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BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 10, 2014

BRYCE ON RESUMES

– How HR Departments are scanning your resumes for punctuation.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

File this under, “More changes due to technology.” A friend recently e-mailed me an article on how resumes should be updated to give the impression the person is up-to-date with today’s technology. It contended HR Departments (Human Resources) look at resumes for certain punctuation rules to consider if the candidate is current. The article offered a handful of suggestions which I found rather amusing.

First, it contended you should not waste time showing your home address on the resume. If the company wants to contact you, they will do so either by e-mail or telephone. This caused me to wonder how the HR Department will know if the person lives locally or far away, thereby incurring relocation expenses? Wouldn’t it be simpler to be made aware of this up-front as opposed to discovering later on? Then again, maybe I’m showing my age here. I hope they do not try to deduce it by telephone area code as this is an unreliable way of determining location. To illustrate, if I buy my phone in Miami and activate it there, I will get a Miami area code. Even though I live in the Tampa Bay area, the area code will reflect Miami.

Next, the article said there was no need for including a home telephone number in the resume. Since everyone has a mobile phone, that should suffice shouldn’t it? The assumption here is that everyone has a smart phone turned on 24/7, and, as such land lines are considered passé. The last time I checked though, I can still contact just about anyone on the planet with my land-line. Oh yea, it also has voice mail to record messages. (Please note, I was going to say “cell phone” instead of “mobile” but this is also considered old-school by today’s standards.)

The article also recommended expressing telephone numbers with just periods, not hyphens or parentheses. For example:

Wrong Way
727-786-4567
(727)-786-4567
727/786-4567

Right Way
727.786.4567

The expression of telephone numbers with periods was influenced by Internet addresses (URL). Interestingly, the telephone books still make use of hyphens and not periods. I wonder if they are aware how out-of-date they are?

My favorite change though regards punctuation. They claimed at the end of a sentence, you should display a period, followed by a single space, before beginning the next sentence. The article contended a period and two spaces is old school and caused by typing classes of yesteryear, and, as such, is obsolete.

Let me see if I can clear this up. First a period, and two spaces is certainly not obsolete. In the world of publishing, of which I am intimate, it is a necessity. The reason the single space phenomenon came about is primarily due to web pages which is primarily based on HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). The programmers who developed the language, and other web tools, established a default of a period and single space between sentences. Evidently, it was too difficult for them to figure out a way to insert two spaces after a period; either that or someone failed an English course along the way (I suspect the latter). So, because a programmer couldn’t devise a way to enter two spaces after a period, the world is expected to change how they construct sentences. Technology strikes again.

As an aside, this essay was written with a period and two spaces between sentences, yet you’ll notice the web page shows a period and one space. This is done to prevent me from promoting my heretic beliefs.

I wish Human Resource Departments would pay more attention to the credentials expressed within a resume, as opposed to grammar. It is unfathomable to me, a person would not be considered for a job simply because the wrong characters were used or there was one too many spaces. Unbelievable.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR EMPATHY – Does the excessive use of technology affect our compassion for others?

LAST TIME:  HOW ARE YOU (REALLY)?  – Are we telling the truth or is it all facade?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific).  Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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9 Responses to “BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES”

  1. Don Frankel said

    I’m with you Tim. I think the guy failed Punctuation.

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An N.K. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Interesting! We probably won’t have to worry about any of this because writing in the future will be done through voice recognition, which makes ridiculous mistakes!!! I’m old!! And proud if it, by the way!!”

    A D.P. of Anderson, Ohio wrote…

    “A copy editing class I took at J school at Ohio U was one of best courses I ever took. Learned how to cut out unnecessary words and punctuation, which has helped in writing for Sales. KISS still works.”

    An L.W. of Cincinnati, Ohio wrote…

    “Tim – we all learned period, two spaces in typing class at Wyoming (wonder if it’s even still offered). I agree, resume content is priority one but if I did notice the spacing and it was “old school”, I’d know they took a typing class and could use all five fingers and not just their thumbs! Of all the classes I took, it turned out to be the most valuable and I’m in sales! Now if only I could type with more than one finger on an iPad…..”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A K.S. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma wrote…

    “I love this article Tim. Too bad our youth just don’t get it.”

    Like

  4. Another innovation, which I definitely do not prefer, is elimination of the ‘serial’ (a.k.a. ‘Oxford’) comma from items in a series: “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” (Oxford) vs. “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” (modern). Have to say, however, that I do like the preference for elimination of the apostrophe from references to decades: “the 1950’s” is now “the 1950s.” Such a reference is not and never was either a possessive or a contraction, so why did we use an apostrophe?

    On the idea of grammatical innovations generally, and several years before I retired, a (very) young English teacher colleague on our faculty was extolling the virtues of a ‘new’ approach to teaching grammar. He described a method that allowed students to actually see how parts of a sentence had to fit together to be clear and correct (or, at least, ‘less incorrect). A ‘parse tree’ the approach was called, and he thought that this ‘new idea’ was absolutely brilliant. Yep…sentence diagram!

    Like

  5. […] BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES […]

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  6. Tim Bryce said

    An A.C. of Boston, Massachusetts wrote…

    “I’ve heard that one is supposed to use only one space after a period but few have adopted that rule, so I’d be surprised if it causes a resume not to be considered. However, in light of the fact human resources is inundated with resumes, applicants should be aware that the slightest mistake will likely result in a rejected resume.”

    A P.T. of Texas wrote…

    “I learned to put two spaces after a period in High School. In college they claimed it was a way to stretch a paper… Who knows? Who care? It’s really an issue for someone who want’s the reader to use the gap to absorb and transition. It has purpose. It took me a good year to stop tapping the space bar twice.

    I don’t think that’s what puts the resume in the trash… of all the mundane things. I doubt HR representatives are sticklers for grammar or else they’d be high school English teachers.”

    An R.S. of New York wrote…

    “If you are relying on a CV or resume to sell you to an employer, then you have probably already lost.

    Personally, I like having two or even three spaces after a full stop. This makes it much easier for the eye to navigate around a document. But then, I have never been a slave to fashion.”

    Like

  7. Dennis Hamilton said

    Tim,

    I hate to be the wart on the end of the grand academic nose, but I never learned to use two spaces and, 40 years after my first professional article, I still don’t. I hate reading two-space paragraphs; they are like speed bumps for my tiny mind. When I spent 17 years as an editor, I got manuscripts all the time that were written that way. Hated ’em. But I learned long ago to read for content, not punctuation rules. I would hope that someone with a real idea could sell it even if — God forbid! — they ended a sentence in a preposition. (Winston Churchill once ended a sentence violating The Thistlebottom Rule about that, named after cranky, Miss Thistlebottom. When a British reporter asked the man of letters why he violated the rule, he replied, “That is a rule up with which I will not put.)

    Your pal, Dennis

    Like

  8. […] BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES […]

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  9. tenth anniversary

    BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES « THE BRYCE IS RIGHT!

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