What Deems Someone as ‘Qualified’?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, obtaining your Bachelor’s degree is nothing more than taking a bunch of irrelevant classes for four years (with the exception of people who majored in something very specific like nursing or teaching), spending a lot of money, and coming out with nothing to show but a piece of paper that’s supposed to deem you as ‘qualified’. But what really makes someone qualified? Experience? Skills? Knowledge? It’s all garbage. According to an article published by The Washington Post, only 27% of college grads have a job related to their major.

While job searching, when I’m seriously considering applying for a position within a company, particularly smaller or newer companies, I like to look at the ‘who we are’ page and read the description under each employee. Before discovering that alarming statistic above, I was shocked when I would read that employees within marketing or financial positions in a firm would have degrees in education or biology or political science. People who have no degree even remotely related to business are the future of Corporate America.

I understand this though I suppose. It doesn’t take a genius to learn basic office skills and most companies provide a standard, two week training process when hiring new employees, whether you’re fresh out of college or have been working in the field for 20 years. So why do all of these companies set these unrealistic requirements of experience in their job descriptions? Probably a question I’ll never know, or understand, the answer to. Most entry-level jobs could 100% be done by someone who never even went to college because I don’t feel any smarter than someone who’s highest degree is a high school diploma. Kudos to those people for saving those tuition dollars.

I don’t necessarily remember every aspect of what I learned in college, at least not enough to make me an expert in anything particular, but I know that when I was there I remembered it for the duration of a semester. To me, this is equivalent to attending a two week training session in which you are exposed to the kind of work your new employer needs you to do and when you begin work you continue to learn and you’ll remember it for the duration of your time there, but once it’s over? It’s back to square one when you begin at another job and have another two week training session. So why does a Bachelor’s degree deem someone qualified?

What we learned in college, in my opinion, is irrelevant. All the bullshit philosophy and art history classes aren’t going to help me in any job I ever have. Sure, they may have been interesting, but for the price I paid for them to not be useful? It’s a waste. But this bring me to another point which I’ll unfold in my next post- stay tuned!

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A Very Open Letter to Hiring Managers

To Whom This May Concern,

As a recent college grad, I’m slowly and surely learning that the four years we spend actually working towards graduation and our degrees is only half the battle. No one ever told us how much work we would still have to put in after the fun was over and the real world kicked in (before getting that full-time job).

This letter is mainly a complaint to anyone anywhere working for a company within Human Resources. Those people’s whose only job it is to read resumes and cover letters, determine if the credentials and qualifications fit, and then either place them in the yes or no pile, and send them to the next person in charge.

Cake, right? Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me, but hey, I was a Marketing major, so what do I know, right?

Applying for a job today is more than just sending your resume; sometimes it can be, but nine times out of ten it isn’t, unfortunately. Most companies want more than just your resume; they want you to write a cover letter, basically just your resume in paragraph form with lots of embellishments and sucking up about why you’re the “right” candidate for the position.

 

This can be time consuming; trying to make all of your experiences and skills somehow fit the job description into a way you think the person reading it will see fit. It can be frustrating because an HR manager may just read your resume and already know you’re not qualified for the position and never take the time to read that well-written, thought out cover letter. Finally,  it can be tiring after you do it so many times. Luckily for similar positions, sometimes all you have to do is change a line or two and the company name and address. It’s the little things…

My complaint isn’t really so much about having to do this, because then I would be that person that thinks everything should just come easy to us and we shouldn’t have to put in the work to achieve success. That’s not it. My problem is that only a small number of firms ever even respond letting you know you successfully submitted your materials, while 90% of the time you never hear a peep.

Even that is not completely my problem. My number one complaint and frustration about job searching is when companies, especially ones you’re interested in, just decide to never reach out to you and let you know that you’re not fit for the position. And not getting an interview-Rude, rude, rude.

I understand companies look for very specific things like 70 years of experience and doctorates for what is allegedly an entry-level position, but come on! I am taking the time to make sure I sound competent and professional and more than interested when applying for a job and writing that cover letter, and I patiently wait for a response for weeks at a time for just some sort of communication on their end. The least you can do is send an automated, generic message along the lines of ‘Thank you for your interest in Company XYZ, however after reviewing your resume, we do not think you have enough experience for what we’re looking for right now. Please keep checking for other opening positions, and apply again later. Thank you again for your time.’

Seriously, is that too much to ask?

I can’t say this is true for all companies because there have been those rare occasions where I have gotten a response along those lines, so thank you to the 1% of companies in the Philadelphia area that have common courtesy.

More often than not, no news is bad news. So after a few weeks of silence I’m smart enough to know I’m not getting an interview, but I would rather just have that in writing than having that little ounce of hope I’ll open my email one morning to some good news.

jobsearc5

You were once in my position when you were fresh out of college, think about those times and how you would hate to be me and show me some mercy. Or take pity on me, whichever you prefer. Probably the latter.

I am fully aware that most companies get hundreds of applications and it can be time consuming, but the yes and no piles are usually very different in height if you know what I mean. So after sending the yes pile over to the next person in the hiring chain, have the decency to send that automated, generic email to the suckers who aren’t getting an interview. We would all appreciate it very much.

Sincerely,

Colle grads everywhere

P.S. Don’t write in your job posting descriptions that you want a candidate who is recently graduated with 5 + years of work experience in your related field, it’s just not ideal and a little naïve. Thanks.