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Strange feedback from employer - Didn't get the job

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  • Jul 15th, 2012 11:34 am
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[OP]
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Dec 7, 2009
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Strange feedback from employer - Didn't get the job

Here is the feedback I received from an employer, after asking to give some feedback and suggestions for future interviews.
Hi xxxx,

The interview did go well, however the successful candidate had a stronger technical background, specifically in Engineering. I would suggest you ensure that your answers are clear and concise, especially technical answers. For example, solving a hard drive problem, I was looking for basic step by step troubleshooting, which would be similar to a technical documentation format.

Also, just some advice on your resume and cover letter. Your cover letter had a number of typos and incomplete sentences. Your cover letter should be customized for the organization your applying to, and provide support for your candidacy. I would also suggest you reduce the length of your resume to either 1 or 2 pages at most.

Take care,
xxxxx
Now first of all, I do appreciate an employer giving feedback like this. They could have just ignored my request. However, I am confused about something. He said that my cover letter had a number of typos and incomplete sentences. Then he immediately proceeds to fail in the use of your vs. you're. I briefly thought about e-mailing him back to point out the irony of this, but I decided against it. Burnt bridges and all of that.

Here is my cover letter for reference..
May 4, 2012

I am interested in applying for the position of XX XXXXX. I found this position Career Central and am writing for your consideration.

With a background in applied science, IT, and technology solutions, I'm confident that my skill set matches what you're looking for. I'm a proud member of the Western community, a lifelong learner and someone who is heavily invested in my community.

I would love an opportunity to work as part of this project. I'd like to thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

XXXX XXXXXX
Now, after poring over this, I will say that I missed the conjunction between "position" and "Career" and use of the word "community" twice does read a bit awkwardly. However, this is not the same as 'a number of typos and incomplete sentences.' In fact, I can't find a single typo. Can someone help clarify what he meant here?

Also, I highly doubt the candidate had a stronger technical background. If you saw my resume, you'd understand that I am already quite overqualified for this position (which pays $16hr. I've been paid more for a more senior role in a bigger company).. So, my hunch is that they hired a 2nd or 3rd year engineering student with retail experience, and pretty much lied to me. There's no way for me to confirm this however.

Finally, unless you want the font decreased so you can read it with a magnifying glass, there's no way I'm putting my resume down to 2 pages. I'd only be selling myself short and not painting the full picture. I have two pages for my education, work experience and certifications, and one page for my technical profile and volunteer experience with a couple lines dedicated to hobbies. I don't know how to cut this down without omitting things that I feel are important.

You might think that a 3-page resume must contain fluff, but I assure you, I don't even have an objective statement. It's all business.
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221 replies
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Jun 29, 2009
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A Syne thread about applying for jobs ... but I'll bite the bullet and reply anyway

it's very nice of him to reply with more than 1 liner. Take his feedback and see what you can improve, it's not important whether he lied (that someone is more qualified, it doesn't matter whether it's true or not), or he has typos on his own (in fact your typo is a lot worse than mixing your and you're)

And:
Syne wrote: In fact, I can't find a single typo. Can someone help clarify what he meant here?
Really? You are pretty bad at proof reading your resume/cover letter. I won't be surprised if you have a lot more errors in your resume, and such errors are reflection that you are not careful in what you are doing, typos in resume is a very bad reflection on you.
Syne wrote: May 4, 2012

I am interested in applying for the position of XX XXXXX. I found this position Career Central and am writing for your consideration.

With a background in applied science, IT, and technology solutions, I'm confident that my skill set matches what you're looking for. I'm a proud member of the Western community, a lifelong learner and someone who is heavily invested in my community.

I would love an opportunity to work as part of this project. I'd like to thank you for yoru time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

XXXX XXXXXX
Clear yet where your typo is? I didn't even look, a quick scan of something like that quickly catches it.
Syne wrote: Finally, unless you want the font decreased so you can read it with a magnifying glass, there's no way I'm putting my resume down to 2 pages. I'd only be selling myself short and not painting the full picture. I have two pages for my education, work experience and certifications, and one page for my technical profile and hobbies/volunteer experience. I don't know how to cut this down without omitting things that I feel are important.
Resume more than 2 pages is a lot of bs ... unless of course you are as accomplished as Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, etc in their career and has publications and stuff.

What you feel important is very likely a lot of fluff and of no relevance to what the employer is looking for. 2 Pages resume is 99% of the time the maximum and if you cant cut it down, that comes to your inability to write in clear and concise manner - likely the interview has the same experience with you and hence said you need to "ensure that your answers are clear and concise"
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[QUOTE]May 4, 2012

I am interested in applying for the position of XX XXXXX. I found this position Career Central and am writing for your consideration.

With a background in applied science, IT, and technology solutions, I'm confident that my skill set matches what you're looking for. I'm a proud member of the Western community, a lifelong learner and someone who is heavily invested in my community.

I would love an opportunity to work as part of this project. I'd like to thank you for yoru time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

XXXX XXXXXX[/QUOTE]

Personally, I don't read resumes more than 2 pages.
And finally, your post comes across as incredibly arrogant. You don't believe there's anyone who could possibly be more skilled than you?

I understand not getting the job is frustrating but slow down for a moment, vent as necessary, and take the constructive feedback in a positive way.
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[OP]
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Dec 7, 2009
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OK, that yoru type-o was due to my quick translation for RFD, that was not on my actual cover letter. I've corrected it for accuracy. Sorry about that.

I would have copy/pasted but it was in a PDF format.

Sorry damnos, I know that most of your post was spent focusing on a type-o that actually wasn't in the cover letter. So I'll ask again, can anyone find a single typographical error in my cover letter?
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May 25, 2009
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The one thing that I have always been told when writing technical documents/memo/resumes/cover letters (anything that should be professional) is to avoid using contraction (I'm, I'd, You're, Won't, Couldn't, etc.)

Also using the phrase "love an opportunity" is very unprofessional. I would suggest "appreciate an opportunity" or "look forward to an opportunity."
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Jun 29, 2009
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Syne wrote: Sorry damnos, I know that most of your post was spent focusing on a type-o that actually wasn't in the cover letter. So I'll ask again, can anyone find a single typographical error in my cover letter?

You don't even read properly... I have 3 pts, and the typo was only 1

Edit: On another note though, what you show is not a cover letter, really wouldn't call it anywhere close to a cover letter.
[OP]
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damnos wrote: (in fact your typo is a lot worse than mixing your and you're)

And:


Really? You are pretty bad at proof reading your resume/cover letter. I won't be surprised if you have a lot more errors in your resume, and such errors are reflection that you are not careful in what you are doing, typos in resume is a very bad reflection on you.



Clear yet where your typo is? I didn't even look, a quick scan of something like that quickly catches it.
You also took three different opportunities to point out a single error that wasn't even on my actual cover letter.
In a perfect system, corporations would fear the government and the government would fear the people. - David Wong

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Jun 29, 2009
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Syne wrote: You also took three different opportunities to point out a single error that wasn't even on my actual cover letter.
I tried Syne, I gave you 3 constructive feedback (1 of them being on the non-existent typo) ... you just couldn't take constructive feedback.
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Feb 15, 2008
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Okay Syne, the guy does have a point about your resume -- for a $16/hour position, quite frankly, >2 pages is just extraneous BS that nobody needs to know. It calls into question whether you can provide the client an efficient solution, or whether you're just going to create a proverbial "Tower of Babel" in terms of getting the job done.

We have no way of evaluating the in-person interview claims. That's entirely subjective.

As for your cover letter, 'would', 'could' tend to be conditional statements (prepositions??) in the English language. My suggestion is to avoid using them.
my hunch is that they hired a 2nd or 3rd year engineering student with retail experience
Most likely; as I've discovered, employers really don't like to hire overqualified individuals.
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Looks like that employer made the right decision.
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I have always wondered why Syne was so bitter in the career forum. After reading this thread, I have a much better idea why Syne has so many problems on the job market.

1) You are clearly arrogant. Why would you think that the employer (who took the time to give you feedback) would lie about the reasons he didn't hire you? You really can't imagine someone has more technical knowledge than you?

2) You can't take constructive criticism. As mentioned by the employer and also by a poster above, you don't need a resume longer than two pages. You don't have to list ever single job and every single certification you have. Tailor your resume to each job that you are applying to and only include what is relevant.

3) Your cover letter is mediocre. It's one of the shortest I have ever seen. It's almost as though you wrote it just so you could say you have one. It is incredibly generic. You need to give more details about why you think you would fit. Why do you want to work as part of the project? Why are you confident that your skill set matched what they are looking for? You also need to write more formally and correct your grammatical mistakes.
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Apr 19, 2008
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At least you have some constructive feedback, mine was for 8 months:

"Thank you for your interest in working for XXXXX and for taking the time to submit your application through our website.

We will now give careful consideration to your application, reviewing your details against the position criteria. You will receive separate notification of the outcome in due course."
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Jul 13, 2009
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calgaryhhr wrote: The one thing that I have always been told when writing technical documents/memo/resumes/cover letters (anything that should be professional) is to avoid using contraction (I'm, I'd, You're, Won't, Couldn't, etc.)

This isn't really the case, wiki has a blurb about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Eng ... ions#Usage

Problem being that "correct" usage of language isn't really relevant to job applications, only the appearance of correctness is.
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My biggest issue would be with his lack luster cover letter which explains absolutely nothing about previous work experience and how it can be applied to the position. Perhaps if you cut down on the length of the Resume and put some of those extra words to the cover letter you would be in a better position. And a resume more than 2 pages (heck even over a nice page) contains BS and fluff. Or you have had many jobs that span just a couple of months or something like that, which looks really bad.

As others said, no way to know what went on in the interview or how to judge it.
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Syne wrote: Also, I highly doubt the candidate had a stronger technical background. If you saw my resume, you'd understand that I am already quite overqualified for this position (which pays $16hr. I've been paid more for a more senior role in a bigger company).. So, my hunch is that they hired a 2nd or 3rd year engineering student with retail experience, and pretty much lied to me. There's no way for me to confirm this however.

Finally, unless you want the font decreased so you can read it with a magnifying glass, there's no way I'm putting my resume down to 2 pages. I'd only be selling myself short and not painting the full picture. I have two pages for my education, work experience and certifications, and one page for my technical profile and volunteer experience with a couple lines dedicated to hobbies. I don't know how to cut this down without omitting things that I feel are important.

You might think that a 3-page resume must contain fluff, but I assure you, I don't even have an objective statement. It's all business.

It's up to you whether to believe the employers feedback or not but a 3 page resume is nonsense and his advice to condense it should be heeded. I know you think it's great that you've been in school for a million years but a prospective employer doesn't care. If you have work experience than nix the volunteer stuff unless it's very closely related to the job you're applying for, because again... They don't care.You really put hobbies on your resume? Are you applying at an arts and crafts store?

Your resume some how did its job and got you an interview. But the employer feedback is a little contradicting because why would you have gotten an interview in the first place?

My hunch is that they just didn't like you as a person which I know is just ridiculous right?

also:
May 4, 2012

I am interested in applying for the position of XX XXXXX. I found this position (on?) Career Central and am writing for your consideration.
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Jul 13, 2009
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eiad77 wrote: I don't think it's about being correct or not; it's about being formal.

Yes, the misconception is that "contractions are not appropriate in formal English"; this is incorrect.
tsat wrote: Your resume some how did its job and got you an interview.

Yeah, nobody else has mentioned this; if you don't continue in the application process after an interview, it's because you didn't interview well enough.
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eiad77 wrote: I don't think it's about being correct or not; it's about being formal.

I agree. When it comes to formal writing, technical documents or presentations contractions should be avoided. Contractions may be correct and acceptable but they read unprofessionally (in my opinion.)
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Sep 23, 2009
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Syne,

I think the person is trying to tell you that you have a superiority complex.

Think about what he says, it sounds like they want someone that can do the job quickly and efficiently.

They don't want someone who can talk, they want someone who can do.

Sometimes employers don't want thinkers, they want doers. This means when you go for an interview, you have to make a decision .... Does the person doing the interviewing want someone who talks a big game or do they want someone whose work speaks for itself? A fair way in deciding which way to go is to figure out whether or not the person should know your job or is an HR person.

Someone who knows the job probably wants someone who can do the work and let the results talk, while an HR person may be swayed by a big talker.

In the end though, the person interviewing you didn't like your attitude towards the job .... this likely came out during the interviewed and we can see it through the following:

"If you saw my resume, you'd understand that I am already quite overqualified for this position (which pays $16hr. I've been paid more for a more senior role in a bigger company)."
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Nov 29, 2006
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To be perfectly blunt, that is a pretty awful cover letter. It reads more like the introductory e-mail that you attach your resume and cover letter to instead of just being a cover letter.

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