The Practical Mac

Top 10 Ways Not to Get Hired

A 'Best of the Practical Mac' Column

- 2002.11.05 - Tip Jar

I have just finished sorting through over 300 resumes we received in response to an ad we placed for a Network Administrator. The Web is full of sites that give you helpful advice for getting the job of your dreams. However, we give you pointers you won't find just anywhere. Here, in a Low End Mac exclusive, is our advice on how to ensure that you do not get the job of your dreams (or any job for that matter).

1 It is now commonplace to offer email as a method of applying for a job, therefore you should be as creative as possible in selecting your email address and give no thought whatsoever to the impression it may create with a potential employer, to wit:

  • [I assumed he was looking for something on the 2nd shift]
  • [Captains Kirk and Janeway applied as well]

The domain names have been changed (to "") to protect the guilty, but the rest of each address comes to you courtesy of real-life job seekers (all of whom are still seeking jobs, by the way). I am not nearly creative enough to make some of those up. As an employer, I can say that we are always impressed with those serious technology professionals who have an email address at the coveted "" domain.

If you recognize your handle in the list above, we have already filled our position - and it wasn't with you, dude.

2 Your email program has an options or preferences section where you can enter your name. The name you enter here shows up in the "from" field in your recipients' inbox. If you do not enter any information in this section, most email programs default to displaying just your email address in the "from" field. When applying for a high-level position in the Information Technology field, it is important to leave these fields empty, thereby demonstrating to your potential employer that you are far too busy to be bothered with such mundane matters as properly configuring your own email program.

3 Spell check is only for computer newbies, and only total idiots would actually use such an elementary tool on their own resume.

4 When creating documents, such as a resume, in AppleWorks or Microsoft Word, features such as tables, flush right and center are helpful in keeping columns of text properly aligned. However, only low-level drones such as secretaries use these features. Prospective Information Technology professionals line up their text using the space bar.

5 If you spent seven years working as a contractor, you should not list this period of employment on your resume in the following manner:

1995-2002: IT Contractor with XYZ Consultants

Instead, you should separately list each company to which you were contracted, making it appear that you had 17 different jobs during this period and stayed at none of them longer than six months. That way, you will seem to have a wealth of experience in a multitude of different environments.

6 If you do not even remotely meet the education and experience requirements for the position, you should include a cover letter explaining to the hiring manager in painful detail exactly why the position advertised does not in fact require any of the skills listed and expressing surprise that the manager was so stupid as to believe it did.

7 Be sure to list all degrees received from unaccredited colleges and diploma mills, with the name of the "college" prominently displayed. No one at the employer is likely to know the difference. But then there is the possibility that the IT Director is also an attorney, was once a college administrator, served on a task force charged with tracking down and prosecuting the proprietors of such institutions, and recognizes your Alma Mater in a way not entirely beneficial to your candidacy for the position. Nah, what are the chances that would ever happen.

Oh, and on a personal note to "," the word is spelled "Doctorate," not "Doctrate."

8 Lie. Everybody does it; no one ever gets caught. Chances are slim that anyone will take out pencil and paper, do some date calculations, and figure out that when you were a Senior Engineer allegedly designing chips at Motorola, you were 14 years old.

9 Lie (Part II). And be bold about it. The person looking at your resume and cover letter will probably be a management type desk jockey who doesn't know Apple from Oracle. They will be duly impressed that you received your MCSE in Windows NT4 and Solaris. So will Scott McNealy.

10 Finally, you should demonstrate your vast knowledge and experience by criticizing technology with which you have only a passing acquaintance. For instance, you should praise Microsoft Windows as being a far superior network platform to Novell NetWare, even chastising those who use something that has been around for "over 20 years." Explain how, with your vast experience with Microsoft products, you will rescue the company from inferior technology.

Then, you should go back to playing with your Xbox as soon as you click the "Send" button that will transmit your resume and cover letter to the person whom you are certain will be your new employer. You know, the employer with the address that ends with "" [the free email service provided by Novell]. LEM

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Steve Watkins is the Vice President for Information Technology for a mid-sized bank, an attorney, and an Army Reserve JAG on extended active duty. He has been a Mac user for about 12 years. He has owned some PCs along the way - but always came back to the Mac. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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