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WWYD - how honest would you be?

(65 Posts)
chelle792 Fri 06-May-16 09:33:04

Someone I know and am relatively close with has asked that I look over an application. We both have backgrounds in the same industry. I've read it and it's just not right. She's been applying for jobs and not getting anywhere.

My honest opinion is that it needs scrapping and starting over. I don't feel that there's really anything appealing in the letter. It doesn't highlight her good qualities and although she outlines her experiences, doesn't relate them to the person specification. She won't get a job with this letter.

She's already really stressed about her contract coming to an end with nothing to move on to and has been to the doctors because she is struggling.

Do I either make a few changes and tell her good luck, knowing she won't get anything or tell her that it needs majorly reworking and potentially make her even more stressed?

The deadline for the application is Monday

ollieplimsoles Fri 06-May-16 09:35:36

hmm tricky one, I've been in this situation almost exactly the same.

In my case, I told the person in needed a total re work, she wasn't getting anywhere and what sort of friend would I be to set her up to fail.

She really needs you thats why she asked for your help. hold her hand, tell her it needs totally re doing, and help her.

Do you have time to go through it with her?

potoftea Fri 06-May-16 09:37:34

Be totally honest. She needs help if she isn't getting anywhere, she's asked for help, so be as constructive as you possibly can.

ImperialBlether Fri 06-May-16 09:37:55

If you've time, then you need to tell her what you recommend. You could (together) rewrite it in the way you suggest and then let her choose which one to use.

Ifailed Fri 06-May-16 09:38:27

Be honest, but kind. Isn't that what friends are for?

CoraPirbright Fri 06-May-16 09:38:50

Gentle honesty & lots of guidance would be the way I'd go. Your input could make all the difference!

DisneySenior Fri 06-May-16 09:39:05

I would be completely honest and help her start again in the nicest way i could think of.

If you are sure she won't get a job, tell her. Every knock back will be killing her confidence - i know this from experience.

TrappedByTiredness Fri 06-May-16 09:39:16

It depends how close your friendship is, I would have thought the closer you are the safer you would be o be honest. If you were my friend, I'd want your honest help.

What's the worst that could happen? If she took the hump and didn't want to see you any more, with that be such a bad thing? I can't help think that if she is the kind of friend you want to have in your life, then she would see it for what it is, and be thankful to have such a good friend as you!

DoubtfireDear Fri 06-May-16 09:40:27

i think you should just be honest with her. You wont be doing her a kindness to let her carry on struggling with a bad application.

PPie10 Fri 06-May-16 09:41:06

I too would be honest but gently so. You want to help her and you can see where she's going wrong. I'm sure she will be happy to get a few good pointers from someone who is already in the industry and would know the best way to make such an application.

ShinyShinyShiny Fri 06-May-16 09:41:46

I think you need to be gentle, but honest and ideally help her re-write or at least give her specific direction on how to do so.

Pinkheart5915 Fri 06-May-16 09:42:33

Be totally honest, in the long run if her applications are stopping her from gaining employment she'll thank you.
Could you mock up an example to show her what you'd do?

TrappedByTiredness Fri 06-May-16 09:43:51

Also, what you've said in your op is really nice! You've made it clear that she has good points but just hasn't put them across in the best possible way to reflect her true qualities. I can't see how anyone could get offended by being told that!

chelle792 Fri 06-May-16 09:44:20

She's a family member and I grew up with her like a sibling and although we sometimes rub each other up the wrong way we are accepting of each other. It's just awful seeing her so down. Her confidence is pretty low tbh.

She doesn't live locally to me and I'm working Saturday but I could dedicate some time on Sunday to go through it with her.

It's hard because constructive criticism is generally "this bit is good....could you change this bit...." but I basically need to rip the whole thing apart. Not going to be a fun conversation

EponasWildDaughter Fri 06-May-16 09:44:24

She's asked for your opinion and i think you should give it.

Be kind about it, but honest.

Deep breath: ''Friend, i'll be honest and say i think this needs a complete re-write. Do you want to give it a go? We can give it a good going over and it'll be great''.

MrsHathaway Fri 06-May-16 09:46:59

It doesn't highlight her good qualities and although she outlines her experiences, doesn't relate them to the person specification.

I think this is a very constructive comment and is where you should start from - you're not telling them how brilliant you are! What about the time you ...

If you have time to block out an alternative so she can see what you mean, that would be hugely helpful and supportive.

EponasWildDaughter Fri 06-May-16 09:47:20

I've had to do this twice recently. 2 of my DDs CVs without saying 'god this is shite' because i didn't want to knock their confidence. It's tricky but doable. Total re-write and everyone was happy in the end smile

Hawkmoth Fri 06-May-16 09:50:50

Could you say that you spoke to someone in recruiting recently and they do things differently now so it should be set out like x,y,z rather than a,b,c?

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Fri 06-May-16 09:51:12

If you have time to rewrite it, do so.
Then give it to her, saying "you have tried yours and got nowhere. My boss says s/he would be looking for something like this (hand over bee version)" that way she has her original. And some ideas in the new one if she doesn't want to use it. Or she can give the new one a try.

herecomethepotatoes Fri 06-May-16 09:53:02

Be honest and tell her everything you've said here.

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Fri 06-May-16 09:53:40

I agree with others, the way you put it in your OP is very kind as well as constructive. I would be really grateful to you if I were her.

Adrenaline Fri 06-May-16 09:54:50

She needs a job, I'm sure the fall out of her not getting the job would do more to damage to her confidence than if you said Jane, this needs total reworking because of xyz. Be specific and to the point.
One of my friends did this for me and I honestly thank her for it. If she gets arsey about it then leave it be but you can't let her continue believing that it's a decent application letter.

Junosmum Fri 06-May-16 10:00:26

I've been in the same situation. I was honest, helped her 're-write it, showed her examples of successful applications of mine. She was a bit disappointed/ embaressed but quickly started getting interviews so could see I was right.

I was very matter of fact about it- "I can see what your going for but I don't think your skills stand out in this format, how about I put something together in a style where I got an interview and see what you think" then once its done explain why you've used the style you have, and why that's better.

UnderTheGreenwoodTree Fri 06-May-16 10:02:57

I ended up practically re-writing my DB's CV a few years ago - he was quite down about things in general too, at the time. I could tell I was being a bit heavy- handed at the time - but when people are feeling a bit down it's the worst time to write your CV iyswim. You can't sing your own praises very well if you're feeling like crap. I took the laptop off DB ("give it here a sec"), rewrote it, tailored it for the job he was going for, skilfully made up stuff accounted for the gaps in his cv, and gave it back to him and said what do you think? He ended up getting the job as well.

If you have an opportunity to sit down with her and orchestrate a re-write - do that. Otherwise, try sending her a re-write and saying how about this? Or saying "personally, I would approach it like this" If you're subtle you can re-write it with her without actually telling her 'this needs a re-write'.

ExtraHotLatteToGo Fri 06-May-16 10:04:03

She clearly can't 'see' the problem with it, so I think I'd offer to do it differently for her to 'see if that helps'. I don't think 'offering to go through it with her' is the solution with something like this because you'll just annoy/upset/hurt her with every littke point - far better to just do it yourself and present it as another option IMO.

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