Today, I had what I would call a life changing experience. An awesome moment that totally changed my perspective on the last year or so of my life, and made me feel, honestly, a lot better about myself.
I had to sort through resumes to find my replacement. My good friend Meredith wrote this funny post on the same topic a little while back.
The amount of response to the Criagslist ad I put up, in just under 48 hours, was really impressive and kind of overwhelming. Sorting through them all, I really started with the intent on reading them carefully and considering people's needs and feelings. But I realized pretty quickly that this just wasn't feasible. My job, quite frankly, is so easy a monkey could do it, so almost everybody who applied was qualified. It just became a matter of superficially sorting through things and trying to find a way to narrow my options down.
- People who clearly didn't tailor their materials to the job, out. Why would you tell me you want to work as a medical transcriptionist, when this is not the advertised position? Also be sure that if you use a form letter like "Dear (Insert Person Here) I am interested in (insert position here)" That you actually do the inserting.
-As Meredith pointed out, a cover letter is a really important aspect of making your skills known, but you really need to keep it short and sweet. I don't need a 2 page essay about your time at Walgreens. Nor do I want to read a dissertation on the importance of a cover letter, that barely talks about you or why you want this job (really.) Just tell me briefly why you'd be good for the job. I figure out the rest from your resume.
- Don't forget to attach your resume and references. "Please find my resume and references attached" is impossible to accomplish if they're not there!
-With such a big pool of applicants to compete with, little things can totally ruin your chances at an interview. Like using waaaay too many exclamation points in your cover letter, or having grammatical errors and typos.
The whole process made me realize, that this past year of job search failures wasn't really my fault. That even as a very strong applicant, I had so many other people to contend with that I easily got lost in the shuffle. Also, that the fact that I even got a new job (working here, through Commonwealth Corps) is basically a miracle. It was really a positive experience to actually see what I was contending with as an applicant, and it made me feel silly for having so many negative thoughts about myself as a result of it. It also gave me some attention - grabbing tricks to log away for the next time on the job prowl. Overall, helpful and eye-opening.
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