Failed Proofreading, Failed Interview

The employment ad for a position with Porsche read like a clarion call to reclaim financial freedom. I was weeks away from finishing my degree. A few classes remained on the academic schedule before final exams. I should have been studying my notes. But I wasn’t. I was rereading Porsche’s job posting and imagining myself starting a new career after graduation.

Sitting in front of a campus library computer, I imagined my best case scenario: I could easily finish classes and write my finals while simultaneously conquering Porsche’s interview process. Then, with my degree in hand, I could onboard with the car company and begin working towards cashing my first paycheque.

The first step, however, was to update my resume.

The Digital Dust

It was a late night in the library and any students still slumped in a computer chair, myself included, were mentally misfiring from the strain of studying.

But notion that I would be free from the burdens of undergraduate study and sent forth to contribute to the economy renewed my energy. I frantically searched for an old, digital copy of my resume.

Stashed away in a folder was a copy last edited in 2010. It was nearing the end of March, 2019, and my resume looked like it was a obsolete car parked under a ripped tarp gathering dust in an farmyard barn.

A few students had packed up and left the library, but I remained dedicated to restoring my resume.

My student existence didn’t produce much “relevant experience” or pertinent “skills and abilities” that would be Porsche-worthy. But I carefully polished the fragile lines of my resume. I even spruced up its formatting to make it look like it wasn’t chiseled out of times-new-roman stone.

I quickly re-read Porsche’s job posting. Thankfully a cover letter was not required. My last passing glance at my resume was like hanging a disposable air fresher from the rear-view mirror of a car that wouldn’t pass an inspection.

The resume was uploaded and I clicked submit on the job application. A few days had past, and I had received an email from Porsche’s hiring manager. She wanted to have a telephone interview.

The Car Crash

The telephone interview with the hiring manager was analogous to car crash of my own fault. It felt as though I was cruising along in a jalopy. Then smash! I rear end another vehicle, a Porsche no less.

The four-way blinkers are switched on and I get step out of my decrepit car as the other driver inspects the damage before confronting me. Much to my surprise I am standing face-to-face with myself. My Porsche driving twin is well-dressed, confident, and successful whereas I am sloppy, rushed, and reckless. It would seem that I’ve just rear-ended the hypothetical future version of myself.

Future me gives present day me shit for not being more considerate and careful. He’s right.

The Interview Failure

There wasn’t a literal car crash. The telephone interview I endured with the hiring manager for Porsche didn’t produce the employment results I had imagined for myself.

The hiring manager had emailed me before phoning me at an agreed upon time. When the time approached I prepared myself in a quite corner of the university campus to take her call. I had a print copy of my resume and some handwritten notes in case I needed to conjure up some content for my end of the interview.

The phone rang and I answered. The ensuing conversation flowed with natural and mutual enthusiasm. We discussed my academic studies and my past experience working as a technician in an automotive repair facility. Our conversation evolved towards topics of technology and philosophy. We discussed the future of electric cars and the question of charging system infrastructure. I felt like I was effortlessly cruising towards an employment offer.

The hiring manager and I were so caught up in our conversation that we neglected to review the nuts and bolts of my resume until much later into our call.

“We should have a look at it,” she said. But the manner in which she came across suggested that at this point it was more of a formality to review my resume, just to say we did it before scheduling an in-person interview.

“Oh,” she said. There was an unsettling sharpness to her utterance. I had no idea what had caused our conversation to steer to such seriousness.

“You’ve…. On your resume you’ve…. umm….,” she didn’t finish her thought and I was on the other end of the phone sitting in a silent anxiousness.

What is it? I asked with an air of theatrical optimism.

“You’ve misspelled ‘technician’ throughout your entire resume,” the hiring manager informed me.

Oh?! I immediately held up my paper copy of my resume while I still held the phone to my hear. I began scanning for the alleged misspelling. She said, “it appears that you spelled it with only one ‘I’…. t-e-c-h-n-c-i-a-n.”

I had to do a double take. She was right. Every instance on my resume where I meant to say “technician”, I misspelled it as technican, even on the line where it said I was a “Certified Automotive Service Techncian.”

A part of our conversation on the phone was spent discussing my choice pursuing a degree in English studies and my aims to publish more writing. All the momentum I had in this telephone interview stalled out when she had found my series of spelling mistakes on my resume.

She suggested we end our call. I knew it was because of my grievous spelling mistake.

I didn’t get a callback. I didn’t proceed to the next steps of the interview process. I didn’t get a job with Porsche.

The Takeaway

It was a silly series of spelling mistakes to make, and it lost me an opportunity to be employed with Porsche. But now any changes, revisions, or additions I make to my resume are reviewed after a full night’s sleep.

Even though I have received a degree in English, this metaphorical car crash reminds me that the best of students can occasionally fail at what he or she aims to be good at.

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Jonah Kondro

Jonah Kondro

Mechanic, Graduate, Podcaster & Writer