How Not to Land a Job by Toots Ople

As the driving force behind the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, my senatorial candidate for the 2010 elections Susan “Toots” Ople has been at the forefront of issues affecting the welfare of all workers, especially the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) – a legacy that her father, Ka Blas bequeathed to her, for her to carry on. I am sharing an email circulated amongst the supporters of the Susan “Toots” Ople for Senator Movement. Hope this could be of help to all jobseekers out there.

How Not To Land A Job
By Susan Ople

Dear Job Applicant,

I just got your resume, font size 14 and triple-spaced. If it were a landscape, a desert comes to mind. Sparse, dry, and with lots of open spaces, with a photo that convinces me of your lack of knowledge about Adobe Photoshop.

So here’s the thing. As the chief headhunter, I really don’t care if you enjoy badminton. Of course, I am happy that you have the endurance for it, but my chief concern is if our organization can endure and be enhanced by you, and vice-versa.

I also now know that you love attending seminars. Let me guess, you probably kept each and every certificate of attendance laminated and framed hanging on your wall. I don’t think you should have included that seminar on drunk driving though. It does send the wrong signals.

Despite the lack of relevant information about you, I will still see you on Monday. I hope you prepare well for your interview because you are number 46 on a list of seventy applicants. It will be a tough day for your interviewer, having to meet and listen to the pitches of so many people, competing for this single, blessed job vacancy.

What will make you stand out? You would have to sell yourself, keeping in mind the perspective of the buyer. In short, this is not really all about you. It’s about us, and the fact that we do have the money to keep you and your dreams alive. If you come late, then out you go. If you show up with greasy hair, a tattoo on your arm, and hot Shawarma breath, then your resume goes straight to the garbage bin.

You are not going on stage to audition for American Idol where you can be spectacular or stupidly outlandish, and still make it on the show. In my room, when you come in to take your seat, there really are no second chances. As Heidi Klum of Project Runway loves to say, it’s either you’re in or out. Bear that in mind when you decide to stroll in my office ten minutes late.

If you slouch in your seat, then that means you are too lazy to even think or care about your personal image. How then can we expect you to think about our own institutional image and integrity?

If you come in for an interview and have absolutely no idea about what programs and services we offer, it shows a lack of initiative on your part. It also gives me the impression that you don’t really care about us. You are simply going through the motions of applying for a job.

If you sit across me and start acting bored in the first five minutes of our talk, then maybe you are not cut out for the job. You probably were already daydreaming about your next interview. Extending our conversation would simply be a waste of time.

Here are more tips on how not to land a job:

  • Show up in frayed denims, a halter-top, and sneakers. Ah, the audacity of youth!
  • Getting the name of your interviewer and the head of the company wrong.
  • Applying as an account executive and underscoring your units in accounting. Not the same, folks, not the same.
  • Telling the interviewer how much you liked their products and then mentioning a different brand? Not cool.
  • Asking about the starting salary, even before the interviewer mentions and describes the work involved. Atribida!
  • And when the interviewer asks you about any future plans, you really shouldn’t tell him about your plan to watch a movie right after the job interview.

The thing is, if you want to sell yourself then be yourself, but just a tad better. Your competitors are not just the fresh graduates from other colleges, but the ex-OFWs who have since returned with actual experience and not just seminars attended on their resumes. You are also competing with the outsourcing of work to project-based contractuals here and around the world.

The world of work has changed immensely from when you first entered college. It takes more than just connections now to land a decent job. In short, what we have is a buyer’s market, where a company headhunter has access to online applications, alumni networks, and walk-in applicants, for every single job opening.

To land a job, you’d have to prepare yourself long before your first job interview. Because what you really are looking for, is not just any job – but a career to call your own. Your resume is just part of your arsenal of marketing tools. If your lifetime achievements can fit in one page, triple-spaced and all, then make up for it with personality, initiative, and an infectious enthusiasm that makes it hard for even the most tired interviewer to ignore you.

Good luck!


YPB (Your Potential Boss)

Help further the Filipino workers’ cause. Join the Susan “Toots” Ople for Senator Movement. We did not make it last time. We shall make it in 2013.


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