September 10, 2010

Waiting to be picked down on the docks

Job hunting online is the equivalent of throwing a penny into Lake Superior and hoping it somehow lands on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Or something.

Point is, it's a long shot process. Oh sure, I had a couple nibbles a few weeks ago, but that was the culmination of literally scores of applications going back to January.

Back in my day. . .

*overturning the milking pail, taking a seat and breaking out my whittlin' blade*

Back in my day, which is to say when I graduated from college in 1998, practically every hiring company required a hardcopy resume and cover letter, which you had to mail with a stamp and everything. I mean, you had to put some serious effort into being rejected.

Nowadays, you can just click "Apply Now," attach your resume as a .doc file, scrawl out a cover letter--which is even conveniently spell checked, if you so wish--and then you click "Send" and wait for a confirmation e-mail to land in your inbox, after which follows several weeks, if not months, of silence. If you're really lucky, you'll get a rejection e-mail, but mostly nothing happens. So, it's still all about swimming through the rejections, but you can send out the applications so much faster.

So that's progress, I guess.

One major drawback to this online application process is that I've sent so many applications out to companies over the months, I can't remember all of them. I've had two phone interviews, during which I spent the first five minutes trying to figure out which job it was the company was advertising for. I could be mistaken, but it can't bode well for the first impression when you have to interrupt and say "I'm sorry, but what position was this for again?"

I find one of my bigger stumbling blocks is that I've been writing for the information technology (IT) space for so long, I'm wary of stepping too far out of my comfort zone. Plus, freelance requests have been coming in pretty regularly from my previous employer and others, so that kind of reinforces this idea that I have to write for an IT audience. Writing jobs are hard enough to come by without handicapping yourself with stupid limitations.

I was approved to be an writer several months ago, but after a couple experiences trying to write for them, I decided their business model of not paying writers boo unless the article gets a jillian Web hits isn't quite my cup of tea.

Not that there aren't a lot of hungry writers out there willing to craft 500 word missives in the hopes of scoring the big hit. That's the other thing: there's a lot of writing competition out there. They're not necessarily GOOD writers, but the Internet today tends to favor quantity over quality, which is a strange shift, now that I think about it.

I'm not too worried yet, because as I said I have freelance writing and checks coming in through the rest of the year, so it's not like I'm going to lose my house next month and find myself on a street corner with a hand-scrawled cardboard sign that reads "Jobless. Please give. God bless." Still, I have my concerns.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some job rejections I must apply for.

Posted by Ryan at September 10, 2010 03:28 PM | TrackBack

This was my experience in searching for a job this year. I must have sent out 50 applications between January and when I finally got an offer in July, and I only remember getting about 4 rejections.

The worst is when they don't even have the decency to email you a rejection after you interview on-site.

Posted by: Jeff M at September 10, 2010 06:27 PM

Recently read a bit (blog somewhere) where a guy who ran a company won't even look at a resume any more unless a real live person shows up attached to it. Translation: It **is** too easy to submit a resume to everyone and anyone. Employers aren't looking for the guy who does it the easy way. In this market you have to actually pound the pavement.

Posted by: Stephen R at December 20, 2010 04:33 PM
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