It’s been a while since I’ve looked for a job; for a while, I was on the other side of the process and had the opportunity to examine it from the no-pressure side of things. Now I’m back on the lesser side of the coin, experiencing once more the employment version of seeing an old friend only to be reminded of why you don’t hang out with them anymore.
No contacts have I
Only this resume, sir
I said to the void
I've run up and down the socioeconomic scale and helped multiple people (probably over a hundred at this point) get jobs ranging from people who don't speak English to high ranking VP types. The reality is that the more valuable your labor is the easier it is to find a job and the better that job is likely to be in terms of pay, benefits, conditions, etc. Unskilled recent immigrants have an incredibly difficult time getting a basic job while experienced engineers or marketers will get people randomly trying to recruit them several times a week.
This tends to go against most people's instincts. They think the less valuable the job the easier it is to get. But it's often the opposite. And in fact this is a longstanding basic pattern of human labor. Low skill households have an abundance of labor and a lack of opportunities to transform it into wealth. High skilled (not necessarily rich) households have an abundance of opportunities to transform labor into wealth to the point they usually cannot fill them all. The transition from one to the other creates all kinds of problems because the person goes from a world where the opportunity to work is itself valuable to one where a primary skill is triaging which work is worth doing.
Anyway, the point I'm meandering toward: job searching is itself a skill. One most people are bad at because the average person applies for jobs maybe a dozen times in their life. And being bad at it is more impactful at lower socioeconomic levels than higher ones. Interpersonal connections (ie, "hey, I know a guy") is a way to skip the process. And one well worth taking advantage of if you have access to it.
The worst applications are the ones where you upload a resume and then they make you restate everything in your resume over again, but with more information required (address of your 4th-most recent employer, for instance) and with annoying pulldown menus.
Academic hiring is unbelievably worse than this. The resume is only one tiny part of the insane, demoralising process they make you endure for a precarious, underpaid contract of 1-3 years. The application forms they demand you fill out are extensive and many require essays on bullshit topics. The last one I did took six hours only for it likely to have gone straight in the bin.
I'm sorry you've had such unpleasant experiences. In our firm we make a very short questionnaire and ask everyone who applies to fill it out. The questionnaire is always made with the role being hired for in mind (e.g., "improve this text" in a job with a lot of writing) and generally usefully divides the field. We don't really ask for or look at resumes until much later. I wish more firms would do this.
This, 100%: “[Like] most forms of evil, the vileness of the resume-based hiring process is banal and often unintentional.” The human rat race in a nutshell.
I pray God opens the networking avenues for you, leading you through the doldrumish middle stage (through the Red Sea like the Israelites, not the Egyptians 🙃).
I cannot tell you how many positions I've seen filled long before an external job posting goes live. That is, the hiring manager already knows who will get the job, but needs to comply with HR requirements to post the job, review resumes, interview some number of candidates, etc. before they can make the "official" offer to the person they were planning on hiring in the first place.
This process is ABLEIST to all of us *disabled* folks that have difficulties with communication and social interactions. (I'm autistic late diagnosed. I bet there are many undiagnosed neurodivergent Engineers).
This leaves five candidates - a hand-picked elite, a top 12.5% of qualified candidates.
I would add here, these 5 candidates in no way represent the best picks for the position but the elite per judgement of one's opinionated HR.
He/she might throw statements like "not a culture fit".
How about "AI" readers these terrible HR people use?
Fuck, we are said to add keywords to resume so HR people actually bother to open them.
Everybody knows people with "contacts" are the upper class of the labor market. Humans are no more advanced than that. We still prefer to interact with those we know or those who know someone we know. Which makes life difficult for those who don't know anyone important.
For that reason, being the one of the fifty (or five hundred) chosen in a resume-based hiring process really is a big win. That is a potential step from the class of people who don't know anybody important to the class of people who know at least some important people. Getting in by resume is not only the opportunity to get a job - it is the opportunity to hop from the resume class to the class with one or two contacts.
Sending in one's resume is to ask for something unusual and difficult - social mobility.
I don't think there is anyone alive who would go through the resume process IF they had a backdoor of some kind - internet fame, recommendation etc. We do it if and when there is no other way.
This wasn't angry enough; damn the system, burn it down to the core, Shakespeare hadn't met a hr rep before he commented on lawyers
This explains a lot.
I've been applying via indeed for years now. occasionally getting the standard rejections, getting the occasional scam job postings, and for the most part, no response at all. I thought maybe I did have a "weird resume." One resume is for Graphic Design, and at the top I include an illustration. I should probably drop the illustration, but in truth through indeed, that resume doesn't even get seen. Most of the jobs I apply for use the standard indeed resume format.
I've sent out hundreds of resumes. I can tell you, the jobs I have gotten most of my life weren't by resuime at all. It was by getting around that part. I had someone vouch for me at just about every place I got a job.
As someone who has a very obscure engineering degree, I share your hatred of resumes. I had to add a short explanation on my resume so employers would stop interpreting it as a graphic design degree.
My other big annoyance with resume-hiring is the insistance that your GPA must be above a certain number. No exceptions! Not even if you have an amazing explanation for the slightly-too-low number and can prove that you're otherwise qualified.
"A word of warning related to that: Because I both hate resume-first hiring processes and I’m talking about applicant-side problems, a lot of this is going to read as a condemnation of employers as a class - it’s not that, and I’ll explain why as we go."
Be a lot cooler if you did
Have you checked out EnjoyMondays.com? They seem to be putting the power back into the applicants hands.