Notes on Resume Writing, or perhaps more aptly, The Hiring Saga.

Part of my responsibility, as Director at my job, is to do the hiring. It seems like a straight forward process…

Run an ad on Craigslist.

  1. Include necessary skills (you know, somehow resembles teaching ability).
  2. Remember to say it’s part time, with flexible hours.
  3. Four year college degree required.
  4. Experienced based pay.
  5. Include resume.
  6. No recruiters.
  7. Response directly through email.

In today’s competitive job market, you’d think people would read carefully. You’d think they would tailor their resumes to suit the situation. You’d think they’d want to show themselves in the most positive light.

You’d think.

Read received resumes, interview, hire.

The first response was from a recruiter. Julie Something-or-Other, clearly, didn’t read carefully. Either that, or she needed our services and shouldn’t work for us. Marked as spam.

The next response was from a retired teacher with 31yrs experience. That sounded promising. No resume attached, so she loses points. As I continued her succinct cover letter (which almost always gains you points), I read, “I will send you my resume after you send me some more information as I don’t want to waste your time.” Okay. That line borders on bitchy (not a quality you want a prospective employer to see in you, at least not before hiring you). If I had time to spend responding to every applicant in great detail, I wouldn’t need to hire anyone would I? The whole purpose of the resume is to not waste my time. She goes in the no pile.

Next came the email, again with no resume, from someone with a Manchester, England phone number (the commute for a 10hr a week job was going to be a bitch!):


I see about tutors needed shown on Craigslist.

Could ya plz mail few details across?

Best Wishes

I couldn’t make this up. We responded: The level of your grammatical competence is far below what we demand of our employees.  From the information you have provided, it doesn’t appear that it would be a good match.  Thank you for your interest. I thought it was kind. Too kind. It was certainly nicer than I wanted to be. But, responding was a team effort and I was out-voted. Damn it.

A Ms. Jones applied. Her page long cover letter with its uneven spacing was a little off-putting, but I forged ahead to the resume. In her five page resume, she listed ten jobs in ten years (red flag #1). Seven of them after 2007 (red flag #2). In addition, she has four volunteer positions, also dating post-2007. And she’s in school working on a Masters degree. At the end of the document she noted, “During periods of unemployment I was enrolled as a full-time student. I worked on undergraduate coursework from August 2003 thru May 2009 and began my graduate coursework in August 2009; scheduled to be completed in May 2011.” Really? What periods of unemployment? Resumes should not have footnotes. If you get to the end and feel you need to footnote—start over. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. No interview granted.

Probably the most interesting resume we received was from an actor. After listing his height, weight, and eye color, he listed the plays in which he had performed. And then under “special skills” was the following paragraph:

Singing and dancing, playing soccer, swimming, chewing gum while walking, riding a bike, dialects: standard English and Irish, basic MIG welding skills, basic stage combat (hand to hand and single sword), basic sewing skills, carpentry, driving an automatic car, some acrobatics, no fear of heights, whistling, juggling, can grow a full beard in one week.

Ian thought we should interview him (of course, in his own resume using this model, under special skills, Ian could put assassin in training for his deadly habanero-eggs). I assured Ian that no matter how creative I was, I would not be able to find use for this gentleman’s particular skill set. Ok, so he could likely reduce me and my staff to teary-eyed laughter on a regular basis, but did I want that? No interview granted.

There were several candidates who, after some staff debate, were granted interviews. That process begins today; wish me luck…


One thought on “Notes on Resume Writing, or perhaps more aptly, The Hiring Saga.

  1. Oh Mel…Good luck to you! I once hired a summer intern, all honors or AP classes, senior in high school, highly recommended by the guidance counselor. I took us about six months to find all the things she filed under “m” for money. (We’re a finaincial administration firm, almost everything we do relates to money). She was going off to an Ivy League school. Apparently there are no degrees in common sense. I’m sure there will be more interesting stories on this little adventure! Have Fun!

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