If you spend any amount of time on the internet, you know this already, right?
Since I fatefully left Japan six months ago next Monday, I have been in the hunt for regular employment in Pennsylvania. Yes, I keep an eye on what is going on in Japan–and write about it regularly since that is my strength. But my focus has been on meeting people in South Central Pennsylvania, where I knew virtually no one.
Let me tell you, there are few things worse than being stuck in a jobless rut. This is made even worse when you do have a lot of formal education, because people around you seem to think you can pull the job offer out of a magic hat.
Some of the advice I get goes to using the internet.
I don’t know about you, but maybe in 1998 or 1999, this was actually a feasible strategy. Nowadays–other than doing an information search about what potential employers might exist in your target region–relying on internet postings is a cruel joke. I keep repeating that, and yet people keep pointing me to the internet. It’s as if they want to say that I’m lazy, and if I just checked out every internet posting, then surely that job offer would be behind one of them.
I am confident that it does not work that way.
There is of course Monster. I have received their daily e-mail for about 10 years, believe it or not, since my resume is on there. I have on rare occasion gotten a headhunter call, but that was it. Rare, I mean like, 2003, 2006 and once in the early months of this year. Never a response to a direct Monster application. I think it’s pretty clear that Monster really doesn’t do much of anything except churn data in a database. Am I ahead of the crowd in concluding this? Am I behind the times?
Second are these massive job boards such as Indeed.com. I have someone who is occasionally giving me “leads” from them. Usually, the job is one that is supposedly posted on the company website. I go to the website, and it’s a 50%-50%. So I have given my information over to the company, and have never heard anything after that.
The unemployment rate in America right now is 9%. In Pennsylvania, they say it is more like 7.5% Lancaster County is in that range. If every job posted on Monster or Indeed were actually a job, there would be thousands of employers clamoring to fill all these open positions. They wouldn’t be relying on the internet–which is passive—they would be running ads in print media, doing direct mail, which is cheap nowadays, and even running cable TV ads.
They aren’t doing any of that. And why? Because there are relatively few jobs.
If the business community were candid about how few open jobs there really are, it would create social pressure for:
1) more jobs
2) jobless relief (unemployment money)
People with power don’t want that. So, we have this fiction about all these openings and “gee, we just can’t seem to find the ‘right fit’ for the position.”
[more in a while]