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Lessons in Technology

I'm a bit concerned about the way that job hunting now seems to be consumed with technology.

Don't get me wrong, I love the job websites just as much as the next guy. And the ability to actually email your resume to someone has always been more advantageous than say, a mass mailout to every company in your preferred industry.

But I'm wondering if perhaps some companies have taken things just a bit too far.

Every weekday, I wake up, have breakfast, read the paper, head to the computer to 'work'. My day of work consists of research, writing, talking of on the phone. It feels like a full time job.

It's very productive, I feel as though I'm really getting myself back to a 9-5 routine, not necessarily a bad thing. I'm reintegrating myself with the Canadian lifestyle, finding out what all the hot buttons are. Wondering if and when the snow will ever go away.

This is all good. All productive. All very very hunky dory.

What worries me, though, is that all the work I tend to put in might not actually produce anything. It seems that the new systems that have been set up since I was away really just make you feel like you've worked really hard all day to find a job when in the end, you've just done a lot of work for a robot.

In the past, I worked diligently to write the perfect cover letter. I wanted to get people's attention, stand out from the rest, show the prospective employer that I was the perfect person to promote them because hey, look how well I can promote me??

I also paid attention to spacing. And font. And font size. And the amount of toner used. And the prettiness of the paper. Because I was sending off a paper-representation of me, something I wanted to reflect who I was, something that I thought would make a person want to meet with me.

But these days, it's left to a computer to do that for me. Companies are turning more towards the database systems less towards the reading-the-resume systems to find people for their positions.

Every day, I am faced with online systems that ask me questions (what were you like in highschool?) and require my "10 top skills" in order, with relevant years experience in each. I'm often baffled at how many years to put for 'communications'. 32? Cause I'm pretty sure my mother can back up the fact that I've never had a problem 'communicating'.

I suppose this system helps employers streamline the tediuosness of sifting through resumes. But I can't help but think it also allows them to hide behind this veil of not hiring from within. "Look, see, we advertised this job. We put it out there for people and we asked them to send us their skills. Unfortunately, we went with someone internally."

Not that that's a bad thing either. One of the biggest complaints I can remember is that people had to leave companies to get ahead. And just as it costs more money to get new customers than it does to retain them, so too does this hold true for employees.

I guess I just suppose that when the control was in my hands, when it wasn't R2D2 deciding that I would be pulled out from the hundredes of resumes that has the word 'hard worker' in them, I felt a little bit more like it was part of my destiny.

I had cared about the cover letter. And that had got someone's attention.

I had researched the company and found a common point of interest.

I had formatted it in such as way that it was easy to read, the key points jumped out of the page and there were no weird spaces to leave a reader disappointed.

I'm happy to continue this game of data entry. I will continue to enter in the same information to numerous websites. I will strive to figure out the correct combinations of key words and skills that will rank me at the top of a computer database list.

I'm just not sure what turns a computer on....the offer of more RAM??


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