May 30, 2006

Job Searching Thoughts

As I've been searching for alternative employment over the past few months, I've noticed a few things, not the least of which being that I'm not, apparently, a hot commodity that companies are rip-roaring-raring to interview. But, anyway. . .

Back in 1998, I spent four months following college graduation sending out resumes to any and every job that even remotely sounded related to my field. Back then, all those eight years ago, it was still considered Gospel that hardcopy resumes and applications were the preferred method of getting your name in front of employers. It showed you were professional and willing to take the time to put together a nice package outlining your skills and experience. Hell, in late 2001, that was still largely the case, although I did manage to land my current position through a resume posted on

What I'm learning in my current quest for a new job is that the snail mail method of resume submission is now frowned upon. Okay, maybe not necessarily frowned upon, but it's definitely no longer preferred. Companies now prefer e-mail and online resume and application submissions, which they can more easily digitally save and sort.

Which. . .

On the one hand, it's super-simple to apply for jobs and send out resumes now, and it doesn't cost a stamp. I can apply to over 30 jobs a day if I have the time and ambition. That's all fine and dandy. The downside, of course, is that everyone else in a 50 state radius and India can also apply to the same 30 jobs a day, or more. So, I'm competing, basically, against an entire database full of job-hungry professionals like myself.

That's not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. But I find myself wondering how to make my resumes and applications stand out amidst a veritable sea of online submissions. In the hardcopy days of snail mail, a snazzy visual presentation got you to the front of the line a lot of times. It's difficult, in my view, to put together a snazzy presentation when you're working with online forms and e-mail. I find myself trying to figure out what words a company's resume/application search engine may or may not flag as important for any given position.

Another thing I've noticed is the anemic volume of employment classified ads in the local newspaper, the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Again, back in 1998, newspapers were my go-to source for job searching. The big dog companies in Rochester--the Mayo Clinic and IBM--often ran fairly large ads to entice job seekers. Over the past few months, I don't think I've seen one Mayo Clinic or IBM employment ad, as they rely almost entirely on their own Web pages to post job notices, or they utilize such online services as and I don't see this as necessarily a good or bad thing, just a thing, although the Post-Bulletin simply must be feeling the pinch, and feeling it hard.

Speaking of CareerBuilder and Monster, they've become my primary sources, and I've posted resumes on each, although I've had a resume posted since 1999 or so.

Overall, I have to say that, even though the job searching and application process has become immeasurably simpler and cheaper, the actual chances of getting noticed and called in for a possible interview have diminished considerably. Any thoughts on how to make a resume/application shine in this digital age would be greatly appreciated.

Read this.

Seriously, I can't remember the last time a collection of memoirs left me feeling like I'd been punched in the gut. It runs the gamut of emotions like I couldn't believe. Awesome book. Just. Awesome.

Posted by Ryan at May 30, 2006 01:48 PM | TrackBack

My "Frey Alert" alarm is ringing. How convinced are you that this is real?

Posted by: Keith at May 30, 2006 02:40 PM

Pretty convinced, really. I figure, if Joshua Norton can have a life story that borders on unbelievable, pretty much anything is possible.

Posted by: Ryan at May 30, 2006 07:20 PM

If you read the comments on the link that Ryan left, there is another person asking the same questions, how real is it? She actually comments on the message board, and actually echo'd things that Joshua has said before about how his father spent money. When I read it I thought "Where have I heard this before?" Thinking about it, it was Joshua. It's not often that the author comments, it's worth reading if you are having any doubts.
Looking forward to reading the book.

Posted by: Donna at May 30, 2006 10:08 PM
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