I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who is currently on the hunt for a new job. She, like so many, was very frustrated by the fact that she has received only a couple of responses to the dozens of resumes she has sent out (and hand-delivered). She spoke of feeling rejected, disillusioned with all of the advice everyone has given her about job-hunting. My friend is a fairly capable networker and has a good resume for a mid-level professional in her field. So what’s the problem?
After a mildly heated discussion of the current best practices in job hunting (LinkedIn, referrals, externships, freelancing), I convinced my friend to work indulge me in an exercise. I asked her to give me a list of the jobs and employers she’s targeting in her search. We took a look at a few of the job descriptions and compared them to her resume. We did the usual resume tweaking to match the jobs she’s targeted.
Next, I asked my friend to let me select 5 jobs for which I believed she was qualified AND most likely to be hired into quickly (she repeatedly stated how “broke and desperate” she was).
We compared my list to hers and, as she explained why my list was wrong, I lighted upon something that, frankly, surprised (or disappointed?) me: My friend had screened out not only my 5 jobs but also a dozen or so alternative suggestions–all because she was embarrassed that her “friends and people who know [her] lifestyle” would react to the news that she worked in a certain type/level of job or employer.
My friend’s list included retail jobs (all of them), bank jobs that required her to work in the branch, jobs without explicit manager titles, jobs at companies she considered “blue-collar” (Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and other fast food companies and mall brands).
I tried in vain to convince my friend that retailers, retail jobs and mass market employers offered great career opportunities, high pay in some roles, and something she really needed–an interest in snapping up people with graduate degrees, a steady work history and a solid work ethic. Unconvinced, my friend remarked that she might advantage of such opportunities “if she could be sure that no one she knew would see her working there”.
My friend is a proud, unemployed woman with no scheduled interviews. What about you?
Are you editing your list of potential employers/jobs to save face?