Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

How *NOT* to get a new job.

In the current economic condition and with the impending implosion of Satyam the frequency of resumes ending up in my mailbox has sharply increased. Typically now I get requests from people between 5 and 15 years of experience, all with completed university degrees and all making the same basic mistake. Here a sample:
I am [Name removed to prevent embarrassment] with xx years of experience in IT Industry.
I request you to consider me as candidate for a suitable opening in your company.
Please find my resume attached

So what's wrong with that? Everybody likes to have a good job. Here we go:
  1. I was on the BCC list. My spam filter had sorted it out.
    Advice: Put in that little effort and send individual emails. If a candidate isn't putting effort for the most important thing in his business (his own job), I can conclude, that he won't go the extra mile when working for me.
  2. No personal salutation.
    Advice: The Internet is an open book. There are phone lines. Hiring managers have names and they like to be properly addressed.
  3. Why did he write to me? I'm not working in the "IT Industry" (I guess my email came from an IBM business partner list, an outdated one). I work in a very specific niche: Craftsmanship around IBM's collaborative products.
    Advice: State and be very specific why you write to a specific company. Show that you did your homework and already know about the company. If you don't know what to say: at least state how the vision/mission/value statement resonates with you. This creates a feeling of "he is family" in the hiring manager.
  4. No statement of contribution.
    Advice: If I hire you I want to know what I get. Yes I can read the attached CV, but I won't if I'm not convinced it is worth my time. So sum it up: managed projects in a CMMI5 certified company worth xxx dollars on time and cost. Passionate about [state your technology passion]. Will fit into [part of my organization, you have researched that isn't it?]
  5. How should I know what position suits him?
    Advice: I know that feeling: first get a job and then see how to get into the position you like to do. But that's a bad idea. State clearly what you are good at, so it is easier for me to consider you. If you have praised my company enough you can state, that you also would consider a position that leads you to your desired role.
  6. Resume formatting careless, no photo.
  7. Resume format in MS-Word to an IBM Business Partner company. So you are not following what IBM is talking about? At least PDF would make sense. (I know that is controversial, but DOC isn't an ISO standard. ODF, DocX (eventually) and PDF are.
  8. No web presence.
    <> : Do good and talk about it. If you don't have a blog at least show me where you contribute online (on OpenNTF, Notes.net, JavaRanch.com). If you don't use online resources and at least occasionally contributed back.... in what century do you work? <>
  9. No chat. How can I ask you a quick question? Skype, GTalk, Yahoo are free.
Get yourself one or the other good guide to land a job and try again.

Posted by on 07 February 2009 | Comments (3) | categories: Business


  1. posted by Alex Kassabov on Sunday 08 February 2009 AD:
    Stephan, good post. I can relate.

    Your points 6 and 7 are rather interesting. Is photo an expected part of the resume in Asia? In US, something like that is a big no-no: a cause for profiling, discrimination. When I get resumes from that side of the world, specially from India, the level of personal detail included inside astonishes me.

    Nowadays, emailing a document or a spreadsheet to an IBMer is always fun. You never know if they're gonna have Office installed or only Symphony. I guess, good rule of thumb: if you don't expect the person to be editing the file, send a PDF.

  2. posted by Jonathan Wong on Monday 09 February 2009 AD:
    I agree with most points except for a few:

    1. Photo. By principle, I will never attach a photo to my resume unless explicitly asked. Even then I will only do so reluctantly. I am applying for a job in the IT industry, and not in the entertainment industry.

    2. Document format. Although personally I always send my resumes in PDF format unless asked otherwise, I will not dock points off of a candidate's candidacy if they send a document in DOC format. Insisting otherwise is merely for the sake of making a statement. And while DOC is not an ISO standard, the truth is that among all document formats in use today, DOC is the most pervasive. I forget how many times I have sent a resume in PDF only to be asked to send the DOC version. And seriously, do you think IBM HR uses ODF? Let's not kid ourselves. Emoticon smile.gif

    3. Web presence. I guess it depends on what kind of job you are applying for. For an evangelist or social computing advocate position? Perhaps. For a pre-sales or sales role? Doesn't matter.

    4. Chat. It works both ways. I don't know you well enough yet to give you my chat. I am already being open enough by giving you my mobile number and my email address. Oh, and Windows Live Messenger is free also (not to mention, the biggest "social network" in the world, with over 500 million active users today). Emoticon cool.gif
  3. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Wednesday 11 February 2009 AD:
    Interesting comments. I learned something inter cultural. In Germany a resume without a picture goes to the bin straight away.

    For the document format: If one applies to Microsoft I would expect docx rather doc. It would be a subtle hint that the applicant has understood what's important for his/her future employer.
    Emoticon biggrin.gif stw