I had a very personal interest in reading the newspaper story about the November Jobs Report since I have been looking for a job for the past month. The article in the Wall Street Journal said that private sector employers added 50,000 jobs last month. Unfortunately for me, they didn’t add 50,001 jobs.
Although I have worked steadily for the past eight years, it’s been a while since I actually had to go through the job application process. The last time I did it, we saved our documents on floppy disks and booted up our computers in MS-DOS.
So I had to get used to the craigslist method of searching for a job. Steve, who has probably applied to hundreds of postings on craigslist for both freelance work and full-time jobs, warned me about investing too much emotional weight in any one job application.
But that advice was hard to accept because I had worked very hard putting together a really good resume and I was very proud of it. So the first cover letter and resume I sent off, I treated very preciously, like I was setting a little bird free. “Fly away my resume, there is a new home waiting for you. A place for you to grow and get stronger.”
And so I sat back and waited for an email reply. My fantasy was that when my resume popped up, the prospective employer would take one look at my wonderful qualities and want to know where I had been all his life…and how soon I could come in for an interview.
However, after replying to more than 20 jobs on craigslist, I now know that the reality is that the vast majority of job applications end up in some kind of email black hole where they are sucked up and never see the light of day. If I do get an automated reply that my application was received, I feel like I’ve got one foot in the door. There is still hope that I actually might be contacted!
Like all experienced craigslist users, I have also learned that it’s all about timing. I replied to one craigslist posting for a blog and newsletter writer/editor that was listed for the entire Bay Area. Replying to a posting like that is more like playing Jeopardy; you have to be quick on the buzzer or you’ll get shut out. Given the huge number of rabid bloggers that exist in nine Bay Area counties, I’m sure they had already received hundreds of responses by the time I got to it, two hours after it had been posted.
One plan of attack would be to sit at my computer all day with craigslist open and hit refresh every fifteen minutes just to make sure that my application is in the first 50 that they receive. But that seems a little compulsive. I keep telling myself there is no need to panic yet; the good news is that there are new jobs posted every day and if I just keep methodically applying, something will come through.
And if all else fails, maybe my son, who is a part-time barista, can put in a good word for me at Starbucks.