May 23, 2012
I‘m hiring for a communications person to join my team here at the American Red Cross. With one week until we close the applications process, I’ve already received nearly 150 online resumes.
I am surprised and impressed with the quality of most of these individuals. Some I’ve known for years. In fact, I’ve hired some as interns or freelance writers. Some are people I’ve gotten to know through local professional organizations or clubs. They are all good people and very qualified professionals. The hard part will be narrowing the list and then selecting the final individual.
Then, there are the other applicants. (Sigh!)
These are the ones who will not be working for me. Unless their luck changes, they won’t be working soon for anyone else, either. I have gone through the entire listing of online applications just to get a feel for each candidate. In most cases, I have Googled the person’s name. Unbelievably, some people have no digital footprint, but I’ll save those rantings for another blog post. I shouldn’t judge invisible people. Perhaps they are part of the Federal Witness Protection Program and don’t want to be found.
Anyway, I was amused as I came across the following examples of vapid communications from people who are trying to present themselves as communications professionals. My purpose is not to make fun of the well-intentioned people who want to work with me, but rather to help job seekers to see their resumes through the glazed-over eyes of a hiring manager.
The following examples have not been edited. They were copied and pasted from the actual applications. A word of warning, though: If you plan to be awake at the end of this post, you will need an extra shot of caffeine. So sit back and enjoy… Read the rest of this entry »
May 21, 2012
My eighth grade English teacher taught me an important lesson that profoundly affects how I communicate today, decades later.
The class assignment was simple. We had to stand in front of the class and tell a story.
We could select any story, but we had to tell the tale within five minutes. That can be a frightening experience, especially for most self-conscious eight graders like me. Fortunately, we were given several days to practice our storytelling in private before that dreadful moment when we had to stand before our peers.
Sounds simple, right? Well, hold on! The teacher had a surprise that made the storytelling in front of our classmates the easiest part of the assignment.
After we had each delivered our presentations, the teacher announced that we would be telling our stories again. Actually, he told us we were scheduled to make our presentations two more times—once in front of a classroom of innocent second graders, and then to a roomful of intimidating 10th graders. Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2012
Once upon a time, I lived in Portland, Oregon where I did public relations for a local hospital.
The medical center was well-respected and almost always received positive news coverage. One day, however, a headline writer for The Oregonian newspaper hurriedly summarized a positive story with a less-than-positive choice of words. The story described how the hospital offered a signing bonus to recruit nurses during a severe nursing shortage. Instead of describing the bonus as an recruitment incentive, however, the headline writer used the word “bribe.” To his credit, he put quotes around the word to indicate its use as a colloquialism.
The hospital’s president (my boss) thought the newspaper was implying that he engaged in unethical, under-the-table transactions. He was enraged and immediately ordered me to write a letter to the editor expressing our indignation. Read the rest of this entry »