Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reading between the lines, Part 2: Resumés

In the previous post, we examined the secret language of job postings and their hidden meanings, so I thought it was only fair to offer a look at resumés and cover letters, and how recruiters process that information.

Some of you dear readers have mentioned that you've had the joyous experience of hiring staff and screening job applications, and I, too, have shared your pain. The process can be long and arduous -- scanning hundreds of hopeful candidates, wading through an ocean of ridiculous spelling/grammar mistakes and cliché buzzword bullshit, praying you'll find The One before you scratch out your own eyes and jump from a window.

There are plenty of sites dedicated to stupid mistakes on job applications, but only Rocketradio has uncovered the secret language of resumés:

"I am calm and effective in crisis situations." : I take a lot of cigarette and coffee breaks.

"I take pride in my work." : I am quick to blame others for my mistakes.

"friendly and personable": I enjoy giving unsolicited advice to my co-workers.

"outgoing" : I'm rarely at my desk.

"advanced computer skills" : I know MS Word!

"resourceful" : I steal office supplies.

"honest, hard-working, and dependable" : I rat on people who steal office supplies.

"I possess above-average communication and organizational skills" : I'm kinda bossy and I never shut the fuck up.

"proven talent in creative writing": I will be blogging during company time.

"highly adaptable" : I change jobs every 3 to 6 months.

"highly motivated to succeed" : I'm leaving this job as soon as I find a better one.

"socially conscious and active in the community" : I drink a lot.

"able to quickly identify problems" : I complain a lot.

"good listening skills" : I rarely have ideas of my own.

"charismatic" : I have no interest in anyone's opinion but my own.

"I am very professional" : I have a daytimer. I carry it in my briefcase.

"I have a professional attitude." : I'm a pompous dickhead.

"excellent presentation skills" (on a woman's CV): I show a lot of cleavage at business meetings.

"excellent presentation skills" (on a man's CV): I own two suits.

"aggressive, ambitious, self-starter" : I'm a total nightmare to work with, but I think I'm quite awesome.

"I excel in a team environment" : I don't pull my weight, but I'm really good at taking credit for stuff I didn't do.

"I work well with others" : I have been accused of sexual harrassment.

"I have a great sense of humour": I have been accused of sexual harrassment.

"demonstrated leadership qualities" : I'm a loud talker.

"excellent intuitive judgment" : I know when to disappear.

"effective time management skills" : I'm a clock watcher.

"detail-oriented" : I'm a nitpicker.

"strong interpersonal skills" : I'm the office gossip.

"willing to relocate": I am so tired of living in my car.

"willing to work overtime/flexible shifts" : Things are pretty miserable at home.

"available immediately" : I have been unemployed for months and I'm very desperate.

"thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing my CV" : If you hire me, I'll do anything you ask. Anything.

"I look forward to hearing from you." : I'm waiting for my form rejection letter.


Falwless said...

I have proven talent in creative writing. Don't tell my boss, though.

I especially like "able to quickly identify problems": I complain a lot. Jesus do I know people like this.

doorknob_dan said...

"willing to work overtime/flexible shifts" : Things are pretty miserable at home.


Jesus, that was the best one.

Bluzlover said...

I love this series on job hunting. The funniest things are the ones we can all relate to. This is funny shit. It's all so real! I think you have a "proven talent in creative writing."

TWSB said...

"socially conscious and active in the community" : I drink a lot.

Yeah, that sums me up in a single sentence. Time to change the old resume!

The Guv'ner said...

This all makes me all shuffly. I hate job applications. I hate all those stupid terms that mean nothing. Why can't people just write normal application letters. Like:

Dear Sir,

I am very interested in your job as hamburger tosser because I need to pay my rent every month and buy things like electricity. I know nothing about burger tossing but how hard can it be? I mean I have SATs and everything. I really am not hugely interested in burgers or a career in a minimum wage burger joint, but for now I'd be happy to flip some meat and take orders, until I find something better.

Yours truthfully,

katrocket said...

falwless: I think every single one of us has "proven talent in creative writing" at some point in our careers.

doorknob dan: Thanks! It's funny cuz its true. Only people with a whole lot of shit at home would volunteer to work late.

bluzlover: Glad you like it, cuz there will likely be more in this series, since job hunting is my full-time job right now.

Chard: Me too! I speak from rich experience. I've actually used most of these phrases in my own resumés over the years.

katrocket said...

Guv: I'd like to start using that as my cover letter (with names & job details changed to match each application, of course), if you're cool with that.

pistols at dawn said...

Dear Kat,

Please never get a job so that you can continue to amuse me with such posts.

Yours in Christ,

Pistols at Dawn (who is one day hoping to afford two suits, since this prison jumpsuit doesn't really count)

katrocket said...

Pistols: I do it all for you, baby. Be sure to stay tuned. It'll really get entertaining when I'm homeless.

Bill Pocock said...

Glad to see your resume name isn't connected to the blog.

Hell, I'd hire you to be my boss. But THEY don't understand.

doorknob_dan said...


You should send that letter in as an application somewhere and see if you get a call!

I'd call you if I were the manager! Hey, this person is a realist! We don't want those dreamer types flippin OUR burgers!

ginger b said...

And here I have just been telling people flat out that I take a lot of breaks, that I drink too much and often miss work, and that I'm rarely if ever at my desk...

I mean how was I to know you could just sugar coat it?

Jon said...

Funny stuff! I look at resumes all day, and you are right on the money.

Also, I wish I had a daytimer, whatever the hell that is.

Snooze said...

Oh these are great. I'm with Doorknob Dan - I especially love the 'willing to work overtime'. I've been in that situation and it's so true.

The Guv'ner said...

Kat: You go right ahead missy. Good luck with that :):)

It would be interesting to see what responses one would get to a letter like that...

Leonesse said...

You better get a job soon, missy, I may be needing that extra room very soon. You've seen how our country is going. I am willing to share a dumpster as long as you don't snore.

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Boldly Serving Up Wheat Grass said...

"proven talent in creative writing": I will be blogging during company time.

Guilty as charged.

Dale said...

My next application will have only the meanings and not the froofy lies and we'll see how that goes.

Jana said...

Hey, where did you get a copy of my cover letter????!!!