So I have been sending out resumes for a while now, and the silence is deafening. I am sure that every job listing gets bombarded with resumes in this job market, so it isn't too surprising that I haven't heard back from anyone yet. I did go in for some testing on one job, but either they are slow grading tests or I didn't end up in the top 5%.
Yesterday I met with someone at a staffing agency. I had responded to one of their job postings and they called me in to meet face to face. They act as a middleman/screener for companies looking for temporary or temp-to-hire employees. If I get placed, I would actually be working for the staffing agency and work as a contract employee for the hiring company.
It is no surprise that they have fewer job placements these days, or that the ones they have are more short term assignments. Companies in this economy are hesitant to bring on any new staff and are just plugging holes as necessary. My job history does not fit me neatly into any particular job description. It isn't that I am a job hopper - my length of employment at jobs has been 9, 11, 1.5, 7 and 3 years. The problem is that I haven't stayed in one industry or career path. Though I think I can do just about anything, with so many applicants looking for work right now, there's bound to be someone who matches each job description pretty closely. I don't get to the interview stage where they could realize how flipping awesome I am. I am hoping that having met someone in person at this staffing agency that I will have someone to vouch for me and get me over that first hurdle.
As some have suggested, the adage of "it's who you know, not what you know" is even more important today. You may be getting an e-mail from me soon pleading my case so you can plead my case.
Today I went to a career fair. Not any simple job fair, but a career fair. Of course there were hundreds of people lined up at the Holiday Inn to meet with the 9 or 10 employers. As the line wound through the lobby, the guy in front of me knocked a few times on the wood pillar. Maybe to test the quality, but probably for luck. It was an odd mix of people - most dressed very casually, some in sweats and sneakers, a few in dress clothes, and even fewer in suits. I wonder how well the guy with the "Vote for Pedro" hat did. There were a few kids running around, and more than a few dead eyes staring back at me.
The e-mail I received encouraged us all to "bring 18 resumes". There were maybe half that many booths and none were taking resumes. We were directed to their websites to search for jobs and to submit our resume. The paper resume seems all but dead these days. It is frustrating to spend your time ensuring the layout, font and paper is pleasing on your resume, only to have to cut and paste the text onto a website. I suppose it levels the field somehow by emphasizing content over form, but I imagine the folks reading hundreds of resumes would appreciate a little readability. Even the websites that allow you to upload your Word doc will invariably scramble it into a jumble of words and symbols. They need to replace their web gurus.
Interest rates are really low so there is a little bit of refinance business coming through the office. There are a few signs that the real estate market is perking up, so hopefully things will pick up there too. In the meantime though, the search goes on...