Want a Job? Connect with People You Know
The Rules Keep Changing
I have discovered something new about the world today. Job hunting sites, recruiters, and human resource professionals are certifiably insane.
When you hear a story on television or read an article on a job hunting site and every single one of them make absolutely no sense and essentially blame the applicant for a new set of rules that could not possibly be aware of – you have every right to question their sanity.
Each rule that I hear or read gets more ridiculous than the last. I’m convinced that the chief qualification for writing any of these articles is that the writer must have suffered a minor concussion recently. Job hunting is hard enough without having to adapt to the landscape of quicksand laid down by these so-called experts.
Really… I’m waiting for the one article or person to say, “Your resume was rejected because it did not have a picture of a duck on your head. Sorry, you should have known better.”
Honestly, only a complete twit that hasn’t had to look for a job within the last five years, could come up with some of this tripe.
The New York Times wrote an article today that not only stated the complete obvious but also exposed job recruiters for being the mindless glue sniffers that they are.
John Sullivan, a human resources consultant for large companies who teaches management at San Francisco State University, was quoted saying that random applicants from Internet job sites are referred to as “Homers” (after the dimwitted Homer Simpson) and the more desirable applicants are called “purple squirrels” because of their elusiveness and rarity.
The reason why their referred to as “Homers” is that they consider people using these resources as lackadaisical and worthless. Apparently, according to Mr. Sullivan applicants from Monster and other job boards carry a stigma.
How Can That Be True?
Now follow my logic here.
If you were looking for a job candidate – after going through any kind of unposted job market of networking and word of mouth recommendations – and you thought that candidates from Monster.com were undesirable, why would you post a job there? If you were a job recruiter, why would you even look there for an applicant?
I’m a consultant. Every few months I need to check to see if there are new positions out there that will fit my talents. As a consultant, I have to be flexible and agile. I’ve needed to cultivate a myriad number of skills and feature many of my acquired soft skills based on twenty some-odd years as a professional.
When I see the raw sewage these “experts” spew in the media, it makes me crazy.
The job market is hard enough to break into within a downed economy. Now we see the drivel theory these guys put out. The reasons I’ve heard why people don’t get jobs include the following:
- Not enough experience
- Need a certification
- Needs a degree
- Has a degree
- Flight risk
- Too young
- Too old
- Too fat (Yes, I’m serious)
- Too technical
- Not technical enough
- Too much experience
- Credit record bad
- Worked too long in one place
- Too many jobs on the resume
Back in 1988, when I graduated from college with a spanking new Marketing bachelor’s degree, do you know what obstacle kept me from getting a job? Typing. Despite paying fifty to seventy thousand dollars for a four year degree, the employment agency I saw had me take a typing test. Now, I’m going to leave alone that the way they calculate words per minute is completely inaccurate (the number of words you type in a minute divided by the number of minutes and then subtract the number of errors as the words per minute) and ask why my typing ability would have anything to do with a career that required four years of higher education.
If they wanted a typist, they could hire someone right out of high school or secretary school. Why would you need a young marketer who could type? And if it were a real issue, why wasn’t it a part of a college curriculum or core courses?
Do you think these job hunting advice have any credibility or do you believe that no one's hiring because of the recession?
Perhaps the most debatable resource that job hunters have is the resume and cover letter.
Attaching a cover letter to a resume is a crap shoot. Do you need one or don’t you? Ask ten interviewers, five will say “no” while the other five will insist on it. I found that it depends on the age of the business owner. A young business owner may not care. An older business owner that has to plow his tired eyes over a hundred resumes may need something to remember you by.
Flip a coin.
Here’s another one that I love – the words you use in your resume. You’d think that the moment you use the words “responsible for” a small ethereal goblin would appear next to your word processor and beat you to death with a club.
Some writers say to only include what you’ve done for the last five years. What if you were out of work for two of them? What if you had a long successful two decade career with one company and the market has called only for contract employees. How do you get a good reference?
Some writers say you should only have a resume that’s one page long. Some say that you should only use white paper on your resume. Some say that if you want your resume to stand out, you should use a print.
Some say you should have six versions of your resume depending on the job you’re applying for. This may actually be good advice. Unfortunately, it’s buried under such a mountain of crappy advice that it’s almost impossible to know what’s what.
Job Hunting on Amazon
Let me tell you something. They are all full of it.
Do you wanna job? Find someone you know that’s in a company and get an inside connection of what’s open. Network. Do anything you have to avoid these HR idiots and recruiters that will judge you and some insane criterion they read in a magazine that week. If you get an interview from networking, don’t waste it.
Let me tell you what will work 70% of the time.
Bring samples of your work. If you wrote reports, bring a hard copy of one. If you designed web sites, bring a hard copy of what you did. It’s death if you designed a site and you give them the address only to find out that the current web designer or secretary decided to “improve it”… or that it’s gone completely. If you show a portfolio of your work, they will see that you are capable of competent work.
Contact your references. You don’t want any surprises. If you’re looking for a job, you don’t want your perspective boss to get a “Chris who?”
Be prepared to answer questions about gaps in your employment history. I took care of my dying mother-in-law for a few months between jobs and I had one recruiter give me crap about it. It’s good that they talk to you over the phone. A homicide charge is easier to avoid that way.
Look professional. Apologize for nothing. Remember, you are a resource. You have talents. You are not there to beg, they are lucky to have you.
And more important than anything – Be yourself. No mask can last forever.