If you’ve ever been in the unfortunate position of job-hunting, I think you’ll be able to relate to what I have to say in a big way. I have been unemployed for a year. Yes, you read that right. Last October I finished my first-ever job and have been looking for work ever since. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to admit this in any way, because it is what it is and that’s how it has happened.
The one thing I am, though, is disappointed. Not in myself, because obviously I try to do as much as I can to give myself to the best possible chance of landing a job that appeals to me and that I would enjoy. No, I am disappointed in employers and their lack of faith in me. I’m disappointed that they don’t look at my skill set – which is a point of difference and what sets me apart from the next person – and believe in me the same way I have believed in myself this entire time. Yes, I realise they don’t know me personally and they’re judging me purely by a piece of paper (or PDF file if your CV is like mine), but I always thought employers were supposed to be open minded and see what each person has to offer and what they could possibly bring to the company.
I have almost completely lost faith in employers, because they don’t have faith in me as a potential employee. When they’re looking at my application I don’t feel as though they see my potential worth or value. When it’s been weeks and you don’t hear back about the job or receive another automatic it’s-a-no email, you feel not only disappointed but overlooked by those on the other end. You don’t receive feedback or a personalised message letting you know why you didn’t get the job or what it was about you and your skill set that apparently wouldn’t be a good fit for their business. I realise you’re not meant to take these sorts of things personally, but it’s pretty hard not to when you’re constantly putting yourself out there and really selling yourself, only to be shut down before they even have a chance to meet you in person. Didn’t we learn back in primary school not to judge a book by its cover, or was that just me?
Every time I apply for a job I’m giving that company or business a chance, even if I haven’t heard of them and I couldn’t tell you what they’re all about off the top of my head. I’m still giving them a chance and taking time out of my day to do this for them, yet so much of the time I feel this is unreturned and I don’t receive the same courtesy that I gave to them. I feel as though I am the only one who believes in myself and who knows that what I have to bring to the table is valuable in a work environment. I know better than anyone what experience I have had, what my strengths are and what I am capable of doing. Obviously this is all reflected and fleshed out (I hate that term but it fits so we’ll go with it) in my application, which is ultimately read over by the employer, but it would be nice to receive that same chance in return and to feel respected as someone who has taken the time to apply for their listing as well as create a comprehensive cover letter tailored to the advertised role.
For example, in the last year I have applied for 14 jobs at the same media company based in Auckland. Obviously I’m not going to name them, but this goes to show you how much I wanted to work for them and how I thought my skills and work experience would make me a good fit for each of the roles I’ve applied for. I have never been considered for any of these, even though they were in different areas and ultimately different jobs for the various brands they represent. When I think about all the time I spent (in total) on those time-consuming application forms and cover letters for this particular company, I’m shocked at how I could receive absolutely nothing in return – not an interview for any – despite my obvious interest in working for the company. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel slightly judged and disregarded.
It’s pretty disheartening to reflect on the year that has passed, and how much optimism I had when I leave my previous role and began the job hunt, compared to how I feel about it now. It’s pretty disheartening to feel as though no one sees your potential, except for you.
Lucy Rebecca x