Friday, January 25, 2008

Job Searching in this Day and Age

I'm sure other people before me have commented on what I'm about to say, but it's a train of thought I haven't been able to shake today.

I'm currently on the lam from the long arm of employment. I'm doing the song and dance with unemployment insurance while I look for a new job. It's not much dough, but as soon as I actually get through to a person at the unemployment office, I should be OK for the time being. So that's not the problem.

The problem is finding a new job. There are available positions out there that I am qualified for, and in some cases, more than qualified for. I have submitted cover letters and resumes since early December 2007, all at companies that I have selected as establishments I'd like to work for, I'm not just throwing resumes out there left and right. They are in most cases large corporations, TV networks, film studios, and video game companies. I have yet to receive even one call back.

That fact is discouraging and on some days absolutely kills the confidence. I often wonder what it takes to get just an interview anymore I more often than not get this response when I talk to people about this very subject:

You have to know somebody where you're applying. Most likely, you're resume isn't even being looked at.

This leads me to wax poetic about the olden days. When I was growing up, as in 'pre-the internet is my lifeline' days, people would follow a pretty straight forward method to finding a job -

Grab the newspaper, check the classifieds, mail out resumes and cover letters, call the companies and touch base with their HR persons, wait for the interview calls.

There is a pivotal step that the internet has eliminated in the job search sequence. Call and touch base with the HR person. Everywhere in my job search so far requires an on-line, pre-set resume application process where whether you're looking at Monster, Craigslist, or individual company websites there are words that almost certainly spell 'good luck ever getting an interview, kid'-

No calls, no drop offs. On-line submission only.

How much more impersonal can you get? When I consider how paramount it is in the work environment to have solid interpersonal communication with your peers, and you can't make your own first impression to establish what you can bring to the table, I get frustrated. Think about it, when you're making those HR calls, you're ready, focused, and are in a position to read and react to the conversation you're having with the person who will decide whether you get an interview or not. As it stands today, I never know if or when I'll get a call. I can't wait to be washing the dishes, or be stepping out of the shower without having had coffee or a meal yet and get a call from an HR person I submitted a resume to a month ago. That will go REAL well. The reliance on the internet as a tool to find employment has weakened the position for the individual looking for a job. All of the chips are in the hands of the would be employer now, and that has fostered some cynical feelings in ol' Phil's gut.

Going back to what folks say about how 'your resume probably isn't even being looked at', I believe it. How do I know that someone isn't looking at my cover letter and saying 'This sounds too BS'y' or 'too standard' and off it goes into the to be 'filed for corporate regulations' folder. I don't, and that really fries my ass.

It's an old cliche, but in this process so far I sometimes find myself thinking I actually AM just a number. And I have to wait for resume number XJ6795 to be looked at by the right person at the right time.


Anonymous evan said...

Good luck James. One day I hope we are all working together.

6:58 PM  

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