I graduated last year. It sounds better to say it that way, as opposed to, “I graduated a year ago,” or “I graduated almost a year and a half ago” or “I’ve been unemployed for the past two months and the four months before that.” Yeaaahhhhh.
So, I apply for jobs. And paid internships. And unpaid internships that offer transportation stipends. And unpaid internships that don’t offer transportation stipends.
After reading so many job listings, I began to notice a pattern. There is basically one template of stock phrases that employers recycle into a nebulous description of human behavior.
Let’s crack the code!
“Looking for someone with 3-5 years’ experience… “
How did this become the standard line? If I add up my work experience, beginning as a babysitter at age thirteen, I have almost a decade of experience. Does that count? What if I have two years and ten months of experience, but I promise to remember birthdays and bring in cupcakes?
“Interested in a fast-paced work environment…”
Most likely “fast-paced” is lie, a pathetic ploy to suggest that the work they do is exciting. It is not.
On the other hand, if true, “fast-paced” secretly means: “You will work late every day. Your boss will be a Ritalin-addicted megalomaniac. Watch your back, your co-workers are already plotting your demise.”
A clock ticks loudly in the background. Two minutes ‘til the staff meeting and your memo is stuck in the hot plastic depths of this ancient printer! You plunge youry hands into the dark teeth of the machine, desperately tugging at the crumpled folds of paper. Your sleeve catches! The lights on the dashboard of the beast flicker and smoke pours of its orifices! You scream, but no can hear you through the thick walls of the conference room. As you struggle, you swear you can hear the loud “click click click” of Deborah from Accounting’s whore-high heels.
“With a strong interest in our company’s work…”
What “work” is that exactly? Your website is chockfull of jargon about “client-based consultation” and “seamless transition management.” Writing a cover letter will take three hours of aimless research about “project management for network allies.” Even with this research, the paragraph that I cobble together sounds so vague that my bullshit is audible.
“A team player…”
Group work sucks.
We will either get along and half-ass the project while bar hopping OR we will hate each other and begrudgingly complete our work while complaining on Twitter that “My coworkers are lazy idiots #whydoihavetodoeverythingmyself.”
“Familiar with X, Y, and Z software….”
Nada. I could take a class, but what if I get a job after it starts? An imaginary future problem is a reasonable excuse to not take a class and continue being ignorant.
I could teach myself, but that seems like a lot of work. Note to self: Do not describe self as “self-starter” or “highly motivated.”
Translation: You will be working alone in a dusty cubicle by an abandoned elevator shaft. Rumor has it that someone died there. You will not get invited to birthday lunches. All of the fun projects will go to the summer intern. The one time that someone gets lost and wanders by, you will be flailing like an idiot, trying to turn the motion-activated lights back on.
“Ability to multi-task…”
Of course I can multitask! While I’m tailoring my resume to this position, I’m also watching an episode of Hoarders, shopping for cankle-sliming shoes, and checking my facebook like an overconfident middle-schooler scouring the cast list of Footloose Jr for their name.
“Please list your salary requirements…”
You already know what you want to pay someone! Why are you doing this to meeeeee?
I have researched comparable pay-rates and would accept a starting salary between $30,000 and $35,000.
I will accept anything between minimum wage and $1,000,000,000.
Will work for expired granola bars.
“Due to overwhelming response, only qualified candidates will be contacted. No phone calls.”
What an uplifting finale! I will proceed to check my email five thousand times a day for the following two weeks. No emails will arrive and the hope that has been allowed to grow in those two weeks will be squashed like underwear at the bottom of a suitcase.
All of the things employers say and what they actually mean.
Obviously, since I don’t have a job, I can’t end this post with job hunting advice, but…good luck out there…unless you’re applying for the same jobs as me…oh, you have a job?…where?…are they hiring?