Not long ago, my wife and I were visiting some relatives who were staying at a Jerusalem hotel. In the lobby, my wife chanced upon another hotel guest from the US that she knew. As to be expected, the conversation veered toward the subject of our children and it was mentioned that we have a son in the US in shidduchim. They then discussed the American “system” including the style of resumes and the woman told my wife, “Now they are telling us not to put any extensive information on the resumes. Just some very basic facts. The shorter the better.”
I was only a casual eavesdropper in this conversation, but when I heard that statement my eaves formally dropped out. Who are the omniscient “they”? Is there some central “shidduch rules” Bureau of Standards? Who decides things like this? Most importantly, in what way and for whom is such a standard helpful?
In response to my previous post, I received an email from a close friend. He wrote: “My objective in seeing a resume for a girl is to recognize association and thus family make up and if there is any direction on finding out honest info.”
I took this to mean that he does not look at a resume as a substantial composite of information but rather as a launching pad to accruing more (honest) information. As such it doesn’t bother him if a resume is somewhat “skimpy”. But, at the very least, he does want to see two things: “association” and “family makeup”.
I responded to him that he could not have been more helpful in allowing me to make my point. To some extent we have different goals (or, at least, different emphases). In contrast to him, I look at a resume to see if there is a chance that this girl is suitable for my son. For this, I may require a more extended profile than he does. Also, I may read more into certain nuances and subliminal messages.
Who is right, my friend or I?
This is a silly question. He is a buyer for his sons and I am a buyer for mine. We are both “customers” of the sellers. Often enough, of the same sellers. And the customer is always right. Every customer. So it definitely pays for a seller to please as many buyers as possible. If one wants to catch more types of fish, it is recommended to use different types of bait.
Now, let’s check out the seller. What is the seller’s objective in writing a resume (or a product description)?
The answer is: to get the product sold, or – to get the job!
And how does one do this?
By informing the buyer that you (your product) are what he is looking for; that you are a suitable candidate for the job.
But that’s not all.
You also need to give the buyer or employer the impression that not only are you a suitable candidate for the job, but that you are the best candidate for the job.
Your resume has to beat out everyone else’s.
Now, hundreds of overly complacent girls present shoddy resumes on the assumption that the proposed suitor will inquire by the agent (shadchan) on more detailed information and will get the full sales pitch on what a metziah she really is. Furthermore, they assume they have a sterling set of references that each will sing their praises. And, as far as my friend is concerned, if the resume presents adequate “association” and “family makeup”, he will dig further.
But, I most probably will not. This is partially due to what I wrote two posts ago that our unique situation of being located overseas makes fact-finding a very tedious chore. And we will not do it unless we already think that this prospect is not only a suitable candidate, but one of the best candidates out of all of the current applicants. When a shadchan emails us a resume with a cover note saying: “If you need to know anything else, just ask.”, the resume better look interesting or we are not going to just ask. If the resume flunks, the shadchan, unless they are very aggressive and follow up on us, will probably not get the chance to give us the full mi-shebeirach. Likewise, the references could be the Gadolei haDor, but if the top half of the resume is not up to snuff, we will never reach the bottom half where the references are lurking. Just like a job resume, an employer will not call your references if he doesn’t already think you qualify for the post.
I guess that in America, you need a good shadchan to get the resume through the door. By me, you need a good resume to get the shadchan (or the references) through the door.
I am writing this blog post to let American readers know: Don’t think that just because our circumstances force us to be very fussy on resumes that we are the only ones; and don’t think that this does not apply to the typical American “buyer”. I am certain that there are plenty of American based families that likewise see the resume as the first line of offense.
In my close friend’s email, after that one sentence that I quoted above, he added a second sentence that I did not fully understand: “If you start doing what your suggesting they will all sound the same anyway.”
He may not have understood what I am suggesting. I am suggesting that every girl’s resume (and boy’s for that matter) should be as extensive and detailed as it can be. One of the main reasons is that the more detailed it is, the more it paints a precise composite picture and, consequently, the more it makes the subject unique.
In my book, the way you get your resume through the door is by making it look different than anybody else’s. To give an example, in my children’s resumes, I include hair color and eye color. I haven’t seen anybody else do it. Why do I?
One reason is precisely because nobody else does it. It shows that whoever wrote this resume is not just another cow in the herd. This is the one with the brown hair and the green eyes. Also, this is one who is thoughtful enough to provide this information. It makes a psychological impression.
In addition, it actually helps give the reader a bit of a mental image of the physical person (in lieu of photographs which are not encouraged in our circles). And since this image is only imaginary, the incomplete part of the image is usually in line with the how the buyer wants the prospect to look (as opposed to what kind of Frankenstein they really look like). So now your resume presents a partial physical image while the next person’s resume does not. Which one has the upper hand?
One more thing. In this game, time is of the essence. This means that today your resume may be some bochur’s king of the pile. But tomorrow, a new one may show up in the email that will upstage yours. Thus, the quicker and easier that you make it for a buyer to determine that you are numero uno, the less likely for a last minute upset.
My original plan for this post was to be very specific and to go into detail about what to include in a resume line item for line item. But, as usual, my post is already overflowing so it will have to wait for the next installment. I think it will be valuable advice.
So for now, let’s review some of the reasons why it is an advantage to have a very informative resume:
· It makes you unique and helps you stand out from the others
· It gives the impression of a deeper, more sophisticated person. A shallow resume indicates a shallow person
· It sends the subliminal message that you want the buyer to know about you
· It saves the buyer time from having to hunt for the information he wants and lowers the chances of another resume upstaging yours in the interim
· It is, plain and simple, a display of courtesy and thoughtfulness (which reflects on you).
Recall what I wrote in the previous post: a girl does not necessarily have a barshert. There must be a concerted hishtadlus commensurate to the demands of the circumstances. You will only beat the competition if you compete. And these advantages will give you a competitive edge in this competitive world.
Hence, we can add one more entry on the above list of advantages for an informative resume:
· It sends the subliminal message that you are truly competing for the job and you really want to get married.
And this will distinguish the kallahs from the girls.