We get lots of questions which are basically "help me with making decisions regarding my resume please."

Do we want a question similar to this one or this one except applied to resume questions?


Perhaps a better idea would be to create a meta post explaining what kind of resume questions are off-topic or too-localized and why, and how to write a good on-topic resume question

Questions that ask "Is my resume OK" or "Please review my resume" are too-localized, however questions which could be applied to any resume, such as Should I include a career objective on my resume? or Why is a one to two page résumé recommended? are great questions for the site.

I don't think we can write one single canonical question that would apply to all resumes, but we can write up a good set of guidelines explaining what makes a good resume question for this site and why, and direct users there when the post an off-topic or too-localized resume question.

  • 2
    I like this - sounds like a good blog post, too! (hint, hint!) and it dodges my concern that whole books are written on "how to write a good resume", so I worry that if we were to write that answer, we'd end up with something so generic that people would still be asking resume questions anyway. Jan 2 '13 at 20:45
  • @bethlakshmi lol if you're hinting you want me to write a blog post um.... no. I hate writing :) But you're right, it would make a good blog post but I'd still want a meta post as well so users seeking answers could find it easily, as usually they'll think to search meta but won't think to search the blog.
    – Rachel
    Jan 2 '13 at 21:06
  • 2
    Good point. :) about the meta. Fair enough if you like writing, I'm mostly hoping that a few others will get inspired to join the writing team. :) Jan 2 '13 at 21:27
  • I'm going to accept this because I think this is the best solution to the problem
    – enderland
    Jan 8 '13 at 15:28

Of the two questions you've cited, one of them is community wiki, and the other one could have been marked as community wiki if Rachel, the author, requests it Correction, the answer is community wiki, not the entire thread. Not that it's needed though; the suggested edit system sort of eliminates the need to make something community wiki, as any user can already suggest an edit.

Additionally, creating a canonical resume post just for the sake of making poorly formatted resume questions appear on-topic may not be the best course of action. When we create a single, catch-all post, we're no longer focusing on questions about a real, actual problem that we're facing, and when we ask questions about real, actual problems, we can easily end up with 10 or 100 really great questions about how to solve problem X, instead of just 1 post.

The canonical post takes all of these potentially awesome Q&A pieces and completely eliminates the potential for growth of our site by limiting one class of questions to a single post.

From the blog post, The Future of community Wiki, Grace Note points out how avoid community wiki posts, which can be detrimental:

Instead, strive for quality. If you’re unsure a certain question class belongs on the site, don’t tolerate the worst examples — demand that these questions be awesome. Questions shouldn’t be swept under the rug with community wiki; they should get the same respect and treatment as the rest of your Q&A. If those questions are something you are uncomfortable showing to visitors … they probably don’t belong on your site.

Many things which “need” to be community wiki simply don’t. Sometimes it’s just a matter of understanding the root of a question: “Software to record video games” can be turned into a great question without needing the crutch of community wiki. Or, you may need to break the original question into smaller parts; a rather well-timed Ask Different Meta post explores this very avenue.

I’m relatively new here, but the examples of ‘community wiki’ that I’ve seen so far seem to be actively detrimental to the web site. For example, the ‘What Lion bugs irritate you the most?’ thread takes lots of good questions and answers that could (should?) be individually placed on the main page and effectively hides them in a single thread.

With that said, I'm wondering if there's a way to take resume questions as they're asked and then edit them into something great. If we can allow resume questions without lowering the quality of the site, and without having to close each and every one of them as a duplicate, then that would create far more value than a single post; it would grow our site and create more good content.

A good course of action is to find a closed resume question and see if we can edit it into shape so that it fits our scope. If we can make them fit, awesome!

If we can't make those questions fit our scope, and they should still be off-topic, then we shouldn't allow them only as closed duplicates, as that sends the message that we consider these low quality distractions to be on-topic when they're really not.

As an aside, a resume-writing blog post could be a great piece for our Workplace Blog, which still needs 2 more contributors, by the way. :)

  • 3
    I'm not in favor of a "canonical resume" post because it's a very broad topic. I mean, I used to teach semester-long classes in which a good 9 of the 15 weeks were about resumes. I think we have a lot of good resume-related questions about presentation, wording, etc that have not been closed, and that it's not difficult to weed out bad, OT questions from good questions that might need some editing help.
    – jcmeloni
    Jan 1 '13 at 21:02
  • 2
    @jcmeloni - That's precisely where I was heading. The canonical posts tend to drain from the available pool of great, on-topic questions by trying to answer hundreds of potential Q&A pieces in a single post. It can be a good tool when it's necessary to stifle growth, but unlike Stack Overflow, we have the opposite problem; we want to encourage growth. :)
    – jmort253
    Jan 1 '13 at 22:18
  • @jmort253 well except we currently are closing the questions which you refer to a pool of great, on topic questions ;)
    – enderland
    Jan 2 '13 at 14:51
  • @enderland - We should go through those and see if there's any that could -- or could have -- been saved.
    – jmort253
    Jan 2 '13 at 18:38
  • Sure would bea good blog topic though.
    – HLGEM
    Jan 3 '13 at 18:52

Alternatively, this could be where a blog post/series really shines.

We may not be able to post a duplicate question but being able to link to a blog and saying, "resume questions are generally considered off topic for the Q/A part of this site, but some of our awesome bloggers have written a series of articles for consideration when writing a resume."


I suspect that this is a question where its difficult to get a good single answer, even in a blog.

Ignoring for a second the resume/CV issue, there's big cultural variations (photograph vs not as one example) as well as industry (say marketing vs banking vs software), and situational (career stage, online, recruiter, direct application, specific post..)

I'd suggest it is diffcult to break out of any viewpoint that is be definition going to be highly localised in its scope, unless you have worked across a lot of different industries and were involved in screening/comparing resumes.

It is also going to depend on how the resume is processed/screened. In my role, I "own" the whole process from putting forward the business case for new staff through to making the appointment - others (like HR, team members, management) advise or approve, but it is my call, in the end.

In other organisations the people doing the screening might not be involved in the interview stages, which, again gives a different perspective.

So - some suggestions I have are for more open questions are:

  • "What makes a bad resume and why?" might help people to avoid the common, generic pitfalls without being to localised to what makes a "good" resume for a specific situation.

  • "What do you look for when selecting a CV or resume for interview?" might help to keep the answers focussed on the employers/recruiters perspective, as opposed to opinions from applicants as to why they were/n't selected for interview or the role.

  • "What factors influence you when creating a short list for interview?" would encourage answers that "kept the end in mind" as much as possible, and perhaps highlight reasons why a good resume alone might not be enough.

  • 1
    Hi GuyM, I actually lean the other direction on these. "What makes a bad resume, why?" is really really broad. I personally think we close too many questions as too localized that aren't really too localized, and this makes us lean more towards questions that are too broad and not about a real, actual problem we're facing. Still, your examples highlight that there are in fact good questions out there about resumes waiting to be asked. They just need to be asked in that sweet spot zone between too broad and too localized.
    – jmort253
    Jan 1 '13 at 22:53
  • To some extent, it's good to have some localization in a post, as good questions are about real problems someone is facing. The problem should just still be something that others may face as well, but not to the extent that every single human being on the planet and his/her dog also faces it. :D
    – jmort253
    Jan 1 '13 at 22:56
  • Sure - so what is the real workplace problem in this case? If it is "getting to interview" or "getting a job" then already the question has narrowed down to a single facet of that, which unless it was based on non-specific, negative feedback (we didn't shortlist you because of your resume) is making a big assumption about the selection criteria.
    – GuyM
    Jan 1 '13 at 23:39
  • And - what level of granularity do you want to have? US/ US software companies/US software start-ups/US software start-ups via a recruitment agent/Californian software start-ups via a recruitment agent? It's almost like we need to have localisation "tiers" that set how broad/narrow things need to be.
    – GuyM
    Jan 1 '13 at 23:52
  • I've heard some of the community coordinators describe too localized as a very narrow situation, so narrow that even having a second person have the same problem is so unlikely, that the post wouldn't be useful to future visitors. Too localized has always been the close reason that I've personally struggled with the most, and I'm not sure that we're using it correctly on the Workplace. Perhaps that can be another question itself. :) Maybe we are, maybe we aren't... I'm not 100% sure.
    – jmort253
    Jan 2 '13 at 1:32
  • To answer your question, I'm not sure we can really know what criteria to use on resume questions until we have some examples to look at.
    – jmort253
    Jan 2 '13 at 1:32

Yes, I believe we should.

Many people come here thinking they can receive advice on how to write resumes better, etc. We currently just close those questions as a community, but I think we could greatly increase user retention by having them closed as duplicates - linking to a question answered at length about "factors to consider when writing a resume" rather than just closing as a dead end.

I suspect many of those users will never return, thinking "they don't answer my questions" but if there was a duplicate link given perhaps they would be more interested in sticking around the community. This may be a bit idealistic but, I think it would be good for this site regardless to have such an answer for the resume question as the certification/salary questions from above.

Questions like

These are just off the "recently edited questions about resumes" list here

  • My gut, and a quick glance at the resume tag, says the opposite about closures in this area...i understand the impulse behind your question, but can you point to a few of the closed questions that prompted this question? I'd like to address specifics where possible. Thanks!
    – jcmeloni
    Jan 1 '13 at 20:30
  • 2
    Hi enderland, your post on the main site looks like it could serve as a nice example of a good resume question, and I believe it will be helpful, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to blindly close all resume questions as a dup of it. We should definitely try to encourage all askers to tailor their question, show how it differs from yours, and ensure it's something that can be answered with facts, references, and specific expertise. In short, there are many great questions out there that just need the help of skilled editors.
    – jmort253
    Jan 1 '13 at 22:22
  • @jmort253 I agree that question is good (otherwise I was dumb to post it hah) but it's also not really about "how to write a resume" or "this is what I want to do on a resume, good?" like a lot of closed questions
    – enderland
    Jan 2 '13 at 14:47
  • @jcmeloni I added some questions I think a general "resume writing tips" answer would be good for.
    – enderland
    Jan 2 '13 at 14:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .