Sample 1 "… I, G. S. Dora ,a B.Tech (CSE) graduate with 74% in aggregate, passed out in 2003. I hereby attache a copy of my resume for your kind referrence. Waiting for a positive response Frok You. Thanking You…"
Sample 2 "… I am B.tech computer sc & Engg. gradute passedout in2003 with 70.07%.I here by paste acopy of my resume for your kind reference. I request you just give me chance to prove my worth in your company."
Sample 3 "CURRICULAM VITAE Objective: – To Find Challenging & Adventorous Field Involving Tremendous Tasks & Opportunities Where Work Should be Continous & last for a lifetime."
Sample 4 "… Here with please find my attached resume for your kind consideration so that I can have a professional advancement in real time environment, if given a chance. I assure you that I shall prove diligent & candid in the execution of duties bestow on me…"
I receive at least fifty such unsolicited mails enclosing job applications everyday. They often come from students across the country who are about to graduate. They also come from engineers and masters in computer applications with so-called ‘work experience’.
Uniformly, the mails are written with complete disregard for basic grammar. The English is terrible. Some young people, who have tasted ‘short messaging system’ (SMS) on mobile phones, do not know that it is downright irritating to read an email written in SMS jargon. Since I see a good sample day in and day out, I am entitled to conclude that there is a disconcerting problem with our system of education.
It is an expensive ‘defect’. Years ago, Motorola discovered that the average worker had problems reading, writing and doing simple mathematics. It had to re-train workers to rectify a defect that had flown through the education system. Motorola traced the defects all the way back to kindergarten, and started the K2 program for corporate involvement in improving education. The message is simple: if children do not learn the 3Rs well, that defect flows into the workplace where it is far more expensive to correct. Worse, most workplaces are unlikely to get involved in fixing the defect at their expense, and will instead opt to live with it – which hurts the organisation even more.
I studied in a government school in an obscure place in Orissa called Keonjhargarh. The medium of instruction was Oriya. As part of learning English, our teacher made us write applications to the headmaster, seeking leave of absence on imaginary grounds. He also asked us to write letters to a friend, the subject of which was invariably woven around how you spent the holidays. Looking back, those were useful lessons in communication at an early stage of life. He taught us to leave margins on all sides of the paper and space after the salutation, and to end with an appropriate closure.
The emails I get today make me wonder if I am from another planet. Before you think I am using precious newsprint on a trivial matter, ask a customer of any leading Indian software company on their No. 1 gripe. You will hear that it is the quality of communication. We seldom fail to make the grade in technology. We know how the math works. But we do not do a good job of oral or written communication. Worldover, the known No. 1 reason for project failures is not technology, but communication. The solution starts with learning to express oneself in simple and clear terms.
The problem is a matter of priority. For elite academic institutions, this is probably not a big issue because their screening process ensures that the students who get in have an acceptable level of written communication skills. But for the vast majority of India’s engineering colleges and technical institutes, it is quite another story.
Given the time a student spends in college, it is not a huge task to get them to fix their communication skills. A return to the good old ‘application to headmaster’ could make the difference. Only, this time, add email etiquette to the list.