Cruel & Unusual Punishment: Applying to Jobs


Sometimes I suspect that the online job application process is just some sick joke that Corporate America came up with to dangle positions in front of desperate souls looking to legitimately further their careers. Most of them now allow you to upload your resume into the application form, which seems like a great thing. Quick, easy. That is until you realize you still have to retype all the content of your resume into tiny white boxes over and over, saving and continuing, having red error boxes pop up all over the screen because they don’t make concessions in the technology for jobs that are hourly or remote or salary requirements that are negotiable. Why do they even bother with having you attach your resume and cover letter when you are required to retype/copy & paste all the content and more into a 20 page online form? Hours of angst on Word working the margins, font size, layout… wasted.

You also have to click a ton of little bubbles filling out questionnaire after questionnaire, creating login usernames and passwords when the same one won’t work on all the sites, because they all have different requirements. How in the world are you going to remember all these, and are you really ever going to sign back into that specific site and apply for more jobs anyway? No, it’s highly unlikely that you will. I long ago could have created a special filing cabinet of all the different company and job sites and the many different variations of my go-to usernames and passwords.

It isn’t enough that my digital application is going to the bottom of the virtual pile never to be touched. They have to drag out the insult by taking up a half hour of my day to earn an immediate, auto-response email in my inbox saying “Thanks! Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Then I move on to the next listing.

There’s also the issue of searching job boards. I am not even entirely sure what I’m looking for. Keywords: editing, publishing, public relations, editorial, proofreading, marketing, books, whatever. Like any good patchwork candidate I’m in that “Put me in where you need me, coach!” phase of my career journey. I’ve done a bit of it all and have the enthusiasm and flexibility to take on a number of different positions. My work history doesn’t read as traditionally as I would like (Intern, luxury retail Sales Associate, IT Market Research Analyst, Executive Assistant, Quality Assurance Analyst…) but I can make it work for me and a future position. How do I get that message out to employers? I notice on professional forums that it’s a struggle many young people are facing trying to find a way into the industry. I am not alone.

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