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An unusual place to be

Good morning, all.  Tuesday morning here in central Kentucky, the sun is shining and the weather is warming back up after a brief cold spell.

I had not mentioned it here, but I recently became unemployed.  In keeping with my normal habit of NOT mentioning or describing work in this space, I won't elaborate, but suffice it to say that the change of status was not my idea.

So I'm on the loose and in the market, so to speak.  And I have always found the process of job hunting, applying, interviewing and hiring to be a strange one.  I should add here that I spent about twelve years where this process was a primary part of my work, as I was in the temporary (and somewhat in the permanent) staffing industry for about ten years, then worked in a medical facility as a human resources manager for about two years.

There was a time, not all that long ago, when anyone who'd had more than two jobs in ten years was loosely characterized as a job-hopper and therefore defective, or had better have a good explanation for his plight.  Not so anymore, as so much more of our economy rests on assignment-based work that has a designated end point than ever before.  In fact, in my exploration of the job market, I'm looking as much for that kind of opportunity as anything (benefits notwithstanding, of course), given how plentiful those types of jobs often are.

There was also a time that people could expect to associate with a company and be pretty well assured of a length of employment that simply doesn't exist anymore.  Those of you who have been laid off via a reorganization, as I have on numerous occasions, can certainly relate.

But today's job market is not without its contradictions.  Here are a few worth mention:

Job listings are so readily available via the Internet that if you can't locate something to apply for, you're just not looking.  I regularly check six job boards and am astounded to find that there are many that are unique to a single source, rather than listed everywhere.

Companies routinely use automated cyphers to sort through resumes, doing keyword searches to eliminate less qualified applicants.  This saves their own HR functions the time of sifting through the stacks of resumes that used to result from a job posting.

And a lot of companies, despite asking applicants to submit their resumes, have a detailed online job application process that MUST be completed in order for a candidate to be considered.  The thing has to work, though, for that process to be completed.  A case in point was yesterday, when I received a frantic call from a recruiter with a certain company.  She was calling to let me know that I had an incomplete online application and that they would be happy to consider me once I finished it.  Glad to, I assured her, but you have to fix this one page that I completed at least a dozen times, only to be told each time that I had failed to complete it.  She said she'd get right on it, but that's been a full day ago.  I have a feeling that she has other "qualified candidates" to consider!

And as has always been the case, word of mouth and networking does the most good for qualified senior-level personnel.

So I'm not reduced to sweeping the streets, at least not yet.  But this is an adventure in itself, and I'll report back on my progress periodically as time permits.


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