The Epic Quest for an Entry-Level Job: Part II


A month after my first post on the subject, not much is obviously different.  I have received no communication regarding anything for which I have applied, save a few surreptitious "no longer under consideration" notices that have appeared  after logging back into a couple company career websites.

I have begun to ask friends and acquaintances about possible openings at various companies, which may soon open some doors.  So far, however, responses have generally been negative.

My resume has received my scrutinous gaze, with various tweaks along the way.  The engineer in me wants feedback, but must settle himself with the fact that this is not going to be like the simple SISO controllers we learned about in System Dynamics.

This and the previous post may seem pessimistic, and I do hope my language is clinical and not emotionally-charged.  Indeed, I am not pessimistic.  Occasionally frustrated, certainly, but I trust in a loving God who will provide.  Perhaps I do not have a job because there is something I must learn, or some way I must serve, here in the meantime.  I am thankful for the resources and income that I do have at the moment, and I trust that this process will result in gainful employment at some point.

What I have noticed and discussed at length with my friend Steven, who is in roughly the same predicament in which I find myself, are the inherent contradictions in job searching.

There seems to be an expectation of creativity among new hires.  This new talent sees the world differently, and "thinks outside the box" and other clichΓ©s.  However, I am also finding these job descriptions to be rather narrow.  Specificity is also highly valued.  Yet how can the two extremes meaningfully coexist?  Someone who spends all their education and free time learning about a certain type of laser will not necessarily have the creativity to bring massive change to his or her focus, if we define creativity as the ability to synthesize wildly different notions and bring about something new.  We speak of a well-rounded student drawing from various types of knowledge to fuel creativity, and in the same breath seem to expect students to spend many years working towards a Masters or PhD in a very narrow field.  There must be a middle ground.  But sometimes it seems as though the goal is to find an employee who embodies both extremes.

Another contradiction, perhaps: Searching for creative people by putting resumes through a keyword algorithm before an HR person even views said resumes.  Creativity, the ability to learn and adapt, and relational aptitudes - all very necessary - are incredibly difficult to quantify.  But the question must be asked: how does one deal with the flood of resumes pouring in for each new open position in an efficient manner without resorting to methods that cannot easily (if at all) measure such necessary abilities?  For that, I have no good answer.

So I continue to work and talk with people and consider how I might better go about finding a job - because through my mind stubbornly rings the idea that there is always a better way.