My Very Personal On-line Resume Experience

A Research Project

Last month I received a call from an attorney on the East Coast. He had been surfing the Web and uncovered my company’s site and had apparently read the “Meet our Staff” section which contained a brief bio of myself.

He called to tell me that he wanted to hire me to be an expert witness in a case involving two well-known firms who were litigating. One firm had allegedly “stolen” a number of technical staff from the other firm and this, of course, is a corporate no-no. He felt that a deposition from me about the current staffing situation for engineers could be of benefit to the plaintiff and he requested that I send a full copy of my resume for the trial lawyer to review.

We agreed on a handsome rate plus expenses. I spent a fair amount of time updating my resume and emailed it to him. In the days that followed I began to imagine that being an expert witness could be a lucrative and fun sideline for me. Perhaps in my old age I could hire myself out for big bucks to tell people what I know about my line of work. Since HE had found ME on the WWW, I decided to go ahead and put my nice new resume on a few of the on-line resume services and go fishing for big game.

Well, what happened after I posted my resume has been quite interesting indeed. Here is a short diary of the events that occurred:

Day one- Nothing happened.

Day two- I got a call at work. There was a meek sounding person on the phone obviously from an employment agency who asked me how I was doing. I said “Fine, how are you doing?” He said “Fine, I was wondering what you are looking for?” I said “Nothing, I already have a job.” He said, “Oh, so you’re not looking?” I said, “No, I’m not.” He said, “OK, thank you, good- bye.” I was amazed at how easily I got rid of him. Later that day I got another call. “Hi, Mr. Eddington?” “Yes, this is Mr. Eddington.” “Hi, I was wondering if you are interested in a Peoplesoft job?” I said, “No, I’m not.” He said. “Really, how come?” Wanting to skip the small talk and dive right to the meat of the conversation, I asked, “You have read my resume, what is it that you think I do?” He said, “Well, I don’t really read the resumes.” Intrigued now, I asked how it was that he came to call ME for a Peoplesoft job. He became flustered at that point and politely ended the call. My amusement and amazement heightened. What would happen next?

Day three- A recruiter called and left a message saying that they got my resume on OCC. I didn’t call her back and never heard from the recruiter again. Later in the day, two friends, both recruiters, called to make jokes about my resume being on the Internet. I told them it was a research project and that they should shut up about it. I made fun of THEM because they were surfing the net instead of working.

Day four- I received a voice mail from the manager of a recruiting firm wanting to talk to me about my resume. I knew him and he had obviously forgotten that he knew me. I had sent him a proposal 3 weeks ago to help him fill 20 jobs in St. Louis. I called him back to talk, but he never returned my call. I think he has some medical problems. I also got a voice mail from a female recruiter who sounded so friendly I couldn’t stand not calling her back, but I didn’t because it would have thrown off the research project statistical matrix. I was glad when Day Four ended. It was stressful.

Day five- One of my own researchers who works down the hall asked me at the coffee machine if I was on the job market. I said, “No, I am doing a research project.” She laughed and with no remorse took the last cup of coffee before I could get any. Later that day I received a post card from the 3rd largest consulting firm in the world. It said, “We have received your correspondence and appreciate your interest in employment opportunities with us. We are currently reviewing your resume, matching your work experience and training with our staffing requirements. You will be contacted in a few weeks…” blah blah blah.

This one baffled me because I had not sent my resume to this firm. Had someone else done it and not told me? Did they just download my resume and consider that I had applied to them specifically? Was I compulsively mailing the resume out in my sleep? I think I shall never know the truth. At the end of the day, the recruiter from Day three gave me another call but missed me again. I had 2 other calls on my machine at home. I erased them accidentally on purpose, expecting that they would try me again, but they didn’t.

Day six- the chief executive of a very large national consulting company left me a voice mail. I am afraid to call him back because he might yell at me when he finds out that I am only doing a research project. Thank goodness he never tried again.

Day seven- No calls.

Day eight- I received a call from a contract recruiter who I have known for several years. He wanted to know if my company was in trouble because he saw my resume on the Internet. Guess what I told him?

Day nine- I decide that my research is complete and I instruct our webmaster to remove my resume from all resume databases on the net.

Day ten- I go on vacation where I contemplate changing my phone numbers.


My first observation is that out of all the professionals who called me, ONLY ONE individual made more than ONE call to attempt to reach me. You might say, in defense, that if a person were really interested in talking, they would always call back. Aside from being totally wrong, this is a dangerous assumption, because it is, well, an assumption. In my career, I have placed dozens of people who were horribly difficult to reach. Busy people can be hard to reach, so, welcome to sales. If you lack the ability to persist, maybe you should work somewhere where the prospect comes to you, like behind the counter at a fast food restaurant.

My second observation is that a good number of people contacting me about my resume hadn’t read my resume. I know, I know, some HR people have the job of just calling to see if you have a pulse. Once determined, you get to talk to a person who CAN read whose IQ is higher than their shoe size. For executives, who my resume states I am, I would recommend crafting a little better approach.

Another revelation is that these resume databases have become a feeding frenzy. I was shocked at how many recruiters are on the Web DAILY looking for fresh meat. I have mixed emotions about this point because I have never gone to the Internet to find a candidate, but my employees have and we regularly make placements because we surf for specific skill sets on various on-line services. Personally, I like to travel the less crowded thoroughfares when I do a recruiting job, but not everyone has a sufficient network to work in this manner.

Ultimately, what my research project has taught me is that putting a resume on the Internet creates roughly the same effect as walking into a singles bar in your underwear. Lots of people are going to notice you. This includes many new computer friends, all species of HR people, (including your current employer) and probably one or two knuckleheads doing research projects. It is all there for you if you want it. Bon appetite!

Steve Eddington