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Monday, November 10, 2014

BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES

BRYCE ON RESUMES

- How HR Departments are scanning your resumes for punctuation.

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File this under, "More changes due to technology." A friend recently e-mailed me an article on how resumes should be updated to give the impression the person is up-to-date with today's technology. It contended HR Departments (Human Resources) look at resumes for certain punctuation rules to consider if the candidate is current. The article offered a handful of suggestions which I found rather amusing.
First, it contended you should not waste time showing your home address on the resume. If the company wants to contact you, they will do so either by e-mail or telephone. This caused me to wonder how the HR Department will know if the person lives locally or far away, thereby incurring relocation expenses? Wouldn't it be simpler to be made aware of this up-front as opposed to discovering later on? Then again, maybe I'm showing my age here. I hope they do not try to deduce it by telephone area code as this is an unreliable way of determining location. To illustrate, if I buy my phone in Miami and activate it there, I will get a Miami area code. Even though I live in the Tampa Bay area, the area code will reflect Miami.

Next, the article said there was no need for including a home telephone number in the resume. Since everyone has a mobile phone, that should suffice shouldn't it? The assumption here is that everyone has a smart phone turned on 24/7, and, as such land lines are considered passé. The last time I checked though, I can still contact just about anyone on the planet with my land-line. Oh yea, it also has voice mail to record messages. (Please note, I was going to say "cell phone" instead of "mobile" but this is also considered old-school by today's standards.)

The article also recommended expressing telephone numbers with just periods, not hyphens or parentheses. For example:

Wrong Way
727-786-4567
(727)-786-4567
727/786-4567

Right Way
727.786.4567

The expression of telephone numbers with periods was influenced by Internet addresses (URL). Interestingly, the telephone books still make use of hyphens and not periods. I wonder if they are aware how out-of-date they are?

My favorite change though regards punctuation. They claimed at the end of a sentence, you should display a period, followed by a single space, before beginning the next sentence. The article contended a period and two spaces is old school and caused by typing classes of yesteryear, and, as such, is obsolete.

Let me see if I can clear this up. First a period, and two spaces is certainly not obsolete. In the world of publishing, of which I am intimate, it is a necessity. The reason the single space phenomenon came about is primarily due to web pages which is primarily based on HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). The programmers who developed the language, and other web tools, established a default of a period and single space between sentences. Evidently, it was too difficult for them to figure out a way to insert two spaces after a period; either that or someone failed an English course along the way (I suspect the latter). So, because a programmer couldn't devise a way to enter two spaces after a period, the world is expected to change how they construct sentences. Technology strikes again.

As an aside, this essay was written with a period and two spaces between sentences, yet you'll notice the web page shows a period and one space. This is done to prevent me from promoting my heretic beliefs.

I wish Human Resource Departments would pay more attention to the credentials expressed within a resume, as opposed to grammar. It is unfathomable to me, a person would not be considered for a job simply because the wrong characters were used or there was one too many spaces. Unbelievable.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR EMPATHY - Does the excessive use of technology affect our compassion for others?

LAST TIME:  HOW ARE YOU (REALLY)?  - Are we telling the truth or is it all facade?

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