not a bug.

  68. GreenDoor*

    #3 You could also ward off the belly touches on your own. As you start telling people around your building, just add a comment that, “…yea, you know I had my first baby when I was at Old Job. You would NOT BELIEVE the number of people that thought it was cool to just come up and rub my belly. Like, who does that, right?? So inappropriate….” A good way to remind people that it IS gross and inappropriate and to not do it.

    If you do see a hand approaching, nothing wrong with using your own hand to catch their wrist and wave their arm away with a confused look and a “what are you doing??” Head ’em off at the pass. You’d likely swat someone’s hand away if they were getting too close to your breasts or bottom, right? Why should your belly be any less off-limits?

  69. Noah*

    ” It’s possible that they’re pretty functional and are just inadvertently using the same language that dysfunctional, bro-culture-ish organizations tend to embrace.”

    I hate this stereotype because it screws people both ways. Loads of non-bro-ish places use this stupid language, so it doesn’t make sense to reject somebody out of hand because of it. And loads of bro-ish places are smart enough NOT to use this language, so assuming not hearing this stuff will insulate you from bro culture is a huge mistake, too.

    1. Emi.*

      I mean, that’s true of almost anything people use to screen employers, which is why it makes sense to look for more information to confirm or deny it.

  70. Noah*

    #3 This isn’t for everybody, but I had a friend (not a co-worker, but she did this at work) who attached a sign to a belt so that the sign sat on her pregnant belly. It read: “Yes, I’m pregnant. No, don’t touch” (or something like that).

  71. Argh!*

    re: Gabe constantly mutters to himself, often quite loudly, and constantly sighs in frustration, throws his hands up in the air, or clutches his head

    Some people are just like that, and asking them to muzzle themselves could actually hurt their productivity. Can there be some give and take and acceptance of differences with both of you working your preferred style? Like alternating lunch hours, changing to overlapping schedules, or having a designated quiet time?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The thing is, Gabe isn’t just quietly playing music or thinking out loud to puzzle through something. He’s regularly spewing negativity into a shared work space. That’s not okay to do, even on a schedule!

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