Friday, May 21, 2010

Y H & O S

Here's a tip for anyone applying for a job: Formality still counts for something.

There's a job opening where I work, and I've received dozens of resumes submitted online through our website. One applicant ended the cover letter with: 
y h & o s
I immediately thought, WTF? What does "yh&os" stand for? More to the point, why would someone sign a cover letter for a job application using something so unfamiliar and informal? 

Eventually I figured out that it's short for: "your humble & obedient servant." 

OK, so the applicant caught my attention. Obviously he was trying to be clever and playful. Those are good qualities in an applicant and eventual colleague. But so is judgment. Knowing when to use formal language, and when not to, is important in writing and copy editing. 

Here are some other general tips for job applicants:
  • Read the job posting thoroughly; if you don't meet the job requirements, don't apply
  • Include a short cover letter outlining why you are interested in the position and your relevant experience
  • Keep your resume short and concise; no longer than two pages
  • Include an email address in your contact information
  • Proofread your cover letter and resume; better yet, ask someone else to read it (we all need editors)
Good luck, 

("Misc." T-shirt pictured is available at


  1. I wanted you to know that I was recntly offered a teaching position at a local university. During my entire correspondence with them -- you know, interested e-mail, cover letter, c.v., back and forth to schedule meetings -- I at no time closed with "YH&OS". I'm sure it did the trick. Thanks for the tip!!

  2. OMG! I'm wondering if that's why I'm still searching for a job after two years of sending out hundreds of resumes. You always give me things to ponder. Hope you found the right candidate!

  3. Great to hear from you @rottrover and @CreekHiker! Glad to know my tips are useful. ; )

    I'm still looking for the right candidate, thus the lack of posts...



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