Stop ignoring my job applications

"At least let us know if we've not got the job"

Anthony Waite

Anthony Waite is 22. He love Americana music, watching tennis, Spanish films and his huge family. He aspires to be a novelist and would love to travel South America.

Today I have spent my time doing nothing but fill out application forms knowing the chances of an employer getting back to me are close to zero. It’s been weeks since I’ve even received acknowledgement of an application. The mind-numbing drudgery of it all is soul destroying. The more frustrated I get with it, the more mistakes I make.

The forms are too hard

If I make a mistake then there is no way to rectify it in a neat and subtle way. As the application form is the ‘passport to the interview’ any small error is costly. I’ve noticed that employers are increasingly asking for hand-written applications. A simple error such as writing in blue ink when asked to do it in black and my form will go straight into the rejection pile. It makes me wonder if they’re making this first hurdle in the process difficult in order to get rid of as many challengers as possible. I find the prospect of handwriting an application a nuisance when I could easily use the copy and paste function on the computer to fill in the basic information on different online forms. It feels like a ‘survival of the fittest’ – if I don’t adapt I won’t get to the next rounds. Sometimes I don’t even get to the end of an application form before I feel like I’m going to explode with frustration.

So why are applications such a nightmare? Well, the job market currently so awful that for even the most basic of clerical jobs I have dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors. I’m applying for jobs that I don’t really want but that I need. The government doesn’t help by threatening sanctions for people who turn down any job offer. I could end up as part of a nation who is working in a job they hate. The section on forms I find the most frustrating is the one that asks how you meet the criteria on the job specification. I could probably do the job in question but it’s about ‘selling myself’ and exaggerating my experience to hopefully put myself at the top of the short list. So I end up economising the truth for a job that I don’t want in the first place. Not exactly motivational.

Umm, did you even get it?

I can therefore understand why employers may not rejoice in plunging through the pile of applications that land on their desk. It must be time-consuming and frustrating. But, despite this, it would be nice if they considered me, the unemployed person who’s spent a long time on their form. It should be mandatory to respond to a submission even if it’s a quick email to say, ‘sorry, but good luck’ or give me a pointer on how to improve my chances. The feeling of limbo is worse than knowing that it’s a no.

At first, being unemployed felt like a disease that I didn’t want people to know I had. But then I realised that there were lots of people (a lot more experienced as well) who were in the same position. Still that doesn’t make it any easier when all your friends and acquaintances kindly ask how the job-hunting is going. Thanks for asking but I really don’t want to talk about it. I spend enough of my day trawling through web sites and newspapers looking for anything half decent to apply for, so that by evening I may be able to relax and not think about it.

Just let us know

So, how can employers be more responsive to my efforts? A simple solution is to send a generic email letting me know the outcome of my application. With the knowledge I would at least get a response, I’d be more willing to take extra care and effort completing an application form because I’ll know it will at least been read. It would give me a more positive approach to job applications. But, as this is unlikely, the next best option would be for me to frequently contact the employer asking for an outcome – then they might take note of my predicament and change the way that they respond to applications.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015