Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shidduch Resumes

A reader at (a site devoted to addressing the madness that is the current shidduch process), a reader posted about shidduch resumes. He describes a wonderful girl he knows - attractive, well educated, literate, good family background, a "fierce commitment to Yiddishkeit," etc. He received a copy of he shidduch resume, in the hopes that he could find a match for her. He says that when he saw the resume, he wanted to tear k'riah. In his words:
In two pages, she had somehow managed to completely obliterate anything that made her unique and interesting, and made use of the vaguest platitudes both for herself and her prospective bashert. For someone makpid in tzniut to the nth degree, she somehow saw no problem in including her dress size. She "loves reading and music" (with no details as to what material she finds interesting), and is looking for a "mensch with good middos" (I suppose as opposed to everyone else who wants a jerk). Finally, of course, she needs to list details about her married siblings (whom they married and what shuls their parents-in-law daven at), 13 personal references, and six references for her parents.

NOWHERE in this resume is ANYTHING that describes this woman, what her interests are, and why she is a unique and wonderful "catch." I could cross out 10% of the lines from this resume, and it would apply equally to my mother, my sister, my wife, my next-door neighbor, and my two-year old son!

This is madness, indeed, and I will not be silent about it.

Preach it, brother!

The more I think about this letter, the more I wonder if a person filling out a "shidduch resume" (as an aside: how did our ancestors ever get married without "shidduch resumes?") shouldn't approach it as one who is looking for a job? Having a "bland" shidduch resume only causes you to blend in with the crowd when what you really want to do is stand out. This is especially true for the single women who (if the anecdotal evidence is to be believed) far outnumber the single men. What they need to do is put stuff on the resume that will cause them to stand out from the crowd... stuff that will cause a prospective groom to look at it and say "Hmmm... she seems interesting, different and special."

Also, I'm curious if people customize their resumes for their particular goals. For example, my resume (as a computer professional) would not be the same as an architect's, or a doctor's, or a secretary's. Each one tailors their resumes to be attractive to the people who are seeking to employ them. Do *all* Jewish men want the same type of wife? I highly doubt it. Do the girls have different resumes that target the particular type of man that they are looking for? I have no idea.

Likewise, I'm curious if they customize their resumes for particular people. For example, when I was searching for a job two years ago, I had a "standard" resume. However, I often customized my resume for several potential employers, highlighting skills and experience that I thought might be relevant to their companies and omitting facts that might not be relevant to their needs. For example, when I applied to a medical supply company, I added the fact that I used to be an Emergency Medical Technician. Was the fact that I was an EMT really relevant to the job? No, I was applying for a position as a database programmer, not as an EMT. But by highlighting the fact that I had some connection to the medical field, I stood out a bit more than some of the other candidates. Do young men and women do the same with shidduch resumes? Again, I have no idea.

Does anyone have extensive experience with shidduch resumes? Do all shidduch resumes resemble the one described by the person I quoted? Or is this just a case of a young woman who doesn't know how to make herself stand out?

The Wolf


G said...

With all due respect...

"attractive, well educated, literate, good family background, a "fierce commitment to Yiddishkeit," etc."

ohhhhhhhh, you mean as opposed to all those guys who prefer an ugly, iliterate, moron from a terrible family with no commitment to Yiddishkeit etc.

SaraK said...

I believe that the resumes are tailored for the shadchan; they ask these ridiculous questions, like where your sister's in laws daven.

Anonymous said...

She might do better including her dental x-rays so they can count her teeth.

Gila said...

Ahhhh...but just becauase the teeth are there, it does not mean that they are in good condition. I think some old fashioned photos of the teeth, accompanying the xray, of course, would be a good idea.

ProfK said...

Yes, some shadchanim ask questions that are mind boggling. But the majority of the questions on a shadchan's questionnaire are there because they get asked those darned questions by parents and by some singles. When I started redding shidduchim years ago I used an index card, the front for the name, schooling, parents' names information. On the back I wrote my impressions after speaking to the single for a while. And then people started asking me the nutty questions. For a 34 year old male--what summer camps did he go to? Where did the grandparents come from? What did the boy's bubbe eat for breakfast? And if I didn't have the answers or refused to supply them, the shidduch was not going to get redt. I did an entire lengthy posting once on the strange questions shadchanim get asked. Those questions are the genesis for the shidduch resume.

My personal opinion on the questionnaires/shidduch resumes? I hate them, hate them, hate them. Is that definite enough?

Anonymous said...

"Do *all* Jewish men want the same type of wife? I highly doubt it."

You shouldn't. Go to a dating website and look at the guys' profiles. Invariably, they all they want a girl who's nice, pretty, and smart, while the girls' profiles are a lot more specific and varied in what they're looking for.

eglantine said...

i think the reason for bland descriptions is the tendency of people to overinterpret and to read too much into more specific descriptions. the goal of bland descriptions is to avoid being pegged and excluded right away. so for example, a person might write that they like music, but avoid specifying the music , thinking that if they like the blues it will right away signify to the other that unless they are blues lovers there is no an obstacle to getting to meet each other. the underlying reason is the assumption that unless one has identical values and preferences there is no way of finding one another attractive. also there is a fear that the term "the blues" implies all sorts of things about one self other than a liking of a particular style of music, for example that one is a loose person etc.
is this to be deplored? of course it is. having a relationship with another person implies being able to tolerate difference, to even celebrate them, and to see that a preference is not the whole of the person. i think the tendency to ask silly questions such as the type of shoes a person wears is based on the assumption that loafers imply one thing about a person and tied shoes something else. ultimately i think it is a futile attempt to control the future of a couple and the infantile wish to match to perfection. what is lost in this is the idea that couples grow together, learn form each other, and that having a relationship is one of the greatest opportunities that HaShem provided us to grow. no wonder when children come and they do not comply with the program ( as conceived by us) , the couple is devastated. just some thought.

Anonymous said...

Re dating profiles and the "what kind of girl do you want" question: I suspect if I knew what sort of woman I wanted to marry, I'd probably have met her and married her. I want what everyone else wants, but beyond that I don't know what would really be good for me (other than a few things so superficial that putting them in writing would make me look stupid).

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous. Not one mention of her cooking skills or lack thereof?! What is this happening to this world?

Anonymous said...

The reason she doesn't get into the type of midos she's looking for or herself,possesses ,is that in the society in which she lives,it really doesn't matter.But dress size and where her relatives daven,now that's really important.I'd laugh if it weren't so tragic.

Anonymous said...

The more critical this quasi-resume becomes to the shidduch process, the more likely people will be to inflate it for fear they would otherwise spoil the girl's chances.

I worked once where we had a lab, and everyone wanted to get the best, quickest service. The lab manager tried to create order by setting up a new, rational system of priority levels. Unfortunately for him, all the engineers went for the highest priority level no matter what, to avoid losing their place in the queue.