Posted by: penpatience | April 4, 2012


April 2012 Monthly Musing


Resumes are often a daily staple in the human resources profession. They arrive, unsolicited, sporadically, sometimes in droves, in response to listed openings or referrals by colleagues and are a continual parade of paper and electronic transmissions.

 I loved resumes.  A fan of the written word, I delighted in correcting grammatical errors and could never resist circling spelling errors. Sometimes they reminded me of Dolly Parton’s song, “Coat of Many Colors,” arriving in neon green, yellow, or even pink paper and envelopes—anything to gain attention. Many times they offered the only source of comical relief during a hectic day.  But I rejoiced in what I called my “Eureka” moment when a qualified candidate with a well written cover letter and resume landed on my desk. It was instantly separated from the pack.

I’m a people person and I learned more about candidates from perusing those few sheets of paper before I met them. When a resume arrived with no cover letter, indicating to me a lack of professionalism, I was disappointed and relegated the resume to a secondary pile. What’s the rush? I thought don’t be hasty; do it right the first time. And forget the “Dear Sir/Madam” business. Show me you made an effort: make the call, research the net, locate and address your cover letter to the correct individual.  I loved to see my name in print.

My major pet peeve was when a candidate arrived and had to fill out the company’s mandatory application.  What are you telling me when you fill in the top with your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and write “see resume,” and slip a resume copy inside? AHA! Chances are you had your resume professionally done and perhaps your writing might be sloppy or you lack the patience to fill in the required data.  Many opportunities are lost because of this dubious first impression.

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know applicants through their written backgrounds and experiences. Listening to them reiterate their work experiences and accomplishments from that document brought the words on paper alive with new meanings and interpretations.

Today, some say the explosion of social media may eventually relegate the resume to the waste bin. Perhaps that might happen. However, I believe social media is just another tool in the assessment of potential employees and the written history of an individual’s knowledge, skills, and experiences is still the most valuable resource in the hiring process.

Remember… whether the written words are located on paper, blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter—that pen with red ink will find you.

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