Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue

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 sexxxygurrrl6969@aol.com... 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've got a million more, but I have to get back to the stack of resumes. And yes, I realize the irony inherent in blogging while I'm looking for a good employee. Shut it.

I promise my next post will have less bitchy snarkiness.


Redhead said...

Yeah, I think your idea of bitchy and mine are very different. Calling out the incompetent people of the world is necessary AND fun. And reading resumes? High entertainment - you just need to be in the right mood. (Come on, you know the oral skills girl is getting interviews left and right - I can't believe you didn't fall for that.)

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with red. This post, in no way, shape or form, says "bitchy" to me. Perhaps I am an uberbitch. Perhaps a large percentage of ingnorami (yes, I went there) are applying. I think exacting standards are incredibly important. Reading resumes can really make the word "appliCANT" take on new meaning, no?

dustin said...

This should be required reading for anyone applying to a job -- I used to muddle through the worst goddamn resumes -- people who couldn't spell to save their life, applying for freakin' editorial positions.

I must confess, however, that back in law school, I made the dumbass mistake of not only making my email address bigassham@bu.edu, but I somehow thought that corporate law firms would be impressed with the Letterman reference. I didn't get a lot of callbacks.

Anonymous said...

Longtime lurker, but I had to post. I work as a case manager for a senior housing authority building in one of the western burbs of Boston. You would not believe the shit some people tell me to try to get a job working for this particular housing authority. Worse yet, I don't even work for the town, I work for an outside agency who just provides the case management, so these people don't even realize that they aren't asking the right person.

t2ed said...

This ought to be packaged up as a commencement address you can give somewhere.

Better advice than the new grads are going to get from any local politico.

Manny said...

Man,this was great. More bitchy, more snarky please. If my left shoulder weren't a twisted knot of pain, I'd applaud.

But seriously, you should have invited "good oral skills" girl in. You could get your Guy Club membership revoked for not. I'm just sayin'.

slouchmonkey said...

I just added multi-taskilicious to my resume. Dustin is right. This should be required reading.

em said...

Heh, this is definitely not bitchy--not in my world, at least, since calling people out on shit like this is not mean in any way--but hilarious. I've had to go through tons of resumes and my personal favorite section is the "Personal" section, which have included:

"traveled extensively through Asia"--congrats, you have a passport and cash.

"mentor students online"--because getting an actual volunteer job sucks and kids are all sticky and smelly.

"Krav Maga (Israeli fighting technique) and Guzengh (Chinese instrument)"--teriffic. The next time I need a Mossad agent who needs to go undercover as a musician in Beijing, I'll give you a call.

Oh, also, no one gives a shit about which sorority/fraternity you belong to. Honestly. This isn't "Legally Blonde", OK?

onthevirg said...

I have to go with everyone else, this is not bitchy. It is in fact hilarious and you should continue giving us snippets of work from some of the retards applying.

A guy just got hired and mentioned, on his first day mind you, that he was working under the table while collecting unemployment before he got this job. He got his first and last check before lunch.

dmbmeg said...

excellent oral skills? why didn't i think of that???

girl with curious hair said...

As a matter of fact, I am looking for a job. Do you have use for a someone with experience in 'qualitative analysis of calcium channels in chicken embryos'? Those skills could also be used to 'crack, separate and dissect' three dozen eggs in less than six hours.

What that doesn't apply to your line of work?

hoorah said...

Whenever I had to sift through resumes forwarded to me from the staffing department, I always felt like I was on some hidden-camera show 'Worst Candidates of All Time'.

My favorites include the guy who revealed he dropped out of college to support his pregnant girlfriend.

Ditto to the email address thing: It's not funny. I don't care what it is.

And you're right: people who don't tailor their resume to the position they're applying for are the worst - they're giving me their work history and no idea how they are right for the job I'm hiring for. In general, if I have to decipher too much from your resume, I'm not calling you in for an interview.

You know, I don't think anyone teaches how to put together a resume anymore. That, and while it's not rocket science, apparently it's much more difficult than it seems.

em: People include a 'Personal' section? Really?!

TK said...

Well, either you people are all assholes too, or I'm more on-target than I thought. Let's shoot for the latter.

em & hoorah - the "personal" section is just stupid. Who cares what your hobbies are? Does your ability to run a marathon or watch movies make you a better employee? NO.

Curious Hair - you're hired. Can you start Monday?

Dmbmeg - I think people just know. You don't have to write it down.

Today's favorite: The job pays $50,000. It says so in the ad. Someone listed their "salary requirements" as "$85,000 - $90,000 plus bonuses". Bonuses? This is a non-profit, public sector job, buddy.

You people rock. Thanks for reading.

girl with curious hair said...

Wait, you want to see if I come to work with beer in my hair, don't you? Seriously, I'd love to, but the commute is a killer.

sme said...

I've been lurking your blogs for a while, but I've never commented.

This time I had to write to say that I don't think you are being bitchy at all.... if anything you are offering some much needed constructive criticism.

Then again, I am a bitch....so....

A Lover and a Fighter said...

You haven't even SEEN quike leaning until you see me. I'm unbeatable.

I will work for you, TK. I love grammar and defend it like most people defend their positions on abortion.

Plus I'm working on my oral skills.