Illiterate CVs from graduates put them straight on scrapheap

Employment/ own goal by applicants
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The Independent Online
EMPLOYERS: do you want communicatory dexterities or proactive action? Then turn to Britain's graduates. Their failure to spell correctly, use plain English or give intelligent answers to simple questions are revealed in a trawl through recent applications carried out by a management consultancy.Some even send in their CVs on Snoopy notepaper.

If growing numbers of them are having to take low-grade jobs, as a recent survey shows, then that, to judge from the CVs sent to the Lewis Consulting Group, may be exactly what they deserve.

The group in Covent Garden, London advertises for bright, energetic business graduates with one or two foreign languages who should have either an upper second or a first class degree.

The latest batch of 100 CVs sent to the firm, which takes on three or four graduates a year, shows that graduates do not believe in using one word where four or five will do.

"I am," says one applicant, "most confident in my communicatory dexterities." "I have experience," says another, "of pro-active action on issues of concern."

A survey by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research last month showed that almost half of graduates employed by banks and building societies have to take low-grade jobs. Chris Lewis, the Lewis group's managing director, says: "This is no real shock to employers when so many graduate CVs appear to have been written by creatures from the planet errata "

One CV sent to him contained 14 spelling mistakes. "I have had a plethora of travelling experiances," or "My interessests include the challange of overseas travel," are typical. Other spelling errors include persuit, genoration and envolvment.

The person who took up a position as a minicab diver (sic) and the one with excellent writng (sic) skills were presumably just being careless, Some even sent the first half of the letter addressed to one firm along with the second half directed at another. One letter to the Lewis group began "Dear Linda" because it was meant for a travel firm. Another said simply "Dear Lewis".

Mr Lewis, whose group receives several hundred applications from graduates each year, says; "Ninety-five per cent of our applicants don't even get an interview because their CVs are so appalling. These people may well have the skills we need but they don't know how to do justice to themselves."

Even those who reach the interview stage are often inept at handling questions. One phone conversation went like this:

Mr Lewis: "Hello, I wanted to chat with you for two minutes about a recent application you made for our graduate recruitment programme."

Applicant: "Can you call back? I'm just about to have a bath."

Or "What's your long-term ambition?" Answer: "To get some quick work experience and move on."

Mr Lewis says: "Whatever universities are teaching students, they are not getting the message across on CVs and job applications. They're generally unchecked, off brief and never followed up. Students are not being coached through the application process."

It is not surprising, he adds, that some students apply for 200 jobs and receive no reply. "Understandably many employers can't be bothered to respond to applicants who who not read either the brief for the job or their own CV."

A survey of employers last week showed that graduates' employment prospects are improving. Job vacancies are up 17.5 per cent.

But Mr Lewis believes that big increases in vacancies will not help some graduates and that graduate unemployment will continue for some time. Good employers will refuse to jeopardise their business by taking on poor quality trainees.

Would you employ this person?

"I am," says one applicant, "most confident in my communicatory dexterities." "I have experience," says another, "of pro-active action on issues of concern."

Or this one?

One CV contained 14 spelling mistakes. "I have had a plethora of travelling experiances," or "My interessests include the challange of overseas travel," are typical. Others include persuit, genoration and envolvme

Or this one?

"Hello, I wanted to chat with you for two minutes about a recent application you made for our graduate recruitment programmer" Applicant: "Can you call back? I'm just about to have a bath."

Or this one?

"What's your long-term ambition?" Answer: "To get some quick work experience and move on."

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