Being cast down amongst the sweaty masses of the unemployed means engaging in my least favorite activity — job searching. I hate job hunting. But I also hate starvation and homelessness. So, job hunting it is.
It’s just a pain in the ass. But unless you’re the future Dali Lama, people generally don’t just show up to your front door to tell you they have an awesome job for you.
Let the games begin!
So, resume updated, I posted it on various job sites and changed my status on LinkedIn to let recruiters find me.
The one thing that really sucks about posting your resume online and indicating you’re available is dealing with weasely staffing agency recruiters. Now, I’m not talking about legitimate recruiters; most of those are very professional. No, I’m talking about the bottom of the barrel. Some aren’t even recruiters, but scam artists who present me with “an awesome opportunity to work from home as a shipping clerk” i.e. remailing stolen goods I would pay to ship and then be reimbursed.
Others recruiters are quota fillers — these guys are like starving dogs who think you’ve got a packet of hotdogs on you. They hustle so hard they’ll sometimes try to steal you from their coworkers. If a job is particularly hard to fill, I’ll sometimes get the same job listing (that I don’t qualify for) from several recruiters from different staffing agencies. They start showing interest through email or by calling and trying to get me to interview for jobs I’m pretty sure I don’t qualify for. Jobs that have only a tenuous link to my work history, usually because one of my former job titles had a shared word in it. The equivalent would be a recruiter telling an Airline Flight Attendant to apply for an Airline Pilot job. (“Just tell them you’ve spent 10-plus years in airplanes — they’ll love it.”)
“You’ll be perfect for it!”
Seriously, I just had the following happen last week. A recruiter wanted to pitch me to a client for a job as a Webmaster. On my resume, he had spotted that one of my previous titles had the word “Content” in it and one of the Webmaster’s responsibilities was overseeing online content — along with some other technical duties that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t handle (well, not competently). I mentioned that I didn’t think I would be a suitable candidate, but he went into used car salesman mode trying to smooth over any concerns. He presented the opportunity as if the job gods had created me with the sole destiny of filling this position.
“But I’m not a Webmaster,” I replied. “I’m a copywriter. I create content.”
“Well, you’ve worked on the web, right? For many years. So, in a sense, you are a master of it.”
Somehow, I’m pretty sure even if this guy bamboozled the company into interviewing me, it wouldn’t last longer than 15 minutes.
I pointed out the job description even mentioned the Webmaster candidate might have to write occasional scripts, and I don’t write code.
“Just ignore that. It doesn’t mean anything — that’s the ideal candidate. They just include that as part of their wishlist. By the way, could you make a tiny edit to your resume and change your last title from Copywriter to Content Specialist? That will help get your resume to the top of the list so they don’t overlook you.”
I had him repeat the request to fabricate a job title because I really couldn’t believe I’d heard him right. He did and then I told him no.
Now that I was being difficult, he mentioned that his manager wanted to have a word with me and he handed the call over. The manager also asked if they could change my title and I said no again. He asked me if I had experience with various ticketing systems (very minimal, I told him). His enthusiasm seemed to dwindle and we concluded the call. Anyway, I doubt I’ll hear from them again, but why would I want to? Nothing like faking your way into a job you can’t do — high pay is only good if you don’t get fired on the first day. Sorry, gentlemen. You’ll have to find someone else to help fill your quota.
A new direction?
The key to being happy with your job is finding the right fit. Unemployment has prompted some soul searching on what exactly I want to do. Stick with marketing? Go back to online education? (Might not be an option without retraining — I’ve been out of it for 7 years at this point). Get a non-writing job and channel my writing energy into my projects? Really, I just need to write a best seller and forgo the 9 to 5 rat race. Or win the lottery. (Pretty much the same odds of happening.)
Anyway, a company I had not applied to for a job saw my resume online and reached out to me for a phone interview. It went well, but I lacked experience in one area they were really interested in, so it didn’t pan out, but I’ve got a few other irons in the fire. Something will turn up. (Hopefully! I don’t think I’d do well as a homeless person.)
P.S. One observation about recruiting; I have noticed smaller staffing companies that specialize in filling tech-related positions seem to be outsourcing to India because a lot of the recruiting agents have Indian accents. Some speak very well, others sound like they just took a crash course in English and have heavy accents. Conversation with the latter can be difficult to get through.