Impress me. Impress me not.By
I don’t do this often, but once in a while a resume will come through and I notice a very large error(s)—this is where the “I don’t do this often bit” comes in—and will respond to the potential candidate to let them know. Now, I am a stickler for consistency and grammar on resumes, but errors I am referencing are ones that are unforgivable and shouldn’t allow you to be hired anywhere even if you fix the mistake. Sometimes I feel particularly bad and want to let the candidate know before sending it to more potential employers.
Unfortunately, this happened the other day and it is something that would make me never consider this candidate for an internship ever . . . but only because of the way it unfolded.
After a note from the candidate asking if we required a writing sample, I responded and also let this person know that our deadline was that day, but would be happy to take a look even if it was a day or two after our posted deadline. This person immediately sent a resume and cover letter—both filled with errors.
I’m not sure why, but I felt for this person and let them know about one particularly large (and noticeable) error. My mistake.
The person wrote me back immediately, letting me know that he was under “a lot of stress” and corrected ME on something. Defensively saying “Oh, by the way . . . you’re wrong,” is not the way to impress someone who was trying to help you.
Had he thanked me and sent back a resume with the correction, I may have considered him a viable candidate. Even if he had thanked me for alerting him to a mistake that will prevent him from being hired anywhere, I may have reconsidered. Everyone makes mistakes whether or not they like to admit it, which is why despite being a stickler, I can be a bit forgiving.
This person’s cover letter noted that they had applied to “countless jobs to no avail.” I get that, but two things:
- Never put that in your cover letter or say that out loud to anyone outside of your mom.
- If no one is contacting you at all, that’s a big hint that the issue might be with you.
If you’re applying to a number of jobs and not even getting a response, sometimes it is just a factor of the very competitive job market right now. Alternatively, it could mean that you should tap some specialists to check your resume and/or cover letter. This is when you should go to your career services department at school or even a friend (if you’ve already graduated, many schools are still more than happy to help even just look a resume over).
I will tell you that if a potential employer encourages you to make an edit, you should apply those corrections and resend. The wrong way to respond is with a bad attitude.
Impress me not.
How would you have handled that situation? Any other tips for this candidate?