Sunday, December 4, 2011

Job search continues

Back in September, my wife's job was eliminated after 31 years.

Not terminated. That implies that she was let go and the job still exists. But eliminated. Gone. Vanished. Poof.

So she began her job search. That's not an easy thing for a 51-year-old female who is the family breadwinner. It's an exceptional burden and she feels every bit of the pressure.

OK, OK, I know what you're thinking. Why don't YOU go get a job, big boy? Well, that might be even more difficult for me. I'm 60 years old and have done exactly one thing my entire career — write sports. As it is, I've already got two part-time jobs cooking in the hearth following my own retirement.

The point here is that Kim wants to work. So, in the midst of grieving over the loss of her father early last month to congestive heart failure, in the midst of the headache of executing the estate, in the midst of the holiday season, she is looking for a job. It's an overwhelming prospect.

What we've discovered is that she and I have become dinosaurs in the job search.  Back in the day, you'd find a job posting you liked in the newspaper or in a trade journal, send in a résumé, hope for a face-to-face interview and move on.

Now, everything is online — the job postings are online, the applications are online, the turndowns are online. It's perfectly impersonal, which is how I think Corporate America wants it to be. She's filled out dozens of online applications as an administrative assistant (for which she's been trained and has a degree), and has been asked for exactly two interviews.

The résumé itself had changed. I remember when it used to be the longer the better, especially complete with a long list of eye-popping references. Well, forget that. Now résumés have to be one page (scannable, I guess) with references upon request. So much for that list of corporate presidents, chairmen of the board and city movers and shakers who appreciated your skills when you were employed. They surely are never contacted anymore.

Kim even filled out one online application for a relatively menial position that required she take a timed test. If she didn't respond to all the questions quickly enough, the page would time out. You've got to be kidding me.

I'm pretty sure when she hits the "send" button on her application, it immediately shoots into cyberspace, never to be seen again. She might as well be firing photon torpedoes at Klingons, it seems.

What's really aggravating is that once you've sent off an application, you almost never hear back from the prospective employer. You never know if the job has been filled or not. What happened to professional courtesy? What's with that?

We've been told that the real secret to getting a job these days is in who you know (a "secret" that's probably been around for centuries), but that strategy doesn't seem to be working either. We know a lot of people. I mean, we've been in the area work force for more than 30 years and have bumped shoulders with the best of them. She has applied for jobs that now employ people she used to work with at her former job, yet she is still unemployed.

I think what is happening is that companies might see Kim's years of experience and opt for an entry level applicant instead, their reasoning based on the bottom line.

My reasoning is why not take a chance and hire her for her experience, personality and intelligence. What a bonanza that would be. It's not that hard.

No comments:

Post a Comment