I am trying really hard not to write about my unemployment woes from the emotional perceptive. However, as the rejection letters continue to flood my email inbox, it becomes harder and harder to resist writing about it. I also know that I am not alone in this jobless market. Many people I talk with are filling out job applications and getting these personaless generated rejection letters.

That cracks me up. Our resumes have to be filled with the proper buzz words in order to just make it in the “maybe” pile on some intern’s (who probably is earning college credit and not money) desk. That maybe pile then goes to another sifting process and if the right buzz words aren’t on your resume, it goes into the rejection pile. A few days later another intern (college credit) gets to send via mass email your rejection letter which consists of, “Although you have many qualifications, at this time you do not meet our needs. Good luck in your continued job search and thank you for inquiring with us.”

Isn’t it ironic job seekers have to research a company, find all the buzz words, and then send off the resume;  however, employers get to send the job seekers a generic email telling us our qualifications weren’t good enough. They never say which qualifications turned them off. We don’t get a chance to explain we would be willing to take a class to gain these missing skills. We are just told we aren’t what they are looking for (even though we read the website and matched them on every qualification the ad stated a candidate should have in order to apply).

In order to just get to the interview, you have to tailor your resume with some unknown amount of buzz words. You think, if they could just meet you, you could impress them at the interview. Let’s just say that you had the buzz word ratio down and you get the interview. You get your suit cleaned at the dry cleaners. You shine your shoes. You have practiced interviewing with all your friends and you have spent seven hours a day researching the company.

You are completely prepared for the interview. The employer even calls someone else into your interview. You walk out feeling like you nailed that interview and you start planning what you will wear to the first day on your new job.

A few days later you check your email. You see an email from your “new job”. You open the email thinking it is probably telling you about a second interview. But, no… the email says, “Even though you have many great qualifications, at this time you do not match are company’s needs. Thank you for meeting with us and good luck in your job search.”

Do you remember what Holden Caulfield said about luck? Never wish people good luck because it means the situation is hopeless.

I have been trying all kinds of different ways to engage employers. I have been looking at part-time work. I have been looking at volunteer work. I even tried being completely honest in a cover letter.

Nothing works.

This one job I am really upset I lost because I just don’t understand how I lost it. The ad was very informal and written on a very personal level. So, I in turn, wrote my cover letter in the same vein. I explained my four years experience as a volunteer doing the same things this job was paying a person to do. I spoke about the traveling and hours not being an issue. I thought I matched the requirements very well. I also thought because I was willing to volunteer for so long that would show I was willing to do anything to learn this business.

I will honestly tell you I cried when I got the email. It was three sentences that basically said I wasn’t good enough. I don’t understand how I have spent four years doing this stuff and now I am not good enough. My experience wasn’t a good fit and I have no idea why. Shouldn’t experience be a good thing?

I think I blew it because I was informal. I assumed because the tone of the ad was informal, they would appreciate a real person applying and not just a robot tossing the right buzz words in a cover letter and on a resume.

It’s like job searching is a game and every day the rules change. I can’t keep up with it. I don’t even think employers can keep up with it. I know it is difficult to find a job out there. Employers have tons of resumes and it must be daunting to see such a big pile of qualified candidates. I think people are forgetting what is behind that resume.

For every resume, there is a person behind it. That person may have just graduated from college and they are living at home until they can get the first job. Sallie Mae is also counting the days until she can send the first loan payment request.

That resume over there is a woman. She worked all her life at one job and got burnt out. Now she wants to try something new and would love the chance to start at an entry level position. She has no problem starting from the ground up.

Lastly, that resume there is from a man. He has three kids and his wife was just diagnosed with cancer. He was laid off because he worked in the car industry and his health benefits are running out. His wife has chemo next week. He would jump at the chance to even work part-time. He just needs a chance to work for someone.

All those piles of resumes are people. They have stories. I agree the best candidate should be selected for the job, but could we just remember the people who weren’t selected? When you go to send off that mass rejection email, remember the person who will be receiving it. Take a look at that letter again. How would you feel getting that letter?

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