I hate looking for jobs. Hate it. I would rather talk to that annoying guy who keeps calling me about buying a plot in a Catholic cemetery. I tell him I'm not ready to talk about it and he somberly says, "Well, my dear, there never is a good time, is there?" Yes, I would rather spend an hour talking about my very own burial plans than open the job classifieds and actually read them.
But you know what is almost as bad? Finding someone to hire. ALMOST. I said almost. It's a lot easier to be the person sitting on her butt weeping through the resumes than to be the person constantly mailing out the resume being weeped over. I get that.
This happened to me at my last job. I had to hire my own replacement and GOD was it a miserable process. I would tell you all about it, except I'm reminding myself that one does not break the cardinal rule of blogging and write about one's workplace, even if said workplace is three years in the past. I hate that rule! I think my website would be 100x funnier if I could write about work. THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN! But anyway, yes, I had to hire my own replacement and the process nearly rotted my insides.
Now I have to do it again. It's a little different this time, of course. For one thing, I am not quitting, I am merely taking an extended leave of absence followed with (score!) part time work from home. I am shedding pretty much every element of the job I hate and keeping the fun stuff for myself. So technically, I am out to hire myself a coworker for whom I already have immense amounts of pity because dude, her job is going to suck.
I received about five resumes in the five minutes after I posted the job online. Now I have about thirty. I can't bring myself to read the emails or the attached cover letters, but I've opened up every resume and the weeping, oh the weeping. It has begun.
First of all, people with fourteen degrees should not be applying for my job. People with fourteen degrees and thirty years of experience need to be working for big companies and wearing suits and making a whole lot more money than my boss intends to pay our new hire. These are the first resumes to make me cry. Is the job market really so terrible that these exceptionally overqualified people are compelled to apply for my crappy job?
It's kind of like the other night when Phillip was watching that new Discovery Channel show, Planet Earth. As we all know, I am not a fan of Nature and therefore have zero interest in polar bears or the ocean or amazing footage of a lion attacking a giraffe or whatever it was that I was supposed to race downstairs and come see right that very second. I am, however, a sappy disgusting sucker when it comes to things like baby penguins and baby buffalo and occasionally I can be persuaded to enjoy televised images of God's creation. So I'm sitting there watching the penguins huddle through the winter and the baby buffalo surrounded by the grown up buffalo, but I am no fool. I've seen the penguin movie. I know what's coming. And as soon as the narrator says, "The babies are cute, but nature is not sentimental" I am off the couch and flying back to my bedroom because WHY DOES GOD LET THE WOLVES EAT THE BABY BUFFALO!? THE PENGUINS HAD TO SUFFER ALL YEAR LONG FOR A CRACKED EGG?! Phillip tells me this is how the "ecosystem" works and the "food chain" and "circle of life" blah blah freaking blah, but all I can think of is: OH, THE FUTILITY.
And that is how I feel about people with fourteen degrees who apply for my job.
Then we have my own biases at play. For example, I am not hiring my replacement, I am hiring the next me. Therefore I am less interested in resumes from men, anyone with work experience before 1997 and because I will be this person's boss, albeit for a very short time, anyone I wouldn't be able to tolerate. Like former salespeople or event management types, who are most assuredly sparklier and talkier than me. Yes, I KNOW this is bad. Phillip's Disapproving Stare is with me the entire time I'm reviewing these emails.
I've also had to talk to two different recruitment agencies, which I never had to do the last time. These recruitment agencies are staffed by The Chattiest Women On Earth who swear up and down they have the perfect candidates for me, if only I pay the 10% fee or whatever it is that keeps these agencies running. (And I still can't figure out how they work.) But there is a reason I posted the job online and only left my EMAIL ADDRESS. There is nothing in the ad implying that they should google my company until they find our phone number, call me up and interrupt my very important blog reading schedule to ask me stupid annoying questions about "what I'm looking for". Send me a resume like everyone else! GOD! I swear, if these people knew me, they'd know they've automatically lost any chance they have just by trying to get me to talk on the phone.
But the worst part... Okay, so a lot of my job (or, I should say, the parts of my job I am shoving off on to this poor new person) has to do with these three things: Attention to Detail, Organization and Making Things Look Pretty. This is where you live and die by your resume. I'm sorry. I really am. I know that what your resume says should be more important than what your resume looks like. But seriously. Comic Sans? Are you kidding me? Are you TRYING to make me cry?
The resumes are what make the steam come out of my ears when Phillip finally gets home (at eight o'clock! I know! Like that is going to fly when the baby is here!) and I have my chance to Vent About My Day. Because OH, MY EYES.
Ways To Permanently Blind Your Potential Interviewer
- Misspelled words. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, Job Applicants! What are you thinking? In this day and age of Microsoft-inflicted spell checker (and I HATE spell checker), there is simply no excuse. Do not tell me you are a detail-oriented employee when you have just reworked "customize" into "custimize".
- Resumes that are longer than one page. If you have fourteen degrees and thirty years of experience, I can handle a second page. Even a third. I really can. (IF IT LOOKS GOOD. More on that later.) But if you are Sally Recent College Graduate with admin work and Olive Garden on your resume, do not let your resume run an extra three lines onto a second page. You are not applying to be CEO. Cut! Trim! Edit! Most of all, LOOK at your resume when you're finished! See those extra three lines? Do I really have to tell you how dumb that looks? How it dumb it makes YOU look?
- Inconsistent fonts and formatting. The hell? Did you cut and paste your resume from the ten different ones you found online?
- Resumes designed by your eight-year-old sister. This one I really can't figure out. Every single person who has applied for my job has a college degree. And I'm not saying a college degree makes you smart, I'm saying a college degree implies that you had access to some type of "career center" on your campus where you could, if you so wished, find out how to make an attractive-looking resume. It's not just crazy fonts and bad formatting, it's the lack of formatting at all. It's using 9 point text to cram everything onto one page (cut! trim! edit!). It's not using white space or paragraphs or any sort of visual organization whatsoever. It's using the first Word resume template option without thinking it if works for the information you want to convey.
Phillip used to get really frustrated with me the last time I was looking for my replacement. "People make misTAKES!" he would constantly point out. "Just because they forgot a period doesn't mean they're not worth interviewing."
I agree there is some truth in that. But leaving aside the point that he is the kind of person who would leave out a period and I am most definitely not, here are the facts: I have received thirty resumes in three days for one job. I am looking for any reason to reject you. I have also taken pains to point out that Attention to Detail, Organization and Making Things Look Pretty are as important (if not more) than knowing how to use PowerPoint or the fact that you were once a Big Shot So And So at the Very Important Place. I'm sorry. You are sending your stuff to someone who sleeps with Eats, Shoots and Leaves under her pillow and has died of shame over innocent ridiculous typos. (Another requirement for the job: a heaping dose of Krazy.)
OBLIGATORY BLOGGING DISCLAIMER- I rarely (read: NEVER) edit this website. I brain-vomit onto the keyboard. I hit publish. Finito. I am well aware of the hundreds of misspellings and grammatical errors littering up the place. I am not terribly inclined to put the little thingy over the 'e' in every instance of 'resume', thank you very much. But I am the most irritating perfectionist you have ever known when it comes to what I do at work. My anal retentivity is known far and wide, so much so that when I do screw up, everyone really enjoys pointing it out to me. Have you spent an hour deciding whether or not to center something on a page? Do you want to bury yourself alive if you see someone's named spelled wrong on something you distributed? Have you bothered to learn bits of Visual Basic just so you can make your job more efficient? Do you want my job? EMAIL ME!