CVs: Writing and editing one is possibly the most narcissistic exercise you will encounter during the great job search. The awfulness of such is trumped only by the embarrassing spiels that are required at the interview stage, or possibly ‘training’ tasks once you’ve actually been accepted.
In one such case we were all handed out oranges which we were asked to peel. This (obviously) was to demonstrate how customers can be bitter ‘on the outside’ but sweet ‘in the middle’. My inherent cynicism flared and I could barely stop myself from walking out of the room. Especially when 5 minutes later, 15 peeled or half peeled oranges were collected up and thrown in the bin.
Returning to the CV – well, they are no longer worth anything. Yes, at school you did have CV master classes, and yes, current pupils still do. However, a large proportion of employers now totally disregard them, as everything’s online now. Application forms are 12 pages long for a part-time retail position. Application forms which ask for the EXACT SAME information that is on your CV.
Before you could just fire off CVs with appropriate cover letters, or really old school – go and hand them out in person. Now you have to spend literally hours filling out form after form, over and over. And don’t even get me started on trying to ‘tick’ boxes. I am not very computer literate, to say the least. Yet at least I have plenty of time, a laptop and internet access, all of which I am very grateful for (please refer to the link at the bottom of the page regarding the impact not having computer and internet access has on education).
There have been times during my job search when I have not had a PC at all, or have been waiting to get a property connected to the Internet. In these times I have used the library as my connection point. I don’t know if you have recently tried to use a computer in a library, but here’s my experience:
Firstly you have to find a library that hasn’t been closed down, preferably within walking distance, as you don’t have money to travel. Then you have to ask/find/wait for a free computer. Log in – this will take anywhere between 1 to 5 minutes, depending on the speed of the computer – slow, or really slow. This is eating into your allotted half hour.
By the time you get the Internet loaded and actually begin searching for work in your area, you are in a race against time (as you are constantly reminded by the bottom right hand of the screen). You begin an application form. You are logged off before you can complete it.
You traipse home, rehearsing a speech in your head about free access to the Internet for all. The next day you get up and repeat the whole sorry affair again, out of guilt that you at least have to try, right?
The other option is the jobcentre. They have machines where you can search for jobs and print out details of suitable vacancies. This is great, but really no more helpful than an old-fashioned newspaper, as with all likeliness you will still have to apply online.
The whole process is long and demotivating, whichever way you go about it. Sometimes you feel like screaming “EMPLOY ME DARN IT! I can do this; I would be totally BRILLIANT in this job!” Sometimes you get excited at a particularly good vacancy and imagine that you have pretty much NAILED the application, only to hear nothing back at all.
A lot of the time, it’s difficult to even understand what the job is exactly. It feels like trying to decipher an ancient code. I usually take this as a sign that I am not qualified and move on. I am truly beginning to wonder how on earth anyone navigates through all of this, ideally remaining sane and preferably coming out with a job at the end of it all.
Please excuse me; I have a whole virtual pile of forms to fill in.
ABOUT AUTHOR: Emily Ferret. Thank the author by visiting her blog.