A Dear John Letter to HR

 Dear HR,

I’m truly sorry to be writing this to you; really I am, but you’ve left me no choice.

As you are so fond of saying, *You’re just not a good fit.*

Here’s my story:

After I’d finished typing up applications for the content writing jobs you sent me, I saw that my resume was so chewed up it was unrecognizable. I was told by your proof reader that I needed to change mine a bit to get it past ATS. He wanted $50 to improve my resume. So, I paid him.

I thought ATS was one of the bosses. The night I found out that ATS stands for a computer program called, the Applicant Tracking System, and that you don’t even read resumes before stuffing them into that system, I drank half a bottle of wine and then cried myself to sleep.Dear John image

Why did you keep pitching me writing jobs where there was no salary stated? You knew that the pay rate would turn out to be less than 5c a word. It took an hour of my time to formulate a cover letter specific to each job and then sort through and attach appropriate links to my work. You’re the big shot in hiring. Why don’t you tell people they must post salaries? I’d rather clean houses than accept those stupidly insulting rates. (I have cleaned houses to keep myself in wine and chocolate while writing a novel.)

In retrospect, I think you were using me to meet your target number of applications for the week.

How could you be so dishonest, HR?

More to the point, did your ATS chew up my cover letters like it did my resume. What the heck did those employers get? There could be a dozen marketing directors out there who think I’m an illiterate nutjob.

Why do you and your friends insist on qualifications like a BA, and in some cases an MA, in journalism or literature for a content writer? You would probably throw out an application from Steinbeck or Hemingway because they didn’t finish their degrees. Have you even bothered to read the work of any writers who applied to you?

Using a computer to do 90% of your job is just plain lazy HR.

Has it occurred to you that I’m not the only writer who’s fed up? In the process of shredding the hopes and dreams of creative people, you’ve done a terrible disservice to your employers. Your job is to help a company get people who can write good content for their website, blog, emails, brochures and advertising.

We writers are not people you can plug into a computer system. Writers are round pegs and you only have square holes. We are individuals who have the exceptional ability to speak through our writing to a client’s customers. We care. When you’re able to differentiate between good writing and bad writing, you’ll know who we are.

You don’t write much, do you HR?

But then, you don’t really have to care about the company customer. You find out that your hire didn’t work out after a year or so when sales statistics show that the writing done by your guy/gal is crap. (See Doug Kessler on Crap Content.) That’s when you add another idiotic qualification to your job posting instead of understanding what good content writing really is.

*The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug,* Mark Twain.

I am going to keep writing my blog and in the future, I plan to ignore you completely. I’ll do what some of my writer friends have done – go directly to the bosses. It’s the business owners and the corporate CEOs who value their customers enough to know what it costs to lose them through bad content.

You almost cost me my self-respect, but after a few kudos from some real readers, I’m plunging forward again…without you.


Eliza Lippschitts

(Images compliments of FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

Contact Susannah: writersusannah@gmail.com













Author: Boomer
Way back in grade 8 I was a writer in my head with visions of reporting from a war zone. John Lennon said that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Love, marriage, three kids and a vocation as a real estate agent occluded the dream for a while. I love people and writing their stories is a privilege. At the keyboard, my glass is half full of great wine; I'm munching a side of dark chocolate...still crazy after all those years!