How to NOT Get Hired

help wantedThis past week I have been on a mission to hire a couple of people for the shoe shop I currently work for.   You would think that in this economy, with this many unemployed people, and college students having trouble finding jobs, and basically there being a huge amount of people looking for work, that it would be really easy to find a couple of folks willing to put in a good 40 hours for decent pay.  But apparently, hardly anybody really wants a good job, because if they did then they would put in the effort to follow basic instructions and to appear professional.  Right??

You would think.   But, as I’m wont to say, you would think a lot of things.

In the spirit of… well, a lot of things, I have put together a little instructional for all you College Rebels with all the secrets, straight from the hiring manager’s mouth: How NOT to Get Hired.

1. Don’t read the actual hiring advertisement.  Don’t even skim it.  Really, the only reason you even need to click the link at all is to get the e-mail address to send your inquiry to.

To enhance this effect, don’t actually send a resume or cover letter, just e-mail the hiring manager with a message inquiring for more information, or just a straightforward “Help me, I need this job!!” will also suffice if you do not wish to be contacted for an interview.

2. Copy and paste the same resume to every half-decent looking job advertisement on Craigslist.  It really impresses the hiring manager that you put so little effort into a little resume-tailoring towards the type of job at hand.  You could even impress this person more if you include a similarly copied-and-pasted cover letter; see below.

3. Write your cover letter and resume using as much disingenuous superfluousness as possible.  Don’t include any actual examples from your life or previous jobs/experiences that would actually make your cover letter stand out from all the other cover letters a person receives.  When the hiring manager has to look over dozens of cover letter submissions, she really likes to see the same one from “Resumes and Cover Letters for Dummies” over and over again.  It makes the process of elimination go faster, after all.

If you get the chance, by the way, never hesitate to add in your cover letter, good key sentences like, “The position requirements and my skills are a perfect match” and “I know that I would be a great fit and would be able to contribute immediately.  I am very interested in becoming a part of your team. Your facility would gain an individual who is dependable, motivated, and personable.  I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my skills and experience at a beneficiary meeting.”

— Let’s pause a second here to examine how writing a cover letter like this is not going to land you an interview, at least with me:

  • It has no concrete examples to back up any of the claims this person is making.  If you wanted to be considered for that ‘beneficiary meeting’, how about: “I would be a great fit because I am a bit of a shoe aficionado and I could easily converse with customers to find out what type of shoe they are really looking for.”
  • “I am very interested in becoming a part of your team…. [I am] motivated, and personable.”   If you are interested, SHOW me!  Write me a cover letter that is detailed towards MY shop!   That would also display motivation!  
  • And if you’re so personable, why don’t you write me a real, genuine cover LETTER from your own heart?  Your words and your actions are not lining up and we haven’t even gotten past the first step in the application process.   

I would much rather in a million years get a two-line, misspelled, run-on sentence that came from the heart of a person who cared about each job they were applying to than three paragraphs of pretentiously well-written bull.

4. In the spirit of How to Not Get Hired tip #1, skim over the text of the advertisement just enough to get the gist, and then send your resume.  Never mind that the hiring manager asked for a resume, cover letter, and three references.  Just send the resume, and maybe a reference or two, if they were already on the resume.  Hiring managers don’t care about details, and they probably won’t even notice that you neglected half of what you were instructed to do.  That doesn’t reflect on your ability to be on time or to perform simple job tasks at all, no sir!

5. Don’t bother with simple grammar and formatting of your cover letter and resume.  It doesn’t reflect on your ability to be reliable and professional that you can’t seem to remember that you are applying for a JOB and not texting your BFF.

Seriously: as indicated on your resume, you did in fact go to high school.  Don’t they teach you how to write correctly in high school?  I never went, so I wouldn’t know, but I’m pretty sure there are still English classes that teach you how to do simple things like:

– Capitalize: “hi, my name is jessica and i saw your ad on craigslist”  OR “Hi, my name is Jessica and I saw your ad on Craigslist”?
– Punctuate: “Hi my name is Jessica I saw your ad on Craigslist I am really interested in working for you I am very dependable a good listener organized…” OR “Hi, my name is Jessica.  I saw your ad on Craigslist and I am really interested in working for you.  I am very dependable, a good listener, and organized.”
– Basic spelling: “ur ad on cl was amazin how on erth do you git a job at ur place??” OR “Your advertisement on Craigslist intrigued me and I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could do to get a job at your shoe store – so I started with using correctly spelled words in my cover letter!  What do you think?”
– Eye-friendly formatting: Think sentences.  Paragraphs.  Make sure your computer didn’t space things strangely if you copied and pasted something from a word processor to the body of the email.  Be clear, concise, easy on the eyes, and when in doubt, use bullet points.
– SPACES: spaces go between words so that you can tell when a new word is starting.  Spaces also go after punctuation marks:  You,don’t,write,a,sentence,with,no,spaces,after,the,commas.  It is an indication of lackadaisical tendencies, which I’m not looking for in a future employee.  Sorry.

So guys, I hope that helps you know what to do when you don’t actually want to get hired by someone.  We College Rebels can be Employment Rebels too, after all.  Who needs The Man??

But seriously.  Go be awesome and genuine and stand out from the crowd.  How else do you expect to land your dream job, with or without a degree??

That Green Grass is Talking: Being Realistic

green grass is talkingI very often feel like there is some unspoken unschooler competition to one-up each other in what amazing, epic adventures we all can have in as short amount of time as possible.  I am quite certain I am not the only one who feels this, but I could be wrong.

The thing that every human being has to come to terms with eventually, no matter their background, is that the grass is always greener.  That rings so true, and it hurts.  Imagine being some epic-looking person like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat.  That must be the most amazing job in the world, right?  Well, actually… I can’t exactly speak for them, but I know just from spending over half of my life doing dance and theatre that it gets boring doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  And Cirque du Soleil performances are 5 times a week at least, for a year or more (most shows running  now have been running for years, though I am sure that not all the performers stay in the shows their entire run considering things like getting old and whatnot).  They all probably wished they had an exciting office job.

The problem with the “Must do Epic Things at All Times” mentality is that, while it is good to realize you can do epic things with your life, it is impossible to be doing epic things all the time.  Dishes must be washed.  Laundry must be done.  Sanity must be kept up by taking time to relax and read a book, or go out for coffee with friends.  And, possibly most importantly, money must be made – even if the only way to do that is to spend 30-40 hours a week having your soul sucked out by the dementors of the corporate world.

Who is telling you that you must only do epic things all the time anyway??  That grass that looks greener is who.  Yes, it’s talking.  Kind of like Audrey II.  And, yes, it will eat you alive.

This is a tough, tough lesson to learn; at least, it has been for me.  It comes down to CMAWOT Syndrome: Caring Too Much About What Others Think.  (Pronounced “SEE-ma-what”.  Trust me on this. )  It lives in all of us, to an extent (there is a spectrum, you see.)  It starts about the “middle school” age, regardless whether you are homeschooled or not, and slowly eats up the part of our brains that allow us to think for ourselves.  It’s normally cured only by a painful slap in the face, unless counteracted early by rare personalities.  There has not yet been a test invented to find out who does and doesn’t have this Rare Personality at a young age.

Anyway, enough of that.

It’s true, though.  You’d better believe it.

Jessica’s Not Entirely Fool-Proof Method for Attempting to Get Over CMAWOT Syndrome to Some Extent or Another:

(Remember, I’m not a life coach.  I’m just attempting to put into steps some stuff I’ve had to do to myself recently.  Please berate me with incessant questions on what the heck I mean.)

You need to take some serious time alone, or time talking to one or two really, really good friends whom you know will be honest with you.  (I would have just suggested time alone, but then I remembered that I’m an introvert and I’d better attempt to come up with options for my extraverted readers.)  And really take the time.  Set aside a whole day, or even several days to a week.  Go somewhere you feel completely calm and comfortable, and where you feel you are able to think clearly.  This varies for each person, so I won’t tell you it’s definitely your house, or definitely the public gardens, or definitely across the country in a giant bookstore.  Just pick a place with the comfort of your soul in mind.  It’s pretty much very important.

When you are in this place, with yourself or with your friend (read extraverts: NOT YOUR ENTIRE POSSE), and you have calmed down your mind, begin to slowly think.  That’s right.  Slowly.  Think.  At the same time.  It’s hard.

Think back to when you were younger.  Say, between the ages of 8 and 11.  What did you do with yourself then?  How did you act?  Who were you, back in the day when you didn’t care what others thought?  What would you be doing now if suddenly God gave you magical powers to never ever care what people thought, or how what you’re doing looks?

That’s just the first step, and I do implore you now to ask yourself some questions of your own.  I can’t think of all the questions myself, unfortunately.

Next, start making logistical plans for ALL of the things you want to do, and balance that against realistic means for doing them.  Notice that it is really stupid do do all of those things.  Repent.

Okay, don’t repent.  Just cry a little and have a moment or two of utter humbleness.  It’s alright, you’ll feel better about things soon.

Okay, math time!  The next step is to divide step one (childhood loves and actions) into step two (logistical failure).  Or maybe it’s the other way around…. well, anyway, divide one into the other as you see fit.  The answer will be something like 2, remaining pi.

That is to say, you will have a couple of options to seriously look at, with the comfort of knowing that they are really what you want to do.

Make sense?