American Dreamer

Photo by William "Max" Grubb
Photo by William “Max” Grubb

We’re celebrating today! Our grandson, with freshly-minted college degree in hand, has nailed down a job at long last. Four years ago, I posted about his enrollment in college and earlier this spring, I added another post to applaud his college graduation. All of us are so proud of his achievements thus far … and his tenacity in the job hunt.

It hasn’t been easy. Anyone who’s looked for a job over the last couple years knows how frustrating it can be. While accurate, meaningful numbers are hard to find, the Economic Research website of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is a helpful resource for putting things into perspective. According to one chart, 59% of the working age population is currently employed … which means a whopping 41% are not. That in itself is troubling, but consider:  these numbers have stayed relatively constant since December 2009! Is it difficult to find a job? Yes, it is.

During our grandson’s job search, I realized just how many things have changed, things that complicate an earnest search for employment. Once upon a time (l-o-n-g time ago), I worked in the Personnel Department of an insurance company’s national headquarters. They called it Personnel then – which proves how long ago it was! Today, it’s Human Resources or simply HR. But that’s far from the only difference in the hiring-firing field!

First of all, it seems as though the majority of companies have set up their application process online. Depending upon the company, this may mean an applicant is permitted to upload (as part of the process) his or her resumé, but often, resumés are even more superfluous than they used to be. Today, an applicant enters standard data into a website app and hits SUBMIT. After that, it’s much like staring into a dark hole (or a trash can?). Some employers confirm receipt by sending an email but others don’t. Secondly, having the application process handled through an online portal means the applicant may or may not have opportunity to sit across the table from an interviewer. How does a stellar applicant differentiate him or herself from the pack when he or she doesn’t get a single chance to make a first impression?  Continue reading “American Dreamer”

Advertisements