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The Insanity Of Finding a Job In the 21st Century

It’s been 23 years since the last time I applied for a job. Back then, you filled out a paper application with a pen, neatly writing your name, home phone and address, along with all of the other information they required. Penmanship mattered…if the employer couldn’t read your phone number, you may never hear from them. Resumes were printed carefully on a laser printer at Kinko’s (not the dot-matrix printer most people had at home) on bonded resume paper, then mailed in a matching envelope.

Weeks would go by, without knowing if the person received the application, or what may be going on with it. I had my mom check our home answering machine constantly, and wondered if and when I might be called for a job interview, or an internship.

I guess this proves my age, because 23 years later, finding a job is a completely different animal. What I have discovered during my last month of job searching is that it’s almost completely automated, and it all happens online…Especially if you have a very limited network, or are just starting out somewhere, like I am. Though I am “mid career,” most of my network is in California, not Tennessee. This presents a bit of a challenge…

For the past several weeks, my iPhone has been constantly loading jobs from and Besides the steady stream of new jobs, these sites have also been helpful to discover what businesses are located nearby. Here in Nashville, there are 150+ jobs being posted every day, just in our suburb alone. Most of these sites let you apply directly through them…you upload your resume once; add a cover letter if you’d like…then submit your job application. That’s it.

Really, truly…that’s it.

Your resume goes into a deep black void of space, and it’s rare to hear back from anyone, other than the automated email engine that lets you know your application was received. It’s all a bit soul-less.

I’ve also joined several job boards on Facebook…Nashville Jobs, Murfreesboro Jobs, Nashville Only Jobs, Murfreesboro Jobs Now…they all feature recruiters who…you guessed it! Post jobs! Most are for forklift operators; packaging clerks and jobs at the nearby Amazon distribution center…not exactly what I’m looking for, but it’s impressive how many jobs there ARE here, for people willing to do the work.

Job FairEvery once in awhile, I will see a posting for a Job Fair. One came up recently where they were hiring for bookkeeping and H/R, and since I have experience in both, I figured I’d drive up to Nashville and actually physically put my resume in someone’s hands and smile at their face…kind of like in the 1990s.

A “Job Fair” as it turns out, is quite an experience. As I sat in a room of 30+ individuals from very diverse backgrounds, I thought to myself…this is the pool of applicants I am competing with, every single time I submit a resume on indeed. Here they are! We are all in the black void of submitted resumes together! 

One by one, over the course of the next three hours, I watched them be pulled for individual interviews, as the remaining people snacked on Cokes and cookies. We went from a crowd of people sitting with perfect posture, to everyone slouching on their Smart Phones, or chatting with their nearby neighbor. The guy next to me, for example, had three kids close to my children’s ages, worked in staffing for the past five years, and was native to Nashville…we had a lot of time to talk.

I eventually was called in for two separate interviews, and it felt good to share my thoughts; my ideas on work ethic; and my skills with an ACTUAL PERSON, instead of just listing them on my LinkedIn profile and hoping for the best.

Looking for a job in 2017 is a highly automated process. The good part of that is that employers have a large pool of applicants to choose from. The bad part is…it removes the personal interaction of actually meeting applicants…seeing them face-to-face, and discerning if their smile is genuine; if the place is peaceful; if the manager’s face is relaxed, or stretched tight with stress.

Still, it’s the 21st century, and remembering the “good ol’ days” won’t do much good, when it comes to actually landing a job. Though the majority of my job submissions have gone unanswered, I’ve had several promising interviews lately, as well as job offers. I’m looking forward to writing a post about what it’s like to work for someone else, after 19 years of self employment…

So much to learn, in this Life By Susan.