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The View from the East End (40)

By Inspector Hopkins

June 4, 2006

A Sherlockian Resume

by Inspector Hopkins

If you are really serious about Sherlock Holmes, that makes you a Sherlockian.

Now suppose you were really serious about being a Sherlockian.  Suppose further that you were seeking a full-time position as a “professional Sherlockian”.  How would you go about that?

The answer is, of course, the same as in the business world: you need to put a convincing resume together . . . a Sherlockian resume to be exact!  You should start it off by listing your “Education”. This would be the first time you read the Canon, which books you used to complete your education, and the year of graduation. You would next list your “Employment”, giving a brief history of your responsibilities for each employer, and of course, you would list them from your present (or most recent) employer to the oldest.  (For example, is my current “employer”).

Following that, list all the scion societies you belong to and give a summary listing of any recent papers or articles you have published, all awards you have won, and so forth.  Being a member of the BSI would more properly be listed separately under Education, since, as I told you before, it is like earning a PhD in Sherlockiana.  For each of the scions you list on your resume, you should briefly describe any offices you have held within them, as well as their corresponding responsibilities.  Of course, you could use “bullets” in your resume to make these items stand out more clearly. This would make them easier for prospective employers to read, and would be especially effective if they were in the shape of a “VR”.

Finally, wrap up your Sherlockian resume with a listing of any special skills you have such as making up Sherlockian limericks, impersonating Canonical characters, etc.  Also include in this section any odd bit of information about yourself, so that you will stand out from the crowd.

Remember that a great resume alone will not guarantee you that dream job you’ve always wanted. A well written cover letter is what will get your foot in the door for that all-important interview. For example, the advertised position may state something like, “The successful professional Sherlockian candidate will have excellent computer skills”. You would need to tailor your credentials to fit this requirement.

With the continuing boom in computer technology, wireless networking, PDA’s and the like, Internet savvy is an absolute must. A degree in Computer Science may be desirable, but do not let the lack of one stop you!  No indeed!  Simply getting a message through to the Hounds List (or better still, retrieving an old post from them), is a very impressive achievement. Make sure you list this prominently both on your resume and in your cover letter!  Once they realize you’ve accomplished something like that, prospective employers may even waive all requirements for formal computer training.

Probably the most overlooked benefit of writing up your Sherlockian resume is that you will be able to recognize areas in which you can improve your skills. When I wrote my own resume for example, I was basically happy with it, but I could clearly see that one area in which I did not have a lot of strength was in delivering Canonical toasts.  This prompted me to practice giving toasts to the Woman and to Mrs. Hudson, etc. in front of a mirror and really helped me to hone this skill!   I found that the longer I practiced, the better I got at it, especially when I used real martinis.

Ultimately, once you’ve zeroed in on the weak spots in your own resume, you will also be able to recognize your strengths, and can emphasize these in your cover letter. Once you get an interview, you can also use them to land that job if skillfully presented. Be sure to wear suitable Victorian attire and be alert and aggressive, yet still relaxed and polite. 

You can do this!

But remember, it all starts with a good Sherlockian resume, so if you don’t yet have one, you should make this your next priority.

Oh . . . one last point: don’t forget that you should not bring up salary requirements. It is better for your prospective employer to do that.

Until next time, and wishing you great success in obtaining your position, I am as always,

Yours faithfully,