Monday, April 28, 2014

You-know-who is in the details.

That, my friends, was a very nice weekend, but now it's Monday, and it's back to the work of finding work. Since I'm still at the beginning of the effort, that means a lot of searching and reading and hunting.

I've got my basic resumes ready, just waiting to be sent out. I've spent a lot of time writing them, rereading them, and rewriting them. I've always been a fanatic about language, but it's especially important now that  it can have a direct effect on my future.

It's funny how often people get complacent about that sort of thing. Not just in resumes, and not just applicants. I've been reading lots of advice columns on job search websites, and, while I'm not going to call anyone out here, I'm amazed at how many of them are full of typos and grammatical errors, like using "affect" instead of "effect," or the dreaded "greengrocer's apostrophe." Just as bad is when people use expressions that they only think they understand. Things like "one in the same" (which should be "one and the same"), or (I've actually seen these) "flay minyawn" for "filet mignon" or "wallah" for "voila." Yes, the internet is full of poorly-spelled websites. But if you're putting yourself out there as a professional, you should take the time to do it right. These sorts of mistakes make it hard to take what is otherwise good advice seriously.

They also make it hard to take an otherwise ideal candidate seriously. The last thing I want when I send out a resume is to have a typo or an egregious grammatical error. Especially if, as in my case, I'm applying for work as a writer, or a proofreader, or a copy editor. I know if I were hiring, a resume with easily correctable errors would end up right in the round file.

I'm lucky. My wife is also a professional copy editor, so she gets the final pass on all of my resumes. If you haven't had someone proofread yours, you're taking a risk that could cost you any chance at an interview. Just make sure it's someone you can count on. A boss, a mentor... even a professional editor. And then, check it again yourself, and ask the person about any changes they made. That way, you learn. And discussing it with them should also help catch any errors they might have missed -- or made. Because even pros can make mistakes.

You know, when I started writing this blog, I didn't think of it as "advice to job seekers," because, well, I am a job seeker. I still don't really think of it that way. I'm not here to tell you how to get a job. I'm here to share what I'm doing to find a job; this blog is sort of "me, thinking out loud." If my thoughts help you, I'm glad to have been of assistance. And if any recruiters are out there, well, I hope you like what you're reading, because otherwise I'm in big trouble, aren't I?


  1. I would recommend using concise sentences and avoiding comma splicing to improve your article. People will be scrutinizing your grammar instead of thinking about your content if you draw attention to grammar mistakes.

    The first sentence could be rewritten as "That, my friends, was a very nice weekend. Now it's Monday so it's back to the work of finding work." Your second line is a run-on sentence. I hope an MLA handbook or refresher course online can give you further assistance.

    1. Anonymous,
      Thank you for commenting.
      That said, my first sentence is not a comma splice. I have used two coordinating conjunctions to create a flow. It's a style choice, and one that reflects my speaking style. Some people may not care for it, as it is a casual, informal style, but it's by no means an error. Had I written, "That was a nice weekend, it's time to go to work," that would have been a comma splice.
      Further, my second line is not a run-on sentence. It's a simple "Since a, [then] b" compound construction. If I had written, "I'm still at the beginning of my effort, that means a lot of searching," that would have been a run-on sentence.
      As I mentioned in my post, even pros can make mistakes, and not everyone agrees on style.
      I appreciate your taking the time to read the blog, and to comment.

  2. Hello Mr.Honsinger, this comment is irrelevant to the blog you have posted. I am a 17 year old young man who is aspiring to join the Air Force or Navy. I am mostly interested in the intelligence and linguist field. I have never had the privilege of speaking to a man who has worked in that career field and am seeking true, unbiased assistance. It would be an honor for me to speak with you a little bit with a few questions I have had struggle obtaining answers to. Thank you