Monday, June 11, 2012

Unemployment Isn't My Color

I'm unemployed and looking for a job right now.  Job hunting is pretty much horrible. Every day, I go onto Craigslist and read the latest job postings, in hopes of finding a job that would be good for me.  Here's how the job listings break down:

85% = jobs that don't apply to me.  These would be jobs like "electrical engineer" or "crocodile hunter", in fields I know nothing about.
14.9% = jobs that vaguely apply to me.  These are jobs like "secretary".  I've never been a secretary, but I can answer phone calls and take notes.
0.1% = jobs that directly apply to me.  These are jobs in fields I have actual experience in, such as eBook editing.

So every day, when I go through a hundred job postings, I can only find fifteen or so jobs which look like jobs I can possibly get.  It depends on the day; sometimes I find ten and sometimes I find twenty.  Not bad, right?

Wrong.  After narrowing down the want ads to fifteen or so "possibles", I begin to look at each "possible" in depth.  They break down like this:

60% = jobs which I cannot get, because the "necessary requirements" section includes things I don't have, such as a PhD or five years of experience or epic rap battle skills.
20% = jobs with deliberately misleading descriptions.  You know, I listed it as a "possible" job because I thought it was a technical writing position, but it was actually a chemical engineering job in disguise.
20% = jobs which I can legitimately apply for, with a chance of getting.

So really, each day, there are two or three jobs which I might actually get.  I tinker with my resume, so it looks as good as possible for that job position, then I send it in.

95% = don't ever contact me.  I have never, ever gotten a response from the dozens of receptionist or administrative assistant job listings.  I can only presume that trolls put them on Craigslist, just to mess with me.
5% = contact me with a generic "we got your resume, and we will look at it" message.  Then they don't ever contact me again.

All in all, if I get one callback in a week, that rates somewhere between "good" and "above average" for me.  Sometimes, the callbacks lead to phone interviews, which sometimes lead to actual job interviews.  Not often, though!  Usually, the company will call back twenty people, then give phone interviews to ten, then give real interviews to five, before deciding which person to hire (i.e. the one who is related to the boss).  The difficulty doubles with each level.


Donita said...

Online jobsearching is depressing and ineffective as you have found out. It is quite frankly a waste of your time. You need to approach an employment agency or three and get their people to act as your advocate. Not only will they weed out the unsuitable jobs, but if they're good they will pick up on your best qualities and skills and highlight them on your CV. They will know better than you what Companies are looking for, and see where you might have transferable skills which would match this. They should also boost your ego a bit and iron out anything you may be saying or doing unconciously which might weaken your application. Find somebody who gets you, and they will bend over backwards to get you into a job. If you can afford it it is also helpful to contact someone who will independently assess you career-wise, to see if there are other areas you have not thought of to apply. How about approaching a company yourself for a week of unpaid work. Not only will this get you out of the house, and doing stuff which might be useful experience, but it looks good on your CV and might even lead to a permanent job. Don't be downhearted it's a hard slog, but there's a job out there for you, you are eminently employable, and would be a great addition to any company.

Michael York said...

Fast food, Michael, fast food.

Emily said...

I've been there. Job hunting is seriously rough right now.
I'm a writer, so the application process is a little different for me, but there are a few tips I think apply to many positions.
1. Provide a good cover letter. This can be included in the body of your email if you're applying to jobs on Craigslist or a similar webpage.
2. If you have any samples of relevant work or a glowing letter of recommendation, include it in your application packet unless the job listing specifically says not to. These show your capabilities much more clearly than a resume can.
3. Apply to stuff from all kinds of sources. Craigslist is a great place to start, but I've run into the same problem you have. It's rare to get a callback from the listings on that page., a specific job listing site for the career path you were hoping for, listings in your local paper (many of which are online) or even a temp. agency can really be helpful sources.
4. Similar to one of my tips above, if you're looking at office jobs or secretary positions, consider taking a data entry or typing test. Many temp agencies offer them for free or ask you to take them when you sign up for their services. Including a set number that indicates your skill in these areas will give employers a clear indicators of what you are capable of compared to other applicants.
All and all, it's important to be patient. Job hunting takes time and you're probably going to have to wait a while before something sticks. You're doing the right thing by applying to at least a few every day. Stick with it and eventually something will come your way.

Moriah said...

Yeah I say go with a fast food job or something like Mcdonalds or Wendys , or Burger King.


Inky said...

Awww! That's so terrible! I've heard thatyou have to personally go to the building of your choice and hand in your resume to the secretary/desk clerk so that they'll actually see you in person, and then be able to match up a face to the resume. Sorry it's such a rough time for you! But while your unemployed it's best to make the most of your time by learning new things and sharpening your skills.

Sugar said...

To keep your mind busy, I like to visit It's entirely free, and keeps up your logical reasoning skills which is what every employer is looking for in their employees!

Anonymous said...

Gosh! Not looking forward to that :P Just keep trying! You rock!!

Virginia said...

Awwww....sorry Micheal. I'm sure there's a job somewhere for you! You just have to find it.

Hannie Cupcake said...

OOHHH OHHH OHH OHH!!! MICHAEL!!! Go to Washington State and apply for a job at HerInteractive!!!! You'd be PERFECT there!!! Doooo ittt!! You love Nancy Drew, solving puzzles, etc., so do it! :D (I'm not forcing you, I'm just heavily suggesting.)

Anonymous said...

ask your friends, your neighbors, maybe they know of some job.

Anonymous said...

@Hannie Cupcake
Thats a wonderful idea! But then, I would jealous

Anonymous said...

I would be*

Jiyul said...

I definately reccomend giving in your resume in person. I once applied online for about 50 jobs- only one replied back to me, and that was to tell me i was too young for the job.
I then gave in i think 5 resumes in person and was contacted by 3 for an interview and got offered a job at two if those places!
I now get paid fantastically for my age($18AUD/h) with flexible hours doing fun and easy work.

Zelda said...

My oldest brother has been doing odd jobs for the past three years. He had a great job that he'd only been in for about a year, but the company had to lay off the new employees. :/ He has a degree in landscape architecture, does web design, and also went through law school, but he still can't find a steady job that will let him support his family. He's even started a Christmas tree farm, but that won't be ready for business until the first batch of trees has grown a bit more.

Hannie - Her Interactive doesn't have any open positions right now. :p Plus Bellevue is a pretty expensive area to live in, and with the ridiculous gas prices here, he'd want to stay pretty close to work.