I don’t have to tell you how bad the economy is, so I will. Unemployment hasn’t been this high since 1720. Every bank has collapsed. All major industries have moved overseas — to Belize, if I’m not mistaken. Thirty million Americans die every day from sheer terror. The oceans have turned to blood. The little children have turned to corn.
Time to update that resume! Here are some tips I learned after paying a professional to completely revamp my CV when I learned that the company I work for is currently letting 75% of its staff go retroactively, which means I could have been unemployed for the past two weeks and not known it.
NAME. I learned that this is crucial. (I thought that was what the return address on the envelope was for.) Screw it up and you may as well join the Peace Corps and be done with it. If your name is foreign sounding or hard to pronounce, simplify it. See how easily Moishe Levine becomes Martin Lear, Ugo DeStefanelli become Hugh Stevens, and Piu Li-Yun becomes Dame Judith Anderson.
ADDRESS. Not necessarily your address but somewhere you can retrieve your mail with a minimum of police involvement. The more fashionable the zip code, the more impressive to a prospective employer. But avoid such obvious landmarks as the Port Authority or Bonwit Teller.
OBJECTIVE. Here you must walk a fine line between exalted expectations and false modesty. Objectives such as “to rule the known universe” or “to be humbled by my betters” are extremes best avoided. Anyone whose honest objective is “international brotherhood” should be beaten with a stick. Try this: “To cease living off the productivity of others.”
EDUCATION. There are only a handful of colleges that mean anything: the Ivy League, M.I.T., Stanford. A degree from Alfred University will get you a job directing K-Mart shoppers to the ring-binder aisle during Back to School week. If your associate’s degree is stamped “Leo Gorcey Community College,” just write “self-educated” and cite Lincoln. Better yet, mention “the war” and how it interfered with your plans for law school.
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES & AWARDS. Include scholarships, internships, and fellowships. Be circumspect about citing fraternities (especially if initiation deaths were reported in local papers). Leave out all political activity, especially if you picketed somebody or threw a rock. That’s all JP Morgan Chase needs, a long-haired troublemaker.
WORK EXPERIENCE. You were never unemployed, got that? From the time you could lawfully enter the workplace, you have held a responsible tax-paying place in the world. If there is an unseemly gap in your employment record, make a note that your government service was of a clandestine nature. If you’re currently employed and are looking for a new job, explain that you’re leaving your current company because everyone died there. It’s always your intention to work at one place forever.
AFFILIATIONS. Let me put it this way: you were never a member of any organization whose name begins Worker’s, People’s, or White Man’s. You have a library card.
HOBBIES. Emphasize things scientific, computerized, and gadgety. In your spare time, you jam Chinese radar, create artificial life, and do robotics. You know, stuff like that. And no occult nonsense. You have no psychic friends, you don’t talk to the dead, and the only past life you ever had was when you lived with your parents.
LAST BOOK READ. Most people don’t include this on a resume, but it proves you give attention to detail. It also proves you can read. Again, avoid extremes! Find some happy medium between Harriet’s Night of Bondage and Luther’s Bondage of the Will. Try something historical, maybe on the Civil War. You don’t have to read the stupid thing, just remember the dates and which side wore blue.
PERSONAL REFERENCES. Include last names. No one will be impressed by “Vinny” or the woman you talk to on the phone when you want another premium cable channel.
HEALTH. The only thing that kept you from the Summer Olympics was the sudden death of your sponsor.
With your resume completed, a strong cover letter is next. I’m thinking of pursuing a whole “How to” series of posts, like “How to Get Out of Bed,” “How to Chew With Your Mouth Closed,” and “How to Transport FIssionable Material With a Flexible Flyer and Twine.” But you know me, I lose interest so quickly …