Written by Anthony Wilbourne
I’ve often failed at securing positions that are worthy of my talents, skills and education. I have a background in web development, graphic design and content production, so I typically sought out jobs in those fields, and because I had no Bachelor’s degree, I tended to apply for roles that required lesser degrees or no degrees at all. I carefully reviewed the requirements and qualifications and ensured that they appeared on my resume. I even went so far as to have researched the roles. Although I got several interviews, I usually received no offers. To pay my bills, I worked jobs that required few to none of my skills. I suspect that this happens to many people.
I see workers wear forced smiles and defeated expressions. I hear them complain about their jobs. I detect indifference in their work. I notice them lower their heads and drag their feet as if the weight of the world’s on their backs. Not all workers are like this, but an alarming amount of them are. Are they failing to secure suitable employment? Are they responding to nonsensical job postings? Job postings that ask perhaps just a little too much from their applicants? Postings published by people who fail to supply a yay or nay?
I often wonder about this and, having been in the workers’ position, wish I could help. I try to be nice and share my wisdom, but that’s not enough. People don’t need pep talks; they need employers that’ll give them a chance, a break. Not everybody can–or wants to–resort to self-employment or the internet to utilize their skills and/or talents. Some want the safety of a long-term position and regular paycheck. It’s easy for somebody to say “Be positive,” “Try harder” or “It’ll get better,” but when everything you’ve tried doesn’t work, it’s hard to believe that your life will ever get better. Instead, you start to believe in things like fate, which is enough to depress anybody.
Sure, employers are free to select the best qualified candidates, but what makes an individual the “best qualified?” Is it somebody with a college degree or the most experience? Some professions don’t necessarily require a degree or experience–even though the employers ask for them. I’ve gotten professional jobs with no relevant experience and still excelled at them. Some of the jobs didn’t even require the education I obtained in college. You can’t rely on job descriptions, because the duties–at least in my experience–usually change within a year. Some employers ask that you know tools very few companies use. How are you supposed to know these tools if you haven’t used them?
As I’ve often said to people, “How are you supposed to get experience if nobody will give you a job?” Every applicant should have a chance to explain themselves if their resume or application suggests suitability for the role. They should be able to demonstrate what they can do. Employers should make accommodations for this, and if they can’t, be as forthright as possible about what they want while remaining realistic. Maybe even provide feedback about why candidates weren’t selected, so they can improve. Forcing people to do something that they don’t want to do–either directly or indirectly–doesn’t really benefit anybody.
Employers may succeed with the individuals they hired, but just think of how they could succeed if they hired individuals without all the “requirements?” Just think of how they’ll succeed if the applicants no longer need them?
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