What It's Like To Look For A Job These Days

Great Depression

A note from a reader in New Haven, CT, responding to our post on long-term unemployment:

Dear Mr. Blodget,

Interesting story you’ve written… Did you happen to read the article by Peter Goodman of the NYTimes entitled “The New Poor?”

I can offer further insight…

Do you have any idea how difficult and depressing it is to apply for the jobs that are posted out there?

The other day I read an ad for help at a local coffee shop.  Here’s what it said….
BARISTA. looking for someone who takes coffee quite seriously. please send note of interest and resume. Experience required. Please make an effort to write the word(s) coffee, espresso and/or barista in your email. No form responses. Do not use the title “hiring manager” or the phrase “ideal match” or the word “position”.
Location: New Haven
Compensation: $8.75 per hour + tips
Although I have a degree from Pratt Institute and have managed to achieve some success in my career, (although it feels as if that was 100yrs ago….), I was actually considering applying for the position, but can’t bring myself to be humiliated, when I am rejected for accidentally having one of their objectionable words noted in my cover letter or resume.  I am sorry, hopefully I am not the only one that thinks they have a lot of F’n nerve.

I sent my resume + cover letter to an Antique Dealer in Woodbury, CT that posted a need for an Administrative Assistant.  The owner replied to me via e-mail, saying that they received over 150 resumes within the first 48 hours of posting the ad on craigslist.  And in an effort of fairness to all applicants she would send us e-mails asking job related questions to narrow down the selection process.  After passing the first round of questioning… I moved onto the second.  However, in between one + two, she had a moment of clarity and decided what she truly needed was a Marketing genius.  She sent me a long winded e-mail talking about her business and at the end asked me to come up with a strategic and tactical marketing plan that will boost their top line by 25% within 18-24 months of accepting the job.  She asked me to cost out each aspect of my plan in terms of dollars + to justify my projections from each source of revenue.  With the ultimate goal of increasing their top line to 2.5 million annually.

While I knew I was now way over my head with this…. I felt compelled to respond in a way that would hopefully allow her to see I had a brain on my head.  But I just couldn’t understand how they went from seeking an Administrative Assistant (who they were willing to pay $20 per hour) to now seeking a Marketing Analyst with what I imagined as having an MBA from Harvard or Wharton’s School of Business.  Additionally, I didn’t think it was fair to ask an applicant (any applicant), to make such an investment of time + thought before they were even willing to consider an actual face-to-face interview.  But I made an effort because I really thought that anyone else who had responded to the initial ad…. was going to be more like me and not an MBA grad seeking a $20/hr. job.  Who knows, maybe I have more in common with the MBA Marketing Analyst than I thought I ever would.  Needless to say…. I did receive a rejection e-mail yesterday…. wishing me the best of luck in my job search.
For every 20 resumes + cover letters I send out… I’m lucky if I get a response from one.  I just don’t understand… there are actually a fair amount of jobs posted out there (+ I check them all, hotjobs, nytimes/monster, craigslist, jobcentral.org, etc. etc.

I wonder… as a writer/news reporter… Can you find out if they actually fill all the positions that are posted?  I’ve been unemployed since March of 2009 and I’m really starting to go out of my mind with worry.  I feel I make a pretty hard effort, finding a “Good” job has been my full-time job since long before I was actually among the unemployed. And I’m really about to lose it.

Thank you for reading my miserable rant.  I am sure you have better things to do with your time.  Feel free to touch base if you want to pass along any information or insight into my dilemma.

Thank You.

See Also: Diary Of A 42-Year Old TV Producer Who Has Been Unemployed For 420 Days

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