Or internships. Or anything with an application process that asks you to provide them with links to your social media accounts and attach a cover letter, resume, head shot, birth certificate, social security card, a list of your ideas for your first born’s name, and a list of recipes you have yet to try from Pinterest.
Applying for things is hard. It is a never-ending process filled with hope then discouragement then embarrassment then resentment then excitement. Sometimes, all of those emotions happen at the same time and your world implodes on itself. It isn’t enough that you have just realized that you are needing to change a huge aspect of your life (how you spend all of your time during the day), but you are voluntarily presenting your vulnerable underbelly for the world to critique. In this case, your vulnerable underbelly is your Microsoft Word templated resume, and the world is every single one of the amazing companies you want to work for. In a nutshell: the most humbling experience of your life.
Because of this wondrous step into my journey of adulthood, I have talked to everyone I know about this process. It is the highest rated topic of any conversation during the last semester of college. I kid you not when I say I have talked more about my internship search in the last two months than how much I talked about boys in all of middle school. THAT’S A LOT, OKAY?
That’s why I need to say this as a foreword: my beef is not with how much this topic plagues my mind because then I would have a beef with most food and the workings of gravity. It isn’t even how long it takes to write individual cover letters. Not even the heavy burden of maybe being unemployed after graduation.
My beef is with how much of yourself you try to put into an application, and it not comparing with how you really are in person. One little mistype or mispost can change you in someone else’s eyes.
I realized it the other day when walking with my partner in public relations crime, Brooke. We brought up the internship search, of course, and she mentioned how difficult it is for our generation to get a job compared to our parents’ generation.
“It used to be that you went into a place and handed them your resume, then they called you for an interview. Once in the interview, they got to meet you face-to-face. There was no searching through Facebook or scanning Instagram.”
This woman, so wise, really struck the nail on the head for me. In an age where we share our whole lives online, there is a chance that you are totally different than who you are online. It isn’t enough to hand in your resume to show your experience and then meet in person; you have to make sure your LinkedIn is up to par, your Facebook is appropriate, your Instagram has a good variety of interest, your Twitter doesn’t have vulgar language…The list goes on and on. Every time I hit “Submit” on an application, I have a moment of panic that they may not get my joke. They may not understand that I was trying to be clever or see how interested I really am in marketing research. However, if they met me in person, they could hear the passion in my voice and see it in my eyes.
The other part to that is the rejection that may follow after you spill your professional guts. You present yourself in all the right ways and make your Twitter hiring-status, and you still don’t get it. No matter if there was just a difference in the job description and your expertise or a better candidate, you are going to take it personally. It HAD to be that Avril Lavigne lyrical Facebook status from seven years ago. There’s no other explanation.
I’m not saying I don’t agree with the application process. How else is a company supposed to weed through hundreds of applications without asking and researching? When you are in the mass communication industry, how you present yourself says a lot about how you will represent your company. I just wish it went back to a resume and a smile.
I will continue to keep my sites authentic and unique to me because I know the company I end up working for will appreciate my enthusiasm for guacamole and corgi puppies. Maybe I’m being a little too optimistic, but hey, that’s who I am. How else will they know I’m that way unless I put it out there for the whole world to see? Through every outlet. All the time.