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I actually have a rant..........

posted 11/21/2007 9:16:16 PM |
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In the past there have been several blogs dealing with first impressions of an individual based on the content and writing skills of a blog. In general I have refrained from commenting however this week it became evident to me once again how important writing skills can be.

I have been interviewing applicants this week for a clerical position in my office. My first impression of an individual applicant is the resume submitted to be by either fax or email. The ability to convey in writing is of utmost importance in this situation, it determines if I “X” the application or pass it to the “possible” stack.

The Palm Springs and surrounding areas are primarily a retirement/resort area with over 200 golf courses. As a result the employment gene pool is pretty shallow. The most common employment is in the food service, medical and hospitality industries or at the high end, banking and finance.

Here are examples of comments from real applications which landed these individuals in the “X” stack, regardless of their work history. There are real comments with spelling and punctuation just as it appeared on the resume.

From individuals in the hospitality industry:

“I was a server and I suggestively sold drinks and food”.
I am still attempting to determine what she exactly meant by “suggestively”.

“I worked at one of the cah rigsters but when I took some xtra mony I got firred. I complaned at the state ofece but they tole me I was lucky I dndt go to jail”

“While employment at the Mariot I stood at the door most of the time. My job was to answer the telepone.”

“my job was to put stuff in the computer. I did this by using a keyboard”

From individuals in the health care field:

“I am used to old people and I Deled with all timers people”

“I spend a lot of money to lean how to answer a phone in a doctor offece now I kant find a job”. I nowe I have good skylls”.

And then there are the resume date errors with 12 individual having 2 or more “present jobs”. Obviously their resume update left a bit to be desired. The list just goes on and on and on as if no one has heard of spell check. Resumes with hand written margin notes, the address or telephone number crossed out with new information hand written in its place.

So there are those who claim we are not to judge an individual by the skills they lack when writing. Well, I don’t care for the word judge because I am not judging anyone. However, what I am doing is to categorize an individual solely based on the first impression of their communication skill level. If you consider the age an education of an individual it is safe to assume they completed the required courses to attain, at the very least, a high school diploma. At this level as a prospective employer I have the right to expect a certain competency.

So I say, yes your writing skills, even at an elementary level are important. It is the first impression we receive of you. I agree the writing skills do not tell me if you are a kind soul or an angry tempest. But...if I can't get past your lack of ability to communicate I am never going to find that out.'s important..face it...acknowledge it...and do somethig about it!!

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Nov 21 @ 9:33PM  
Well DS, there are many times spell check can fail, especially when there are numerous words with the same sound (to, too, two) or different meanings. With all the atrocious grammer and spelling used in advertising these days, it's a wonder there aren't more problems. The same can be said about shortening the words when texting.

I agree, the written word is powerful. Use it wisely and great things will happen.

Nov 21 @ 9:43PM  
Oh! Aye! I could go all brooklyn on ya but I says, "maybe shes havin a bad day, week, year, Millenium?". Ok, so I won't say that cause it might ruffle some feathers, and with it being turkey day tomorrow you just might get plucked......On sceond thought, you just might need a good old fashion Plucking,lol(that's a free one, use it it good humor only). Well, I'm gunna chuckle down the road, if i'm lucky I'll get a good plucken too!..........Rich or hcir if you like.

Nov 21 @ 9:49PM  
ok heres a story for you ......

My sister was in charge of hiring the cleaning staff for a very large hotel,a pair of ladies both middle age,came into the building sat and awaited, she explained that she had worked at oscar mayer and had recently as in the last hour left her job, the bologna machine got stuck an threw bologna at her until she was up to her knees in bologna, however the kicker to this story is the woman wore 1/2 a pair of glasses , yes I say half, she was lacking an ear piece on one side, so she held her head funny to talk , yall know I FELL OUT LAUGHIN........ yes I did , sad thing is they both got jobs, now thats scrappin huh? I dont think the incident at work caused the damage to her specks,she wore em from home knowing they were missing an ear piece....

and here is one more, very think frail woman drove a huge station wagon bout oh 20 miles to the same hotel, she was always wearing snow gear, like muffs and stuff ,I being hot natured thought WTH...... so I looked,yall know she did not have one window in her car.... not one....... so I figured hell let her wear her gear in june who really cares.

Nov 21 @ 10:15PM  
I hate to laugh because I'm sure it wasn't funny to you but that's too funny. I've been on the end of not having proofed my resume close enough but never to that point.

You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression...words to live by.

Nov 21 @ 10:41PM  
Considering there are 100’s of self help books out Resume writing for Dummies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume.
100’s of web sites about putting together a good resume.

And all of them start off with something like this; The resume is the first impression, a selling tool outlining your skills and experience so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the employer's workplace.

Taking a few minutes to spell check is so simple.
And first impressions are lasting.

Nov 21 @ 11:11PM  
I do agree with your rant, but it looks like your spell check didn't work, either....

You wrote that your first impression of an applicant was a resume sent to be either by .fax or mail. We all make mistakes~~and people should know HOW important their 1st impressions ARE...but they don't if they are not educated properly. I work with college educated RN who still say "AXE " for 'Ask'...."go axe that patient what he's allergic to"~~~makes me cringe.

Nov 21 @ 11:39PM  
Maggie, that tale was hilarious. Now my mom doesn't fit that description but she never really learned to write English well. She speaks fine but still has an accent from her home country.

She does manual work and she's good at it, but when it came to filling out applications she would fill out her name and then tell the interviewer: You ask, I tell, You write for me. She always got the job, though!

Nov 22 @ 12:04AM  
If you consider the age an education of an individual it is safe to assume they completed the required courses to attain

didja mean '' the age AND education........."

kudos for bein a sport ......

Nov 22 @ 12:08AM  
Y'not.....if you look closer you will find several "intentional" errors in the last paragraph.

I was waiting for someone to spot them...toss the first stone and ignore the message of the blog.

You win!

yes...I am in a horribly pissy mood today - much unlike me.

Nov 22 @ 6:35AM  
Wow! Well... hmmmmmm, amazing isn't it?

Being educated is sooooooo important these days. And interviewing has some steps that need to be followed - a few common sense ones. Sounds like a few folks missed 'em aye........

Nov 22 @ 11:27AM  
I was a Human Resource Manager for so many years,,,,1,700 employees and good at it until I had to fire a Gentelman,,,,I did not fire him and transferred him to another Dept....I saw it was the Dept Manager that needed to be fired in place of this employee....he was holding his personal feelings in place of the employee's qualifications,,,,,I should have fired the Dept Manager,,,,,it was a manufacturing plant,,,,,I did not care about their applications,,,,some did not even speak english,,,,but they always met their quota and than some,,,,and the ones with the nice resumes usually landed up quiting or being fired within a week or two....I even hired an ex con,,,,a murderer and the people were upset,,,,but I felt he paid his dues,,,served his time....and he turned out to be an excellent employee....these type of people need to feed their families too.....My Office Personnel were also these type of people I would personally train them and if they did not work out I would transfer them to the plant,,,,but I would put myself in their shoes always.....I would even go as far as finding them better paying positions with other companies after they knew their jobs in the office like the back of their hands....and start over with a new person....When I see these people on the street or shopping they tell their children what a good person I was to train them...I tell their children I saw their mothers had it in them and never given the opportunity...

I have been one of those employees you speak of,,,I had 5 present jobs all at once,,,,when I became a single mother overnight,,,,I was not going to let my children live a different life style then they were use too...I went in at 3:00 AM to clean the Post Office in Winton,,,,yes a janitor,,,,,at 6:00 AM I became the clerk at the Post Office in Atwater,,,,sorting parcels,,,,,at 8:00 AM I became the Rural Carrier on a Auxi Route and drove like a bat out of hell,,,then as soon as I finished my Route I would help out on a City Route and would work every Wed at the News Paper for 2 hours a day in Merced....only because I didn't want my 3 children live the lives of being without....I have never regreted raising my children any other way....A Rural Carrier is paid by the day not hourly so it was great....I was double dipping as to speak,,,,but some people have to do,,,,what they feel they must do.....And believe me I was thin and slept hard,,,very tired....I also wish we lived in the perfect World,,,,God giving us all equal amounts,,,but it's not that way.....

And GspotGina I had alot of people like your mother and they were my best employees,,,,I applaude your mother for having the guts to go and apply for a job the best way she knew how.....Just my opinion....Lena


Nov 22 @ 12:45PM  
Mem...Thanks for the comment...and I agree on a certain level with them. This position was not one of "unskilled labor", thankfully I do not fill those positions in the plant. This position, in the fast paced Sales/Marketing dept. requires clerical/office skills, telephone, computer and internet skills, all of which were outlined in the employment ad. At a starting wage of $12.00/hr. certain skills are mandatory.

I have a responsibility to the company, our customers as well as the other employee's in this dept. to fill a vacancy with a qualified individual.

We do not live in a perfect world but we no longer use the pencil and paper system to communicate. Postage stamps are a thing of the past as are individuals who do not keep pace with the ever evolving work force. I am forced to be continually reinventing myself to keep pace with the world. I can't change's a fact of life. And, if I don't evolve I could be one those filling out applications again.

I am a softie at heart and my first impulse is to hire every person that applies. I read their applications knowing what a tough time they are having just making it day to day, but I can't do that. It's gut wrenching to know you can only make one choice, yet there are 70 applications in front of you.

At the same time I read the same application or speak with an individual, especially the younger ones, and see they have had 10 jobs in 2 years. Why, because they become dissatisfied with actually being required to work. What, you mean I can't come in late? What, you mean I can't take off when I want? What, you mean I can't have Yahoo IM up on my computer screen all day IM'ing my friends? Oh, personal text messages, I can't do that either?

This blog could go on forever about the changing world we live in and I can only hope the younger folk here take heed, listen to the words of the wise and begin their own metamorphosis.

Nov 22 @ 8:11PM  
I have a computer science degree DS, I have been looking for a job for over a year. I have sent out 350 resumes, as to my dismay, I have had 3 calls on. Sickening isn't it? Anyway to make a long story short, there are people out there that have the qualifications, however, some don't even get in the front door!

Good Blog hon, wish I could give you a green thingy ma bob, but I'm selfish! Hope this works instead!

Nov 23 @ 6:07AM  
I get your point about writing well and making a good impression. People who submit a resume and use it as the sole means to get a job need to put a lot more effort into making it presentable, though to me the point is not so much one of ability to communicate but rather whether an applicant cares enough about doing things right. Even if I cannot communicate well in written English I can still get someone else to proof-read and correct my errors; that would show I'm a go-getter who is willing to do what it takes to attain my objectives. As an employer you definitely want to get workers who care about doing a good job.

However, it must be said that relying solely on resumes is rarely a recipe for success anyway. Given one job and potentially hundreds of applicants it is hard to distinguish oneself from the rest just by submitting a piece of paper with terse and incomplete sentences, regardless of whether they are error-free or not. The most effective way to get a job is still by networking. That of course requires a lot more effort, thickness of the skin, and ability to communicate, but the payoff is also that much higher.

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I actually have a rant..........