The Modern Job Search: A Dehumanized Insult

Welcome to the HR machine. Smile. Do not reply.

William Bairamian
Arc Digital

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Comparison, they say, is the thief of joy. LinkedIn, where the modern jobhunter is inevitably diverted, is all about generating professional comparison. Amid the infinite scroll of your network’s promotions, new jobs, and attendances at the latest nugatory conference, there is a new sidebar where LinkedIn fills you in on a grab bag of encouraging and discouraging news, to keep the balance.

Recently, one of the news items on my sidebar was something about the applicant tracking systems (ATS) widely used in hiring by ever-growing human resources departments. I had heard about these, but decided to do some more research to find out how exactly they worked.

When looking for a job, much “expert” advice focuses on getting people to craft specific resumes for each job posting. And at this point, the conventional job search wisdom that cover letters should be written anew for each job posting goes without saying. With these guidelines in mind, anyone interested in applying to a job they care about will spend at least an hour, likely more, parsing through their resume to choose what stays, what goes, what needs to be added, and what needs to be rewritten. Additional time goes to crafting a new cover letter after researching the relevant person in…

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