Are Job-Alert Algorithms Trying to Tell Me Something?

It’s been almost a month since I was laid off, and it has been an adventure.

Although I still feel like a teenager pretending to be an adult, in today’s job market I’m practically a senior citizen. Experience, it seems, is not necessarily a good thing.

The job-search process itself sure has changed since I mailed my first resume and cover letter to a prospective employer. Now all of the “paperwork” is handled online, a high-tech solution so efficient that an applicant can receive a computer-generated rejection letter in a matter of hours. (My personal record: 61 hours and 42 minutes from application to “no thanks.”)

Experts say as many as 80 percent of positions are filled without ever being posted—a mind-boggling testament to the power of networking if I’ve ever heard one. My full schedule of coffee (and sometimes cocktail) meetings haven’t produced one of those “invisible” jobs yet, but I have leaned on friends for help with the ones I’ve seen advertised.

That already has resulted in some real head-scratchers: I didn’t make the initial cut for one position, for example, because the hiring manager decided I would be bored by the work. Um, isn’t that my decision? A quick look at my resume should prove I’m a serial monogamist, not a job-hopper. And I applied for that particular gig when I still had a steady paycheck, so I think it’s safe to assume I actually wanted it.

Now I have to apply for three jobs a week to qualify for unemployment benefits. I’ve been lucky enough to find openings that match my interests and abilities so far, but I can’t help wondering if the technology helping to power my search is trying to nudge me toward a new career.

While the job listings delivered daily to my inbox have produced several solid leads, the vast majority of the presumably algorithm-driven “recommendations” have nothing at all to do with writing, editing, or marketing communications.

Need a patient, outdoorsy nanny? Not it. Seeking a part-time carwash attendant?  I don’t even clean my own car. Hiring a retail store manager? Let’s talk employee discount.

Maybe I’m being short sighted or narrow minded or big headed, but I’m holding out for a position that will allow me to use the skills I’ve worked so hard to develop—and that will give me the chance to find new ones to nurture.

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10 thoughts on “Are Job-Alert Algorithms Trying to Tell Me Something?

  1. This was my experience – exactly – when Hetrick’s closing put me out there. My favorite job recommendation was – “bagger at Meijer.” I think it had something to do with one of my key words being “communications.” You have to have good “communications” skills to be able to bag groceries. Of course – that was in the day where they actually had people bagging your groceries! Good luck!

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  2. My experience as well! I got an email from a company looking for an insurance sales agent. The message said, “We saw your resume and think you’re a perfect fit!” Well you may have seen my resume, but did you actually read it? Of course not. Looking for a job is very hard work. And I’m out of people to have coffee with.

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  3. I have had similar experience as well. I keep getting recruiters who want to put me in SQL DBA roles, something I no longer want to do if they actually read my resume…..ugn! Has anyone tried one of the career coaches? If so, what has your experience been? They keep telling me about the unadvertised job and right now is the right time to be applying. I just can’t get past the cost of one of these coaches though. Thoughts?

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    1. Look into The Five O’Clock Club’s methodology – and think about the ROI of getting help versus struggling on for weeks or months with no income.

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  4. Some things are better left to humans, finding and hiring are two of them. Although software can “read” a CV it can’t understand or visualize the person who wrote it as a prospective employee. And anyone who believes that algorithms can pick the best person for a job has read too much science fiction.

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  5. Couldn’t agree more! I’ve applied to many jobs online and it’s like applying to a black hole! Hellooooo out there! I’ve scoured my resume for every “key” word and have pretty much everything in there, but other then writing something like “hire me, you won’t regret it!!”, I’m out of ideas!!

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  6. Well most of the outdated and traditional ATS are either redundant or they simply share jobs reading basic keywords. There are innumerable candidates looking out for relevant and their personal experience-centric openings, however they end up compromising for poor search results and contextual vacancies. There are new-age data driven analytics that reap best possible job opportunities for resumes. You must be aware of the contextual intelligence based HR analytics that delivers accurate outcomes for job search making it easier for both recruiters and candidates choose right.

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