Patterns of Remembering on Résumés

Ferhan Tunagur


A significant amount of mnemonic socialization of professional life occurs through résumés; that is, through observing, preparing, reading, writing, editing, and updating of résumés. Résumés are sites of self-representation that entails one’s presentation of his or her past to various audiences, which in turn entails one’s remembering of his/her own past. The remembering which occurs on résumés is social, learned, patterned, and structured. This paper presents an account that reveals those patterns of remembering. It focuses on identifying the underlying formal features of self-representation through this presentation of one’s past. By linking past events to the present, the context is re-created as a means of portraying the present condition of an individual. This paper argues that on individual résumés, the personal recollections manifest a collective mindset, a collective remembering of the past.

The ways in which individuals remember their past displays patterns of a collective memory. This paper uses the method of pattern analysis which aims to capture commonalities and consistencies, rather than the frequency of textual occurrences, on résumés. Finally, patterns of remembering found at various social sites are examined and compared with résumés. These include naming practices, use of mental gaps, social construction of discontinuity and continuity, and in general the social marking of past events.

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