I often scold myself for not putting more effort into job hunting. My odd patchwork of employment comes mainly from falling into jobs. There wasn’t a lot of thought as far as a career path went; I needed a job, and they were willing to hire me. Why didn’t I put more time and effort into it?
And then I remember: Job hunting in the digital age sucks!
Remember the days when you could build a resume, research employers, customize a cover letter to each company and apply to hundreds of jobs? Yeah, those days are gone. Everyone assumes that putting job applications online will make things easier. And maybe it does, for the employer. For the potential employee? Not so much.
Let’s say you’re using a job board to search for job openings. A friend told me about a local one that so far seems pretty great. I’ve actually been contacted by a couple of prospective employers, unlike the big job boards, where the only employers that contact you are the insurance companies. So, you go to said job board, create a profile, fill in your info, and upload your resume. Ah, your resume. The one you spent hours, maybe days, perfecting and adjusting? The job board then pastes info from your resume into special resume fields. Basically, your resume isn’t good enough. They want it done their way, in their format. Except, it never pastes correctly. Suddenly your 5 previous positions are turned into 15. You spend an hour + correcting everything. Finally, it’s done. You can move on to looking for a job!
So, you start searching, and find a job that seems like a good fit. You hit “Apply”, expecting it to export your info. You know, that resume you spent all that time reformatting to fit the job board’s format? Hahaha! So naive! No, the employer doesn’t want your info in the job board’s format! They want it in their own format! So, you repeat with creating a profile, uploading a resume, correcting the resume, and completing the application process.
Each time you apply to a job, you can expect to spend 1-2 hours on the application process. More if you’re creating a custom cover letter. All this so a computer program can scan your information and boot you out if you aren’t an exact fit. That’s right, all that work, and it’s likely that no one will ever see it. Most medium to large companies won’t even consider someone unless they’ve filled out the online application. I had an employer contact me directly, setup an interview, and then later tell me I had to fill out the online application before the interview. Ugh!
And what irritates me the most about these applications? Employers are becoming more and more insistent about the type of information they expect you to share on your application. I just encountered one where it was required to put your starting and ending salaries for each position you previously held. It wasn’t optional; You either filled it in, or you didn’t apply! Another company asked for your current salary, and the minimum salary you’d be willing to consider as part of the application! It specifically stated that they wanted to confirm you were within their salary range before they would even consider your application.
I understand that employers are looking for the easiest way to find the right applicants. And I understand that people should be willing to put the time and effort into applying for a position. But come on people! This is ridiculous! I feel completely defeated spending hours and hours at my computer, only to accomplish applying for one job. Some nights two. I don’t want to spend all my time in front of a computer screen, inputting the same info into different formats.
I used to be an HR Manager, having to sort through hundreds of applications. I understand what it’s like. But what happened to the art of hiring? It’s gotten so technical, so cold. Where’s the personality? Where’s the person? It’s all just crunching numbers and info!
And now I remember why I’ve fallen into so many positions.
– Cindy W.