Thursday, June 04, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Job Seeking

Hello, Readers! Hooray for spare moments for blogging!

I feel this post is both timely and educational, as due to our unfortunate economic times, jobs are becoming scarce and there are a lot of new graduates out there. This is especially true in the library world.

To be more specific, I am in the middle of hiring for my department, and there are a lot of wack jobs out there. I wanted to share a list of dos-and-don'ts with you, in case you are a crackhead applying for jobs. Of course, I realize my readers know better than to make these errors when applying for positions, but this is still entertaining.

1. Do not submit an application that is entirely in bright blue, swirly font. It hurts my eyeballs, whose nerve endings are linked to the very finger I use to hit the "delete" button. If you are that obnoxious via pdf, I don't want to know you in person.

2. Please remember to read the job requirements. "Must have a library science degree" does not mean "...but it's ok if your entire work experience can be summed up in three letters." The three letters I am referring to in this particular case? KFC. Oh, how I wish I was making this up. Look, I know times are tough, guys, but even if I did have a soft spot for fryers of chicken (and believe me, I have a special place in my heart for them), my boss would shoot me if I hired someone like that and expected them to understand Boolean operators and database licensing agreements. Hey, you'd be a hit at the pot lucks, but let's be honest, it's just a complete waste of time for both of us.

3. It's a good idea to leave your political, religious and socially volatile views out of your cover letter. Funny, but I thought this was an obvious one.

4. If you do not know how to explain why you are interested in a job without sounding condescending to the potential new boss, get a good, honest friend to proofread your cover letters. And leave your ego at home.

5. There is NEVER a reason why your resume should be eleven pages long. Unless you are the leader of a G8 nation, keep it to 3 max.

6. Actually, no, it's not ok to say, "In lieu of a cover letter, I have expanded my resume with extra details. I hope this is ok." Especially not when the application instructions clearly state you have to submit a cover letter in addition to your resume.

7. Before you send in your references, double check to make sure they are not all personal friends. If they are, lie to me and say they are former coworkers.

8. Please do not call, email, then call, then email again, then call...and basically harass the crap out of me. It's annoying. Guess what kind of people I don't like working with.

9. Sending me an email apologizing for the spelling errors in your cover letter and resume will only convince me of your lack of attention to detail. They invented this thing called "spell check". Use it.

10. How the hell did your pdf pages end up out of order AND upside-down?? It was a word document to begin with! You are deleted, because I don't want to have to untangle your messes all the time.

11. If you went to Super Awesome Ivy League School, and you rest on your laurels for 35 years, yes, I will delete you. I don't care that you are smart and/or rich. I need someone who is active in the field and realizes that typewriters are as dead as dinosaurs. Who types their resume on a typewriter anymore????

12. That being said, there's the other side of the coin: if your resume looks like a train wreck, with a new job and/or career every six months, that does not bode well. I don't want to be your next experiment. Nor do I want to work with someone who can't get along with anyone. I could be wrong, but in my experience people with resumes like this either have no direction in life or they are very difficult to work with and are fired left and right.

13. If you are applying for the position I am offering, and accepting it means a massive pay cut and/or demotion in title and duties for you, this freaks me out. Hey, everyone has their dream job, but very few people want to go from being The Big Cheese to Bottom of the Totem Pole. This situation makes my warning bells go off. Something is not adding up right. Especially if you are still working at your old job. Fired or laid off, ok, I get it. But you're still the boss? And you want to volunteer for entry-level? Sounds suspicious.

14. If you have a question about the position, fine. That is understandable. (I personally go by the philosophy of, "Ok, I will just apply. If they like what they see, I will get to ask my questions in the interview.") But to hunt me down while I'm at work, then interrupt me while I am helping someone does NOT fly. Especially when you are wearing jeans and only want to know if the position is still open. Jeezus!!! You're applying to be a librarian. Someone who works with people. And guess what. People don't like being interrupted!!! Does the phrase "customer service" mean anything to you?

15. Speaking of what to wear, I am still young, and I consider myself laid-back and still relatively hip. I'm one of those people who doesn't care about small nose piercings, tattoos or black nailpolish. It's an art school. People are artsy. I get it. Just keep in mind that not everyone is like me. One of those people is my boss, who has ultimate veto power. And although the students wouldn't have a problem with it, some faculty members might. Guess how that reflects on me. Yeah.

I might have to add to this list if things keep going the way they are going! I had over 100 applications for my two positions, with more coming in every day. It's a long process, but at least it's an employer's market!


Jonathan Zero said...

When we had a job search last year we saw most of the ones on your list. It just amazes me. The one that really gets me is when the applicant misspells the name of the place they are applying to, not just once but throughout the entire application. Just shows like of paying attention to detail.
Good luck with the search!

(M)ary said...

As someone who has gone down the ladder rather than up in my career, I will put a word in for the person who is volunteering for entry level.

Sometimes balance between personal and work life requires a step down . Going down the ladder is, I think, a valid move these days.

Capricorn Cringe said...

You should at least interview the "in lieu of" person. True, they didn't follow directions but anyone who knows what "in lieu of" means can probably use "albeit" correctly, too. Those are the only two phrases anyone needs to know. :)

teahouse said...

Wow, I can't imagine how someone could come up with an 11 page resume! Yes, it's a tough time for many people. It seems like a no brainer to have to remind people to run spell check to distinguish themselves from the pack!

Lady Wanderlust said...

I despise writing cover letters. Why are they necessary?

Smug said...

I hate cover letters too. I am never sure what to put in it or how to make it long enough! Also, I have always heard to keep your resume to 1 page - you don't want to wear out your possible future boss!

LK said...

I agree with Mary. If you have ever been a boss and hated it, you would step down in a second (and take a cut in pay). Maybe the applicant just wants to work with patrons again. Just a thought.
I always liked it when the applicant summed up their work experience in one paragraph, then discussed their civil war reenactment experience for four. Good. Times.

Virginia Belle said...

Jonathan -- WOW that is classic! I didn't see that one. But I share your sentiments exactly!

Mary -- aaah! yes, of course. that makes sense to me. I hadn't thought of that. But the person I was referring to wasn't really qualified anyway.

Capricorn -- you might have an argument on your hands...

teahouse -- they had every single thing they have ever done on the resume. it was nuts!

lady wanderlust -- cover letters help me do a lot of weeding. poor grammar? can't explain things clearly? why do they want this job and why do they think they are qualified? the cover letters help me with that.

smug -- this is true, long resumes are not super fun to read. but i think 3 pages should be max. if you are super qualified, the employer won't mind reading it.

LK-- oh! That's right! i forgot about that guy. tee hee. you guys REALLY got some wack jobs up there. remember the guy who addressed the envelope by hand, but it looked like he wrote it with his foot? LOL