I’m on the prowl for a part-time editorial assistant in the New York area at a major non-profit organization. The job was posted two weeks ago and has yielded over 450 resumes. What started out as an exciting task of expanding my skeleton staff has turned into a harsh reminder of how bleak things are out there in the (un)employment world – especially for people with a writing/communications/journalism background.
Dozens of applicants have Ivy League educations. Hundreds have advanced degrees. And almost every single person is over-qualified for the $16-an-hour gig. The biggest challenge, from a hiring perspective, is finding someone who will stick around for at least six months.
Wading through a sea of applicants is tough work. But three candidates made my life easy. They gave me the opportunity to reject them instantly. Why?
They each used the EXACT SAME COVER LETTER!
What tipped me off was that each started with a relatively out-of-left-field wording:
It’s what I do for a living.
No, not in the traditional hammer and nail sense, but in the business sense-whether it’s building a marketplace for a product or service, building a series of original campaigns, or building lasting relationships.
Those words, and the entire letter was lifted from How to Say It on Your Resume, a book released earlier this year and available on Google Books.
Cracking the case wasn’t hard, but resisting the urge to call each candidate in for an interview and embarrassing them was!
I understand why candidates do it. But when you get caught, you look like a royal a-hole. Here’s why foolish people engage.
– No penalty. The worst thing that happens is that they are not hired.
– They can apply for a higher # of jobs. Copying the work of another lets you spend more time sending out resumes, therefore, allowing you to apply for more jobs.
– No work on their end. People are lazy. Imagine hiring one of these theiving leaches?
At least make a few alterations and make it your own! Sending in the same letter verbatim is pathetic.
In my opinion, if you get caught, you should be blacklisted. Perhaps I’ll start a Website that outs resume and cover letter plagiarists, ensuring that they never work again.
What do you think? Should these copy cat applicants be outed to the world?