The Current Job Market Sucks and I’m Going to Talk About It
A little think piece by me about the never-ending cycle of job applications and rejections.
Hey there reader, hope your day is going a lot better than mine (just kidding, I’m actually having a pretty swell day). I’ve really gotten in the rhythm of writing and posting here, it’s definitely reignited my love for writing. While I have really enjoyed writing my opinion pieces on various movies and tv shows, I wanted to get a little bit candid and talk about something that’s on my mind about my life.
If you didn’t already know, I’m a Masters student. I’m studying in London right now and like most students in my final year, I’ve been through the endless cycle of job applications. I start every morning sending out at least 5 new applications to hiring companies on LinkedIn and the likes. Even though I know that I probably won’t get the job I just applied for.
I’m not being pessimistic either, I just am aware of how competitive the job market is at the moment and that almost every other student in my position is doing the same thing. I’ve just become very used to an empty inbox after sending out a fresh application because let’s be honest those hiring managers are probably so busy that they can’t even send out a quick email letting you know you didn’t get the job (I’m not salty you are).
Anyway, the reason why I’m writing this post isn’t to highlight how awful it feels to just get ignored by hiring managers but it’s actually for a little self catharsis. My mornings all start pretty much the same way, I get up (after wrestling with my duvet and finding the last scraps of my will to live) and check my email and social media while sipping a cup of coffee. At this point, my will to live has increased by about 1% (thank you caffeine) and like usual I’m checking my inbox when I see someone messaged me on LinkedIn. “Oh my!” I think to myself, “someone sure is popular!” (well obviously I didn’t react that way, I just wanted to inject a little humour to this piece). I pretty much shrugged and checked what the message said and boy I should have waited for the coffee to kick in before I did that.
I had a hunch that the message was from someone I just sent a job application to and wasn’t expecting any good news. I was right the hiring manager, let’s call him Chad basically said that he has filled the position already. Well good for Chad, and good for whoever did get the job it’s really hard to get a job during a pandemic and an economic recession. But the message didn’t stop there, no-no. You see, Chad had some advice for me and told me (without prompting I might add) that the successful candidate got the job because they personally emailed Chad with links to the work they completed at university, introduced themselves via an introductory video and provided a personalised cover letter. Now, this folks is why I’m in need of some catharsis because when I sent in my application, I included links to some of the work I completed at university and I also submitted a personalised cover letter. But what I failed to do, was to email Chad personally and introduce myself to him because I thought that anyone who would be shortlisted would get a chance to introduce themselves to Chad in a professional interview. Why did I think that? Because nowhere in the job description did it say we needed to email Chad personally to introduce ourselves with an introductory video and provide links to our work. Like any reasonable adult, I assumed that Chad would have read my application and seen the links I provided (that do work by the way I checked) to examples of my work in my CV.
If the message had stopped there, I probably would have shrugged it off and gone on with my day, but it didn’t. Chad had some final words for me, he said that while it is a time-consuming process apparently introductory videos are the way to go and that he’s sorry that the world has come to this and hoped that I would take his advice when applying to other jobs. The apology is what really got me, Chad through his apology is acknowledging that the current job market is broken, but he is clearly contributing to said broken system. Again I’ll reiterate, that I understand the current market under its current circumstances is very competitive and getting a job right now is probably very difficult. But it’s so disheartening (on the very rare occasions) to hear back from the hiring manager and be told that you didn’t get the job because; even though you followed the application process it wasn’t enough and there were extra steps you needed to complete that was a secret. In my opinion, applicants for entry-level jobs should be on the same playing field, and our applications are weighed using the same scheme. I understand going the extra mile for a job you really want, but how many perfectly qualified applicants are disqualified because they failed to send in a personalised video message? How many of those perfectly qualified applicants have been overlooked by someone with a flashier application, who sent in extra materials that were not asked of us? and finally, how has this become standard practice or the industry standard for entry-level jobs that pay fresh graduates peanuts in comparison to the amount and quality of work we are expected to produce for them? I don’t really have the answers to these questions, but they have been weighing heavily on my mind and I figured someone out there might actually have the answer for me.
I know the reasonable thing to do is to just move on and send out more applications but it’s just so goddamn hard to do that at the moment. The circumstances most of us are living in is incredibly stressful, just trying to get through each day is exhausting. Maybe if we weren’t living in the middle of a pandemic I’d have been able to brush off Chad's words but today, they were just another blow to my already crumbling self-esteem.
Some final thoughts from me would just be this, I hate how broken our world is and I really want to run away from society right now. Maybe I’d live in a little cottage in the woods.
If you enjoyed reading this, be sure to check out some of my much funnier and lighthearted pieces. Thanks so much for reading this!