What a former college instructor really thinks…

Fictional Letters from HR

Letter from HR: Waiting for Prince Charming

Dear Applicant,

We regret to inform you that we will not be hiring you to be our new Bilingual Computer Screen Cleaner.   We don’t care if you’ve spent ten years cleaning every glass object known to man; we need someone with in-depth expertise in cleaning computer screens.  And while we appreciate your passion for computers and keeping your screen free of dust, we want a Windex specialist.  And then you’re not even a native speaker of Norwegian!  Even though you lived in Norway for 14 years, we demand that our new employee be a native Norwegian speaker because it is critical to success on the job.  We understand why you applied but you’re a doofus for thinking we would lower our standards to hire you.  Even though this job has been open for over a year, we will let it remain vacant until we get exactly what we had envisioned.

Sincerely,

Squeaky Screen Inc.

PS: If President Obama is defeated in 2012, please consider applying for this position again.  Once we have a more business-friendly president, we can pick up hiring.  We don’t want unemployment to go down until the political benefits will attach to a politician we like.


Letter from HR: The Impotence of an English Major

Dear Applicant,

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.

Cordially,

HR

 

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?