As has been stated before, I volunteer with Wonderful Lady at a local hospital. This happens to be a sweet gig, as she is an awesome business reference for my job hunting as well as giving me experience in the field I am trying to get into: medical secretary. However, this also gives me ample opportunity to observe the many mistakes of those who are applying to become fellow volunteers. These mistakes are so prevalent that I had to sit back and wonder one day exactly how broad these mistakes are. Is this a shot of Don't Give A Shit because it's "informal" due to it being "volunteer" or are these mistakes anyone can make when applying for any job?
In the name of science, I'm going to pretend that they are, and those of us (me included) who are hunting for something...anything... better than what we have right now... can fall into these pitfalls.
1) Fill it out completely
It is a facepalm worthy offense to pick up an application and find incomplete information in there. If there is a section of the application asking for your name, address, and phone number, FILL IT IN! Do NOT assume! Your job may be in the same town/city/dungeon of terror as your home address, but the big guy/gal is just LOOKING for a reason to throw out your application in order to narrow their massive pile down. A missing zip code or street number is sufficient to disqualify you. Even in my volunteering gig, it slows things down to have to track your sorry ass down to get the information you SHOULD have already filled in yourself, you lazy fuck!
2) READ. THE. GODDAMN. QUESTION.
"Are you interested in fulfilling a court appointed community service?" Do you know what that translates to? It's a polite way of saying: "Did you do a dumbass and end up getting assigned to community service by a judge as part of your criminal punishment?" Don't let your eyes glaze over the words "court appointed" because we at the hospital do NOT take people with red marks on their background check, and "court appointed" community services means we thank you for your time and decline your offer to join our team. Even on regular applications, putting the wrong answer, again, will get your application thrown out without so much as a call to you in order to decline.
2a) "I love Jesus" is NOT an acceptable answer to "What is your nationality?"
No, really. I don't know, and I don't care, whether it's a brainwashing technique used in churches/organized religions or whether you're channeling Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. We do not find it interesting or amusing that you are sneaking religious propaganda into what is supposed to be a professional document. Even if you believe that God and Jesus should be an integral part of your life, they well and truly do NOT belong anywhere in documents that must answer the questions posed and nothing more. Nationality DOES NOT EQUAL religion, and every employer spotting that kind of thing immediately becomes wary when God and Jesus start appearing when no question about them was asked.
As much as many people spout how this country runs on religious tolerance, when it comes to job applications, your overzealotry will hurt you rather than help you. Because if you can't answer a question without Jesus this, God that, guess what? You're not getting the job. Pleople who are very, very heavy into religion and can't stop talking about them are UNWELCOME! Why? It's called a toxic work enviornment. Because if you're that havy into your religion, then you are unlikely to be tolerant of anyone else's. And Bosses who have two brain cells to rub together prefer to nip that kind of thing in the bud.
3) LISTEN to the information given!
We have set up our phone service to go through a long, information giving spiel about what hours the Volunteer Services Office is open, what shifts volunteers are generally in the hospital, where to go on the website to apply, and what numbers to call in order to get the right department. We automatically delete messages that go "Yeah... um... what time is the Volunteer office open?" We gave you that information. We will NOT answer calls with questions that are already answered, if only you'd listen. Calling at 7-fucking-am when the office opens at 10-fucking-am means you're out of your goddamn mind calling when we're still blinking into our cuppa joe before schlogging off to the office. Nobody's there! We don't live at our work!
4) Enunciate and Talk Slowly
"Hello this is garglechovftle and I was wondering about larsghketov? Could you please call me back? My number is spifftysivesortymurghlplaff."
Nothing is more hoplelessly useless than someone who slurrs their words, mumbles or else says things so quickly that it's impossible to accurately take notes. You would be surprised how often it happens. YOU know your name, YOU know your phone number by heart. You can think both of these things faster than you can say it so you just try to get your message out as quickly as you can before the machine cuts you off.
However, obviously we can't call you back if you give your phone number so quickly that we can't differentiate between -5435 and -3455. Believe me, in phone numbers, there is a big magical wand waving difference. When you call, speak slowly and clearly. You don't have to go to the Shatner!......School-of.........Acting?! and over-do it, but I find if you speak each word clearly, you SHOULD have time to get your message recorded without it cutting you off.
5) DO NOT let your pushy parents get ahold of your business-you're-applying-to's information.
If you submitted a resume, shut the fuck up and give it time. Chances are it may take up to a week for your background check or other paperwork to clear the little tests a company may run it through before even considering you as a candidate.
I cannot count the number of times a pushy parental unit calls FIVE TIMES over the course of the day AFTER a young volunteer's application came in. Then six calls the following day. Then every two goddamn hours on the third. Each time the message is simply "My precious boopsie woopsie put in an application! Have you accepted him yet!? Why haven't you accepted him yet? Call me back when you've accepted him. I KNOW you WILL accept him because he's perfect in every way, isn't he, my widdle-boo-cheek-snootchie-wootchie precious? Well? Have you accepted him YET?! Is he not GOOD enough for you?! ANSWER ME YOU NO-FUTURE-DEAD-END-JOB-OWNING-SON-OF-A-BITCH!!! ANSWER ME RIGHT FUCKING NOW! YOU PICK UP THIS PHONE OR SO HELP ME GOD I'LL-" *disconnected by machine, message too long*
First: We do not hear the messages as they come in. We call the answering service and listen to them after they are complete. Demanding that we pick up the phone is pointless.
Second: We will NOT call you until your background check clears. That can take up to a week. STFU and be patient.
Third: Your incessant calling is not making the process faster, contrary to your belief that we will bend over backwards because you think you're special.
Fourth: We do not want volunteers shoved into our facility by overbearing parents. We will not talk to the parents of these beleagered students. We want the volunteer himself or herself to be grown up enough to follow up with us on the position he/she is trying for. And if that means that we have to call back and decline an applicant on grounds of a harassment lawsuit against the parents, the real one suffering is the harassed and beleagered student who has now been thoroughly humiliated by their parent's temper tantrum.
6) Write neatly.
Obviously exceptions exist; age, health and mental impairments can all contribute to shaky or sloppy handwriting. But handwriting that is almost impossible to read or else looks like a grade schooler was practicing their abc's doesn't look good on resumes. I know you have to write thousands of these things, and I know that after a while this shit starts to blur together. That being said, if you get so sloppy filling it out, you're contributing to your own failure and you are wasting your own time. If the hiring manager cannot read one of your answers, into the trash it goes.
Well I'd better stop here before it becomes a ten page dissertation. These are, of course, only some of hte mistakes I've seen happen. Sadly, they are also the most common and could be corrected with a little extra time and care.I know it SUUUUUUCKS to have to write this shit over and over, but each application is a little different than the previous one, and you have to watch out for that little snake of Fail that wants to bite your ankle.
May all your customers be nice!