Over on the Greyzone blog, the inimitable Tami Palmer, (Colorado’s Job Search Coach, Career Mentor, Author and Donut Girl), has just penned a useful article on How to Screw Up Your Resume So You Won’t Get the Job. Actually, since Tami is a gentle, positive, and encouraging soul, she doesn’t put it that way. Instead, she titled her article You Have 7 Seconds to Turn Your Resume from a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’. In it, she writes:
Did you know that the average resumé is looked at for seven seconds? Yes, only seven seconds. Based on my own experience as a recruiter, I think that’s actually generous, as the time is often even less
( I agree 100%, Tami!)
Recently, Tami has been supporting one of her clients by reading resumes and sorting them into Yes/No/Maybe folders. This is a worthy task for any recruiter. The chance to skim a bulk volume of bad resumes inspired Tami to write her story.
Tami shares four techniques for How Not to Get a Job – Make sure your resume has:
- No relevant career experience in the field/role.
- A career path not aligned with company or role.
- A cover letter addressed to wrong company.
- Not shared necessary details.
Tami did a good job of covering the basics. NotJobs readers may remember a few other ideas on how to blow it:
Please see the full text of Tami’s article. She’s offered some good advice.
Noon Update: fixed the broken links!
After a quick yet confident once-over that unfortunately caught none of the rampant spelling errors, clunky prose, and overly casual language throughout his cover letter and résumé, job hopeful Mark Lopez hit “send” on the worst application California-based marketing firm Precision Intermedia has ever seen, sources confirmed Monday.
No – this isn’t from CTRN, ERE.net or SHRM, but it could be. In another “ha ha fiction funny but true” article, America’s Finest News Source The Onion delivers a great example of How Not to Get a Job. This is spot on satire that many of my recruiter buddies could have written. Check out the entire insightful but brief piece here:
In this short masterpiece, the careless actions of applicant Mark Lopez result in a resume that becomes the one that HR says is “going up on the bulletin board.”
It could be that Lopez was practicing the NotJobs blog wisdom shared in last April’s popular infographic:
Or it could be that this applicant comes by these skills naturally. Many people do.
Submitted for your approval, a letter of rejection sent after a resume review step, purportedly from the Cadbury Chocolate Company:
Dear Mr. X
We regret to inform you that your application for the position of Global Quality Manager has been unsuccessful. We don’t normally respond to unsuccessful applicants but in your case we’ve made an exception in order to return the £5 note you attached to the references section of your application under the line “Elizabeth *wink wink*”
This letter may be apocryphal, but some sites in Great Britain quote the full tweet with the original image. Cadbury is doing the right thing by sending this letter and returning the cash, even though the sender is “outside of the standard distribution.”
Louise, a senior in a Journalism program at an Australian university, had an encounter with an astute hiring manager who used a practical interview exercise to evaluate potential new hires. Louise writes well, so perhaps she has some skills needed for this craft, but her first experience in actual Journalism was memorable but not successful.
A practical interview exercise is a hiring method where the applicant is evaluated on their ability to perform a series of actions that are directly related to the job they want. Examples include asking welder candidates to join a seam, asking heavy equipment mechanic candidates to troubleshoot a faulty hydraulic brake system, or asking recruiter candidates to write up a job posting on a tight deadline. Anyone can talk a good game, but a practical interview exercise asks the candidate show what they can do.
Here’s how it went, as Louise described on her Student Journalism 101 blog:
“Hi, I’m Peter. The editor. The one who you have been conversing with over the emails.”
He seemed very official, very serious, very busy, very… all the describing words that make a job applicant feel more lacking in self-assurance and the situation all of a sudden very real.
“Hi Peter, yes I assumed that. Nice to meet you.”
“Come with me to my office and we’ll have a talk about what’s going to happen today.”
Interview time. Game face: on.
“I will not be interviewing you.”
“I don’t believe in interviews, they don’t tell me anything. I find that a lot of the time people will sound like an excellent candidate in words, yet their work is not very good at all. Instead, you will spend today doing work tests that will be led by the chief of staff. Not only do you have to impress a grumpy old editor like me, you also have to prove to the other journalists that you’re the right candidate for the job. At the end of the day, because they are such a tight-knit group, it is up to them to decide whether they like you or not and believe me, they are a tough bunch.”
“So… what exactly will I be doing in this work test?” I tentatively asked Peter, trying to hide the nerves in my voice.
“You will be writing two articles for the paper tomorrow.”
“The head of staff will assign you stories which you are to complete. Oh and by the way, these country folk will be able to smell out whether you are an experienced journalist or not. If you don’t seem credible enough or they begin to wonder if you really know what you’re doing, they’ll eat you alive.”
Wow! “…people will sound like an excellent candidate in words, yet their work is not very good…” is an insightful comment from brilliant hiring manager. Yes – anyone can talk a good game, especially in a word-driven field like Journalism. His practical interview exercise offers both a realistic job preview, and tests the real skills needed to survive in the role.
As it turns out, the classwork that Louise had completed for her major had little relevance to how the field actually works. (This is not a specific knock against the Australian University System <above>. The same problem is endemic throughout the USA’s University System too.) Louise reflects:
At university, we have weeks, if not a month to write an article and submit it for assessment. Obviously, I knew I didn’t have weeks in which to finish my story today, but in only a couple of hours?
In all my years of studying, I have never been under this type of pressure before. Nor had I ever learned how to cold call from a list of PR numbers or anything even remotely similar.
I believe that’s the problem with the majority of today’s journalism courses. Students spend months and years analyzing texts, studying media convergence, writing essays about journalistic standards, outlining business proposals and critiquing god knows what and what for – but this has largely nothing to do with what really goes on in the day to day jobs of working journalists.
University may enable degrees, but they do not prepare students in the slightest for the real world of journalism work.
Louise learned an important lesson about the disconnect between school and work. One hopes that she did not take on an extraordinary student loan debt to learn this lesson.
Please see the whole article here:
A few extra thoughts for Louise:
- Good on you for starting a blog. Blogging is great practice for print journalism, especially if you work on a deadline. See the master, professional journalist James Lileks at lileks.com.
- Good on you for trying to get an cadetship (which I think is Australian for “internship”). Your trial by fire gave you a look into how your profession works. Better to know now how it works, instead of getting hit after graduating and getting hired.
- Keep at it. You’ve had a taste of the profession – hopefully you can make your way back into the field.
- Please write more.
Hopefully, we’ll hear more from Louise, preferably in print.