Monday, June 30, 2014

Applying Online is Not the Way

How many times have you heard it said, possibly by someone you know who complains, “…there are no jobs”? Well, I don’t entirely agree although there are obviously fewer jobs and according to labor statistics (in the U.S.) a growing number of people have just stopped looking. No doubt it is a tough environment and talk of economic recovery rings hollow and means nothing to those who struggle. But I argue that some people and their flawed assumptions and their efforts, which can only be best described as flaccid and in reality half-hearted, make them their own worst enemy. I suggest it is the misguided belief in faulty and ineffective job search methods, on which the majority rely, which leave many feeling powerless to influence their own destiny.
But before we continue we need to clarify something; there are jobs out there but the term jobs is so general as to be misleading. There are jobs, for which you either are or are not qualified. There are jobs you would not or could not imagine yourself doing -- and then there is the sweet spot, the kind of job you want and seek. And it is this small and incredibly shrinking category of jobs for which everyone is increasingly competing, which is what has everyone concerned – and it is this aspect of the conversations bureaucrats and talking heads want to avoid discussing, at all costs.
Aside from the scarcity of good jobs, making matters worse is the way by which we seek and pursue opportunities that is often a most frustrating, de-humanizing, self-defeating and dead-end effort. It is no wonder people feel helpless and why many have given up. And here’s the worst part, it is by design, meant to dis-empower the vast majority of people. Yep, I said it; it is intentional and designed to restrict your options by preventing you from actually talking to or bothering human resources, much less an actual decision maker. It’s a technological maze intended to force you to speak only when spoken to, move only when you are summoned, and designed by bureaucrats who assign themselves importance and as a result ensure their own job security.
As it is, virtually everyone is looking for work online – it is their sole job-hunting method. When they find a job listing for which they have interest, they submit (I hate that word) their resume and then…wait. If you get a reply it is in the form of an automated response confirming receipt of your resume, telling you your resume will be kept on file and you’ll be contacted if there is any interest. Or you’ll get a notification that the job has been filled, sometimes within a day of applying – which might seem a little odd. I mean, how much more dystopian can things get? Is that all there is, is this all you can do for yourself? Fortunately there are other ways for those who are serious about helping themselves. 
Call me a rebel, but if you want to turn the odds more into your favor, you must break the virtual shackles imposed by those more hung up on their processes that lead you all over the place but nowhere close to your goal and, ironically, do little even to help companies find the best people due to the choke points erected to block access. It is truly Kafkaesque (as in Franz Kafka -- look it up).
I am not suggesting that you dramatically change your activities, only that you should adapt in order to take more control, and responsibility, for your own self-interest. Step back and imagine for a moment what we are doing, emailing a resume and then waiting for someone else to do something for us – and people actually call this an activity.
No, instead of sending your resume into a deep and dark black hole, contact the company directly - period! Applying online is a losing proposition. If you’re not happy with the online option available to you, take back and regain a measure of your dignity; for God’s sake, do something different, do something for yourself instead of whining about how unfair the world is. Granted, it is not as simple as the last few sentences would suggest, but you can – and should, do things in a different manner.
Next week I will explain what steps you should be taking and also the ridiculously simple method of how to identify who the employer is when they intentionally do not name them in the advert or posting.

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