A resume with a pair of glasses lying on it

Why applying for jobs sucks

I saw the following posting while I was perusing Monster.com the other day:

____________ is seeking a Communications Specialist with at least two years of prior experience to coordinate key communications and outreach functions.  Candidates must be comfortable with the rapidly changing worlds of technology and social media, and enjoy working with a broad array of clients and volunteers.


1.) Education: Bachelor’s degree in Humanities, Communications, Information Studies, Information Technology, Public or Media Relations or related field.

2.) Knowledge and skills: Superior writing and oral communication skills.

Strong editing skills.

Microsoft Office computer skills including PowerPoint.

Basic design/layout experience (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher)

Experience with WordPress (or similar website format) and Constant Contact (or similar e-newsletter format) preferred.

Basic experience with Google AdWords preferred.

Experience with video production preferred.

Basic experience working with client or volunteer management database.

Experience working with volunteer teams.

Some project management experience preferred.

Sounds great. Plus, according to what they have listed, I’m qualified. Sure, it’s listed as full- or part-time, has a salary range of $35,000-$45,000, and only “certain benefits are negotiable” (What the f@ck does that mean?), but it’s about 2-3 times what I’m currently making–and comes with the possibility of benefits. I haven’t had benefits through a job since I lived in Korea. In 2009.

Needless to say, I sent them my resume. And actually heard back:

Dear S—,

Thank you for submitting your resume.  We are in the process of reviewing applications and will be inviting selected applicants in for interviews during the week of Jan. 25.  Please provide a writing sample as soon as possible.  Also, if you can provide a few social media posts written by you for an employer that will also be helpful.

Thank you.


Score! Of course the posting said nothing about writing samples, but whatever. I promptly attached one newsletter, four social media posts, and a 3-page style guide I’d written for previous jobs:


Attached are two writing samples and four social media posts. I have many more where those came from.  

Take care,


Eight days passed. It was nearing the week of the 25th. I emailed Alan again:


Just checking in to see if I made the cut. I know you said you were interviewing for this position next week.

Take care,


A day went by. Still no response. I tried again, same email. Finally:

Hi S—,

Thank you. Do you have a persuasive writing sample that is unrelated to cooking or food?  Highlighting a product will always be more peppy than the writing required for some our issues.  We appreciate the value of a style guide, but it doesn’t really give us a sense of your writing ability.

Thanks so much.


A woman's face with the words "frustrated" written across it

Only writing samples unrelated to cooking or food? What if I were Ruth Reichl? Or Anthony Bourdain? Or Julia Childs? Not to mention that I could have written for Saveur or Cook’s Illustrated. Plus, how is a style guide not an indication of my writing ability? If anything, it’s an indication that I know how to write well enough to instruct others–or at least shows I’m smart enough to look things up in The Element of Style and on Grammar Girl’s blog. But if that’s how Alan’s going to be:

Hi Alan,

Absolutely! Here is what I have attached:

1.) An article I wrote with the communications director where I work;

2.) an article I wrote for a lawyer’s website several years ago; and

3.) a blog from my website.

Take care,


And no, I didn’t forget to attach the attachments. And I didn’t attach a snarky blog post like this one. Still haven’t heard back and interviews would start tomorrow. Oh well, another potential job interview has bitten the dust.


11 thoughts on “Why applying for jobs sucks

  1. We hear you—loud and clearly! Trying to remain businesslike when your improved survival on the line is tricky. And “Alan” might end up following up with the boss’ favorite! Tell me that hasn’t happened before. I had an interview at a school for juvenile delinquent girls–in New York State. The interviewer said I have the best lesson plans he’d ever seen—for someone who came in second!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This frustrated me just reading it – you’re definitely more patient than I would have been. I’ve been actively looking for work myself for about a year and a half now, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m borderline rude when my time and energy is not respected. I hope that you get a prompt response soon and at least have the chance to explore the possibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’ve been on the job hunt pretty actively for about as long as you have, and I think I need to start putting my time and energy into more entrepreneurial ventures.

      Definitely losing patience.

      Liked by 1 person

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