Letter from HR: The Impotence of an English Major
We were not happy to recieve your application for position UNUD666 – Writing Supervisor, and we are kind of sorry to inform you that you are not qualified. We said that you have to have a degree in english and you don’t have one. Having that degree is the only way to become an expert in writing and grammer. Everyone in HR majored in HR and we know for a fact that you can’t have skills you didn’t study in college. Its offensive that you think you can supervise our writing. We have a talented english person in our office who proof reads all of our e-mails and and websites. You can’t do the job as well as him.
This post kicks off my new series on the joys of job searching. I never received the above letter, but it resembles the attitudes and errors I am slowly getting used to. Lots of English majors can’t write effectively because their professors were more concerned with filling their classrooms (a.k.a. keeping their jobs) and preaching on politics. I’ve seen plenty of English majors who could not write nearly as well as their counterparts in other subjects. Meanwhile, I’ve seen plenty of talented writers at WordPress and elsewhere who could never hope to obtain a writing job because they didn’t major in the “correct” subject.
And all of this begs a few simple questions: if HR personnel often can’t recognize correct grammar and spelling, what happens to the requirement that a resume be completely error-free? Do job applicants have to guess what errors the HR worker thinks is proper English? How often is correct grammar labeled as incorrect, causing a perfectly good application to land in the circular file?