Tear Up These Resumes, Notions, Apps & Denials

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Human resources professionals, I feel your pain. Thanks to the ongoing growth of The Credit Union Journal, we recently did some Help Wanted advertising as we are adding another reporter to our staff. The key word there is "reporter," not that you would know it from some of the applications and resumes received.

While we are very fortunate to have identified an outstanding candidate whom we will be introducing soon, below you will find my five favorite lines from resumes and cover letters:

1. "Computer Curses offered trough the Department of Education for Teachers."

2. "In response to your ad for a reporter, my objective is to obtain employment in the social services field, specifically in the area of youth and child services..."

3. "Work experience: Cosmetics analyst..."

4. From a cover letter: "My educational career is the reporting experience that I currently have obtained. Although I would consider my educational background a great start, I had many classes in television production and when I first started my educational career it was to be a journalist at the lost minute I went into advertising. I have some financial background from my family experiences my father was an Internal Revenue Service Agent for over fifteen years and I married an economists. My husband often shares his financial advice with me and together we have built what we consider a substantial portfolio for a couple of our age..."

5. "I assure you that my salary history is impressive."

6. "I have done customer service evaluations, working as a mystery shopper, for many companies and different types of businesses. This requires being able to work on a deadline..."

Journalism has been referred to by some as a career with low barriers to entry. And yet some candidates couldn't even clear those.

Other odds and ends you certainly will want to know about:

This newspaper has provided extensive and ongoing coverage of efforts by credit unions to serve the "underserved" (an odd choice of terms, by the way, as there are plenty of companies looking to serve poor people, just not well-intentioned ones). But I know many of you must find yourself thinking, "I'm glad to see the underserved having special financial services offered to them, but what about the 'overserved,' America's wealthiest citizens?" Well, worry no more.

Bank of America said it will open up an office in New York for customers with more than $50 million in assets to invest. BofA, which gave no indication whether it plans to change its name to Bank of the Upper 1% of America, also assured that the overserved in other cities won't be left cooling their heels with the riff-raff who have, say, just $25 million to deposit. It also plans special branches for ultra-high-net-worth individuals in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and in Southern Florida. So there's one crisis averted.

Speaking of banks, one man recently demonstrated just how easy it would be to steal someone else's identity. Rob Cockerham, who was fed up with a mailbox stuffed with credit card solicitations, reported on his blog that he typically tears the applications in half and throws them away, but when "feeling particularly paranoid, I'll tear them into little bitty pieces." But is that sufficient protection? Cockerham decided to find out. Using a MasterCard application sent to him by JPMorgan Chase, he tore the paper into small pieces and then used Scotch tape to begin reassembling the paper. Once assembled, he filled it out, going as far as to change his address (as an identity thief would) and used a cell phone number, and mailed it in. One month later, the card showed up at his father's house, the address he had used.

A spokesperson for the bank called it an Internet prank, and explained that damaged applications are routinely scanned into an electronic format, meaning few humans likely ever saw it. If you want to read more, Cockerham has documented his experiences on cockeyed.com; look under the heading "The Torn Up Credit Card Application," where you'll also find photos of the torn-up app.

While credit unions may get a laugh at the expense of giant JP Morgan Chase, most should keep in mind that they accept applications in much the same format.

Finally, a while back The Credit Union Journal was the first to report that Nicholas Owens, former external affairs director for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and special assistant to Chairman JoAnn Johnson, was leaving the agency to join the Small Business Administration. That led to a phone call from Mr. Owens asking me where "do you get this (stuff") and denying any accuracy to the report at all. A week later NCUA issued a press release noting that Mr. Owens would be leaving the agency. His new job: national ombudsman for the SBA.

Frank J. Diekmann is Publisher of The Credit Union Journal and can be reached at fdiekmann cujournal.com.

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