The Millennial Job Search: Pandemic Edition

It’s no surprise that the job market is oversaturated right now with somewhere around 30 million Americans unemployed and trying to find a job. This gets tougher on Millennials in particular. The youngest bunch of us is in our mid to late 20s. Past the time where we can be called a “recent college graduate” and the always looming expectation that a family is next on the docket. Because of our middle ground, and older generations still thinking Millennials are the laziest generation, we have a hard time competing with the minimum 5+ year experience tacked on to almost every entry level job. We always made jokes that we would have had to start work at 13 to get enough experience, but would that even be enough? Even 7+ years experience in a field won’t help you if it’s not the exact field of work that the employer is looking for.

So why does it became this game of old vs. new when looking for work? Why is no one the same page as to how to streamline the hiring process? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I lost my job as a flight attendant, and no matter how much I loved that job, I have to move on. My bills haven’t stopped and my student loans are about to start back up again. I’m also on week NINE of waiting for my unemployment to come. WEEK NINE. It is so unbelievable to me that anyone should have to wait two months for an unemployment check to come through. Because of that I couldn’t afford to live on my own anymore and I moved back in with my Mom. I’m very fortunate that my family was supportive of my previous job and that my parents know the aviation industry has its ups and downs. However, I can’t help but think of the families that need that money to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, and they are left applying for job after job and never hearing a single word from these companies.

Since the moment that I was sure the reduction in force was going to happen I have applied for over 120 jobs… I started sending out applications on July 20th, 2020 it is now December 3rd, 2020. Let’s say on average it takes 15 minutes to fill out a job application (if you upload your resume or LinkedIn and it fills in your basic information), so multiply that by the 121 jobs and side gigs I’ve applied for, and we get 1,815 minutes which comes to roughly 30 hours spent on applications. Now some took no more than a click of a button and other took upwards of an hour with questionnaires and video introductions. In comparison, I applied to 192 jobs from March 17th, 2018 to January 29th, 2019, and I had a job that whole time.

In no way am I writing this as an “UGH wHy HaVeN’t ThEy HiReD mE” post, this is more about what MANY people are dealing with. Every single day I get on LinkedIn to look at new job postings. I have alerts set up and adjust my filters to allow for more jobs that I qualify for to fall on to my search page. However, more times than I’d like to count there’s jobs that repost these jobs that I know I applied for – along with countless others – and they’re starting the search all over again. In this economy, these companies are reposting these jobs that already had 300+ applications. You can play devils advocate all you want, but this is absurd. Out of 300+ people they couldn’t find ONE person to fill the role? Doesn’t that seem a bit ridiculous? It’s not like they won’t have to do some mild training on these people they hire anyway. No one comes into a job 100% ready to go on the first day.

I saw a comment online the other day about why dating in 2020 was so hard – stay with me for a second I know it seems like I took a left turn – but they were saying it’s hard because “you think you can always do better.” There’s always someone better looking, always someone more funny, etc. I know I can’t be the only person that had interviewing and job hunting described as courting and a first date in college from instructors. So this made me think… Do employers think with such a large applicant pool they can find someone better for the role? Is that what’s holding them back from making a selection?

One of my best friends runs her own marketing agency out of the smallest corner of her apartment and spent over 200 days looking for work this year. I know this girl, she’s incredibly hard working, determined, and she knows her shit. Every week she would text the group chat that she had another interview and almost every week she would get an email saying they chose someone else. At one point a company dragged her through SEVEN interviews in one day… ONE DAY. She sat in front of her computer explaining time and time again why she would be the best for that role just to get an email the following day that they “went another direction”. I mean, the absolute entitlement of some of these companies to think that someone (employed or not) has the time in their day to sit through multiple rounds of interviews like that is absurd. That may seem awful to say, but when was the last time you had to clear 4 hours on your schedule to talk to someone on Zoom and be the best version of yourself? BTW, she finally got a job and she’s killing it.

So not only are these companies starting from scratch every month to find someone to fill a role that they deem necessary for the company to compete, but they’re also spending countless hours interviewing people for these roles. When my friend told me that this company was going to be doing that many interviews in one day all I could think was “they don’t value company time, nor do they work as a team.” Something like that could have easily been a panel interview and cut time more than in half to save time for the team and the interviewee. Not to mention the limbo of not knowing whether you’ve been rejected or are still being considered. Out of the 121 jobs I’ve applied for this year I’ve been formally rejected from 17 of them. Not including the ones that ghosted me after the interview. Is it too much to ask to get a “Thanks, but not thanks! -signed your dream job”?

It’s just such a weird place to be. Here I was a year ago today thinking I had settled into my forever career and now I’m back on the hunt for a job. Not only with the same frustrations as before, but add in an applicant pool that’s more than tripled in the last 9 months. If you’re an employer reading this and you’ve made it this far, just send the rejection email. We can take it. If you’re unemployed sitting on your parents couch drinking a White Claw at 2p… Cheers. We gotta keep at it. Take a nap, and then find 5 more jobs to throw yourself at. You’ll get one eventually.

Stay healthy and please wear a mask.

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