Monday, 22 June 2009


Seeing as The Writer is AWOL at the moment, doing what travel writers do and err, travelling...I have been applying for jobs.

I hate applying for jobs. Mostly because I'm lazy and in the past have always managed to get a job without going through a lengthy application process. I just sort of end up there and that's that. Usually it's friend of a friend type thing, or unpaid work experience which leads onto something. Recruitment agents have occasionally come through, but the last one looked like Spongebob Squarepants and he doesn't email me his carefully thought out spam emails any more, so I'm going at it alone.

Thing is, I get half way through completing an application form and get bored with trying to not make myself sound like a lemon. At least application forms pretty much tell you what to write though; not like covering letters.

I hate writing covering letters. I hate them more than I hate sandwiches with squishy, cold, wet fillings like tomato. Say what you want, writing a good covering letter is near on impossible, simply because unless you're able to list 'psychic medium' as part of your skillset, there's no knowing what they're after. Add a chatty element and they might think you're not serious enough. Go for the formal touch and you risk sounding like you spend your evenings licking your own reflection on a spoon.

And all that official jobspeak is a bit mental to be honest. It just baffles me, puts me off, "effective communicator", "results driven", all that jazz. If the Apprentice taught me anything, it's not to resort to cliches in your applications (or lie about your references). But the amount of jobs that are advertised with all this HR jargon is ridiculous.

My favourite is "can-do attitude". What, as opposed to a "sod off mate, I can't be arsed" attitude? Surely that's not only a bit of a given, but also highly ambiguous. "Can do" what, exactly? Use a computer? Wipe your own bum? The job you're applying for? Lick your own elbow?

Then there are ones that ask for a photo. They slip the request in at the end, just when you're all enthusiastic about the job and finding out how to apply and thinking 'Yeah, ths one's in the bag'. Then BAM - Please send your CV, Covering letter and a recent photo. What, so you can check I don't have piggy eyes and a toothy grin? Bit dodgy, that. Tell you what, let's swap. You can see me, and I'll have a photo of the entire office so I know who to avoid at the Christmas party.

Salary expectations always get me, too. I don't have a clue what to say when they tell me to specify how much I want to get paid. Seriously, what can I put? "Well, I'm in the habit of working for free - so just throw me some peanuts and we'll call it evens". It's like bloody 'Play Your Cards Right', go to high and you're out. Go too low, and your out. Salary negotiable depending on facial features. I'd love to see that.

I'll be honest, a pat on the head is a salary increase from where I'm standing.


Anonymous said...

Applying for jobs is even more crap than usual now as I am sure you know, with every other Tom, Dick and Harry going for every post known to man. Worse still, every other Tom, Dick and Harry is just as qualified these days too thanks to redundancies everywhere you look.

The best way to go (still) is to network like a bitch and find something that hasn't been advertised through a friend, or a friend of a friend... Good luck with it.

Anyway, I am off to practice licking spoons, I think I have found a new hobby.

fwengebola said...

I'm looking forward to entering that world of jobhunting soon, and with a manic grin on my face. Enjoy it. (I've clearly forgotten how soul-destroying it is - particularly all that "can-do" bullshit.)

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

When I first applied for a job after leaving College in my late teens there was a recession going on then too. And it was awful. I remember after applying for job after job for about six months, sitting on the pot, looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror (with my knickers round my ankles), and feeling really crap. The only way I got a job then was just by persevering, stopping to wipe the hysterical tears from my flabby facial cheeks, and then persevering some more.

I wish you lots of luck .. o, and if you hate all that `can do' `blue sky' phraseology, dont apply for anything in the Docklands. O, and the City. In fact just scrap the whole job-hunting malarky, stay at home, lay prone on your settee with a big bag of Giant Buttons on your belly, and watch some Jeremy Kyle. Much easier.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Blue - Yeah, there seems to be about 300 Toms, Dicks and Harrys who have already applied before me in most cases, so I end up thinking 'oh sod it'. I'm going to put the feelers out with friends and stuff too, see what I end up with.

Fwenge - Oh, you finally quitting then? It is pretty soul destroying, especially when you spend 2 hours filling out an application form only to hear absolutely nothing back, not even a "thanks for applying, you mug"

MOT - If there were awards for comments on blog posts, I'd like to give you one. Did you know if I got job seekers allowance, I could earn £65 a week for doing just what you described? Sources say you don't even have to go to interviews these days. Bugger that though. Don't need expenses when you don't even get to interview stage.

Kirses said...

I just applied for something which asked me to state my present salary. Bloody cheeky I say, especially since I took quite a cut to do the contract I'm currently doing. So I just wrote - I am happy to discuss salary at interview stage should I be invited to attend an interview. They really do push their luck.

Thankfully there is no ambiguity at their end as they've stated the salary they are offering on their website.

miss*H said...

Grrr...just wrote out a long reply and my comp died, but in a nutshell. I too hate applying for jobs, espcially going through agencies who lur you in with fab sounding jobs that hardly ever exist. As for aplication forms...I hate them..writing the same thing over and over again until you hand hurts and you loose the will to live = not good.
And don't get me started on all the HR jargon. Working in HR myself I see it for what it really is..which is a load bollox designed to make us look like we're 'free speakers'. Its onyl twats though that use it.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh yes, applying for jobs is the pits. Although I do prefer the letter bit to any of the rest of it. I can work up a bit of flow with that.

Once, years ago, a friend and I were both applying for jobs and we decided to do a swap. She applied on my behalf and I did so on hers (not for the same jobs - we worked in different sectors) and it worked a treat. We both got stacks of interviews - we were clearly better at selling someone else than we were ourselves. Might be worth a try - it's a lot more fun for one thing!!

Hope you find something soon.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Do you hear that? It's the sound of your carefree youth slipping away. I'm sorry to read this, Jo. Honestly, without an ounce of sarcasm, if I had a big bag of money, I'd send it to you so you didn't have to go through this unpleasantness.

Rol said...

All very good reasons for why I've been in the same job for many, many years.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

kirses - the app i filled out last night asked for the salary of my last jobs and why i left. Felt a bit like why do u neede to know all that now?

Miss h - that's why i've given up on adverts from recruitment agencies. Half the time the job is 'already under interview' aka, never existed.

Reluc- yeah, that sounds like a fun idea, might get one of my many jobless mates to give it a go with me.

Unbearable - you know, there's people more deserving of a wad of cash than me- i'll work for a pittance as long as the job's fun and gets me somewhere.

Rol - you, my man, are a sensible person. And lucky to have been able to stay in the same job!

Brennig said...

"Go for the formal touch and you risk sounding like you spend your evenings licking your own reflection on a spoon."

Priceless! Howling with laughter, tears rolling down my cheeks. Trouble is, everyone else on the bus has gone upstairs. And it's a single-decker.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Brennig - Sometimes you just gotta ride the bus on your own, maaaan.

All Mod Cons said...

I read a job spec once where they asked for a baby photo from all applicants. They also said that all the photos of employees, including the top of the tree bods, were up on a board for everyone to see. Thought it was quite a good idea.


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