Working Wounded Blog: Resume Spam


April 6, 2005 — -- This just in: we don't like spam. Big surprise, I know. In fact, 59 percent of the respondents to a Working Wounded/ online ballot reported that they hate marketing (aka. spam) on the Internet.

I think it's a given that most people don't even glance at spam before deleting it. But are there times when this accepted practice can come back to bite us? What if it's an e-mail you sent that's being junked as spam? And what if, God forbid, it's a potential employer trashing your resume as spam? Well, maybe -- probably, actually -- it's a sign that your approach to the job search could stand to be tweaked.

"The Daily Show" had a great interview recently with an Internet marketer who boasted how he was providing a service to people by marketing products on the Web. But the marketer's tone changed when he was asked about people who flood him with e-mails to protest his marketing efforts. Without a shred of irony, Mr. Spam admitted how much he personally hates unsolicited e-mails.

All of this leads to a remarkable discovery that I made two weeks ago. I was sending an e-mail, and my e-mail program crashed just after I hit "send." I got a message saying that my e-mail may not have reached its intended destination. Because this was an important communiqué, I resent it and added my name to the CC line so I could see if it actually arrived this time.

You probably see where this is headed. I didn't get the e-mail for two days. Suddenly, it dawned on me to look in my spam folder. Yep, you guessed it -- my computer determined that an e-mail sent from the person who bought the virus protection program in the first place -- me -- was spam. Yep, I inadvertently spammed myself. Pretty funny, but it got me thinking about the possible consequences of unintentionally sending spam.

We are all fond of pointing to others about the spam problem. But as my mom used to say, whenever you point a finger at someone else, four fingers point back at you (actually for total accuracy, only three really point back at you, that darn thumb tends to point wherever it is in the mood to point … but you get the gist of her point …).

Unfortunately, most job hunters are spammers at heart. I can't tell you how many people have written to me through the years to say that they've sent out 100 resumes, 500 resumes, even 1,000 resumes. Is this really a job hunt or is this simply spam in a different form? The reality is, most of these e-mails are probably classified as spam whether they were intended as such or not.

Job hunts should be targeted. Job hunts should be tailored. Job hunts should be rifle shots rather than shotgun blasts.

How can you address this problem in your next job hunt and make sure your heartfelt job inquiry isn't junked with the rest of the spam? Start by looking in the mirror. Ask hard questions of yourself -- what do you really want to be when you grow up? Then identify a short list of companies that you'd actually want to work for. Keep the list short enough that you'll have the time to do homework on each one.

Reverend Ike was one of my favorite spiritual leaders. One of my favorite quotes of his was, "The best way to help the poor is not to be one." And when it comes to job hunts and spam, the best way to help get a job is to renounce spam and create a job hunt that is targeted and focused.

Quote of the Week:

"Business schools train people to sit in their offices and look for case studies. The more Harvard succeeds, the more business fails." -- Henry Mintzberg

Weekly Book Excerpt

From "1001 Ways to Reward Employees" by Bob Nelson (Workman, 1994)

"Results of a recent survey by the Council of Communications Management confirm what almost every employee already knows: that recognition for a job well done is the top motivator of employee performance. Yet most managers do not understand or use the potential power of recognition and rewards. This is true even though 33 percent of managers themselves report that they would rather work in an organization where they receive better recognition."

The Blog Mailbag

My favorite worst boss story. "My boss was so bad that he once fired his assistant and then made her type her own termination letter."

Here are the results from a recent Working Wounded Blog/ online ballot:

Who is your favorite TV business show host?

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, an internationally syndicated columnist, popular speaker and a recent addition to the community of bloggers. He welcomes your comments at

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events