In the list of ridiculous things that I consider to be dehumanizing, job hunting is one of them. And by ridiculous I mean that I, myself, find this process ridiculous because the level of bullshit and hoop jumping and dehumanizing because I’m beyond irritated that we, the applicants, get judged by missed punctuation and our activities online. But we, in turn, cannot judge our potential employers (well, at least publicly) for the exact same things for the fear of their potential wraith.

(As an aside, I recently became a member of a kind of small, specific professional organization. Discovered via my website logs that they not only had Goggled me upon receiving my membership form but before cashing my check, they passed along my website to other people in their office since I had log entries form each of their individual work stations. So I, in turn, Googled them. They were silly enough to name their workstations after their personal names, so that made it even easier!)

Don’t totally misunderstand me on this point: I get that employers really do want people who follow directions and that yes, people who send in resumes covered in clip art with a bright pink background should NOT be considered for the job or that people who routinely apply for positions they are certainly not qualified for should be rejected. I get that HR has a lot on their plate and that sometimes it does take the picayune points to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I’m venting because sometimes the ridiculous gets to be so, well, ridiculous! Especially when I’ve spent the last two days applying for positions and I felt like I spent more time jumping through arcane online HR systems, digging for HR contact info than actually spending time working on cover letters or compiling stuff for the application itself. I did a lot of cursing out loud today and vague venting on Twitter because this IS 2010 – shit should just work. What becomes even more stressful is when the employer has a listing for a “emerging/digital/technical technologies/project librarian/archivist/curator” and while one location might define it as X, another place will define it as Y and the requirements are TOTALLY opposite of what the title suggests and this is especially true when the job title is identical at multiple positions.

I realise that this is how the game is played and that while I’ve been out of the #biggirljob loop for nearly a decade, I had not realized that really was as convoluted and as much of a mess before. To help alleviate my stress levels, I’ve started doing the following:

  • Every single domain I own has an invisible counter on each of the landing pages (since sometimes the click-through on a domain is not necessarily accurate), and I just put one on my on resume page. If you’re finding me either directly by site, link, or keyword, I will more than likely know. I will also know if institutions are actually visiting the additional information at my resume page. I also have raw access to the logs if I wish to analyze traffic.
  • I’ve began Googling HR representatives/directors/whomever for each of the positions that I’ve applied for and tailored (when necessary) my cover letter to hit upon specific points of interest that not only reflect the job but also their personal interests (if that particular HR person is the direct contact, etc).

And this is what becomes even more frustrating – I can’t discuss on my own blog what I feel about X because I think X sucks nuts for requesting Y for their application process when Y isn’t really necessary. I can’t discuss why the HR system at S is redundant because it not only asks for upload of CV/Resume but also requires the user to transpose all that information into an online form. (This was even more frustrating when the directions clearly spelt out that uploaded CV/Resume would replace the filling of forms but nope, sure didn’t!) Or that numerous positions online application is nothing more than a PDF file and that they want you to fill it out (but it’s locked) and signed (you can’t sign the file unless you actually have it unlocked and the line available) and have it emailed. (Numerous places use the later technique for “online application” and I was just boggled by this – what’s the bloody point?!).

I don’t get it but I still must continue because the student loans will not pay for themselves.