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Applying for a job on-line feels like joining a dating service.

I’ve got a profile in Linkedin and half-a-dozen other job banks, and after months of sending out resumes and cover letters, I feel my self-worth declining. 

My morning routine is to pour myself a cup of coffee and sit at my computer for a couple of hours to see what new job postings appear in the above mentioned job banks and send out cover letters, resumes and the link to my website. My Google search is simple: “graphic design jobs in Vancouver, BC.”

These days, many graphic design job descriptions include so many technology qualifiers, they might as well be advertising for computer programmers and engineers who like to use other fonts besides Arial Times Roman and Comic Sans, and can take photos with a real camera.

What really gets to me, however, is how f**k**g impersonal this on-line job application process has become. 

The adage “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know” must be true. Even Psychology Today has talked about it. One gets the feeling it doesn’t matter what you can do and has done, if you don’t have a connection to someone in the company, you might as well forget it.

I’m jaded as hell. I don't like feeling this way; it’s way too negative. This negativity, unfortunately, came out today in a cover letter I sent in response to an ad for a Digital Graphic Designer. I’ve heard so many people claim that if you can’t grab someone’s attention with the first paragraph, then you’re not going to get a call. I’ve taken that advice to heart; I’ve tried all kinds of ingenious ways of starting my letters. Once again, I’m ready to throw in the towel.

That’s what I did today. The very last question in the application I filled out had a text box with the instruction to “say something unique about yourself in 150 words or less that will catch our attention and make you stand out.” That did it…I obliged.

I said: “Really? Why don’t I just turn around and moon you? Alternatively, read my cover letter.”

This was my cover letter:
Hello and good morning. 
You know what they say about a job applicant’s cover letter, how the first paragraph should grab the readers attention.
Well, choose your pick:
  1. Incredibly talented and skilled designer looking for a long-term relationship with someone who is intelligent, sensitive, believes in transparency and has a good sense of humor.
  2. Looking for someone oozing with talent and bursting with creative energy? Let me introduce myself. (Yeah, this one makes me gag, too; but that’s why I'm giving you a choice.)
  3. This on-line application process companies embrace today really sucks! Tell me how it differs from an on-line dating service? I mean, how do you really know what people say about themselves is genuine and not simple misrepresentation?
  4. I like grabbing the bull by the horns, not beating around the bush, saying it like it is…I’m transgender and if you can't deal with it, then read no further. I probably wouldn’t be comfortable with you if that’s your attitude. (Believe me, I've been tempted to use this one many times...silent discrimination really, really sucks.)
  5. They say looks can be deceiving; so can words on a page—and by extension—all electronic communication. Let’s cut to the chase and meet face to face.
Attached is my resume and a generic cover letter. I would have personalized it if I had your real name rather than a job description. You’re so much more than a “recruiter.”
Lisa Salazar, MAPPL, BAGD, CGD
(phone number removed)
Visit www.salazar.ca to see samples of stuff I’ve designed and produced over the years.

I’d like to know how you find the on-line job application process. Leave a comment.

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