Modern Job Hunting: Shouting into the Void

I am in the process of looking for jobs. It’s a hard market, though perhaps not as hard as a few years ago, but sometimes it feels impossible to find a job. It’s like shouting into the void and waiting for the void to shout back.

You send your resume and cover letter into an email box full of resumes and cover letters, with no guarantee that yours will even be read. I know that it was like that in the past as well, even when you had to submit paper applications there was no guarantee that your resume would be read, but there’s one major difference as far as I can tell. In this day and age there is almost no way to follow up. Most places have online applications, or you apply through an online job board. You get a confirmation email that says “resume received” but it’s not from a real person, it’s from a do-not-reply mailbot. There’s no phone number and no email to send them a follow up – and that’s the way the organizations want it. They don’t want people to follow up. That’s my theory anyway. Sometimes you send your resume and cover letter directly to a person via email – and that’s the best. You can actually send that same person another email later to check in. If you’re lucky, they’ll reply to you and their signature will have a phone number in it so you can call. But most of the time it doesn’t work that way.

Furthermore, since it is much easier to apply to jobs online, there are more candidates for more jobs all over the country, and that makes it less likely you will be called in for an interview or hired. It can feel pretty hopeless applying for a job nowadays, especially an entry level job where you can make enough money to support yourself. And that’s not to mention all the competition for minimum-wage retail, food, and other service jobs – because “higher level” jobs are so difficult to get. You end up with people, with degrees or not, working jobs they’re overqualified for and not getting the experience they need to move on in their field. Then there’s the people working two or three minimum wage jobs just to survive. It’s ridiculous.

I am, fortunately or unfortunately, only looking for short term contract work, because I am going back to school in the fall. That allows me to easily use temp agencies and get interviews for exactly what I’m looking for. Temp agencies are a great resource for people looking for jobs, as they can get you into places you might not be able to get into yourself, for a short period of time, or perhaps even temporary to permanent positions. It’s something I recommend to people who are struggling right now.

It’s a tough job market, and it’s tough being a real person with a job, especially when you’re a young adult. But don’t give up. You may get 100 “no”s before you get one “yes” but you’ll still get that “yes” eventually. But it’s a long, hard, and discouraging path. I’m on it too. So let’s go forward together.

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