Being in the job market has made me the target of many 'top ten tips' type articles and posts. Just do these five/seven/ten things, and you'll have a new job in no time. If you don't it must be because of something you're not doing.
As a few of us were saying on Twitter yesterday, this is more than just a little disingenuous. With unemployment figures soaring in many places, and some industries/sectors being harder hit than others, it only serves to make people feel even more like failures when they load their weapons with silver bullets... and still remain unemployed.
Signing up for automated searches on some of the larger sites automatically means that you receive their regular little homilies about what you need to do better. And, if you're serious about looking for work, you read them, and try to follow their advice, in the hopes that it will make a difference. But after you've tweaked your CV, and honed your cover-letter-writing skills, and tapped your network, and pro-actively approached the people you'd like to work for, etc. etc. What then?
If everybody follows the 5-steps to a standout CV, recruiters still wind up with a slew of CVs with none that stand out. Because, to quote Syndrome in the rather Rand-ian The Incredibles, "Everyone will be special, and then no one is."
The fact remains that there are many more job-seekers than jobs out there, and being over-qualified turns out to be just as much of a disadvantage as being under-qualified. And the job-seekers range from those looking for minimum wage, all the way up to those who have worked at C-level.
Let me share a personal perspective:
- My CV has been professionally reviewed
- I write (if I do say so myself) a pretty kick-ass covering letter
- I have more than 20 years of experience in my field
- I hold a Masters' degree
- I'm not exactly a global mover and shaker, in terms of innovation but many of the global movers and shakers know my name and are on hug-terms with me (so perhaps I could be called part of the second wave)
And I haven't been over-selective. I have applied for some fairly humble posts, which have offered the opportunity to make a real difference to an organisation. After all, I don't need to be rich. I only need to be able to meet my commitments. But I do need to be fulfilled at work. I am not a person who is prepared to do something I hate day in and day out in service of Mammon. I don't measure success in Sterling.
So let's just take a look at one of the jobs I've applied for. It's fairly local, and they're looking for an 'innovative L&D manager'.
You will support the business to drive performance through the effective design or management of the design, of learning solutions globally. In order to build their internal capability you will need to deliver learning solutions to help support their strategy and ensure methods and content utilised within design reflect leading edge practices and deliver the learning outcomes specified in the design brief.Anyone who actually knows me, would think I was a shoo-in for the role. But within 90 minutes of my application, I received an email telling me that they had received an unprecedented number of applications for this post, and several of them more closely matched the skills and experience required by the advertiser. Since my covering letter had taken their description and identified how I had every point covered, I didn't see how this was possible... and I emailed them to ask for feedback on these grounds. I respectfully requested that they give me guidance as to how I might better demonstrate, next time around, that my skill set and experience did in fact map across to what was advertised.
The role requires a high level of competence in learning design and evaluation methodologies and in training delivery skills.You'll also have the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently and deliver on time and to quality and to manage and influence multiple stakeholders.
No response. Not a squeak.
And to make matters worse, that job continues to be advertised, week in and week out.
I have been advised by people who claim to know about these things, that some (many? most?) of the jobs advertised on the really big recruitment sites are bogus, and that this appears to be one of them. What they would stand to gain from such a practice?
And how do they have the temerity, in the light of these bogus posts on offer, to keep publishing these silver bullets that tell us that the onus is on us to do better?