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A terrible experiment but interesting findings
A 26-year-old relative has been looking for work in his field. He’s been working joe jobs for two years now but applies regularly to jobs he is actually trained to do. He’s got a master’s degree and enough internship/volunteer experience for three people (what do you expect — he’s been looking for work for two years!). He just got a job in a related field and it’s a part-time position with no benefits. Last time I talked to him, he said he considers himself lucky. His expectations have taken a serious nosedive from when he first entered university. (By the way, I believe he will move up in the company and will eventually get his dream position — but right now his self-esteem is so fragile that even suggesting it would bring on bitterness, so I keep mum.)
Another 26-year-old master’s graduate (in the U.S.), Eric Auld, decided to conduct a highly immoral though interesting experiment: he posted a fake job ad on Craigslist to see who he was competing against for entry-level positions. In one day, the administrative assistant position he posted – which promised to pay a max $13 an hour but had health benefits — got 653 replies. (In 10 minutes there were 10 replies!) Our hero did a cute and clever pie chart illustration to see how the levels of education and experience were represented in the responses and he was surprised to find that 66 per cent of applicants held one or more degrees/certificates and 34 per cent held only a high school diploma or GED.
Although he admits to being aware of the ridiculous competition he’s coming up against, Auld repeatedly stressed the fact that he has a master’s degree, which tells me he’s still in the early stages of disillusionment about having a graduate degree and no job ... and I wish him all the luck. Because it seems like luck is more at play than anything else in life — there are very few guarantees in this flighty job market. Here are three conclusions from Auld’s article based on his Craigslist experiment:
- “Employers won’t notice me by my résumé alone ... What I should do is figure out methods to grab the employer’s attention, whether it’s finding out if anyone I know works with the organization, seeking out a personal recommendation, or calling to double-check that the employer received my résumé (even though we all know how daunting actual phone calls can be).”
- “When job searching on Craigslist, apply to positions immediately. 49 percent of responses to this non-existent position were submitted in the first three hours alone — that’s 317 emails.“
- “Expect the application review process to take a while. I repeat: 626 résumés in one day. That’s all I have to say about that.”