, , , , , ,

old article on how to prepare a resume

“The majority of employers prefer to study a man’s résumé before inviting him in for an interview….Remember your prospective employer is a busy man…reach inside your coat pocket or briefcase…”


Cleaning out my belated father-in-law’s house has been arduous in many ways. Given his longevity and pack rat behavior, there is an overwhelming amount of stuff to go through. There is an adventurous side to this expedition though. Sometimes I feel like a DeLorean has transported me back to the mid-20th century, a time when men ruled the workplace, exemplified by this article on how to prepare a résumé. Since I write résumés professionally, I swooped this up, read it with askance and giggled.

The sexism and political incorrectness is shocking – or not, considering the advice was probably given in the late 1940s. The article is not dated, but the time period in the sample résumé and the references to work history during the war give it away.

1940s sample resume

The article proposes the following job responsibility statement: “During the war, despite the fact that we did not have any allotment, obtained sufficient paper.” Little did they know that in the 21st century, paper would become a dirty word.


With all the male pronouns included, both for the job seeker and the interviewer, the title might as well have been, “Ladies, Don’t Even Think About It!”

On the subject of appearance, “Employers would like to know what the man looks like with whom they are likely to do business.”

My jaw dropped when I read the recommendation to attach a photograph and include marital status, age, social background, height and weight.


References to a carbon copy and mimeograph cracked me up too.


A takeaway for me is a renewed appreciation for how far we’ve come. Not having worked in a time when this blatant discrimination was legal, it’s so easy to forget the outrageous practices of decades ago. This article is now in a plastic sleeve with my résumé writing portfolio. It’s a keeper.

Other hidden treasures in the land of I-never-throw-anything-out were uncovered this weekend. Stay tuned for future posts and I’ll save a seat for you in the DeLorean.