stop applying without your resume

A reader writes:

Since I know you appreciate good examples of bad job applications…

I’m currently recruiting for a full time, entry level, customer service position. My HR department definitely pared down the job description more than I would have liked prior to posting, but it still conveys the basics of what we’re looking for, or so I thought. Here is an actual email I recieved today:

“I was informed of this position yesterday. I do not have a formal resume at this time. My education, life experience, and interests are very much in line with what you are seeking.” The person then went on to list experience in design, medical work, retail, and as a fine art show juror.

If somebody can take the time to type all of this out in an email — they have the time to create an actual resume! 


People, you need to send your resume.

{ 95 comments… read them below }

  1. Geoff*

    Absolutely. Otherwise, you might as well send an email saying, “Do not, under any circumstances, hire me because I do not follow directions, and I have a huge sense of entitlement.”

    1. Jamie*

      Yep – there’s enough people who can’t follow directions and have huge senses of entitlement in the workplace already.

  2. Bryce*

    When I see this sort of thing, I’m struck by these things: First, it’s apparent that “professionalism,” “business sense” or whatever you call it, isn’t being taught as it should be.

    I say this because there was a course called “Business & Professional Communication” that I took in college that taught us how to write a resume and cover letter, among other things. I’m glad I took that course.

    Second, if this person isn’t following directions during the application process when it’s all about making a good impression, imagine what will happen on the actual job.

  3. Nyxalinth*

    Oh, man. Even a less than stellar resume would be better than no resume! What’s with the “I do not have a resume at this time” stuff? It’s not like it’s something that takes weeks to complete. Take a few hours to put one together, already.

    1. Rana*

      Especially since the wording of this makes it clear that they understand that a resume is the normal thing to include.

      (I would be more sympathetic to someone who just applied with an email out of ignorance and didn’t realize that they needed to make a resume too. But that’s not the case here.)

    1. some1*

      You could cut and paste a sample resume online (like from Monster) and fill it in so it’s relevant to you for free!

      (Granted, I know Allison doesn’t recommend the Monster resume templates, but it’s better than nothing.)

  4. Jamie*

    On another forum a couple of different posts were asking for recommendations of a professional resume service.

    I just posted a link to AAM and suggested they read here first and maybe they can save the money by doing it correctly themselves.

    1. Jane Doe*

      One of my friends used a resume writing service. I asked to look at the finished product (which he paid several hundred dollars for) and it had typos and weird, annoying formatting, and quotes from people he’d worked with.

      He probably could have done better if he’d done it himself and just asked someone to proofread.

          1. K*

            It’s like Jack Donaghy’s blurb on Liz’s Dealbreakers book: “Liz Lemon numbers among my employees.”

        1. Editor*

          One of the job alerts I subscribe to recently sent a “make your resume unique” advice column that suggested quotes. Apparently it’s an old idea that just won’t die. The writer didn’t have hiring experience, but was just some random staffer at the publication.

          I unsubscribed after that, partly because of the less-than-helpful advice and partly because the last three positions I was interested in said “this posting is no longer available” when I clicked through. What a waste of time.

      1. anon o*

        I used one and it wasn’t as bad as that but it actually added typos into my resume that weren’t there before! And misspelled a (very very commonly misspelled by people not in my industry) word that I really should know how to spell and had spelled correctly in my original resume.

    2. Mike C.*

      I’ve been reading this site for years, and despite that I used a service. It doubled my interviews and led to a job with a 70% increase in salary and incredible benefits.

      I was “just doing it myself” for over a year with few interviews and no offers, so sometimes you need a professional eye.

        1. Mike C.*

          It wasn’t all that much at first glance, mostly formatting and uncluttering. He could either start with a really detailed questionnaire, but since I already had a resume, he started with that and asked questions from there. We went through several drafts, and he was careful to ask lots of detailed questions about achievements, technical terms, the sorts of things discussed here.

          Admittedly when I saw the first draft, I was shocked at how little had changed, but after looking at it I realized that a whole lot of crap had been removed, and it was really easy to glance through and have all of my work really pop out.

          That first draft landed me my first interview at my current employer, and the final one landed me my current job. In the meantime, I had as many interviews/calls/responses in those few months as I had received in the previous year or so. It was crazy how much attention I received.

          Also, he had a sliding scale based on work experience, which was really cool. I’m a member of a large (1.5M member) online forum, and he had a ton of testimonials from other members, so I figured, “Why not?”. Best money I’ve ever spent, and I couldn’t be happier at my current job.

          1. Rana*

            Sounds like that guy knew the right way to go about it, yes. I especially like that he had a questionnaire! And knew to ask you about achievements!

    3. AG*

      I am an avid AAM reader and I also used a resume service a few months ago. I am so glad I did!

      It wasn’t a “we rewrite this for you to make you sound better than you actually are” service, which is what I think a lot of people assume resume coaches do. This guy worked with me extensively, asked me a lot of questions and made me do a lot of thinking and research. The end result is a much better representation of the work that I have done and my accomplishments and achievements. I recommend the service 100%, but I am not sure if this is kosher on AAM so I am not going to post his company’s website unless someone specifically replies and asks.

  5. Victoria Nonprofit*

    In comments here and on the LinkedIn group I’ve seen a couple of people say that they sometimes don’t send resumes web they aren’t sure if the job posting is legit – they’ll send a letter and if they get a response they reply with a resume. What do you think of that?

    1. Soni*

      You know, when it comes to online listing, this almost makes sense. Especially as a woman, I am hesitant to send out anything with my address, phone number and other personal information on it without knowing that I’m not just loading up some scammer’s list of potential victims or inventory.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Huh. It’s been so long since the last time I applied to a job through an online posting that I never thought of this, but being wary makes perfect sense. Would it be a turnoff to hiring managers to get a resume that includes only an email address, no phone or mailing address, and mention “will provide additional contact information upon request” in the cover letter?

        1. AJ-in-Memphis*

          I wouldn’t think so….I’m initially more interested in the content/flow of the resume than where someone lives. The “where you live” part can come later for me and my organization. But that may not be the case with larger firms or corporations (I work for a non-profit).

      2. TL*

        I think I did this (e-mailing about the position without a resume/contact information) once or twice, a couple of years back, in response to a “blind” online ad – for just this reason. Didn’t do it more than a few times, obviously, but my reasoning was that I didn’t want my info going out to spammers or crooks.

        FWIW, I only have e-mail and phone # on my resume; I think including an address is (or should be) an outdated thing. Nobody needs to know my exact address in order to interview me, and that goes double for companies that post blind job ads online. If they’re worried about whether or not I’m local, the area code will tell them that much. I don’t think it’s hurt me at all, and I’ve certainly never had anyone ask me why I didn’t include it.

        1. Rana*

          The only caveat I’d suggest is that if your primary phone is a cell with a non-local area code, you might want to identify it as a cell, so as not to look like you’re applying from out of state or something. Otherwise I agree with your thinking.

    2. BeenThere*

      While I absolutely believe you should always send a resume & cover letter otherwise you will be ignored, I have to add a rare counter example. Although I am thinking the employer may be a little desperate and wondering whether this is a flag that no one wants to work there.

      Last night I was feeling lazy and a little curious so applied to a position using my Linkedin profile as it came up as an option (the job was advertised in Linkedin). It was optional to add a resume and cover letter so left them off. One minute later the recruiter who posted the position calls and immediately starts a conversation then asks me to send my resume overnight. My Linkedin profile is very much a brief skills based profile so people can find me easily when they are after X skill after all people generally don’t search for soft skills on Linkedin. On the flip side my resume is all achievement based. I’m talking to this recruiter again this afternoon…. should be interesting.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        Had something similar happen, only I was cold-contacted, didn’t even apply beforehand. I think if your skills are niche enough, that can be enough to attract interest.

    3. Anonymous*

      With the number of resumes we receive, you better be sending one amazing cover letter to expect us to e-mail you back for your resume.

      If you aren’t comfortable sending out your address, just leave it off of your resume.

    4. Lily*

      Someone emailed me, asking if I was interested in her and I asked her to send me her resume. Then she writes back asking if I am hiring right now. I wrote back that she is free to call me with questions, but she didn’t call.

      My impression: wishy-washy, maybe she would do a half-hearted job at work, too.

  6. Neeta*

    I’ve seen this behavior from recent grads, in a lot of cases. Not saying that every one of them does this, but a lot of people tend to be all “Wow that sounds like a cool job. Do you think they’d consider me?” and when I reply with “Well send in your CV/Resume” they give me this exasperated look. Probably hoping for some sort of shortcut…

      1. De Minimis*

        I think they have some weird idea that they can “network” their way to where they don’t need a resume.

  7. girlreading*

    Recruiting I came across people without resumes more than I expected, especially with people like warehouse workers. Since I found this a lot with positions requiring no education, I really think it might have something to do with that- I know a lot of my info on how to apply to jobs initially came from high school and college. People who didn’t finish high school didn’t get to that point. You’d be amazed how many applications I’d get for these types of jobs without even a phone number or sometimes with 3 non-working numbers. If you’re sending a resume, make sure there’s a current number, c’mon. It got to the point where I’d be posting a job description on the govt workforce sites stating “to apply, submit your resume with the names of your 3 most recent employers, dates of employment and a brief description of your duties.”–and still got blank submittals. I’m not expecting anything fancy, but I do expect you to follow directions.

    An opposite situation once, a man applied by faxing his resume, passport, social security card, driver’s license, and more-basically everything I’d need to steal his identity. I called him back and told him not to send this info to potential employers because it’s not necessary and is not safe to send to strangers. He was from another country, so maybe this was common practice there.

    1. Nichole*

      I agree with what you said about education. I used to help people enter resumes into a state job search website, and I noticed the same thing. I’d say most of the people I saw coming from jobs that traditionally didn’t need a lot of education didn’t know how to write a resume or even properly fill out an application. They assume that “they don’t need all that to know I can work a forklift.” We weren’t allowed to help people with the content of their actual resumes/applications, only help them with input and refer them to a resume workshop that they may or may not attend, so they were kind of on their own. It was really frustrating. One man listed as his objective that he wanted to “not work at McDonalds.” I wasn’t allowed to tell him 1) he doesn’t need an objective anyway or 2) this one wouldn’t help him at all even if he did. I wanted to bang my head into a wall.

      1. Rana*


        As I noted above, I’m far more sympathetic to people in this situation than people like the OP’s candidate, who clearly understood that a resume was appropriate and expected, but couldn’t be bothered to make the effort.

  8. Andy Lester*

    Another commenter attributes a “sense of entitlement” to the not-really-an-applicant, but I don’t think that’s it. The scenario I imagine is that when he found out about the job posting, he thought that the most important thing to do was to communicate with the hiring manager as quickly as possible. This is wrong.

    Attention is the scarce resource, and sending someone only half the package is squandering that attention. Perhaps he imagines the hiring manager seeing the email and saying “That sounds great, I can’t wait for this Bob Smith to send me an actual resume” as if the letter is a trailer for exciting movie. That won’t happen. More likely, when the HM does see Bob’s resume, he’ll recall the half-done job of Bob’s initial contact.

    The adage “You only get one chance to make a first impression” applies here. Put everything in that initial contact and make it count.

  9. FD*

    “The person then went on to list experience in design, medical work, retail, and as a fine art show juror.”

    Apart from the retail experience, that doesn’t seem like experience very much in line with what she was looking for either, for an entry-level customer service job. Not that someone with those experiences *couldn’t* potentially be really good at customer service, but that experience isn’t exactly something that screams it to me.

  10. Sarah*

    I hire for warehouse positions, and this is extremely common. I’ll get at least 5 emails per day that simply say something like, “I don’t have a resume but I’m interested in your job opening. Call me at xxx-xxxx.” It’s extremely frustrating when all I ask for is a simple resume…I don’t need great formatting, just the basic facts. I think much of it is because the majority of people who are applying for these jobs barely graduated high school, if that. Often, they’re not very computer literate, or they have someone (like a girlfriend or wife) send the email for them. Of course, then I also have seen people send me their life history…social security number, race, age, driver’s license, etc. Again, this is because I’m hiring for entry-level blue collar positions.

    1. Jamie*

      I’ve seen this, too. And huge pet peeve when it comes through on someone else’s email address – because if “Jack Smith” is inquiring about the job, but it’s from “Linda Jones” email account how do we know it isn’t his mom or girlfriend trying to get him a job?

      Email addresses are free – I don’t judge a gmail or yahoo or whatever…but don’t send it from someone else’s email account.

    2. AJ-in-Memphis*

      Maybe try something different, like an application? Most blue collar workers won’t have a resume because they generally don’t get asked for one. Sometimes it’s okay to go with the norm – especially in low educational attainment field like warehousing. Do you need someone who can put together a resume on a computer or someone who can move around product using a forklift??? This is something to think about because there’s a chance that your company is missing out on some good employees because the available workforce are not computer experts. Just a suggestion.

      1. Jamie*

        I understand what you’re saying and I’m of two minds on this.

        On the one hand – maybe an application is the way to go – but on the other hand a resume doesn’t require any more computer skills than filling out an application on line.

        And it’s common practice to have people apply online – otherwise businesses not set up for to handle the flow of visitors will be overwhelmed by people in the lobby with clip boards.

        And actually – I’m in manufacturing and I expect the people who work the line and drive forklifts to be able to punch in and out of a computerized data collection station. You don’t need to be a computer expert to have to use a computer.

        But maybe an online application is more appropriate in some positions.

        1. AJ-in-Memphis*

          Completely understand! Think of it like this: Entering information into an online app is slightly different from knowing who to use and understand Microsoft Word. I used to work in the library and most patrons were okay with an online application but when came using word processing applications, it was whole other level of teaching. They should know some basics and be comfortable with using a computer but not at the same level as a general office worker. It would definitely garner a better response to use something more in line with the skill sets of the people you’re targeting.

          1. Jamie*

            That makes a lot of sense.

            I wasn’t thinking that on an application you’re just filling in fields and not having to format and make sure grammar, etc. is correct (in most cases.)

            It makes more sense that for some jobs an application is the better way to go.

            1. AJ-in-Memphis*

              Awesome! I appreciate your openness on this…I work in a field related to workforce development and I think there’s some disconnect between the workers of today technology companies hiring workers. The workers (blue collar and especially the older ones) do need more training ( computers, interviewing, job hunting, etc…) but there’s no one to do it because it’s not the company’s responsibility to train them and local community’s are dropping the ball as well. This is a real problem for people in your situation.

              1. AJ-in-Memphis*

                Opps! I had some formatting between the: ” the workers of today / technology / companies hiring workers”….

              2. Jamie*

                We work with some local job placement services – as every so often we need to hire multiple entry level factory workers and I see what you’re talking about.

                Once I got five resumes from this one placement agency and all of them had the same objective with the same word misspelled. I called our contact there and gave her a heads up that she needed to fix the template!

                Most commenters here aren’t looking for that type of work, but I’ll give a tip for anyone who is…cover letters are if anything even more helpful. I remember being so excited when a cover letter of even 2-3 sentences came through and if they mentioned reliability and any specifics of the work I’d personally run it into the COO.

                Because they are so rare they stand out more.

                And I think the biggest hurdle to older workers and technology is convincing them that they can learn it. Twice I’ve been involved in go-lives for ERPs in manufacturing where people were used to pencils and clipboards and now had data collection stations and bar code scanners.

                I’ve never met anyone I couldn’t train and to the person they were all fine with it once the initial trepidation passed. People just have to understand that for people who’ve never touched a computer before you have to let them know it’s safe to make mistakes. That’s the biggest fear people have, like if they hit the wrong button they will wipe out the system.

                Putting them at ease with the technology and letting them know they don’t have the permissions to screw up anything in a way which can’t be fixed in seconds goes a long way to getting people comfortable enough to learn.

                1. Anonymous*

                  People just have to understand that for people who’ve never touched a computer before you have to let them know it’s safe to make mistakes. That’s the biggest fear people have, like if they hit the wrong button they will wipe out the system.

                  Putting them at ease with the technology and letting them know they don’t have the permissions to screw up anything in a way which can’t be fixed in seconds goes a long way to getting people comfortable enough to learn.

                  ^ This. I do very minor tech support and so many people are scared that if they click the wrong button, what they uploaded will be gone forever. People freeze when it comes to technology.

                2. AnotherAlison*

                  I worked at a plant (well, more correctly a printing plant) in the mid-nineties, and we had to use an ancient mainframe for various things. It’s been a while, but I think what we used it for was looking up where in the production process a particular job was, statusing it as in our area and checking it out of our area. So, what I’m saying is that technology was a part of factory work even 20 years ago, and the old fogies I worked with then, who were even more unlikely to have encountered a computer at home or school, could use them on the job. But, that memorizing a few steps that you repeat every day is enormously different from developing a well-laid out resume in Word.

                3. Mike C.*

                  Yeah, I know what you mean. It kills me to see some guy with 30 years of aerospace experience feel threatened by a computer. I like pairing up with those guys because my experience on the floor is nil. That way it’s more of a trade or teaching partnership rather than a “young kid making the older guy feel stupid for not knowing everything about the computer” type of thing.

                4. Elizabeth West*

                  Oh yeah, so true, re the older computerphobes. I think it’s partly because they remember when computers were a new thing, and you practically had to be a programmer to make one run. They don’t realize that with GUIs, you don’t have to do all that stuff anymore. And partly because you learn all these new terms and they get confused.

                  What really bugs me is when my mom tells me “it’s too hard.” It’s not too hard for you, Mom, you have an IQ in the genius range, and you’re not an impractical person. If you don’t WANT to, that’s fine. Just tell me; don’t hide behind it being hard, because it isn’t. A five-year-old can learn it; it’s not rocket science.

                5. Rana*

                  People just have to understand that for people who’ve never touched a computer before you have to let them know it’s safe to make mistakes.

                  YES. And to show them how to distinguish actions likely to produce small, easily fixed mistakes from those that are harder to come back from. (Typo? Accidentally put a document in the wrong folder? No problem. Delete or overwrite the file? Ack!)

                  I think 95% of my computer skills came from knowing how not to screw things up irrevocably plus a willingness to play around.

          2. Rana*

            That’s a really great point. One of the services I offer is Word wrangling for format for just that reason. Word can be an annoyingly fiddly beast if you aren’t used to its quirks. (Whoever designed the thing clearly did not have writers in mind…)

        2. -X-*

          A resume may not require more computer skills, but does require more information/communications skills in terms of understanding how to organize the information and decisions about what type of information to include (“Should I say I’m married”; “Should I give my birthdate and SS#?”).

          An application, with structured fields, requires less thought about that.

      2. Long Time Admin*


        It’s absurd to ask blue collar workers to submit a resume. Give them an application to fill out, for heaven’s sake. Ask for their experience and former employers and whatever actually *is* necessary to the the job.

        1. Jamie*

          I would agree in the example AJ gave – but there are highly technical and very well paying blue collar jobs that absolutely would require a resume.

          Also, I think anyone applying for a managerial or supervisory role in a blue collar job should have a resume – because you won’t be able to convey the required achievements without it.

          1. AJ-in-Memphis*

            OMG – yes! If you are managing ANYTHING – people or projects – you must have a resume. No excuses. If you have moved up over the years and never went to college but this is where you want to be, go take a class or figure it out! Higher paying occupations should warrant the need to show these skill sets – on the computer and to show basic organizational skills. Absolutely.

            But if you are in a low skill field, there should be other options. Just my opinion.

      3. AG*

        If you go to an online app, *please* do some research and pick a system that is not awful for the applicant. Some take sooo long, are too extensive, or are Windows-only (yes I have seen that!), etc. Simple is better.

        1. Rana*

          And don’t choose one that resets loses all your data if you get timed out for taking “too long”! Or one that will only accept the application if Obscure Coding Requirement is met in each and every field (said Requirement is never spelled out, of course – you only know you did it wrong because of the vague error message at the end telling you something in the application was entered wrong).

          Those are my two least favorite “quirks” of online systems.

    3. Sarah*

      We don’t use an online application system. We encourage interested candidates to either submit a resume via email or fax or stop by our facility to fill out an application. With these types of jobs, I’m perfectly okay with a poorly formatted resume or just an application. I’m not looking for an office person who I expect to know Word. However, in order to work in our warehouse, you will occasionally need to know the basics of operating a computer, or other devices (such as an RF scanner)…we’re pretty basic too compared to large national companies and their warehouses.
      However, when I get an email that only has (maybe) your name, email address, and (maybe) a phone number, how do I know that you’re even remotely qualified? Because we don’t have an applicant tracking system, and receive hundreds of resumes/applications in a variety of formats, there’s no way that I can contact each and every applicant. There’s no way I’m gonna to give you a call because you say you’re interested but provide no other information.

  11. FormerManager*

    Hm. It almost sounds like they should be teaching students to write resumes in middle school, if not earlier. Of course, I learned how to write a basic business-style letter in third grade. (And this was in a public school in southern Virginia!)

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I tend to think teaching younger kids how to write resumes misses the boat. Yes, the learn a format (not often the best format) for a resume, but they’re making up the information. Figuring out what information to present from your personal work history and how to present it in an appealing way is the hard part.

    2. Jess*

      I graduated from highschool in 2006, and we did do resumes in high school- freshman year if I remember correctly. Now, granted, I went to a public school in a very preppy suburban area of Massachusetts, but it was required for everyone.

      1. Jess*

        And we didn’t make up information- we used clubs/classes/part-time jobs we already had to go the resume.

      1. -X-*

        “PS – I’m working on a kind of video resume/interactive game mash-up – check me out on Kickstarter if you’d like to get involved.”

  12. Allison*

    Sounds like when I posted a job in a LinkedIn group, and rather than apply online like we wanted, a lot of people replied to it saying “hello, please look at my profile, thx!” No, your profile is not a resume, and asking me to look at it does not count as an application. I’m really hesitant to do that again.

    And when I post a job on a forum website with a free job board, people message me and tell me their life story, then ask if they’re qualified. Maybe they’re curious, but more often than not they think this is some sort of alternative than filling out an application, like I’m going to say “yes you are, come on in for an interview!” I don’t actually have any say in who gets an interview, so contacting me directly doesn’t do anything.

    You need to apply the way the hiring manager wants you to apply, otherwise you look either 1) unable to follow instruction or 2) lazy. Making a connection is fine, and can make you stand out as long as you contact the right person, but you can’t expect it to substitute an actual application.

    1. Lulu*

      This is so weird – personally, my LI profile is just that, an abbreviated profile of what appears on my resume. I assume consideration for an actual position will involve sending my more involved (and most likely tailored) resume to whoever is requesting it… and possibly filling out the dreaded-but-necessary application. I kind of wonder if people are taking the ideas that everything revolves around social networking &/or employers don’t want to be inundated with too much “stuff” too far? Except you’d think they’d at least attempt to string together a few useful sentences, if nothing else…

      Maybe the “candidate shortage” is really a “understanding how to properly find and apply for jobs in 2013” shortage!

  13. LLG*

    On the flip side, I have 4 college degrees and I’m also a career changer. I don’t have a lot of experience in my new field, but my previous work experience automatically flags me as someone who would want a much higher salary. Emailing a cover letter without a resume actually makes sense. I’m stilling looking for work so I’ll try that out on a couple of online applications and see what happens.

      1. Alyssa*

        Yeah, I definitely don’t recommend just sending a cover letter without a resume. Most prospective employers would be very turned off by that. Just try to create a resume that highlights some of the best achievements you’ve had at your past jobs, as well as educationally if you don’t have too much professional experience yet.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I don’t mean this to be rude, but maybe you’re getting flagged as someone who is wishy washy and doesn’t know what they want to do with their life, rather than because you look expensive.

      4 degrees and now a career change doesn’t scream this is someone who will work for me for the long haul.

      1. K*

        I don’t think four degrees is that weird necessarily – if you have a PhD and a JD or an MBA, for instance, you might well have four degrees (assuming you want through a PhD program that gives Masters out along the way) but only one career change, if that. I know a number of people in that kind of situation.

    2. Rana*

      It sounds to me like you need to rethink your approach to your resume. Presumably something in your background qualifies you for the positions you’re seeking; emphasize that part of your previous work responsibilities, and prune the rest.

      (I say this as a Ph.D. and a career changer, so I know how hard this can be. But given that you’re already a square peg trying to be hired into, let’s say, octagonal holes, it’s to your advantage to appear more conventional in other respects. You can’t undo your work history, but refusing to abide by normal expectations will single you out as a person unlikely and unwilling to fit in, no matter how transferable your skills. People may be reluctant to hire a lime-green chipmunk (in the coinage that recently popped up on the AAM LinkedIn forum) but practically no one wants to put up with Mr. or Ms. I’m Such A Special Snowflake.)

      1. LLG*

        You’re right! I am a lime-green chipmunk. Women engineers have a tendency to be that way since there’s so few of us working in the private sector.

        As far as my education goes, I’m a life-long learner. We are kind of rare and chances are most people never meet one of us in real life. I have been in college since 1978. I received my first degree in 1980 and the last one in 2011. I use college to keep fresh on traditional engineering subjects when I need to revisit one, to keep up with what’s new in my field, and to learn something new every once in a while. Some people feel threatened by that so I learned a long time ago not to bother mentioning it.

        Anyway, I have had interviews by simply sending a letter of introduction without including a resume in the past, but that was when the economy was in good shape and unemployment was low. Unfortunately neither of those conditions is going to improve anytime soon.

        I don’t have any problems going against conventional wisdom and experimenting. I am not that desperate to find work right now. If something interesting comes along I’ll go for it.

        FWIW, I officially changed my career to chocolate teapot repair in 2005. Before that I had two distinct careers: in buggy whip design (15 years) and space ship endurance testing (8 years).

  14. Alyssa*

    I’m dying…how is that even possible?! While I have gleaned countless nuggets of professional wisdom on this blog, it absolutely blows my mind that someone wouldn’t even have the common sense to create a resume when job searching. LOL, I do applaud this candidate’s efforts in bringing laziness to a new level.

  15. Elise*

    I think some of the blame goes to the news companies who report about how “80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking” without really going into details about how said networking works. I expect some of these applicants are trying to network their way to the job.

    If they have an 80% chance at a job through networking and only a 20% through the normal channels…why would they want to submit a resume or fill out an application?

    (I know that’s not how things actually work, but can see how someone unfamiliar with business practices might draw odd conclusions from the news stories.)

    1. Lulu*

      Agreed. Even being an over-researcher and having gone through this before, I’m still continually overwhelmed by the variety of (sometimes contradictory) information out there on how to find a job now. I can see where someone who isn’t a big internet-user would either glom onto the loudest “you’ll never find anything unless you know someone” voices or possibly only find those pieces of information and just translate that improperly.

      I have to remind myself that there are large portions of the population who are not comfortable with &/or don’t have access to computers or the internet, and there are jobs out there that haven’t required this of them. They don’t know what they don’t know. Similar to AJ’s comment re: workforce development – I think some people don’t even know that THAT exists or understand how to find it. It’s unfortunate this kind of divide still exists, since as Jamie points out, you really need to be able to interact with technology on some level for pretty much every job these days. I complain about being ruled out because I’m not a Photoshop Guru; I can’t imagine not even being able to do a Google search.

      Of course this still doesn’t excuse a good chunk of people who are just not proactive or thorough, in which case I suppose you’re lucky you’re finding that out early! But it’s easy to forget it’s not even a level playing field in terms of the knowledge/access required to simply *apply* for a position these days.

      1. Long Time Admin*

        I have a friend who is a volunteer at the Literacy Center. He had a client (a legal immigant) who had a job at the local poultry processing plant. He cut up chickens for packaging. He wanted to get a job as a forklift drive, so my friend helped him improve his reading/writing skills, and got the hard-copy application. My friend told me that this application was complicated and extrememly confusing. They worked on this together for several sessions, until the client felt comfortable with everything. He did get the job, with a pay increase, so he could move his family from a crime ridden area into a nicer neighborhood.

        Some job applications are ridiculously complicated. People who are otherwise great candidates are often eliminated at the start because of this. I wonder how many HR people could easily fill out applications from companies other than their own?

  16. Chris Hogg*

    While every job seeker, at every level, should develop a resume (a well thought out, well-crafted resume), I’d like to suggest that there are many times that the best way to apply for a job is without a resume. And this includes applying to job advertisements that request one.

    It has been my experience that a well-written, focused, responsive email sent directly to the hiring manager (and even to the HR department if the hiring manager cannot be determined, although this should be avoided if at all possible) is an effective way to bypass the HR department, to “step out” of the line of a hundred or so applicants with resumes, and to get a call to come in for an interview.

    It seems to me that the email used to start this thread is a “straw man” example, as it is so bad that it immediately disqualifies the writer. But this example does not, in my opinion, make the argument that one “should always” send a resume.

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