Saturday, April 24, 2010

Your Email Says A Lot About You

I'm case you're just tuning in, I'm out of work. I got laid off a little over a month ago. I've been looking for another job since November, when I decided my last one was probably not going to be long-term.

Since then, I've had a few calls. I've looked through lots of job listings. Personally, I hate wading through job listings. Most job descriptions are poorly written. I find them hard to decipher. They were either written by HR, which has no clue what the job actually is. Or they were written by some manager who did not need written communication skills to get into his or her position. In either case, they're horrible.

No kidding, a friend of mine needed to hire a mainframe administrator. HR posted the job as an "Enterprise Architect".

When I worked for Lockheed Martin, a guy that got hired the same time as me was hired under similar pretenses. The manager didn't know what the group actually did. He hired a Windows NT administrator for a Unix administrator's position. The guy was nice, but he had no experience with Unix. He was useless in that job. But the clueless manager (also a nice guy) didn't know the difference.

So I hate dealing with job descriptions. I've always had the best luck when a recruiter wades through all the BS and contacts me. I like dealing with recruiters. They're normally very nice people. They know what they're talking about. And if they're serious about getting paid, they know who's qualified and who isn't. Normally, when I get a call from a recruiter, all the work is done on both ends. The recruiter believes I'm a good match for the job, and the job is a good match for me.

At least, on paper. But it normally works very well. I got into my last job through a keyword search mix up. They needed somebody with experience in a program called VMS. My resume lists me as having been to HP/Alpha VMS Sysadmin school. Same letters, totally different thing. But it got me in the door. Now I have experience with both.

In-house recruiters aren't always as good. What happened Monday is a case in point. I got a call from a company, thinking I'd be a good match for a project they were starting. A phone call with the manager confirmed that I have the experience they need. Then I never heard back again. Come to find out, no matter how much direct experience I have, my lack of a Mechanical Engineering degree prevents them from considering me.

Yesterday, I had an email came in. It was from a recruiter. It was very curt and poorly written, and my name was misspelled. I'm used to my name being mispronounced, but misspelled? Cut-copy-paste. It's basic computer skills. It also asked me to "alert" by sending a current resume.

I'm trying to figure out why everybody keeps asking for a "current resume". Seriously. I'm looking for a job. Why would I want to blanket all the big name job sites with outdated ones? Some people ask if the one on the job site they found is my current resume. I answer yes. That's reasonable.

In one case, I was asked to update my job descriptions to reflect Field Engineering experience. I didn't have a problem with that. That was perfectly reasonable. And I have tried to tweak my job titles to see what works. On my last job, my Department of Labor designation was "Reliability Engineer", but I did work that qualifies as "Electrical Engineer", "Systems Analyst", and "Field Engineer".

In one job, my official title was "Engineering Technologist". It meant nothing, except "he who does engineering work but does not possess an engineering degree" (or paycheck).

As for yesterday's email, I did send a "current resume". The lack of attention to detail in the original email makes me wonder how close of a match I actually am, but you never know. But a lack of attention to detail always concerns me.
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