Kathy Elrick

Kathy Elrick
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
December 31
Ex-grad student, desperately seeking way back. Wannabe politico, die-hard protester in the couch district. Single malt whisky appreciator, Scotland lover.


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OCTOBER 1, 2011 1:21PM

Resume gripe: Objective this

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            Career centers at colleges and universities speak in a different language than the real world, or so I’m thinking as I look at the kinds of entry level jobs out there on these job search engines – including theirs!  These centers tell me to emphasize my education on my resume.  But the list of requirements for nearly any entry level spot is happy you have a high school or GED education and have worked with the public. 

            While it’s nice that I have higher degrees, I often wonder how much employers want an educated, or in my case over educated individual to fill their position.  Often times this can imply the person wants a higher starting salary or may want to have higher responsibilities and advance quicker.  In a regular market, this might be so.  But in my case, besides just needing a job, I lack something that most employers are looking for – experience.

            More than anything in these ENTRY LEVEL POSITIONS, employers want experience.  Just take a look at the words I highlighted - this is another level of insanity to the job search from the employers’ side that I don’t understand.  To be clear, not every position I have looked into wants this, but a significant amount of receptionist, secretarial, administrative and clerical positions require just a base education (which does not mean any required writing skills or note taking be that great) and at least TWO YEARS experience.  Some of the employers I’ve looked into on Craigslist have responded back to me with a flexible attitude about this requirement, but other jobs sites will often require more years, which intimidates me from even approaching the position, primarily because there’s something about the extended period of time that suggests there are many things I don’t know. 

            Is this requirement new?  I don’t think so.  But does it doesn’t bode well in this economy for actually matching people to positions that they might work well in, regardless of what I will again refer to as the dating site syndrome.  This syndrome is the odd tango the two sides play with words that hinder coming to a happy outcome, or at least meeting to check each other out.  But I’ve even been hearing horror stories about how this plays out if they do meet up for interviews as well.  That only one or two interviews aren’t enough for employers, and that people are put under the pressure of finding time to first wait to hear back, then come in for multiple interviews, and interviews that have 10 + person panels that keep you there for over five hours!  I’ve seen that as a procedure for hiring tenure-track professors, but administrative or other staff?

            But back to the people who then are pushed to the brink – the unemployed looking for these positions.  They will look into entry level jobs even when they are overqualified, just to pay the bills.  While this often means that the entry level spot pays significantly less than something that an actually experienced person was making, if they are unemployed, they will tango.

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I had the problem a couple years ago trying to get a job at Lowe's. I got an interview and everything went fine, but they wouldn't hire me. Luckily, Emily was working there part-time and they told her I would just be bored with the job. Didn't matter that I was just looking for income and something to do besides apply for jobs all day...

Oh, and the resume advice you were given is bs, list your experience first and foremost, education should only part of the resume. If you are going for an entry level job, I would actually leave out most of your education qualifications and sell the point you have experience. Otherwise HR people will see you over-educated/qualified and not even give an interview.
To Pro Libertate -
That's what I was thinking too. I recently went on an interview and the woman in HR looked at my resume and went, "Oo. You're way overqualified." and I honestly responded, "I need a job." I have another week to hear back from them, but the way things have been going, I'm not making any bets.