I don't think there's much worse than applying for jobs. The strange thing is that you instantly forget how mind numbing the task is as soon as you get one and turn into a member of The Employed, the sympathetic bunch who have a pay cheque coming in and offer such nuggets like, "You'll get one soon" and "Just... Keep applying! I know it's hard but you just have to believe in yourself!" To be fair, what they say is true and becoming one of The Employed means you can't really say anything else. As they sit there though, were they to think honestly to themselves about the last time they were sifting through job advert after job advert, they'd probably think, "I'm glad that's not me," which is where I was until a couple of weeks ago when the realisation hit me that the training scheme I'm currently on won't last forever.
For a start, it's extremely dull. Remarkably dull. It's hard to even imagine what it must have been like thirty or forty years ago, scouring newspapers for leads and sending off a hand written covering letter in the post. Of course, you'd then have to write out your C.V again and again, which is a luxury the youth of today are spared, but in all other instances, it seems the Internet actually makes getting a job harder, especially once you have found the jobs you wish to apply for.
At school, you're prepared for the working world by the few weeks work experience you get in your GCSE year, along with a brief lesson on writing a half decent resume and a couple of paragraphs on why you may want that particular job. I recall an acquaintance of my brother having to list his top five placements and jokingly putting down the undertakers for his fifth choice. You guessed it, he spent the next couple of weeks preparing the dead for their ultimate goodbye.
It's once you leave school (and any other form of education you've chosen to engage with), that you realise a covering letter and C.V generally doesn't cut it any more. Recently, my friend and I have taken to mocking one another if we come across one of the holy grails where only those two documents are required. More likely is that the company in question want you to go through six or seven pages, detailing in full what exactly you have done in every job you have ever had and which exam board it was that awarded you a B in French. To be honest, although he scraped an A in Design and Technology, I'm not entirely sure my mate expects to be carving the next table in the restaurant as he mans the hotel reception desk. And I'd rather like to meet the employer who laughs and dismisses the application out of hand when he realises it was awarded by one exam body rather than another. Why so complicated?
There is an argument that perhaps it is set this way to prove that you really want the job. That by dedicating a good three hours to answering five slightly different questions as to why it is you who should be picked for an interview out of the 100+ others who have applied, you're certainly someone who they may consider simply because you got to the end. Oh, that's right by the way, many sites also tell you just how many you're up against to demoralise you further. Even if you have ignored the numbers involved and taken the time to answer the three hour application, companies don't always seem to care. A few don't even acknowledge the fact you've applied. Many more are happy to see you've applied but it's far too taxing to let you know that you haven't got it; you simply have to note the date and if it's been a while, they probably haven't picked you. Then there's the brilliant method employed by one company who emailed another friend and began with the beautifully-phrased, "Dear First Name".
My Dad is also applying for jobs at the moment and is utterly vexed by the entire system. It must be odd to have gained your first role using one method and now finding yourself having to get used to another. Still, for all this moaning, job seeking isn't all doom and gloom. He phoned me up filled with joy earlier that he hadn't got a position. "I was acknowledged!" He said, "At least I'm doing something right!" I can't imagine the way he'll react when he gets an interview.