The more skills the merrier? NOT so

Posted 11/29/22

I just posted a job on INDEED for someone to provide assistance to my daughter, Marie, who is deaf and will be living alone. She has had a wonderful roommate/friend/support staff person who has …

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The more skills the merrier? NOT so


I just posted a job on INDEED for someone to provide assistance to my daughter, Marie, who is deaf and will be living alone. She has had a wonderful roommate/friend/support staff person who has (unfortunately for us) fallen in love and is moving to North Carolina to be with her girlfriend. While Marie does not need to be "watched," I would feel better if someone were available in case she wants to go grocery shopping, to the movies, to a volunteer activity, or to do various art programs. After asking around, no qualified person could be found, so I put an ad on INDEED for a support person who is fluent in American Sign Language. This whole experience has been very frustrating, and I have learned many things that a person should NOT do when applying for a job.

The job clearly advertises "support person for young adult who is deaf." That might give SOME clue that knowledge of American Sign Language is necessary, even if one overlooked reading that ASL is a mandatory skill required for the job. Reviewing the applicant resumes has been an infuriating waste of time. People sent resumes that listed a whole host of jobs completely unrelated; waitress, worked at Burger King, cashier at Big Lots, auto mechanic, babysitting and so forth. It would be fine to consider these individuals IF they knew ASL, but they did not. One person said she knew "a few words" because her toddler was in Early Intervention and using sign language to communicate. That would be fine if all Marie needed to say was “eat," “please” and “I have to go to the toilet”!

When applicants listed their skills, inevitably a huge list would follow, based on the skills listed on the INDEED Website. One particular resume included; Microsoft Word, (not needed for the job,) Security, Caregiving, (okay, one good skill), Skills Analysis (not needed), English, (not needed), Snow Plowing, Cooking, (okay, maybe a plus,) Taking Vital Signs, (might be good to make sure Marie is still living and breathing), Surveillance, Mowing, Plumbing, Clerical Experience, Autism Experience, Emergency Management, (good in a pinch,) Stocking, Sales, Procurement, use of Multi-line phones, Dishwashing, Travel Planning, Renovation, Painting, QuickBooks, Driving, Cleaning, Databases, Delivery Driver, and Customer Services. In other words, the ONE necessary skill, knowing ASL, is not listed.

To make sure that I was not turning away an individual who is deaf who might make a good candidate, I emailed each applicant to ask if they knew ASL. The answers were varied. "No" "A few words," (the woman with the child in Early Intervention.) "Yes, level one," (knowledge of basic nouns, mother, father, uncle, grapes, banana, couch, and so forth). Several people said "Yes, I work with children with autism" for which some basic signs are used, not enough knowledge to be able to understand a person who is deaf, who "speaks" in sentences a mile a minute. Out of twenty-six applications, not a single one had even a moderate degree of knowledge of ASL. To hire a person who does not have this skill would be like hiring someone who speaks Spanish to work with a French speaking person. The communication would be limited to grunts and gestures. I have too much respect for Marie to have someone work with her who is not able to fully communicate with her.

The other glaring thing is that none of the applicants sent a resume geared just for the job. It was like they had the same resume they sent for every job to which they applied. Listing 40 skills and hoping that one or two applies is not a smart move to make because it makes people look unfocused. Instead, if an applicant really wants a job, each resume should be personalized directly with the skills listed in the job posting. I do not care if a person is good at stocking shelves at Walmart or good with Microsoft Word, and it is annoying that they would think differently and waste my time. I just want one resume that lists American Sign Language as a skill. Alas, none could be found.


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