3 Awful Things About Looking For A New Job

When you’re seeking new employment, nothing comes easy. You’re facing a sea of hungry applicants, gunning for the attention of distracted managers and facing failure on a daily basis. The process can be so frustrating that it may hardly seem worth it, but can land you a dream job if you keep your eyes open, your spirits up and manage to land a break.

So Over Debt identifies some of the most irritating qualities of job hunting. Here are a few, as well as ways to overcome them:

* Mind-numbing application forms. It’s tempting just to hammer through laborious online forms to finish your application, but you can look at them as opportunities stand out with a little extra effort and creativity. Submit your bio in sonnet form, or paste a link to a wacky, self-promotional video rather than a resume.

* Job listings that explain too little. A vague job listing is an automatic turnoff, but use it as an impetus to apply your own vision to what you hope the position could be. Employers tend to be impressed with applicants with solid ideas of what they’d do on the job.

* Internal candidates with a leg up on you. Sometimes posting a job is nothing more than a formality, because managers already have their eyes on workers they’re ready to plug into the roles. You can improve your odds by becoming an insider. Befriend people of influence in your area, familiarize yourself with the company and mine connections for key info that will help you distinguish yourself and make you easier to hire.

10 Things I Hate About Looking for Jobs [So Over Debt]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ellmar says:

    Yeah, there’s nothing like a “wacky, self-promotional video” to charm an already annoyed hiring manager.

  2. Marlin says:

    “stand out with a little extra effort and creativity. Submit your bio in sonnet form, or paste a link to a wacky, self-promotional video rather than a resume.”

    As a former HR person, NO.

    • tbax929 says:

      I’ve never worked a day of my life in HR, and I know this is a bad idea!

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      We had an applicant show up wearing a Viking helmet complete with horns.

    • bhr says:

      There are very few jobs where that won’t automatically disqualify you. I’m thinking jobs in creative positions or social media… and even then you are really risking being considered a flake.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Once I completed my Intro letter in cursive writing and I got an interview. I write well and my interviewer was impressed and he wanted to meet the guy that did it.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      I like creativity, I’m a creative person, HOWEVER, if you feel the need to be creative, do so in a nice heading at the top of your resume. Or, better yet, how about actually editing and reading your resume out loud before sending it on?

      My favorite was the woman who put down she had “strong attention to detale.” *sigh*

  3. AtlantaCPA says:

    “Job listings that explain too little” Sometimes this is just b/c there are standard job descriptions that can’t be modified even if your role is only marginally similar. So if you see a job description like this, ask about specifics before you ‘apply your own vision’.

    As a hiring manager: the original article is fine, it’s someone ranting. Phil’s additions of helpful tips are anything but. Getting a sonnet would make me stop reading immediately.

    • Gambrinus says:

      And sometimes it’s because the job posting is a scam. If a description is really vague, and only calls for generic skills that could apply to anyone and not experience in specific areas, then I’m usually pretty suspicious.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Of course, maybe that’s how he landed this sweet gig at The Consumerist!

      If you’re looking for substance, you can just forget it,
      Ditto for originality, or the ability to edit.
      But if your readership can’t make it to Gawker or Reddit,
      and likes handy home tips
      Then they will learn handwashing,
      and neat mattress flips.

      -Call me,
      Phil /pic in a bunny suit

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Agree, but I also work in a field that doesn’t reward this kind of “wackiness”. I want someone who is competent in the subject matter and comes across as a professional with a client. Sonnets and YouTube videos will get you nowhere.

      If I am giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to a potential candidate, I look for a well written resume that describes qualifications that show me an ability to do the job. I’ll then usually test them on it during the interview with my questioning. I don’t particularly look for “name brand” schools or anything like that either.

    • coffee100 says:

      You know it’s funny how hiring managers always have a ready list of things that will make them crumple up our resumes.

      Further proof that if you want a job, you’ll have to build one yourself.

  4. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    #1 is spot on. I applied for jobs at all the major poetry companies, and none of them would even return my phone calls until I finally started submitting my resume in sonnet form.

    • Puppyclaws says:

      Actually this is a bit out of date now; Sonnets make you look stodgy. Villanelles are the new “resume oriented longways”

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      I plan to submit my application in Haiku form.

  5. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Some time ago in the Stone Age I applied for a job at M*t Life in New York City. Spent the day going through two interviews, and scoring very well with multiple technical and SAT-like math tests (legal at that time). Finally in the aftenoon the HR manager came out and apologetically told me there really was no job opening despite the ad in the paper. She said the ad was an old one and was being used merely as a placeholder in the classified section and they probably shouldn’t have let it run like that. Yet the HR interviewers and testers didn’t know that. Azzholes. That was pretty awful.

    • Flik says:

      I had a similar experience once — went all the way through the whole multiple interview process, only to be told at the end the job had already been filled weeks before by an internal employee.

      When I asked why they’d put me through all of the hoops, they said “the CEO requires us to interview a minimum of 100 people for every opening, no matter what. Besides, it’s great experience for our younger HR reps.” Gee, thanks — I didn’t know I was wasting my time as your freaking guinea pig….

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “3 Awful Things About Looking For A New Job”

    1). Having a multi-person interview spanning five days for a Head Fry Guy position
    2). Making believe you’re actually excited about applying for a minimum wage job
    3). Asking to be excused to go to the bathroom because of your urinary tract infection

    • bluline says:

      Re. #1: Going through multiple face-to-face interviews and a promise that you will hear something by a specific date, and then listening to the deafening silence when they don’t have the minimal courtesy to send even a form-letter rejection e-mail.

  7. RiverStyX says:

    Somebody else out there has more experience, is of a different ethnicity, and is willing to do it cheaper while putting up with more bullshit.

    • Nobby says:

      Don’t be bashful, go ahead and play the race card. No need to reference experience and salary expectations as a smoke screen.

  8. sirwired says:

    “Submit your bio in sonnet form, or paste a link to a wacky, self-promotional video rather than a resume.”

    Abso-fracking-lutely DO. NOT. DO. THIS for most jobs. Sure, if you are applying for a “creative” job, give it a whirl if you can do so in a way that will show off your talents.

    Applying for a job that does not require whimsical creative skills? (i.e. database programmer), find some other way to show you know your stuff. Certainly don’t waste the hiring managers time trying to decode your poem about how awesome you are.

    • coffee100 says:

      No, go ahead and waste the hiring manager’s time. Print your resume in four-foot-tall letters on party banners.

      Hiring managers have no problem wasting your time. Liars one and all.

      • sirwired says:

        Yes, and the attitude that all hiring managers are time-stealing morons works SO well when trying to actually get said manager to hire you.

        • coffee100 says:

          Yeah but here’s the best part: I don’t give a #%)#%)(@&#%@)(#%()@)(*&%)&@$(*@!#!^*#@)*&*)#^%&()@$&@(^$(*@%&@)%@$)(&@$ if some idiot liar hiring manager is impressed with me.

          That about cover it?

    • fpc says:

      Can’t wait until morons like you die off. There is room for creativity in EVERY SINGLE JOB.

  9. Nobby says:

    3 Awful This About Looking for a New Job”

    1. Not getting hired.
    2. Being told that you’re “over qualified” as if it’s some sort of compliment.
    3. The soul-killing realization that you have little-to-no leverage in this economy.

    • redskull says:

      #2: Indeed. Back in 2001 I was having no luck finding a job and went to a career fair. They had a resume workshop there and I figured what the heck, and showed my resume to the experts. At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, they said I had a lot of impressive entries on my resume and it was most likely scaring off potential employers (who’d be afraid I’d jump ship the instant something better came along, I guess). They said I needed to make a second “dumbed down” resume to submit to lower paying jobs.

      I couldn’t believe I was actually being told to leave things out on a resume. Isn’t the whole point to play up your achievements?

      In the end I finally found a job before I had a chance to make a dumbed-down version.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      #3. Yes, this 1000%.

      No matter how much I hate my job, loathe going there, and want something better, there just isn’t anything in my area. And my pointy haired boss knows this. We’re told if we don’t like it, quit. There are 100’s of people waiting for a full time job with benefits. Meanwhile, she piles on more and more work, and everyone is frantic and stressed to the point where multiple people break down into tears on almost a daily basis. Her solution? Stay on task and work harder.

  10. u1itn0w2day says:

    I can see a more complex process for higher paying higher skilled jobs but when the entry level job market treats the entry level applicant like they’re applying for an executive position it’s time to hire a new hr.

    There have been several times over the years where I just needed or wanted a part-time or temporary job which usaully means retail. OMG, it’s like your are asking for the keys to castle. And yet openings and existing problems still persist at the places you have applied for. It’s like how did they get the job or how are they even keeping it.

    • kokathy says:

      I tried applying for a retail job over the holidays. It amazed me at how many hoops I had to jump through to only be rejected for the job.

  11. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Oh good, I hadn’t seen crappy list advice from a no-name blog in a few days. Thanks Phil.

  12. bhr says:

    Actual awful things:

    Spending multiple days and significant gas money driving to different locations to interview

    Having to basically beg for jobs that you are way overqualified for

    Being told that your experience/education is a liability.

    Interviewing with someone multiple times and never hearing back.

    Being told you can’t get a job because you have bad credit because you don’t have a job.

    • brinks says:

      THIS should have been the article. I dealt with all of the above when I lost my job.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      Also, as my partner is currently experiencing, having to explain over-and-over that the reason he was let go just prior to Christmas was because the managers at his company get bonuses for end of year cost savings and had fired someone every year at that time since they took over. All without sounding whiny.

  13. OSAM says:

    How did Phil get this job?

    • RiverStyX says:

      That’s what we’ve been wondering for a long time. I’m convinced that he’s just a horrible, horrible glitch in the matrix and not an actual representative of Consumerist.

      • Gman says:

        I have been conviced for a long time that he actually means to post this stuff on redit or a gawker blog but instead accidentally his posts end up here due.

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        Blame the Architect.

  14. speaky2k says:

    What article is Phil reading? Nowhere does the linked article state that you should submit a sonnet or video… In fact the author of the article states ” If you‚Äôre looking for evidence of my research skills, just say so and I‚Äôll start googling. Otherwise, is it necessary for me to spend time constructing a second resume in prose form? One that will likely never be read?” To the vagueness of requested cover letters and information required on applications.
    I wanted to read this since a friend of mine just lost her job of 3 months (she graduated in December & got a job right away) last week and I was hoping to give her some helpful advice.

  15. homehome says:

    What I find annoy is how outdated and unflexible the online applications are. I hate those things and it’s always the same 3 companies.

    • VintageLydia says:

      And they always ask for your frickin’ SSN! Every job I applied for recently that had an online application asked for that, a three-hour personality quiz you could not pause/get back to later, and listing every address and job I’ve held in the last TEN years! These aren’t big jobs requiring some sort of security clearance or even working with company executives, but as a coffee jockey at your local Starbucks or a cashier at some big box retailer for minimum wage.

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        Yeah, a couple recruiting agencies actually asked for my SSN, and that was even before I got interviewed or anything. I declined and said I do not prefer to provide this until I’m sure that I was getting the position. I just find it weird. I’m assuming they want to search for credit history using those? But still. You don’t do that until they’ve already offered you the position, and you’ve signed the employment agreement that they will conduct a background investigation prior to your formal employment.

  16. Gman says:

    “Submit your bio in sonnet form, or paste a link to a wacky, self-promotional video rather than a resume.”

    Coming from the hiring side of the fence I can tell you positively that none of our hiring managers have enough time to go through creative attempts like this. The best way that someone reached me was a short [1-page] killer resume that was specifically written for the job ad. That alone made me put them in the “to consider” pile.

    Only in later rounds did we consider extraneous info like portfolios, websites, etc.

    Want to show your personality? Do so in the interview or if they specifically request things. Or do so in the cover letter.

    IMHO of course. All hiring folk are different.

  17. BelleSade says:

    As a student who’s done the token internships and whatever, having “too much experience/skills” for fast food/store type jobs, but too little for anything else

    • OSAM says:

      With you there. Im not being considered for part-time retail jobs (heading back to school) but Im also not being considered for full-time design jobs…

  18. ToddMU03 says:

    “I think it‚Äôs time companies stopped making it so difficult for qualified people to get a job.”

    For the most part, employers have the leverage. They’re receiving a ton of applications for openings. It is difficult because the economy sucks.

    It will change when things get better.

  19. HogwartsProfessor says:

    The original article was pretty good. Summary, not so much.

    I’m going through this right now. What I hate is taking tests. Most people who can use a computer can type and fill in forms. And why are the tests so generic? I’ve had to go through 10-key exams for jobs where I never used it. Why? If someone has over ten years experience in admin work, it’s kind of a given that they know how to frigging type. If it has nothing to do with the job, or is really obvious, take it off.

    • Buckus says:

      It’s because SOME people DON’T know how to type, yet have had that title for 10 years.

  20. chizu says:

    While I was in school, our professors told us we needed to design our resumes and portfolio in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign (the latter two programs were not taught to us). It should never be in Word, and we should make it “pop” and stand out from hundreds of other resumes the design firm will be getting.

    I ended up spending hundreds of hours trying to come up with something “different” with what I was capable of doing in Photoshop. Now looking back, let’s just say it was one of the stupidest things I had done while in school. It looked tacky and cheap. (And a huge waste of time.)

    My office goes after a lot of projects now and most (if not all) firms I had dealt with usually want resumes in Word doc, or in the simplest form possible. The resume template we use in the office at most has the company logo. All those “cutesy” things our professors mentioned to us didn’t matter and acted more like distractions on the page than your actual experience and what you are capable of doing. Right now, I had parred my resume down to Name, Bio, Project Experience, and Education.

    With that being said — the sonnet thing might seem cute by making yourself standout and different from everyone else. But unless you’re apply for a job that would like to see that particular skill of yours, less is more.

  21. apember says:

    Filling out applications for jobs that are not even real. Just an agency getting a list of prospects or a company doing cheap research.

  22. Captain Spock says:

    That’s “Reddit” to you, My good Man (LIKE A SIR!)

    The Narwhal Bacons at Midnight.

  23. grimJack says:

    Phil should now write a sonnet about how Consumerist readers are oblivious to his humor and he will now cry himself to sleep over a cheap pint of mead.

  24. shea6408 says:

    I had an interview once where the interviewer told me that she hated it when companies interviewed someone and didn’t let the applicant know if they got the job or not, so I’d definitely hear from them either way. Bonus points if you guessed that the next thing I was going to say was that I never heard from them.

  25. TBGBoodler says:

    HR managers please read:

    The online application forms are most definitely mind numbing. Why force me to fill in yet another online application (which usually involves creating yet another online account with yet another online “secure” password) when you’re only going to look at my resume and cover letter?

    And job seekers: If you get an interview, don’t be surprised when they hand you the paper application, too, when you arrive.

    • redskull says:

      “And job seekers: If you get an interview, don’t be surprised when they hand you the paper application, too, when you arrive.”

      YES! I don’t know how many times that’s happened to me.

      Two years ago I got a part time job to pay off some bills. I worked there for 6 months and one day they asked me to fill out a paper application so they could put it in my file (apparently the act of printing out an online application was beyond their capacity).

      • Blueskylaw says:

        The reason they do this is to see if the information you
        put down now is the same information you filled out online.

    • amuro98 says:

      Yes I love restating all the information from a cover letter and my resume in application form, and then being asked to submit my actual resume AND a cover letter! I love mindless repetition again!

      In fact the thing I love the BEST is, after spending nearly 2 hours on (redacted) bank’s HR website trying to submit an application, that the website hit a bug, and rejected my application and all! I even went down to the job fair where (redacted) bank was attending and tried submitting my resume in person. After literally waiting another hour in line, the woman at the table told me “Wow, you’re a great fit for the position – you should definitely submit your resume online!”

      I managed not to punch the nice lady. Then I explained I was only at the job fair because their website was broken and would not allow anyone to submit applications. The woman replied with “oh, I’m actually the recruiter for this position. I was wondering why we weren’t getting any applications.” So I figured, great, she’s met me, she knows I’m serious about the job, and there’s no competition. Then she told me “but I still need you to submit your resume online – we aren’t allowed to accept resumes here at the job fair.”

      I, again, had to struggle not to hit the lady. I remember asking her what was the point of being at the job fair if they were just going to tell people to go to a broken website? I don’t remember what she answered, or if she answered at all, or if I just stormed out of the room before I really lost it.

      The really ironic part of all this was…I was applying for a job in quality assurance for the engineering group responsible for, among other things, the HR website at the bank. I didn’t get the job. In fact, no one did. Last I checked the job was STILL listed so I can only assume that they never fixed the website, and therefore can never fill the position.

      • Driblis says:

        You probably shouldn’t get an office job if minor inconveniences make you struggle not to physically assault people.

        • OSAM says:

          This isnt exactly a minor inconvenience: It’s a crippling problem in the fundamentals of an interaction.

          You might as well be trying to have an open-air conversation on the moon.

    • Jesse says:

      Especially Taleo. That has to be the most frustrating Applicant Tracking System out there.

  26. areaman says:

    What about that thing Worst Buy does where you call in and have someone who knows how to game the system do the phone application process for you?

  27. brinks says:

    The worst part about looking for a job is that companies can be ridiculously picky. Before we can hire someone, they have to pass a background check, credit check, and a drug test. This makes perfect sense for the managers, but even our part-time associates, who make barely more than minimum wage, have to go through all this.

  28. brinks says:

    Oh, and online applications are pre-screened before any actual human gets to see them. If you don’t follow the directions, your application will never make it to a hiring manager’s desk. Don’t try to stand out that early in the game. Even if you aren’t automatically disqualified from the candidate pool, you have no idea if the hiring manager has a sense of humor.

  29. webwbr says:

    Writing/updating your resume is the worst… I’d rather have a prostrate exam than have to do that.

  30. webwbr says:

    Writing/updating your resume is the worst… I’d rather have a prostrate exam than have to do that.

  31. redskull says:

    I would love it if, when multiple people in a company need to interview you, they would all get together in the same room and do it all at once. There’s nothing worse than having to answer the “greatest weakness” question 4 different times to 4 different people.

  32. amuro98 says:

    Online application forms are scanned by a computer looking for a few keywords. From there, someone in HR may bother to glance at your resume before putting it in the ‘approved’ pool. Then if you’re lucky an actual manager will come across it. Managers never see the application nor the cover letter. They only care about the resume. In fact, I’ve only filled out application forms as a formality AFTER I was hired just so HR had something to stick in my folder.

  33. SwaggeringCuban says:

    * Internal candidates with a leg up on you.

    This forever.

  34. corridor7f says:

    I can recall one morning during my unemployment days searching on Craigslist for any (not-so-seedy) jobs.

    There was one for a sales position with a “please include cover letter” bit. A few hours later, the person posting the position sent an update on his / her thoughts on the applicants thus far… basically cursing out all the lazy sots who either couldn’t be bothered to send in a cover letter at all and some samples of half-assed attempts at such.

    It was hilarious, I should’ve saved it. Nothing like that could be seen on monster or workopolis.

  35. Get A Amberlance says:


  36. Outrun1986 says:

    How about the fact that in reality you will NEVER get hired unless you are family, good friends or have some type of connection to someone inside the organization. Most organizations here do not choose people at random, they choose someone that they know. There are obviously enough people that know enough people to fill positions, and in a city where there are 5,000 applicants to 100 jobs they are going to pick the people they know regardless of skill level.

    I unfortunately, do not have a large network of friends and family already married into successful jobs so therefore no job for me. 99% of the college graduates I know got a job because someone in their family got them into whatever organization that family member works in.

  37. El_Red says:

    Thank you, Captain Obvious.

  38. Yorick says:

    I would swear that every person who writes these kinds of job-getting advice has never had a real job or been responsible for the hiring of others.