Off The Press

August 18, 2009

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Kathleen Merrill Press Editor

Kathleen Merrill Press Editor

Ahh, the joys of hiring. Sure, jobs are hard to come by, but if you’ve seen some of the résumés I get here when a position is open, you might not be surprised why some people are out of work.
I have laughed hard and sometimes just shaken my head when reading a cover letter or résumé I’ve received. I often share these stories with my co-workers. After all, who doesn’t like a good laugh?

So, in the spirit of passing that on to you, dear reader, I am writing about a few of my favorite applicants, in a manner of speaking, from the past few years. Names have been left out to protect the guilty. However, the bad grammar and spellings actually belong to those who applied.One of my all-time best laughs might be this one:

“I have never written for a newspaper befour, but I think it would be neat.” Yeah? Well, I’ve never performed brain surgery before, but I think it’s really cool. Still, I won’t ever send my résumé to any of the local hospitals telling them other “neat” reasons they should hire me as a brain surgeon anyway. Although everyone thinks he or she can write, it takes skill and training to be a newspaper reporter. Really.

I love the people who read the ad, which always says what experience is necessary and often what is preferred, who then decide they’ll apply anyway, even though they have nothing the ad asked for.

A perfect example was a young man who applied for the position of city reporter. Experience in covering city government was required, with the preference being two years’ worth. Yet he had worked at the Brown Bear car wash, Red Robin restaurant, Rite Aid and Home Depot. Employees at those businesses cover city government? I had no idea.Salutations just do me in. We put whom to contact in any ad we run, yet I often get things such as, “Dear editor,” “To whom it may concern” and “Dear sir.” First, you can’t cut and paste my name or retype it? Or look it up if it’s not in the ad? And in what language is Kathleen a guy’s name?

How about this guy? The ad said a reporter was needed immediately, and that he or she needed two years’ newspaper experience. “I won’t finish college until June.” (This was in January.) “But I am worth waiting for, so will you please?” Um, no.

Or this gal? “I don’t have any righting experience, but I am really looking forwards to broadening my horizons.” Yeah, OK. Just don’t think you’re going to do it here.

Then, there was the guy who I sent two reply e-mails to, asking him for more information. After several days of not hearing from him, he sent me this reply: “I appreciate you taking the time to offer me a chance to apply for the city reporter job. However, I have to respectfully decline as I have accepted an offer from another paper.” OK. Good luck with that.

Then, there are people like this guy with skills I just can’t understand. “I have exstensive photography knowledge.” If you can’t proofread your own cover letter, what makes you think I’m going to hire you?

I loved the cover letter, printed and mailed, no less, that started with, “Good mourning.” Yeah, some days in this job I do despair a little bit, but do you have to point it out?

Or how about people who are too lazy to actually apply when they’re applying? I loved this guy. “You can Google me and find my clips on the Internet.” Yeah, I could, but I have work to do. Would I have to write your stories for you after you got here, too?

I guess it takes all types of people. Thank goodness I don’t have to take them here.

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