It was summer 2010. I had just graduated college and the world was wide open to me. My first task was to secure a job with the help of my super-useful B.S.B.A. in Finance. Eight months later I remained jobless and I wrote the following note. Perhaps I was the victim of a bad job market, but this was my experience and my perspective of the process.
Had I gotten a job in the first month, I never would have written this, and more importantly to me, Deep Existence would not exist. This jobless struggle was an important part of my story. I would warn people against confusing this as a serious guide for getting a job, but it could actually be helpful.
At the time of writing, I was extremely frustrated. Now? It’s just funny to me.
Originally written by Stephen Guise on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 2:30pm (edited for quality)
Warning: switch off your sarcasm detector or it will overheat.
How To Get A Job
Step 1: Follow Resume + Cover Letter Protocol
The best resume formats have been chosen for you by people who care more about bullet point etiquette than is reasonable. Creativity and originality are auto-rejections when it comes to the resume, so don’t try to stand out. Fill your page with keywords for the best results. Actually, don’t bother with other words – just go for 100% keywords. “Dependable, team player, extra effort, managed, organized, PowerPoint!” is one sentence you could use. If you don’t mention these keywords, it will be assumed that you lack those traits. People who include them all will be seen as champions regardless of their actual characteristics.
If you don’t write a cover letter and others do, you will *obviously* not be considered. When writing your cover letter, you must follow the perfect ordering, format, and structure previously established by the bullet point men and women of yesteryear. There are sample cover letters in books and online that will tell you where and how to say everything. No thinking is required of you, just follow directions, drone. For the cover letter, you must also use key words! Oh dear, please don’t forget the key words or you won’t have a chance…
Yes, that’s right. Companies use software to scan for key words. Nice, huh?
Step 2: Fall In Love With Dozens Of Companies
Apply for a job with every company in North America (yes, Canada too) to increase your chance of success, which will be slim regardless. Each company you send your credentials to is a fascinating, respectable company and it’s been your dream to work for (whichever one you’re talking to at the time). Your cover letter is a great opportunity to show your love and dedicate your life to the company – make sure at least one paragraph of it is fully romantic.
Where do you see yourself in five years? You envision yourself in a higher position in the company, even though it’s smarter to switch companies every few years to leverage your gained experience in the marketplace. Ignore your future for the good of the company and you might get a job!
NEVER ask about pay. Money is the worst reason to work for money. Wait…nevermind, I think that’s right. It is unacceptable to want to make money to buy food or feed a family, even if you can perform at a high level. Work must be performed out of pure love and devotion for the company and its cause. Sacrificial goat offerings in the company’s honor are encouraged at weekend retreats.
Step 3: Get Experience (Note: Requires Experience)
If you don’t have any experience, sorry but you are a loser and have no potential (assumed, naturally). And remember, experience is required to gain experience. If you are born without experience, you’re kind of a broken human being. 🙁 A college degree is a poor substitute for experience because you are unproven and risky.
There is actually one good option to gain experience if you have none. I heartily recommend an unpaid internship where you are allowed to work and contribute value to a company without receiving any compensation! Everyone wins! Use love to pay the bills while you work for free. Love never fails.
Step 4: Prepare For The Interview
So you’ve earned an interview. Great! In your interview, you will be asked questions with no objectively correct answers, except for the exact answers they’re looking for. As a fun bonus, the evaluator will have unknown biases. Try to guess them, because your job depends on it. Yay! To ensure conformity to the system and to stifle creativity, the same meaningless questions will be asked at every company. Honesty is not appreciated unless you can spin it masterfully, so it’s best not to mess with it.
Your previous bosses and employers were perfect, by the way, so don’t mention that irrational, inefficient idea Mr. Walker forced you to implement at The Home Depot when they specifically ask you about a situation like that. To disagree with your supervisor’s idea is a secret way of telling your prospective employer that you disrespect authority. Lastly, to kill time, expect to be asked to recite your resume to the interviewer (this is not awkward even though you’re both looking at the resume that already has the information on it). The ability to conform to this stale, outdated process is paramount in obtaining a job.
Step 5: Turn Printer Sales Into Mission Impossible
It is important through this entire interview to know that your skills, intelligence, and potential are completely irrelevant. Instead, you will be asked about your biggest weakness, to which your answer cannot actually be a legitimate weakness. If you admit a weakness, it must be a weakness you’ve conquered already or else you’ll have to cleverly twist it into a strength at the last second. Another requirement will be to give a situation in which you were faced with adversity. For this, you’ll need to claw through the archives of your low key retail jobs and blow up a small issue into Mission Impossible.
Mission Impossible At Staples
It was a cold, windy day outside and the HP Photosmart 3300 was on sale. From across the pen aisle, I saw him – a middle-aged bald man who seemed unsatisfied. Immediately, my stomach tied up into knots. How could I help this man who wasn’t smiling and openly praising my store? I held back my grimace and walked over to him. “Can I help you sir?” His expression was moderately unpleasant, which sent chills down my spine. “Yeah, I checked the HP printer on sale over there and didn’t see any on the shelf.” I wanted to die. This transaction was far from smooth.
I offered to check in the back, to which he acted neutrally. This neutral reaction was devastating to me as I needed a smile and perhaps a “you’re helping me so much right now” from him to go on, but somehow I managed to walk to the back of the store. I passed Casey, who was bragging about how many beers he had last night, and yet I kept my focus and continued forward. I looked and looked in the back, but the printer was nowhere to be found.
Frostbite Desperation set in…
When I returned to the man, I found him looking at office chairs, and I knew he wanted to kill me by the way he was chewing his gum. I explained that we were out of stock and that we could order the printer for him online. He paused. My heart stopped beating for five seconds. “Ok,” he said. A wave of relief swept over me. I ordered the printer for him with free shipping and he walked away slightly satisfied. Under such strong adversity from this aggressive customer, I kept my cool and did what had to be done. Afterwards, the team put me up on their shoulders and carried me out to Wendy’s for my 30 minute lunch break. That, sir, was the day I faced and overcame adversity. Thank you for asking.”
Step 6: Lose To The Nephew
Even if you perform all of the above steps flawlessly, you’ll lose to the secretary’s nephew, because she put in a good word for him. Believe me, Dan doesn’t want to go to the company picnic and get the evil eye from Dana for not hiring her nephew. And who are you besides a good-looking face in a crowded crowd?
Now, as you bathe in glorious unemployment, take a look at the people with your desired job and ask yourself what makes them a better candidate than you. One possible answer is unbelievable beauty. The more likely answer is ?????
Step 7: It’s Getting Cold… Build A Fire
If you’ve gone through all of these steps and still don’t have a job, start over at #1. Repeat this process until you’d rather live in the park than do it again. Your pricey college degree will make for excellent tinder on those cold winter days.
Has this been your experience with the job searching process? If not, how has yours been different?