A Difference of Opinion

This is probably a post better suited for LinkedIn, but I like keeping my thoughts here in one place. Probably my way of keeping a bit of control over my public presence…just a small bit. And with the state of my job hunt, any control is helpful.

First, The Feelings

I feel definitely not in control of my life. Not that I’m “out of control,” but more that I can’t make things happen that I need to happen. I can’t move forward with my continuing education until others get around to giving me permission. I’m not getting any interviews. I’m waiting for the results of some health tests. My allergies are clogging up my right ear and nothing will fix it but time (it happens for about 6 weeks twice a year – delightful). I can’t seem to get a resume that works in spite of paying $$ for someone to write it in a way that gets past the ATS (and I’m pissed).

All The Experts

The last time I looked for a job I paid someone a hefty amount of money to redo my resume. What I got back was super-impressive. I mean, it had ALL the words in it. It looked beautiful with all the boxed-in items and heavy lines between sections and such. And you know how many interviews I got with it? Zero. A big fat zero. The job I got was not because of my resume, but because of networking. Someone I knew inside the company approached me with a job that matched beautifully. In other words, networking.

So this time I knew I needed to fix that disaster of a resume, if for no other reason than I needed to add the last job to it. Also, I needed to fix the format. And the words (I didn’t know what 70% of the phrases on my resume even meant!). And the skills. And the organization. Gosh, what the hell did I pay for?

This time, I got a recommendation from a talent recruiter for a service. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was still a cash outlay. i was to get a resume “template”, a cover letter, and a LinkedIn zhuzh. And the woman I met with repeatedly told me how her resume template would be done in a way that would beat the ATS systems. And their “ATS checker” gave me 100% on all my resumes. And checking them against job descriptions also garnered me 100% match.

So why have I gotten zero traction on any of my resumes? I dunno honestly. What I do know is that I feel like I’ve spent a lot of money on resumes that haven’t done squat.

Did I Learn My Lesson?

No, not really. But sort of. After a slew of “no’s” and being ignored, I realized that I’m floundering. I’m lost as to what the right thing to do is. I don’t know how to get some human to read my stuff and take me seriously.

I don’t typically like to mix business and friendships – too often it leads to hard feelings along the way. I treasure the friends I have. Good friends are hard to come by, y’know? But he told me about his business in a way that I don’t believe can mess up our friendship. No money is transacted unless I get a job. That’s actually a brilliant way to work. That way we both have an interest in getting me landed somewhere great.

The Frustration

Every fiber of my being says I need to have all the right keywords to beat these ATS systems. But friend is saying I don’t. Who to believe? Everyone has their own opinion on how to write a resume/cover letter. Everyone is an expert. But who is an expert in a process that is so prone to opinion and gut, a process that employers are trying to streamline by using AI instead of people?

The key, it seems, is finding someone inside the company to champion for you, rather than applying online along with 3500 other desperate people. Maybe. So far that hasn’t worked very well for me either.

I get his point. But I’ve seen this in action. I would bring in someone’s resume who was truly suited to a job and they would still get refused because their resume was still run through an ATS and lacked the phrases and keywords.

This is why I never did cold calling. I’m so bad at it.

I don’t know what the right answer is. I know that what I’ve been doing isn’t working so something needs to change. We changed my resume to something more classic, rather than trying to game the AI system. And I’ll change up the actual application process and try to find someone to bring in my resume directly instead of applying online.

Changing the way I approach a company is as good a change as any I suppose. I’ll give it a few months to see if I can even get a first interview. I feel like if I can get the first one, I am talented and knowledgable and delightful enough to keep moving forward.

I guess we’ll see. It’s been 44 days and I’m bored. I need to get back to work.

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Pam is an experienced MSP-owner and IT consultant. Most recently she was a content writer, writing about IT admin life and tech. When not working, Pam spends her time with her dog, visiting her kids across the country, and being creative with yarn (though she's learning other crafts as well).

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