That time I got a typewritten resume…

by Rich DeMatteo on August 17, 2010 · 40 comments

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How many people reading this post know how to use a typewriter?  Your guess is as good as mine, but if a certain candidate from last week is reading this post then our answer is at least 1.

So, here I am minding my own business, just hunting on Linkedin, when all of a sudden it happens.  The receptionist walks over towards me with a huge smile on her face, and an envelope in hand.

She explains that she had a walk-in candidate drop off a resume for the IT SUPPORT TECH position (yes, I used all caps for a reason).  She’s smiling as I open the resume and I can just tell something’s about to happen.  I pull the resume out, unfold it, and then horror hits me.  It was a typewritten resume.  Disgusting.

Who uses a typewriter anymore?  More importantly, who would think of using a typewriter for a resume?  While I understand that people want their resume to stand out, it’s not OK to use a typewriter for any reason.  Period.  Double period.

Maybe the most ridiculous part of this story is that this was for an IT Support Tech job.  A job that requires you to be extremely tech savvy, a person that is completely up to date on the latest technology.  This is the equivalent to applying to a nutritionist position with a cheeseburger in your hand.  Maybe that’s a bad analogy.  You get the point.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that he was a walk-in candidate, and completely avoided the use of ALL technology in this process.

And if you’re wondering, no the candidate wasn’t qualified.  If he/she was, then they would have got a call, but I would have used morse code to call them.

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38 comments
gracekboyle
gracekboyle

This is pretty funny. Avoiding technology is definitely not something you may want but it's also a way to stand out. I don't understand why a typewriter was different than a computer though? It's all the same text. You are assuming he isn't technologically savvy, specifically for the role (totally makes sense) but assumptions don't really help...

n
n

Great post, but respectfully, I disagree 100%. I actually think a type-written resume is a bold and quirky way to stand out, especially hand-delivered. Even for technical roles, a personable strategy is a great approach. It got your attention and I'm not sure the candidate's using a typewriter really says anything about their computer savvy.

City Sylvester
City Sylvester

As usual great stuff Rich! And off course typewriters still exist. Didn't you know they are the preferred source of entertainment in nursing homes and childcare centers all across the U.S ? For what it's worth, that guy or woman who sent in that resume is still trying. Most people just give up when the odds have them up against the ropes. So Kudos to you typewriter applicant :)

Karen Siwak
Karen Siwak

Heaven forefend that I be the one to put a wet blanket on comic relief, but it’s been a tough week for jobseekers, so I’m going to do it. Some things to consider: 1. One in five people in the US do not have access to the internet. 2. One in five people who want to work right now, aren’t. 3. Those groups overlap, and where they do, it’s ugly. Soul-sucking-hopelessness ugly. 4. No, he wasn’t qualified for the job he applied to, but the reality is that somebody without computer skills in today’s job market is screwed. And he probably knows it. In fact he probably applied to the job hoping to acquire the skills and training he knows he’s missing. 5. I can type up a one page document in about two minutes. If I tried to do it on a typewriter, even badly, it would take at least 45 minutes, and it would be full of backspaced typeovers. It’s hard, I know, because I used to produce all my university essays that way (yes, I’m THAT old). This guy is doing it for Every. Single. Job. He. Applies. To. That takes tenacity and determination. This guy is not a quitter. Moreover, he’s not sitting at home, waiting for a telephone call or surfing the net. He’s getting off his butt, he’s walking the streets, he’s putting himself out there. One of the pitfalls about being a recruiter, or a hiring manager, or a career coach, is that it is easy to become jaded about the people who are looking for work right now. And frankly, they deserve better. Okay, I've hopped off my soap box.

Jen
Jen

I still have to use a typewriter for some agreements that come through that have carbon copy. Though I am not certain why we even use the carbon copy anymore, but they are not my agreements; they are client agreements. It is a pain to line everything up on the stupid typewriter too. I didn't know that typewriters should not be used for a resume though. It never dawned on me since I've had a computer with MS Word for over 15 years. So what should people do who don't have computers? I suppose they could go to the library... oh wait are those still around??? This just made me feel extremely OLD and I'm only 30. I learned to type on a typewriter as well... and I just realized 1990 was 20 years ago. :( feels like yesterday to me. Think I'll go listen to some Nirvana and Pearl Jam now.

Tyler Durbin
Tyler Durbin

Ok...so using a typewriter is absolutely ridiculous, but now that I read this post I'm somewhat intrigued. Say the candidate was qualified. The candidate is now in your head and its been for more than a week now. You tweeted about it and then wrote a post about it. How many other candidates have received tweets and entire blog post about them before you even met them? How many candidates does the receptionist actually remember? Imagine if you brought him in for an interview...how excited would you be to meet this person? How many candidates walk in an interview and the interviewers already has an informal conversation topic he wants to bring up? I'm not saying this is the way to do it. But, hey, the guy is in your head.

Tammy
Tammy

Moral of story - If you do stand out, ya better not fail! FTL... Loving the crayon resume idea!

Jamie Favreau
Jamie Favreau

I have an aunt who is completely illiterate when it comes to technology. She could not find her way home with her GPS and probably would not really know how to find someone to call to help her from getting lost in whatever place she was lost in by using her cell phone. I can picture her sending it out via a typewriter. I would not have the patience for a typewriter and I had to take typing in 9th grade. So don't knock on the typewriter. But for a tech job the guy should have been more tech savvy.

Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik

All I can say is WOW. I'm a big fan of trying to stand out and be unique. But, apparently this guy forgot the memo that he must standout in a way that will make him look more qualified for the position. A typewritten resume position for an IT position. Come on, it's not 1990.

Colleen
Colleen

Am I the only person who thinks this guy (typewriter-resume man) is awesome? I read this post and laughed-- because I think sending in a typewritten resume for an IT job (if you're qualified) is terribly witty and rather smart. But maybe I spend too much time with computer geeks and spent one-too-many years in Seattle with tech guys. Here's my question: did his resume suppot the fact that he had legit IT skills? If yes, then I would have considered hiring him for sure.

Ashley
Ashley

Haha, they were trying to be unique at least. :p

Kyle Harty
Kyle Harty

Forget using Morse code, more like a string with cups on each end.

Marian Schembari
Marian Schembari

Bawwwhahahaa!!! Dude, you crack me up, as per usual. I actually DO know how to use a typewriter because we didn't have a computer until I was in high school. So word up. That said, I find it hilarious this guy was applying for the tech position. Good times ;-)

Kimba Green
Kimba Green

I realize that some of you are young but some of us do still know how to use a typewriter and no I was not born in 1492! I still use it occasionally but not for a resume! Isn't this person a perfect candidate for a career coach makeover?

Harrison
Harrison

LOL. When did typewriters even exist?

Steve
Steve

I prefer to use crayons to typewriters when composing my resumés. This allows me to use brighter colors as a subtle way to highlight my strengths. In this bad of a job market, even my resumes are a hard sell--what is that cat thinking?

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Thanks, Julie. I rushed through that post and forgot to check over. Fixed.

julie
julie

Dude, it's Morse code. For what it's worth. :)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey N - thanks for your thoughts and opinion on this. I can agree with you to some extent, but if this candidate was trying to be bold and stand out, there are tons of other ways to do it. The resume was typed sloppily, and lines were out of order and put in a diaganol form. It just looked terrible, and their experience on the resume proved they lacked current experience with current technology. We will have to agree to disagree. Especially on walk-ins. It's just not an acceptable way to apply to most companies these days, and most organizations won't even accept candidates that walk-in. I agree, a personal strategy is great, but please, leave out the type writers.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey bud - thanks! Yes, he certainly did still try and I am happy for that, but come on, no typewriters for resumes. Just no!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jen - Typewriters can be used, but I don't recommend. It's not what people in the office see everyday, and you want it to be familiar. Sticking out is great, but not in bad ways like this. Good point about libraries...if people can utilize a library that's a great spot to go type up the resume. Nothings wrong with some Nirvana and Pearl Jam - go rock out!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Tyler - Great comment. I agree with you, the candidates in my head, but they were also not qualified. If they were, then I would have contacted them immediately. It's a cool concept, but judging from the candidates poor experience, he/she just doesn't have an understanding of current technology. Therefore, no phone call.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Tammy - Thanks for the comment! Yes, I love the crayon idea as well! Maybe I'll put it together!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jamie - I can think of a few people in my life who are probably like your aunt. You make great points, and while I'm not knocking on the typewriter, I am knocking on it's use for this specific position. It's just not a valid job search tool for tech savvy roles, which you stated in your comment. Thanks for the comment!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jessica - Yes, he's a bit behind. It's a shame actually, but it needed to be pointed out!

Scott Hale
Scott Hale

I'm with you, Colleen - I think this is awesome. I understand the Tech Support thing, but I imagine anybody in the tech space would laugh their face off (in a good way) when they saw this. Maybe he misfired on the audience... Sounds like the candidate wasn't qualified, but I wouldn't let this move lead me to that conclusion. To me, this clearly demonstrates the candidates sense of humor and potentially speaks to how ingrained he/she is in the tech community. There's too much poetic irony in this situation to even consider that the candidate's skills stop at typewriter.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Colleen - Thanks for the comment! At the end of the post I stated that he wasn't qualified. I surely would have contacted him if he was. I"ll contact any qualified candidate, but this was just further proof that he had no knowledge of current technology.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

I just LOL'd.... That's awesome! Thanks, Kyle

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Marian - Glad I can make you laugh. That's a compliment, considering I feel the same about you. Look at you miss Typewriter. Nice. Yep...he avoided all use of technology. He could have even scanned in his typewriter resume, and maybe got a few "savvy" points, but nope. He walked it right in, which isn't my favorite approach to begin with.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Kimba - Thanks for your comment, and I hope I wasn't being insensitive. Glad to hear that you still do use it, I guess certain documents would be cool to use it for. This person would be a perfect candidate for a career coach makeover, but I'm not sure I can really call the candidate and pitch my services. If they reached out to be without applying to the company that I'm working with right now, then I'd help immediately. Great suggestion, and thanks!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Steve - Maybe I should have a contest for best Crayon resume on COTJ. What do you think? See if people can actually create a fun resume.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

If only you guys were right. His skills were about 15 years out of date on the resume and he had technology on the resume that's been out of use for years and years. It was 100% clear that this guy was simply failing with new technology. It would have been great if it was just a gag to get some views, but unfortunately, it was negative attention that he got.

Melissa Breau
Melissa Breau

Maybe we was trying to comic relief? After all, it did make you notice his resume ... and even go so far as to blog about it.

Steve
Steve

Haha. To be honest you'd know better than I, because while I'm a frequent reader, I haven't spent a whole lot of time on the discussions that follow. I'd bet you've got a group that is laid back and creative enough to deliver some "color". Who knows, the often brutal business of job seeking that many readers are probably experiencing may get benefit more than you'd think from just that kind of comic relief.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

True, Melissa, but I'm not praising his efforts. It would almost be genius if he was qualified, but instead, backs up that he is really just not up to speed on latest technology, especially needed for this role.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Steve - you could be right. Comic relief in recruiting is nice, especially when so many folks need to be cut. I believe in black and white resumes, but just for fun I'd like to see some crayon resumes... hmmm

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