By: Justin Boyce
My friend has been trying to find a job for weeks. His money in the bank is fast running out, credit card bills are mounting and even his car payments are two months overdue. Desperate to find a job, he’d scanned all known job postings in the internet and the local paper and asked for help from friends. He sends out his resume in a veritable mailing-list that would shame the mailing catalog of some newsletters. But he still can’t find a job.
When I met my friend a couple of weeks back, I asked him how he is faring in his job search. He said he’s doing fine but his down-trodden look gave more than he’s willing to admit. Since we’ve worked together before, I know that my friend is qualified and he has good work ethics as well. But I also know that my friend has difficulties putting his thoughts into written words. Eager to help him find a job, I asked for his resume, purportedly to give someone I know who is hiring. He anxiously gave me one, knowing that I’m up to something.
When I reached the office, I took time off to read his resume and cover letter. While I found these are not badly written as I first thought, I sensed something familiar with the documents. I immediately browsed some internet sites which offer resume and cover letter formats and guides and to my utter disbelief, both documents were directly lifted from one of the sites. The cover letter, specifically, was lifted word-for-word from one published in the internet.
It dawned on me what my friend’s problem was. Recruiters and HR personnel are adept in scanning from a mile away resumes and application letters that are not originally written by applicants. They are familiar with the guides available in the web and they would know if one is lifted fully or even partially from those guides. Thus, when some HR people got hold of my friend’s cover letter and resume, these are at once filed away and forgotten, or worse, thrown directly to the trash bin. The reason therefore why my friend can’t find a job is not because he’s not qualified but because recruiters don’t like the documents he sent them.
I thus got on my computer and re-wrote his resume and application letter, supplying some of the necessary information from memory. I reorganized his resume to highlight his work experiences, skills in computers and his education. I made references to these important job-hunting factors in his cover letter. I even removed an entire paragraph which I found irrelevant in his quest to find a job. I emailed the re-written documents, with a nice message of encouragement. But I didn’t tell him what I found out about his resume.
He called me a few days back to tell me that when he started sending out the new resume and cover letter, he made some real headway. He started getting some positive responses. In fact, he told me that he’s scheduled to be interviewed that day in one of his better prospects. I wished him good luck and I told him I never doubted that in time and given the right tools, he would find a job that he deserves.