Cummings: Job hunters beware of change in application process

Kelsey Cummings

Although I am now a very grateful new member of the Daily family, I – like many others – had to trudge my way through a desolate wasteland of research, resumes and rejections to get here.

In fact, my experience was probably akin to most of my fellow job hunters out there; I obsessively followed the updates on the Student Job Board,did a little outside research of my own, wrote, edited, and revised countless resumes and cover letters, filled out application after application and did an awful lot of waiting around for the phone call or email that would never come.

Certainly, many of you are reading this right now and thinking, “Well, perhaps if you’d been a little more proactive about getting the job, you might have seen earlier success. Maybe if you had called your would-be employers or sent them each a reminder email assuring them of your interest in the different positions, you might have been hired sooner.”

I agree. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do as well.

But because it’s been a few years since I have had to fill out job applications, it seems I have fallen a little behind the times. When I was first thrown out into the world of job hunting, my parents gave me three pieces of crucial advice: go into the establishment, get an application and then constantly remind whoever is hiring you of your continued interest in the position.

However, having recently used some of this advice, I can now tell you that these tips no longer seem to apply.

At the start of my months-long journey to job success, I was very hopeful after submitting an application to an establishment which was very similar to one where I had just finished two years of work. I made myself out to be the perfect candidate, both in my head and on my resume. All that was left to do was wait a few weeks and then contact them again to let them know I was still eager to get started.

But, when I finally got hold of them, I was met with an undesirable reply: “We are currently looking through applications and setting up interviews. If we would like to set something up, we will be in contact.” I never heard back from them again.

Although my persistence in trying to get that job might not have been the reason for my not getting it, it certainly was a harsh reminder that today’s job market is not what it used to be.

In just a matter of years, it has transformed into something highly impersonal.

Not only was my attempt to sound dedicated and assertive rejected, but any other attempts were stopped before I even had the chance to try them. One business to which I applied had clearly stated in the application that applicants were not to call or email the business about the status of their applications or to make any other inquiries, such as telling them how excited you are to work there. If they were interested, they would contact you.

One could argue that the reason for the impersonal nature of these responses arises from the employers’ busy schedules. With just about every business requiring people to apply online, the accessibility of the application must cause the sheer number of applications to become too overwhelming for the employer to handle. To ask them to answer additional phone calls or emails from prospective employees would be too much.

But what employers may not realize is that they are missing out on important cues of a potentially great employee by refusing to speak with them. People who are truly determined to find a job, those who are so interested in a job that they are willing to annoy an employer to secure it, make the best employees.

To me, filling out an application and then waiting around for an email to see if a manager likes you or not is a sign of apathy, not interest. The hardest workers will be the ones who worked the hardest to get the job.

Today’s employers seem to have forgotten that.