Well, I’m back where I started last summer. I have a generous grant to cover my housing and food costs during the summer, without which I could not have my awesome fellowship with the Polaris Project, but I now need a part-time weekend or evening job to save up for my new laptop and next semester’s travel expenses.
Like most people I know, I start looking on Craigslist. This is where I found my house for the summer, where I’ve found subletters for my house in Pittsburgh, and where I found my part-time job last semester (greeter at a bicycle store). And, as always, I follow a few simple rules ab0ut which ads I click on, and once clicked, which ads I consider responding to. I will rarely click on a post which:
- Uses CAPS to EXCESS. I have found in the hundreds of posts I’ve looked through, that people who use caps all the time tend to be scammers, cold-callers, or internet-illiterate. If I was looking for jobs in San Francisco, where the Craigslist community is more developed, I would not click on any post with more than 2 words in caps, because posters in San Francisco know its rude and anyone who is still internet-illiterate in the Bay Area is not someone for whom I want to work. But in DC, it is quite possible that a good boss is posting a good job that I would enjoy doing, and have no idea their grammar makes them sounds dumb.
- Makes no reference to the work I will be doing. A lot of posts lay out their qualifications needed, but don’t mention responsibilities. In most cases, I am sure this is sloppiness, but preparing a job application takes work and I need to know how to tailor my resume before sending it in. Also, this kind of sloppiness appears terminal, and I’m not sure I could handle a boss that careless.
- Uses the phrase “up to”. Those words guarantee that I will not apply. This is personal preference. I don’t like sales with commissions based in, because the product is usually too funky for me to want to sell it.
- Does not indicate the wage. This includes saying “commensurate with experience.” If I was applying for a full-time, grown-up job this might be forgivable because I know some employers aren’t comfortable laying salary out, but for a summer, part-time, student job, I need to know the hourly rate. No flexibility, because this flaw is fatal and shows a lack for respect for applicants.
- Uses punctuation! in…inappropriate!!! ~~ways~~. Same logic as above, with some exceptions made for emphatic squigglies (~) because I think people use them to catch attention, and they don’t irritate me as much as exclamation marks.
Of course, when the pickings are slim, I look at some of the crazily-punctuated, clearly-scams with bad-faith advetising for humor value, but I certainly won’t apply.
For anyone who has considered inappropriate capitalization or punctuation, even in the service of recruitment or passionate advocacy, below is a poem read aloud by Talor Mali, teacher and poet, which makes clear what you’ll sound like to your readers:
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” – Jack Kerouac (hat tip to Dannel Jurado for the awesome quote).