I have noticed a tendency for my personal financial situation to closely parallel that of the rest of the country. Whenever those “leading economists” make their statements about job loss or stock markets dropping, my income tends to fluctuate in kind. Could be that, like many people, I tend to be frugal when times are tight, and then spend like a sailor when they get better. Maybe I’m just more average than I like to admit and get easily swept up in economic waves.
But most of the time, I am slightly ahead of the curve and my personal finances tend to improve, with the rest of the country following shortly thereafter. However, I am rarely, if ever, mentioned by those “leading economists” as one of their “leading economic indicators”; but they’d have a much better grasp on the situation if I were. “Leading economists are pointing to an increase in the GNP, a rise in housing starts, and Naptive Napkin’s newly-fattened checking account as signs of the beginning of a turnaround…”
And so it is that this month will truly be the beginning of the end for any recession, depression, or other blips on the radar of the country’s financial woes, as I finally have a job. One hundred forty seven days of job searching, with almost as many interviews, has yielded results. I found The One I’d been looking for and am planning to hold onto it like Grim Death.
Life is not without its little ironies, and my new position is certainly not lacking in that department: after ending my longest stint on the unemployment role in my 40-plus years of working life, I am now in a hiring role. I inherited a somewhat understaffed restaurant crew, so I am now on the flip side of Craig’s List. The downturn in the economy has produced a “seller’s market” for employers. That, coupled with a somewhat poorly worded ad has flooded the Inbox on our Craig’s List account with an alarmingly large volume of applicants. Every time I log on to see what the chum in the water has stirred up, there are two dozen or so more emails. It’s like I’m the guy barricaded inside his house in Night of The Living Dead, with hordes of applicants scratching and clawing at my doors and windows. The Zombies have put on a tie, shuffled over to their computers and hit the Send button.
The unintentional humor in resumes is inescapable. You’ve really got to wonder if these people seriously read these things before sending them. Here’s a bit of advice from a guy who, until recently, was out there gnawing on the flesh of prospective employers with the rest of you: spell check, use the Shift button at the beginning of a sentence, and use the punctuation keys for something more than making a Smiley Face.
Here is an actual response I got. Really. This came in an email, with the caption: “Where do I send my resume?”
A piece of another one, where using the pre-formatted Resume Wizard was a good start, but follow through and proof reading was a little lacking:
“Walter’s Clothing 01/2006 – 05/2006
Store Clerk address 66 Decatur St.
Stock and inventory
Cleaning and closing the store
Aramark 08/2006 – 09/2006
Assisting the Supervisor
Company Name Dates of Employment
After several days of sneaking silently out to look at the messages in our Inbox, being careful not to stir up the Geeks and Freaks lurking there, I now have a new clarity on why it took me so long to get hired. I was literally lost in the shuffle. I should’ve been sending pictures of me in my Tidy Whiteys.
Now on the receiving end, I am buried in the corpses of the under-qualified and the just plain silly, trying to find the living amongst the living-dead, and I need to cut to the chase. Skimming quickly through the cover letter, I open these people’s attachments, scroll down to the “Experience” section of the resume, and if they have misspelled “restaurant” or have listed five jobs with four month’s tenure each, they are toast. Next!
So, a lesson for all of you still out there in Job-Seeker Zombieland: there’s about a 30-second window of opportunity for you to make an impression with a resume. At least try to make is a good one.