… And the Art of Job Applications

I had plans, and they have failed. I had hopes and they have been dashed. And maybe, I had a dream — but I am not sure that it is relevant any more.

Job applications. Lots of and lots of job applications. The process is stretching my sanity, and slowly unraveling all of the parts of me that I thought were good. In the past 2 and a half months I have sent over 40 applications — signed up for web sites and services to see what they have built, and then personally written each of the cover letters (some shared text, but not much). So far, I have written 13,000 words for applications.

And yet, no jobs. Zero. One phone call. Two invitations to complete a test. Three people saying “Your resume was good, but we went with someone else.” and 5 email replies saying no thanks. The other 30+ applications — no reply.

I did not expect to have a one-for-one success, but I didn’t expect such a barren land of non-responses.

This, as you may expect, has lead me to introspection, depression and change. Obviously I am doing something wrong, and I am yet to find what that might be. I have to keep iterating my process, changing what I am doing to find something.

I don’t believe that my history makes me irrelevant. Maybe I haven’t found the right fit just yet, or I am looking for the wrong thing. Maybe I am inept at writing cover letters and connecting with the right audience. Maybe I am a failure, I know I feel like one often. Or, just maybe, the universe is training me for something bigger.

Older Times, Past Letters

Looking back at past love letters brings nostalgia and regret. Looking back at my past job applications brings only regret. I wrote words with inspiration in my heart, that come across as needy, and desperate. I regret each and every word I have written.

Going back and reading my older applications makes me cringe. It was just before Christmas last year, and there is not enough water under the bridge for me to laugh at these just yet. But, for your entertainment, allow me to show you my words I have actually sent to recruiters, job hunters, or anyone who has written a job description I found interesting.

Ready? I’m not.

I try to keep a Lean perspective with development, preferring discussion to solve problems before starting to work. Make sure that the smallest amount of work is done, before committed to large-scope engineering of problems.

I am not sure what I am saying here. I think it sounded bright at the time.

Python is a language I am familiar with from a book called Programming Collective Intelligence. I have only dabbled with the language, building some small programs on the RaspberryPi, but have been interested in learning.

I am familiar with a language from a book. Points for knowing what a book is, right?

Of the Responsibilities you mentioned I would fit well, my experience over the years has certainly helped me in this way.

The Responsibilities. Of The Responsibilities. I would fit well, yes. I fit to responsibilities.

I applied for the Full Stack job as it sounds like the kind of challenge I am after, and my skills mean that I could fit in the stack anywhere, from front-end to back-end, while getting the challenge my brain enjoys. I would be happy hearing your feedback on this, too.

The kind of challenge I am after… And happy to hear feedback about this. Always looking for feedback.

I enjoy putting a good face to complicated data, and I think that I could help out with you building something like {{redacted}}. I enjoy building applications, spending time learning new technologies and growing in my skills.

Look at what I ENJOY! I ENJOY all the things. Hire me.

Keep in mind these are not from the distant past, they are from the past few months. The wounds are still fresh. The words are steaming like a fresh pile of dog excrement, sent directly to a recruiters inbox. I cringe, and I feel sorry for the people I have sent them to.

Maybe I know why I don’t have a job just yet. The writing is on the wall, flung by the hand of a monkey.

Not Every Job

Even after writing terrible words, I have kept on the path. Like a stubborn mule I have continued to send this drivel to people in a hope of finding work. I read job descriptions, imagine myself working there, visualize myself as a team member.

Think. Dream. Embrace. Imagine. Email.

And Change?

What good is this if I do not change? For all the bleating I have done about iteration, changing and willingness to learn, it would be remiss of me not to follow my own suggestions. Sure, I write horrible cover letters, but if I do not change then I will keep getting the same results.

A good place to start is with reading suggestions on making applications stand out. Here are a few I have read recently:

I hope their words sink in. If not for my sanity's sake, then at least for the sanity of those who get an email from me.

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