Is This Why You Can't Get A Job?


My wife likes to tease me that I'm a crotchety old man trapped in the body of a 38 year old man.  So consider this my whiny old man rant for the week.

I probably find a typo in most of the blog postings that I have.  There is probably at least one in this post (although in my defense, the software they make us use doesn't have spell check, but I digress).  But it's a blog and I'm doing it for informative reasons.  While I hope that it's perfect, I don't write it for money or to impress a client.

On the other hand, if I was writing a resume or cover letter, I'm so anal that I'd triple check the whole thing to make sure that there are no errors.  I haven't had to put a resume together in some time, but I know that a lot of good people are on the street looking for work.

So recently I posted an ad online for a temporary secretary when my current secretary asked for some time off after the holidays were over.  I was flooded (over 60) with resumes right away.  Many of the repliers were out of work attorneys.  The majority had decent work experience in law firms.  Others had no experience, but were trying to break in to the field or just find anything available.

So what did all three categories of applicants have in common?  Just awful typos and resumes that otherwise looked terrible.  One was in a format I couldn't open.  Another was a link to a website on the person which sounds creative until you get a 404 error on that page.  Many others had huge, unexplained gaps in the work history.  Still others didn't follow any of the instructions in the posting and seemed to just be randomly sending out resumes to anyone who had an opening.  Sure you might get lucky that way, but what a waste of time.

But the worst are the ones that e-mail you with no resume or cover letter and simply ask if the job is available still.  When you are flooded with applicants the reality is that you aren't going to respond to something like that.  Just send in your resume and letter and try to sell yourself.

Now my temp job was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for anyone, but why not give yourself a fighting chance to actually be considered for the job? 

Is this happening elsewhere?  I bet it is.  Am I just a whiny attorney (distinct possibility) or is this a big reason why people aren't finding work?  Or do people really give it their best effort if it's a job they really want? 


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  • Two points that seem related:

    1. Microsoft Word (2007 and up) has an Office Menu-->Publish-->Blog feature, which would enable you to use its spell checker. I don't know what software the Tribune is using for this, and whether it would interface with that, but I have complained to Tracy Schmidt that it did not, inter alia, have a proofing frame.

    2. Getting to the point of the post, with the economy as it now is, and especially with a temp position, I can understand gaps in a resume, and applicants trying anything to get back into the workforce. However, I don't understand the misspellings, or for those enclosing Word documents in their e-mails, not showing any comprehension on using Word, by having extraneous returns and tabs, and poorly aligned text. I taught, since the 1990s, that if it is in a word processor, it can be changed, but some people I know won't customize the cover letter to respond to the points in the job posting, or stress what they want rather than what they can do for the prospective employer. Finally, there are those who think the gaps can be covered by resume fraud.

  • Not entirely the Trib's fault, it's the Wordpress software that doesn't have spellchecking. The blogging software on another site I write for doesn't have it either. Yet the reply box I'm typing this in right now does, or rather it's allowing the browser's spellchecking to work. Some things seem so easy, yet

  • In reply to MRMcDermott:

    The Acrobat point was a good one (Microsoft Office products 2007+ all have at least an "e-mail as PDF attachment" option), and the PDF would at least not show all the paragraph and tab marks that the Word Document would.

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