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Every spring, I find myself in the same position. I'm tasked with interviewing and hiring summer interns for our office. In the process, I have to weed through a lot of resumes, or CVs as you call them. :) I'm constantly amazed by the way young adults portray themselves to potential employers. Most of them have just graduated high school, or completed their first year of university, so I never expect some grand list of achievements. But there's a common scenario that repulses me, and it's symbolic of the newer American generations.

I will immediately toss in the trash any piece of paper that even remotely suggests a sense of self-entitlement. This is a personality I despise more than most - those who think they should be worshiped and praised only because they exist, and for no other reason. In other words, there's no foundation for their bravado or arrogance, except that their parents have coddled them since well past their baby years. We call them "helicopter parents," because they constantly hover over their children, watching their every move in order to protect them from pain, disappointment and failures in life. Yet no human can ever escape these things.

Of course, all parents should protect and instill a strong sense of self-esteem in kids, but this quality has now drifted into a very sick realm of narcissism, in my view. What else can you expect from an American generation who grew up playing in sports leagues where every kid is handed a trophy - they are taught there are no winners or losers, and it's a brutal slap in the face when they quickly discover life isn't fair. They lack the coping mechanisms to deal with rejections and challenges, because they have been shielded from such things their entire life. Now, I'll show you an example of a CV I immediately tossed away.


This is a 19 year old girl named Rachel Williams. I redacted most of her personal information, but she works at Subway, a fast-food chain in the U.S. There's nothing wrong with this job, as most young people have worked in the retail or food sectors at one point in life. In this position, she makes sandwiches, fills catering orders and cleans bathrooms.

Rachel created a grand term to describe her position by calling herself a "sandwich artist." :)) Then she goes on to make sloppy grammar errors and poor word choices. For instance, there's double capitalization in the short word "AS", she mistyped two commas at one point, and there are other errors. The mistakes would have been obvious with one quick review, yet they are still there. This implies Rachel is lazy, sloppy and careless. Who wants to entrust their work to someone like this? Not me. This is only one example of many horrible CVs I've forced to review.


CV

We live now in a "me, me, me" world, where people want a lot out of life, but aren't willing to give much. Just hire me, just pay me, yes, I'm great...!! This is the over-arching mentality of many people, but it's especially prevalent with millennials.

Btw, I've noticed that for a lot of job listings in Russia, it's necessary to put your age and a photo on the CV. This is very strange for an American, as it's not customary to place pictures on CVs. What's the point? Also, many times the job description will state that the person must be highly attractive, very young in age, etc...I've never seen these requirements in American job postings. Unattractive, middle-age people don't deserve to work? :))


Comments

( 123 comments — Leave a comment )
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koji_ajimofu
Apr. 19th, 2016 03:58 pm (UTC)

In Denmark photo is also nice to have. As well as in russia.

peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:02 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's just a way to make the CV more personal? However, it seem like the photo could have a negative impact if you're unattractive. Or, an unfair advantage if you won the genetic pool and are beautiful. :) I guess the issue is now moot anyway, because you can usually find photos of someone on the Internet in a matter of moments if you look.
(no subject) - koji_ajimofu - Apr. 19th, 2016 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
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sun_jr
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC)

Wow, I wouldn't have any chance to pass through your preliminary resume selection.

peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
Why? :)) I'm not so difficult. Do you think it's acceptable to have sloppy grammar and typing errors in resumes?
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Stan Podolski
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC)
hmm. Leaving aside the sloppy grammar, but I would like "sandwich artist", at least the person has some imagination. What would throw me off is the formatting, I believe this is the MUST for working in a paper-oriented office. I can not go around and reformat each letter for my interns, can I.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
"Sandwich artist" is okay and creative, but still a bit pompous. :)) That's why I put smileys after my sentence when I referred to it. In general, I think people must take pride in their work. So, yes, I'm anal about formatting glitches and stupid grammar/spelling errors. The final work product should be aesthetically pleasing and orderly. Especially if it's going to an existing, or potential, client.
(no subject) - Stan Podolski - Apr. 19th, 2016 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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logofilka
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
You know, high school graduate does not have enough accomplishments to fill-out one page resume. No education, no work experience. Obviously, she will use the empty space as a little "show-n-tell" opportunity. After all, being "Rachel" is the most interesting thing that happened to her so far.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:20 pm (UTC)
You're right. I said that I don't expect a lot of accomplishments from university students, but a poorly formatted resume with typing errors is not excusable, under any circumstance in my view. Do you have law clerks in your office during the summer?
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irisha8787
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:20 pm (UTC)
The age is appropriate because they want to judge the experience by how old the person is. The requirements to the 18 years old are different than to 35 years old.
The picture makes sense when you apply for client-facing jobs. Most of the times those pictures you attach are like a passport-style pics, so you can't really judge on the person complexion and height by looking at it.

It is funny how now I see that parenting is hard. Back in Russia a lot of parents tell you that you are average, a drop in a sea of other talented people, and parents usually show you what flaws you have since you are a kid. So you grow up with a lot of insecurities and pretty much traumatized for the rest of your life. In the US though most parents say that you are a genius from the day you are born. So you grow up not being able to face the failures and imperfections of yourself. So where is the balance? It is tricky I think and what works for one kid and might enlighten and inspire him/her, might completely ruin the other.
kichiro_sora
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
>The requirements to the 18 years old are different than to 35 years old.

Why? If you are looking for somebody who can do X and Y - why would requirements be based on age?
Of course if it's a low paying simple job, and the applicant is 48 years old - you know you dealing with a looser...
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 19th, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
e_g_o_r_i_u_s
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
Shannon, this is absolutely normal that people in age 20 perceive the social and professional world not like we do, and knowledge about how to write cover letters and CVs comes with experience. First they cannot even get an invitation to an interview despite dozens of sent CVs – and they begin to worry and change their habits. They start being invited but do not manage to get the job – and another phase of self-learning begins. I was so desperate here in Germany when I couldn’t find a work that I have even read a book about how to write all these papers)) And this helped, I believe.

Photos – this is understood that an employer wants to know how a potential worker looks like. Age can be also a factor why a person is “less desirable” than others. Strange for you, but in Russian culture a personality and personal information have different value, and that’s the reason why you are amazed. And I think some girls here could tell you from their experience about much more sensitive questions discussed at interviews which you’ll certainly find totally inappropriate.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:57 pm (UTC)
Yep, women have told me all the shocking questions asked in Russian interviews related to whether they're married, single, have kids, want to get pregnant...it's strange for me definitely. :)) Anyway, age is also treated differently here. People are not seen as worthless past age 30 or 40, I'm speaking as a woman. For men, age appears much less relevant in Russia. A lot of Russian men have highly inflated egos and senses of self-worth, often for no reason. Just like the youngsters I described in this post. :))
south_of_broad
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:25 pm (UTC)
They are just the products of our liberal public schools. Why are you so surprised?
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:02 pm (UTC)
I don't know about schools, as I have no children. I can only judge based on the conduct of kids/parents at sporting events, because my nephew has played on soccer leagues since he was 4, and is now on a traveling team. I've gone to most of his games. Actually, I recall that in his class, kids aren't allowed to hand out invitations for birthday parties. I could not even believe it when my sister told me!! Why? To protect other kids in the class from getting hurt if they're not invited...such bullshit. We are really raising a generation of frail wussies. So, I frequently tell my nephew bad parts about life to prepare him. It's my duty as an auntie - to inform him women will reject him, he can't always get what he wants, sometimes things aren't fair....Just a completely different world now.
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beloborodoff
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:29 pm (UTC)
I think you overestimated impact of "all get thophies" school policy. There is lazy and there other types of people and they not so dumb to think there is no winners and loosers in real life.

"...many times the job description will state that the person must be highly attractive, very young in age"

This is just honest type of job description. In USA is is illigal to specify age in them. But in real if you want young and attractive woman for job position you can find the ways to do so.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:03 pm (UTC)
No, this policy of everyone gets a trophy is very bad in my view. Why do you think it's good? It teaches kids that they should be rewarded, sometimes for no reason. How is this good for humanity, or society as a whole? To expect to be praised when you failed a task?
(no subject) - beloborodoff - Apr. 19th, 2016 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
kichiro_sora
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:31 pm (UTC)
Yep, the way they handle trophies for kids nowadays - is horrible way to prepare them to life. I do japanese martial art, and see a lot of beginners kids who simply can't cope with not being able to achieve everything and get a medal, by say, fifth lesson. So they quit and I guess erase the experience from their mind as some weird exception. I know I'm good, so something wrong with this sport :) Good, luck with real life, kids.

Pictures on the resume crack me up too. Ok, Russia, they can't practically do whatever they want there, and the role of the secretary in rich companies, - it's not for typing stuff on the computer :) But they do resume pictures in Germany too! The only reason I can see, so the employer can select candidates based on appearance. What else you need picture for?

peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:08 pm (UTC)
I do not see any positive aspects to all this trophy giving...it really makes me irate! :) But a reader above said it's no big deal. I think I need to start taking some type of martial arts. I try to do yoga to calm and center myself, but it seems I now need an outlet for angry/negative feelings, which are unnatural for me but suddenly pervasive. Martial arts might be good for this...yoga isn't cutting it anymore. What do you think?
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278200
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:39 pm (UTC)
I think the tradition to post the photo and age has some good reasons. Firstly U can see the adequacy level this chose of photo of person (if i would be a HR manager i pay lot of attention how does the person present himself, does he/she understand the dress code, make up rools & corelate it with the company's profile), seccondly it's important that person doesn't hide his/her face, has clear look and others details (of'course it's easy to make the mistake but anyway i find it's good opportunity to know the person a ltl bit more), ans of'couse there are lots of posts there it's important to have tidy & pleasant appearance
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC)
"Make-up rules"? :)) I don't see how make-up is relevant to most professional positions honestly. And you can never know a person's true appearance until you see them in a flesh. Photoshop can turn any ordinary person into a supermodel, but of course a tidy, clean appearance is essential for almost all jobs.
new_forester
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC)
Shannon, can you post an example of a resume that would pique your interest enough to invite the person in for an interview?

The way I look at this (and I deal with 18-21 year-olds all the time, I'm a college instructor) is just treat anyone under 25 as a child. I call them "kids", and interestingly, that's what they call themselves oftentimes. Once you stop treating them as adults, everything falls into place.

Btw, great logic on this girl's bad grammar and lack of proofreading. This is exactly what I tell my students when they complain about me taking points off for things like that - if you want to be taken seriously, learn to write well and don't make silly mistakes, serious people up above will notice those. After all, they are on top because they don't usually make silly mistakes;)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
It's comforting to know there are professors like you! :) Sure, if I find a good resume, I will post it. Most of them are quite bad and sloppy honestly. :( There is no excuse for bad grammar/spelling errors now. Almost all errors are caught by doing a simple spelling/grammar check through Word, or some other word processing software. Of course, it doesn't catch everything, but the most egregious errors rarely slip through.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:08 pm (UTC)
I think you are too hard on 19 year old Rachel :)

Did you know that "sandwich artist" is the official term coined by Subway itself for its employees? That is what the position is called.
And yes, she has a few typos. But she is 19, and she does work for a fast food restaurant, which already shows she is not too proud and does not rely solely on hadouts from her parents.
I don't really see why you reacted so strongly to this CV. To me, it is just what it is - a 19 year old's CV :)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:29 pm (UTC)
I didn't know it was the official job title endorsed by the company. Very funny! :)) By 19, a person should know how to use basic computer tools to run spell checks, etc. They have grown up with electronics in their hands since a very young age. So, I'll continue to discard resumes with sloppy errors. Maybe you're more forgiving than me, but writing is an essential component of my work, and I need someone with strong skills in this area.
_franny_glass
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:09 pm (UTC)
oops, that was my anonymous comment. Forgot to log in.
dkfl
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:11 pm (UTC)
The point is not to hire 40+ people. Only young programmers work for food :)
Age discrimination is very popular in Russia.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC)
There are pros and cons to both - older candidates vs. younger candidates. In my profession, older ones are usually attractive because they already have an established book of business and clients.
dorli87
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:17 pm (UTC)
Would it be a very impudent to ask you to read my resume in English ever?
I am not sure in my English - the articles are my enemies also.))
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
You can send it to me. I will look at it and suggest changes, if necessary. You can send it to me at my email address, which is in my LJ bio. I'm happy to help. :)
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