Thursday, May 05, 2016

Total Resumes Sent: 307

As you may be aware, I was laid off from my last job on July 17, 2015.  It's been a humbling experience, to say the least.  Back in 2013 when we moved to Miami, I blamed that city for my inability to get a job, screaming loudly to anyone within ear shot that the city is inefficient and unable to function as anything other than a tourist destination.

I was unemployed the entire year we lived in Miami. I sent out 130 resumes - a number I thought was astronomical - and from those received just 2 interviews.  To give you some frame of reference, there are exactly 130 colored balls in the picture at right, each one representing 1 resume that was sent from April 2013 to February 2014.

I vowed that this would NEVER happen to me if we were still living in Chicago.  I was confident that my vast professional connections would help me find employment easily.  And while I stand by my original observations that Miami is wholly a disaster of a city, I can no longer fully place the blame of my unemployment on the way that city and its inhabitants operate.  When I was laid off in July, I remember thinking that I will most likely have a job within two weeks.  All I needed was to update my LinkedIn profile and spread the word to my network that I was back on the market.

Or so I thought.

It's been a long, arduous journey to get here that involved sending out a total of 307 resumes since July 2015.  Read that number again:  THREE HUNDRED AND SEVEN.  For reference and comparison, the image to the right contains exactly 307 balls.  If that still doesn't seem like a ridiculous number, consider that each ball is more than just sending out a resume: it's filling in the required data on the application despite uploading the parsed resume that already contains all the data being requested; it's rewriting the cover letter to tailor it to the job requirements and the specific organization; it's doing research to learn the name of the appropriate individual at each company to whom the cover letter will be addressed; it's scouring many websites daily, even several times a day, to find those jobs that are appropriate; it's comparing job postings to each other to ensure I am not simply applying for the same job multiple times through different agencies; it's sending out the resume with the fervent hope that this is "the one" and that this entire process can end just so I can get back to doing what I love and what I've trained my entire career to do.

And then there's the waiting.  Throughout this most recent process, I was struck by the number of times I was NOT considered for a job.  Of course, my vanity forces me to think I am the perfect candidate for every job, but it wasn't as if I was applying for jobs that were outside of my experience.  I was extremely realistic in my search.  Out of the 307 resumes I submitted, I heard back from exactly 80 of them.  That's a paltry 26% response rate.  How do I know this?  I kept a spreadsheet!


Mostly so that I wouldn't keep applying to the same jobs over and over, I started keeping track.  The spreadsheet listed the name of the company, the title, any contact information, the date I applied, and any updates after that (phone interviews, in person interviews, responses or passes).  In Chicago, I didn't expect a response on every resume I sent, especially from the smaller companies.  But I was surprised by those companies with high profiles that provided no type of confirmation of receipt or other type of follow-up; companies that I expect to have advanced technology to help recruiters stay in touch with applicants.  Companies like Groupon, Aetna, Expedia, Heinz, Potbelly, United Airlines,  and Canon,

Moreover, I was shocked by the number of recruiting and staffing agencies that didn't respond at all.  I mean, that's the gig!  These people are supposed to be expert relationship builders, yet there were MANY high-level recruiting agencies that either didn't respond to my resume, or return a communication (phone call or email) or both.  Agencies like Ajilon, Office Team, Robert Half, and Manpower.

Companies need to do better.  Recruiting agencies must do better.  I don't understand why the people in my profession seem to forget the human part of human resources.  That's why we all get into this business in the first place.

The good news here is that it's all over, at least for me.  I am no longer "off the market" and am excited about some new opportunities.  The bad news is that there are still about 8 million people who are unemployed in the U.S., most of whom are experiencing exactly what I've gone through.  Imagine the frustration this is causing across the country?