Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Diary of a Twenty Something Job Seeker: The Application Process

Independent, educated, passionate female skilled in communications/public relations/writing/editing/event planning seeks meaningful career in Chicago, Seattle, Portland, or California (yes, the entire state of).

Said female seeks an employer that is willing to take a leap of faith and interview someone who doesn't have a "connection" to the business.

I started looking for career opportunities almost three months ago, thinking that I would absolutely have my dream job, or at least one step closer to one, by now. Alas, I have not.

Instead, I've applied to 120 jobs in something like five different states.

I've got it down to a science at this point. I spend 60-90 minutes per day, at a minimum, scouring the job boards and social networking sites for potentially meaningful careers. I then jump through all of the hoops necessary to apply for said jobs.

Register with a unique user name and complex password? Check.
Enter in all contact information? Check.
Enter in job history, complete with names, addresses, phone numbers, duties, exact dates of employment, and accomplishments, for the past 10 years? Check.
Enter in educational history? Check.
Upload carefully tailored resume? Check.
Upload job specific cover letter with details referring back to the original job description and how you'd be so awesome at their company? Check.
Five page job specific questionnaire? Check.
Save and submit? Donezo.

I've gone through this entire process nearly 120 jobs, start to finish, only to receive a canned email from the company's HR department saying the same thing EVERY TIME:

Thank you for your interest in our company and for taking the time to apply for the following position __________________.

Our company receives many applications for each vacancy. It is a very competitive process. Only the most qualified candidates will advance in the selection process. Should you skills, qualification, and previous relevant work experience best meet our staffing needs, a representative from our Human Resources department will contact you.

Due to the large volume of applications, we cannot respond to all applicants.

We look forward to reviewing your resume.

Sincerely, Company XYZ

P.S. This message is automatically generated from an unmanned mailbox. Please do not respond. P.P.S No phone calls, please.

Then we wait.

Some businesses have a dynamic application site that allows you to check the status of your application, though most do not. Sometimes you'll get an email saying that they're looking at other candidates, but never tell you why you weren't right for the job. Sometimes you're stuck in limbo and hear nothing at all. Ever.

Out of the 120 jobs I've applied for, I've heard from 18 of them. 5 of them were jobs that I was invited to interview for, but upon contact, I realized that I shouldn't have applied for them to begin with. They either A) were jobs in the financial industry and I've been trying desperately to get out of that industry for a few years now. OR B) were jobs that would pay me less than I'm making now in my current job. The other 13 jobs send emails explaining that they appreciated my interest but would be pursuing other candidates for the position.

It's incredibly frustrating to apply for so many jobs only to never hear why you weren't the right candidate for the job. It would be incredibly helpful to know if you're applying for things out of your league or if your resume looks sketchy so that you could take the appropriate steps toward correcting the issues at hand.

But instead, you're left to keep on fishing.

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