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A Slightly Biased Review of ‘Resumes For Dummies, 6th Edition’

Why are we biased against this book? Because we are not, apparently, the right demographic.

‘Dummies’ author Joyce Lain Kennedy (also author of the nation’s first syndicated career column ‘Careers Now’) is not a technophobe, as far as we know. But judging from her Twitter account she also is clearly not a technophile.

Resumes For Dummies, even in the new updated 6th edition (Wiley, $16.99), shows it.

First, the good. About 75 pages here are dedicated just to examples of resumes from people in all sorts of industries, including a number of “resume makeovers” that show great before-and-after examples of how to refresh a tired CV. If you haven’t written a resume in a few years (or if you’re a student who hasn’t written one ever), these, and the chapters that precede them, will be indispensable.

The easy trick to creating a custom resume for every job application (just make a “master” resume that’s about five pages too long and trim what you don’t need) is pretty clever for those who haven’t heard it before.

We’ll say it again: we’re fans of a lot of this book.

That being said, the sections on social media and mobile job applications are bewildering. Some sentences are bizarre but parseable: “After the internet caught job-search fire in the 1990s–instantly whisking resumes to and fro–little new technology changed the picture until the social Web groundswell burst upon us in the mid-2000s.”

Some literally do not make any sense:
“You can protect your identity in its purest Web form by buying a domain for your name – YourName.com.”

Some sections are not only nonsensical, they actually contain bad advice, like the sidebar explaining how HTML5 will violate the privacy of everybody on the internet. Worse, there’s the section where Kennedy advises jobseekers to send a short synopsis of their qualifications when applying for a job via a mobile app, because smartphone screens are too small to hold their full resumes.

We’ll let that one sink in for a second.

Does Kennedy not have a good editor?

CONCLUSION: Buy this book for the resume examples and other evergreen content. Don’t expect to get a technology crash course.

But you don’t have to take our word for it! Check out three sample chapters at the For Dummies store.

FTC Disclosure: Yeah, Wiley sent us a copy of this book to review gratis. We’re pretty sure the free-ness didn’t cause us to pull punches, but you decide.

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