Remember when applying for jobs was as easy as wearing a sharp suit and your expensive shoes, memorizing a few responses from Job Interviews For Dummies, and figuring out a convincing way to persuade your prospective boss that your summer as a camp counselor was totally relevant to a career in consumer marketing?
Well, thank you, internet. You've ruined all that.
Don't get me wrong, I owe the web an appreciative round of applause for a number of things: Netflix, for example, and Sephora.com. But the ability to apply for jobs -- actually, "ability" is the wrong word, because that implies a choice, and most of the time one is merely forced to apply online -- is certainly not one of them.
That's what I've been doing all week, you see: typing out a kick-ass cover letter, packed with big ideas about how, yes, I may not have the six years experience you're looking for, but check out all these big words I can throw together! I use apostrophes correctly! I'm funny! Pick me! Pick me! And then, thanks to the internet, not being able to use it.
When you apply for a job online, you see, you fill in a bunch of fields about your name and your address and your previous work experience, and whether or not you're a Pacific Islander or whatnot, and just when you think you've got to the part where you're allowed to start bigging yourself up about why you'd be so perfect for the job, the whole thing turns into a multiple choice test about whether you're legal to work in the States (yes), have worked for the company before (nope), or have been convicted of a felony in the last five years (not to my knowledge, but why don't you just take my word for it? No need to contact the local police, honestly.)
And then that's that: your application is whisked off into cyberspace, with nary a second for you to pad it with gloating accolades about yourself and your super-sized achievements. If you're lucky, you get to attach your resume as a Word document. If you're unlucky, you've formatted it totally wrong.
It doesn't seem fair, is all I'm saying. Maybe I would have got that job at Charles Schwab if I'd had a chance to explain why I had absolutely no financial writing experience on my resume but, like, just kind of wanted to work with bankers and stuff. But now all the Charles Schwab people know about me is a brief work history and my cellphone number, which I'm sure will come in very useful to them when they want to call me up and laugh about how unqualified I am.
I get it, I really do: Applying for jobs on the Internet is meant to make everyone's lives easier. But really, the brevity of the online application process only serves to eliminate you from the hiring process before you've had a chance to prove yourself. I mean, come on, think about it: If all else fails, you don't even get the chance to show a little leg.
Holly Burns always formats her resume wrong. Find her on the web at www.nothingbutbonfires.com.