Kim and I are currently having job seeker competitions to see which of us can apply for the most jobs in a given week. You get one point for a ‘send us your resume’ application and three points for one where you have to type up a response to selection criteria. So far she’s definitely winning.
It doesn’t take long before the criteria start to meld together and each application letter starts to look disturbingly similar to all the others. For no other reason that because I’m fed up with it all, here are the responses to selection criteria I wish I could give. And yes, this totally counts as three points.
1. A tertiary qualification in a relevant field, and at least six years’ experience in a similar, related or, ideally, better position.
I hold a Bachelor of Journalism and a first class Honours degree in Linguistics, both from the University of Queensland. Before you put this application aside under the arrogant assumption that this has no relevance to the online marketing field you’re so smugly trying to engage, consider not only the value of the professional communication skills that come with a degree in journalism, but also the evidence of self-directed research, independent operation and dedication that come with an honours degree in anything.
Also, I corrected the grammar in the criterion statement for you. You’re welcome.
If I had six years’ experience in a position like this, do you really imagine I would be applying to be your part time junior communications assistant? This is Darwin: You yourself have probably not held this role for more than eighteen months. The only reason you want so much experience is so I can explain how all this stuff works for you. Which is fine; I’ll have a handle on it within a fortnight or so. I’m really clever.
2. Excellent written, oral, non-verbal and telepathic communication skills. Ability to learn Slavic languages instantly would be well regarded.
I have thirty years’ experience in the field of communicating, and in that time I have developed from primitive crying to the point that I can respond to online job advertisements and spell better than you can. In most of my previous positions I have been required to communicate with other people on a daily basis, even in situations where this was clearly a waste of company time. I have also developed an instinctive ability to read the minds of managers, customers, co-workers’ computers and the canteen lady, purely as a survival strategy.
3. Demonstrated ability to manage multiple competing priorities and deadlines, to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment that is super-charged, stressful and under water.
This is a bloody stupid thing to ask me. Basically you’re advertising the fact that if I get this job, your expectations are going to be unreasonable from the word go. Telling me what I’m getting myself in for from the outset, while appreciated, does not make it a more acceptable or professional way to treat people. Everyone multitasks. Telling people that yours is a high pressure job place does not make you look impressive and cutting edge. It makes you look like a bad manager. Chill out.
4. Exceptional organisational and time management skills.
This week I quadruple booked myself on Tuesday night. I told four different people that I would be at their gatherings at the same time. This has nothing to do with me being a poor manager and everything to do with me consistently letting other people tell me what to do. I was supposed to have a series of meetings spread out over a period of a couple of weeks from all the high-pressure fast-paced multitasking of social obligations I routinely undertake, but for whatever reason, all the other stake holders in the groups decided, one by one, that they couldn’t possibly do it any other night than Tuesday. So I told them all they could do it, and went to One Body practice instead. I’m confident they all managed just fine without me.
Yes, okay. I should probably buy a diary or something.
5. Please indicate whether you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
I understand that you consider yourself an equal opportunity employer. I applaud you for your selfless and community-spirited endeavour to provide employment opportunities for Indigenous people (how much government money does your organisation get per indigenous trainee, by the way?). But unless this job requires me to work in indigenous communities, there is absolutely no reason to ask people to specify their racial background.
The only reason to include this criterion is to make a distinction between people of different racial backgrounds. This is supposed to be illegal. And if the purpose is to address indigenous disadvantage by giving special consideration and opportunities to Indigenous people under some ironic application of the word ‘equal,’ then that’s fine, but what possible motivation could I have to say ‘no’ and immediately remove myself from consideration based on my race?
Prefer not to disclose.
6. Demonstrated extensive experience in the fields of project management, financial planning, problem solving, hostage negotiation, space travel, molecular biology, gymnastics and early Renaissance impressionism.
In my current capacity as Communications Officer, I regularly pretend to know things about just about everything. I have produced written material on space travel in the past and am capable of producing one to one and a half pages on just about any subject that would convince the likes of you that I know what I’m talking about. Hell, I’ve been writing this blog for six years now, and no-one seems to have caught on.
I am available for interview anytime, and I look forward to hearing from you. Yeah right.
Garry with 2 Rs