I am not new to the job search. I’ve been working since I was 14 in some capacity or another. Be it babysitting to slinging ice cream to transcribing complex medical reports to guiding Guiders, I’ve had my kick at the job search can. Not a lot has changed in that time. Some may scoff and say, Oh you of little knowledge, the world has changed immensely ! But I’m here to tell you, that the fundamentals have not changed. One thing that has ? The opportunity to look in to my eyes.
I miss this. I miss this DREADFULLY. The old fashioned, knock on the door, walk in smartly dressed and present your resume that you have slaved over in hopes that it will meet with approval. It is this personal touch that has gone from the job search. This opportunity to add a face to the resume. Yes, you may have slaved over the electronic introduction to your professional self but this will never replace the impact, good or bad, a face to face moment may have. It can be defining in more ways than one, this chance to look in to my eyes. For I am also looking at you.
As I’ve said, and will defend to the ground, the basics of the job hunt have not changed. Your resume must be accurate and reflect your skills. You cannot LIE on a resume because at some point, if you are lucky enough to get called for an interview, someone is going to have the chance to look you in the eye. You must be professional. You must try to make connections. Remember the good old days of nepotism ? Now this may have resulted in the slack-jawed offspring of the current owner becoming your disastrous new boss, but it also helped to place eager young people in to jobs that might otherwise have been closed to them. That whole lack of experience thing that was circumventable by a boost from dear old mom or dad.
What has changed immensely, and I’ll contend not for the better, is the application process. I completely understand that the process is in place to help human resources deal with the mountain of resumes that must avalanche their desk or inbox. It is much easier to relegate someone to the trash bin or recycle box when there is no personal attachment. It is much easier to sift through the piles of paper and emails when you can do a key word search. I understand that completely. But I think it lacks the opportunity that even a phone call can provide. You might not like the design of the resume but you can garner a completely different, and possibly more important, information by a quick chat on the phone.
What brought this little diatribe on ? My inability to follow up on a position I’ve applied for. Up until now, I haven’t tried to follow up by phone in order to respect the on-line application process. What has that got me ? Still job hunting. Still trying to make that connection which will open that nepotistic door to a job in communications and public relations. Ironically a field in which face to face communications skills are paramount to success. As a friend pointed out to me, a resume alone cannot give a good picture of the author. I know this is what an interview is for, but what if the ideal candidate is just a follow up phone call away ?
So hurrah for the advance of the electronic age. As a lover of gadgets, a purveyor of on-line information, and a Plants versus Zombies addict, I do embrace the multitude of applications that the on-line world provides. What I will forever lament is the negative impact on the other applications process that has gone on-line. The loss of the personal touch that only a phone call or face to face meeting can provide no matter how brief is immeasurable. If I’m not suitable for a job, I can accept that, but I’d like the chance for you to look me in the eye and tell so face to face.