I gave my résumé to a person and she replied back as follows:

When you look at the below list of issues, you’ll probably think I'm tearing your résumé apart. I guess I am, in a way. But, I swear, your résumé is pretty good.

Now I am confused whether she meant she had “torn it” literally or that she had analytically broken it up into pieces.

  • 1
    Why would you think either if you looked up "tear apart" in dictionaries before asking?
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 23:36
  • Two votes to close as off topic? Why, oh why? Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 0:38
  • 1
    possible duplicate of What does "tearing your résumé apart in a way" mean? by the same user
    – coneslayer
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 1:13
  • @coneslayer Good catch. An exact duplicate. Someone got a lot of rep from the question the first time round and thought they could duplicate the feat?
    – AmeliaBR
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 3:43

3 Answers 3


tear something apart: 2. to criticize something mercilessly.

  • Yes, this is surely the meaning in the first instance within the quoted matter. But when the unnamed she continues, “I guess I am, in a way,” on her way to correcting the expected impression, she is explicitly acknowledging and referencing a separate possible meaning for the same expression, so you and @Pam are both right. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 1:06
  • I don't see a separate second meaning. I think she is criticizing the resume, but her statement is meant to show that she recognizes that fact, and soften the blow (perhaps because she would be even more critical of other resumes).
    – coneslayer
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 1:10
  • Well, if the CV was to be "teared apart" because non interesting or fake, I don't think she would be then complimenting the candidate.
    – Pam
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 10:09

Considering how she ends the message, I think she means looking at it very carefully: like breaking it into small pieces and analyzing each one of it, and every sentence.

  • This is true, but you haven't explained that she has done so in a very critical way. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 1:52
  • Well, "tearing apart" seems to be a quite "critical" activity :-)
    – Pam
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 10:49

I'd say it'd be good to look at is as a conceptual metaphor. You can think of the resume as a whole paper and then she rips parts of it, separating pieces of the pages from each other. When she does this she gets rid of major chunks. Editors also do this during corrections.

I assume she is helping you edit your resume before you send it out. It is my opinion that she feels that the core of your focus is good. She is just removing all of the sections that seem incongruous or run on.

I think you should take her comment as a compliment.