Solely In Black and White: Resumeology 101: Class 3 Structure

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Resumeology 101: Class 3 Structure

After much procrastination, finally the question you have all presumably been waiting for: what should be included on a shidduch resume?

If you didn’t take anything out of the last two resume post ( Class 1 and Class 2) the answer is simply “the less the better.” People have this strange ability to take whatever you write in your resume and make it seem negative regardless of whether it’s true or not. Or maybe we should just call it being overly critical perhaps? The craziest part is, people can make these grand postulations based on descriptors and stereotypes without even questioning the basis for their assumptions! And that always works out well… 8-|

So what’s my advice? Preferably don’t include self description blurbs in your resume unless you truly understand the following consequences:

1. Whatever you write, it will influence how people perceive you before you even get a chance to meet them, just like a real life resume, thus making your statement the ultimate first impression.

2. Whatever you write will be over-analyzed. Guaranteed; no questioned asked. And that’s every single word.

3. Anything said, implied, or omitted will be questioned by someone at some point in time.

4. Mistakes (such as spelling, grammar, and factual errors), appalling writing, and dreadful presentation can seriously tarnish to your otherwise perfect persona. Are your writing skills so impressive that you’d be willing to take that chance?

5. Defining (or in some cases misrepresenting yourself for the sake of making your words politically correct) can either limit your potential possibilities or in some cases be a major turn off.

So what to do? If you are coerced into writing a short statement by the forces that be, such as your parents, then try to keep it honest, short, simple, and neat. Two sentences max. (The size of a tweet :-) ) There can be immense beauty in brevity. If you want to give a Shadchan a long verbose profile of what you’re about, send it in the body of an email or a separate document. That way they can purge it easily… ;-) A resume is really not the place for it. It’s also not such a wise idea to include all your hashkafas, opinions, and lists of requirements on your resume, like our friend Chava Leah did; save that for your date because thats what makes for great conversation!

Optimally, I think a resume should never exceed two pages. Do not use a microscopic font to make it fit onto one page! Your resume should display your name prominently somewhere on towards the top and include some basic personal info such as age, height, hair color, and eye color. Don’t even think about writing your dress size! Even if you a -2! (Does that exist?) It’s very pretentious and unsophisticated. (Tell the shadchan, they’ll be very happy to hear it, though). Also, if you expect prince charming to pick you up from parent's house, then please write on your resume the address and phone number. And that’s not just for our sake, the guys, but for the Shadchans as well.

For the schooling section one should have at least high school, seminary, and college(s) (if applicable). I don’t see why people are writing which play group they went to, but hey, that’s cool. If one is currently employed, write that too. No, you don’t have to list every single job you ever had since 8th grade, remember, this isn’t a work experience resume. Oh and don’t forget to include which camps you have attended (or which bungalow colonies you have inhabited), that is almost as important as which seminary you went to! :-P

Most people seem to list their shul affiliations and basic family information, such as parents' and siblings’ names as well as any applicable maiden names. Some people list their parents' occupation, which is a fine, but not essential. General, most people list their siblings by ages and add a current city of residence if they no longer live at home and some basic info on what their siblings are up to. At a minimum, I think a resume should at least list all of one’s siblings and their ages, but more info is preferred. Any resume lacking a sibling list, such as Chava Leah’s, should be called into question.

For the references section you’re going to have to wait until Class 4.


  1. Yay!!! Finally someone agrees with me. Every so often my mother decides that I need to up my resume by writing a description about myself, and what I'm looking for. So I go through the same routine over and over again. I sit at the computer and attempt to write s/t. Then I call up my friends and ask them what they think of my blurbs. It always ends the same way-I NEVER include it on my resume. It just sounds so stupid and limiting. There is no way anyone can describe me in a few words; it doesn't sound right. And to describe what I'm looking for is also limiting. I think I'll start including a pix on my resume instead. That's the only thing boys care about anyway.

  2. What ^ said, besides for sending a picture. I think my resume is perfect now, just facts that are relevant. I hate when people ask for personal descriptions and just cannot bring myself to do it.

  3. A short bio is all fine and good until you find yourself constantly badgered for more information. It gets old answering the same requests.

    Being brief and simple (vague?) about what you're looking for seems to work for some people.

    Information about siblings beyond name, age, location and marital status is debatable. Plenty of people ask about the siblings' occupations, and many others don't.

    I'm still waiting for your personalized critique, SiBW.

  4. SiBW- I'm enjoying reading these resumeology classes! Looking foward to class 4

  5. @ (not) The Girl Next Door:
    “I think I'll start including a pix on my resume instead. That's the only thing boys care about anyway.”

    You’re joking, right? Does this mean I have to write a post on pictures too?! I’ll add it to my to do list… :-/

    @ Oldie:
    How do your references describe you? Someone has to be saying something to somebody… :-P

    @ tnspr569:
    I disagree, no matter how much you write (unless you have a 5 page life story) you will still be badgered for more information. Even so, if you wish to have a full bio, then do so, but don’t stuff it into your resume.

    Not really, what do you accomplish by that? It’s generic, meaningless, and in some case downright misleading.

    Really, what’s the debate? It’s not super private information and it gives people a better sense of the family dynamic. It also one of those pieces of info that is going to be asked anyway, so you might as well just write it out.

    We first need to create a contractual payment schedule for consulting fees….

    @ SternGrad :
    Thanks. :-)

  6. I've had offers to revise it - and these competitors have an edge over you (namely, they're girls - relatives of a friend). What are your competitive advantages?

    I've been told by several people not to include the siblings' professional information. I don't mind including it, though.

    I didn't say I agreed with writing something generic for the "seeking" section. You think nothing at all should be written?

    Mine isn't exactly detailed, if you recall. It really is just a brief bio, and the only parts with full sentences are very short. They seem to be accurate; I think the issues I encountered weren't related to the resume itself.

    Hmm, I should probably save it as a PDF in the future.

  7. I gladly welcome competition! I think competition increases overall quality. And I also think your statement is sexist. :-) Just because they’re girls doesn’t mean they have any competitive advantage. Besides it’s not the girls who do the resume reading, it’s their mothers; so technically, you need their mommy’s help. :-P

    Interesting, but I am wondering: on what basis was that said?

    Ah, my competitive advantages? A Doctorate from Unnamed Prestigious University in Shidduchology with subsequent Masters in resumeoligy. I postulated the theory of not (my) relatives-ity for my thesis. But most importantly, I am a world-renowned expert backed by an audience of intelligent and sophisticated people. :-) I also have a feeling I have read way more resumes too…. So I think I have them beat in real life experience as well… ;-)

    Correct. You shouldn’t (necessarily) be writing what you’re looking for in a resume. It makes it look like your wish list and it can be limiting. I believe it would be fine in an email, but in a resume, not.

    PDFs are fine, but they seem unconventional, since almost nobody uses them in the shidduch world. So why bother?

  8. Like I said, my resume just says facts, like height, weight (kidding), my information, family information, references etc. The references have the privilege of describing me. After all, there's so much more to me than what I can put down in a few sentences. In any case, I find it really demeaning to have to sort of "sell" myself on paper. If someone is thinking of a shidduch from me, hopefully they know enough about me in the first place. They shouldn't need the superfluous and often meaningless commentary. I can write whatever I want; who says it's even true?

  9. The girls have a different perspective, and can better explain how a guy's resume is perceived. And no, not all of them have their parents read the resumes they receive.

    I was told the information about siblings was irrelevant. ::shrug::

    I don't want any changes being made to the resume, which can easily happen with a regular document. Plus it ensures compatibility and format preservation.

    Ooooh unconventional - bad for shidduchim.

  10. You know what, I'll send you your competitor's revised version (and vice versa) to give you an idea of their perspective - how about that?

  11. @Oldie:
    Yup, and in a most cases I’d be willing to say what’s written is not always true. ;-)

    @ tnspr569:
    Really? I don’t know about you, but I have yet to have a girl call one of my references! ;-)

    I have been told and have seen otherwise… 8-|

    And what is someone going to change in your resume exactly? Your height? Your personality? Seriously! This isn’t a job interview; and for the record most people can open doc/x’s just fine. “Format Preservation” on shidduch resume your joking, right? :-/

    I guess you can say that…. :-)

    Cool. Looking forward to seeing it. :-D

  12. Who says they'll ever call your references? From what I gather, many times the listed references aren't even used; instead, investigation is done through other channels.

  13. You’ll have to wait for Part 4 for a detailed explanation on references. ;-)


You can use some basic HTML tags as well as these emoticons. If you wish to comment anonymously, please use the Name/URL option and give yourself a unique title. You can leave the URL field blank if you wish. Thanks for your comment. Enjoy.