Re: How do you respond to job ads?

Subject: Re: How do you respond to job ads?
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 09:48:04 -0800

Oh, I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to crawl through
the wires and bash some applicants on the head with a selection of
under-ripe melons.

Welcome to the wonderful world of hiring people. I have been
interviewing people for years now, and I have to say 1 in 20 actually
puts together a reasonable resume/cover letter.

When I interview a writer (or anyone for that matter) who did not
submit a cover letter or samples I interview them as normal. If I
like them and I want to hire them, I say the following:

"Joe, your resume is very good and I am very impressed with your
skills. I would like to hire you for this position. However, the
advertisement for this position clearly asked for samples of work and
a cover letter, which you did not provide. Therefore, I will still
consider you for the position, however I will also consider the fact
that you forgot to include these items. This will affect my offer.
In the future, please make sure to follow the directions in position
advertisements. It helps you to get the pay and benefits you want. I
am not going to make you an offer at this time. I will get back to you
by Friday with an answer."

It is a little mean, but it puts the applicant on the defensive. It
also is a good way to pay them less than what you advertised. You can
say that the lower pay is a result of them not following the
directions in the advertisement. If they can demonstrate they can do
good work, you will reconsider the pay in six months or something like

The fact is, people who do not follow directions should not be
rewarded with a job at the salary they want.

Also, yes, writers should know better. In my experience, writers
often submit some of the worst resumes and cover letters. From
blatant errors to overselling themselves, reading some writer's
resumes can be almost entertaining.

Good luck
Andrew Plato
President / Principal Consultant
Anitian Consulting, Inc.

> 1. Most people aren't sending the requested work samples. When they're
> omitted, there's never an explanation as to why.
> 2. People submitting credentials via e-mail typically skip writing a
> cover letter. They write something like, "Here's my resume in
> application for your open Technical Writer position" and attach the
> resume. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I like to receive cover letters
> because they can give me insight a resume can't.
> 3. Resumes I receive via e-mail usually look terrible. Text-file
> have awkward line breaks. Resumes in Word format suffer from Word's
> "feature" of flowing text based on the selected printer. Some people
> even use nonstandard fonts that I don't have on my machine. Word
> substitutes other fonts and whatever good effect the applicant was
> trying to achieve is lost.
> I'm disappointed by these things because it seems to me that technical
> writers should know better. When I apply for jobs, I either follow
> instructions or explain why I'm not following them. (For example, I
> never give salary information. I explain why.) I always write a cover
> letter to augment my resume. I always make sure my resume will be
> and readable when received.
> I'd be obliged if you could answer a few questions for me, to help me
> understand these phenomena and, if necessary, change my approach:
> 1. Am I right in thinking that technical writers should "know better?"
> 2. When a job ad asks for work samples, what would keep you from
> submitting them? If you wouldn't submit them, would you explain why
> If you wouldn't explain, please tell me why.
> 3. When applying for a job via e-mail, do you write a cover letter,
> either as a separate file or in the body of your e-mail? If you
> why don't you?
> 4. When applying for a job via e-mail, how do you prefer to attach a
> resume: as text in the e-mail body or as an attached document? What
> steps do you take to ensure the resume is clean (no unintended line
> breaks, etc.) at the receiving end?
> Peace,
> jim


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