Here's one of those posts where I make myself sound like a raging asshole.
I'm hiring. Anyone need a job?
So my department has a couple of job openings. Which leads to one of my all-time favorite activities - resume reading! Never before have I participated in an activity which is simultaneously so awful and hilarious. Funny and infuriating. I'm consistently amazed at what people will put in a resume.
Here's the thing. Resumes are important. Particularly if you're looking for a professional job. I mean, if you're looking to get hired at the local Quickie Mart, then no, they don't have to look that good. But if you want a career, particularly one in a field as specific as mine (low-income housing), then you need to put a little effort into it. By the way, it's important to note that these are not entry level positions that we're looking for.
It's not helped by the fact that I'm hyper-critical of resumes. Here are a few things that will, unless there are some really good extenuating circumstances, get your resume automatically stuck at the bottom of the pile:
1. Spelling errors. People. Come on now. You type your resume on a computer. Your computer has a spell checker. USE THE FUCKING THING. This isn't a goddamn aintitcool forum, or your blog (ahem).
2. Type-O's. Nothing displays your inherent laziness more than typographical errors on your resume.
3. Mass-mailed resumes that aren't customized for the position you're applying for. This doesn't mean I don't think you should use the same resume for a variety of fields. But if you are going to do so, and you are applying for a job in, say, property management, you should probably NOT type "looking to find a position in legal advocacy requiring strong research and communication". Because that doesn't make any goddamn sense and you sound like a moron.
4. Excessive corporate jargon. I get it. You're a team player. You work in a fast-paced environment and like to multi-task and are multi-faceted and do a bunch of other multi-related shit. First, shut the fuck up. Second, get a thesaurus and use some original terminology. I swear, there are about 10 "resume terms" out there - multi-faceted, fast-paced environment, multi-tasking, work as part of a team, able to work independently, motivated, strong interpersonal skills, et fucking cetera. And it annoys me to no end when someone uses every. single. one, without actually telling me what they've done, and what they can do. Look, there are millions of people who can multi-task, OK? It's not like being able to fly a fighter jet. It's fine if you want to state that you're multi-taskilicious. But just spend a little bit of ink telling what real, actual skills you have, things you've accomplished.
I know, alright? I know I sound like an asshole. But I can't help myself. My theory is this: You are looking for a job. You want to impress the people who you might potentially work for. This simple sheet of paper is all they have for you to demonstrate why they should invite you in. So shouldn't you do everything within your power to show them, on that piece of paper, that you're smart and capable and have something that separates you from the rest of the pack?
I was looking at resumes and I swear to God there was someone who misspelled "education". I'm not making that up. So fine, it was a minor mistake. But if you're going to misspell something like that, on something as important as your resume, what does that say about how you're going to do going forward? You want to show me your attention to detail? Try spelling "detail" correctly, you fucking ignoramus. And no, I didn't make that one up either.
Oh, here are two more things that bug me:
5. People who try for funny. That may work if you're applying for a job at Second City, or at a record store, but not in an office.
6. Know your limits. If the position asks for 10 years of experience in a specific field, and you've been working at the Gap for the last 18 months and before that you finished your BA in Basket Weaving, maybe you need to look elsewhere. While we're at it, please don't tell me what high school you went to. I don't care. In fact, I barely care where you went to college, as long as you've got the right experience. Assuming you're not looking for a job as a doctor or lawyer or architect, where you went to college and what your GPA was matters for your first couple of jobs, and then? Not so much. I also don't care if you enjoy rock-climbing or origami.
Anyway. Sorry to rant. I know this may hold the record for most boring and non-blogworthy post, but I had to get it off my chest. So to lighten the mood a little more, and sound a little bit more like a raving dickhead, here are some of the funnier things I've found on resumes or cover letters:
- Someone wrote that because they live near Boston, they have a "good sense of the problems of the inner city." Where do they live? Chestnut Hill, one of the wealthiest and whitest areas in Eastern Massachusetts. Look, I don't care if you live in Chestnut Hill or in a van down by the river. Just don't bullshit me.
- "I have extensive supervisory skills. In my last job, I fired six people". Great, just what this agency needs - a trigger-happy shithead who's proud of firing people.
- "I'm an enthusiast person." Riiiight.
- "I'm a quike leaner." Super. I've been looking for a quike leaner.
- "Interests: reading, my cats." Um... the day I put the fact that I have pets on my resume? Kill me.
- Quick advice: If you're going to address the cover letter to a specific person, it behooves you to spell that person's name correctly. Just a thought.
- Another bit of advice - if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org... you may want to use a different email account. Again, not a deal-breaker, but it is a little weird.
- "I have excellent oral skills." God, do I wish I was making that up. No, I did not interview her, despite my co-worker's wishes.
- "I have applied for a position at your company five times and never been asked for an interview. This saddens me deeply and I feel I deserve a chance." Boo. Fucking. Hoo. There's a hint in there somewhere. Maybe, if you look hard enough, you'll find it.
- "While I have no experience in your particular field, I feel that my experience as a medical assistant gives me the skills I would need." Really? That's weird, because I'm confident that I am in NO WAY qualified to be a medical assistant.
I promise my next post will have less bitchy snarkiness.