Poor Resume Skills

Dear Management Doctor:

Our regional planning agency is currently advertising for a Planner II position. In the first two days, we received thirty applications via email. One of them was from an applicant who wrote the following in the email that accompanied his cover letter and resume:

I am a recent graduate with a Bachelors degree in Urban and Regional Planning. In addition, i have work experience from when i was interning for an architect in which i was doing site planning. i am very familiar with personal computers and i am efficient in word, power point, excel. I have enclosed a power point from a GIS class that i have taken while in school.
Note the lowercase i's. Is this applicant qualified? I don't know as I immediately gave him a thumbs down.

Signed,
Challenged

Dear Challenged,

I vote thumbs down too. Writing is important for planners and it appears you have many other choices.

The Management Doctor


Reader Responses

If this person's resume looked good, he/she would be my first interview. I tried to write a paper in college for an english lit class, all in lower case, on people conforming to set standards. Teacher liked the creativity but scolded me on the lack of capitalization. I argued why - she told me I was not e.e. cummings.

Wayne L. Wiethe
City of Green


I found this email humorous if not disturbing. I forwarded it to a friend who informed me that this is what "young hip" people do; they purposely don't capitalize their I's because they don't have time to hit the shift key.

That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. At least it narrows the field.

Dan Kwasnowski
Town of Dryden, NY


If the writer had not capitalized any letters, I would believe that this was a "young hip" trend to avoid a keystroke or two. Word processing programs also "correct" a lower-case "i" to a capital "I" automatically, so it is an intentional act, possibly a way to call attention to the writer as non-traditional or "special" in some way.

I'm afraid that curiosity would get the better of me and if all other things were equal, I'd interview a "small i" person.

Kathy James
City of Bonney Lake


Reminds me of a few years ago when we were hiring (we don't do that anymore) and one of the candidates seemed like a good fit. He was pretty sharp but missed the admittedly basic question of number of feet in a mile. Some folks thought this an automatic disqualifier, I thought basics could be taught but fit could not. I feel the same way about this. If an applicant is otherwise a good fit, teaching capitalization isn't that hard.

Glenn Moyer, AICP


A most telling tale, that resume, and one not too uncommon these days.

I recently recruited for an Assistant Planner position. After concluding that very few of the Human Resources Dept. recommended questions would allow me any insight to the workings of the candidates' minds (let alone their proficiencies), I came up with my own list of questions. Among the questions were such show-stoppers as: "Would you please convert the fraction 4/5 into a percentage?" (Three of 11 could not do it without a calculator), and, my favorite, "Are grammar and spelling important in this day and age?" Two candidates actually replied in the negative (!!!). Next -

Plan On!

Mark Wolfe, AICP
City of Chico

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