the importance of key words and seo in a job search

Just a quick post to examine how key words and SEO, or search engine optimization, are king in recruiting and finding a job to match your skills these days.

Photo by Sydney Troxell on Pexels.com
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I have been applying for a job as a copy editor for months. One of the recruiting websites–a big player in the game–sent me a job link I’d “be perfect for.” It was with a company called Pizza Press that is looking for a Pizza Editor. I thought the company name and job title sounded odd to begin with, and then I read the job description. “Pizza Press” in not a publisher–not even a cookbook publisher–and “Pizza Editor” is not a job in revising copy–not even copy about pizzas. Rather, Pizza Press is a pizza joint and the Pizza Editor makes the pizzas, packages them, chats with customers, does the dishes, empties the trash, and cleans.

Now I make a pretty mean pizza, and my many years as a mom have made me nearly professional-grade level at doing dishes, cleaning, and putting things away, but I don’t think this is the job for me. Sorry, Glassdoor.

What this is, though, is a prime example of how job posting companies and job recruiters use key words and SEO to not only find jobs to post but vet candidates.

Usually Glassdoor, as well as Indeed and LinkedIn, get it right and I’m sent job postings that are a close fit for me (although some of them don’t seem to understand the difference between copywriting and copyediting, but that’s a post for another day).

In fact, just last week I was alerted to a few jobs that I finally got called up for, one of which I accepted. But once in a while job posters get it woefully wrong and end up with egg–or in this case, scrambled egg pizza–on their faces.

wayfair, you’ve got just what i need: an employment rejection letter

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Who says customer service is dead?

Of the 35 jobs I’ve recently applied to (28 since February 1), only one company has been so kind as to provide me with a proper rejection: Wayfair. How nice it was to, for once, send my cover letter and résumé into the vast void that is the Internet and to actually receive acknowledgment for my effort.

Be it bot-generated or not, Wayfair’s response was a breath of fresh air at a time when so much energy goes into applying for jobs against stiff competition in this day of far-reaching job ads. And the rejection came the very next day. No wasting my time with hours’ long tests or getting my hopes up after Indeed notifies me that my application was reviewed. What I got was a good, old-fashioned “thank you for your time, but” email. And for that, I am grateful.

This may be an understatement, but job hunting in this age is convenient but also frustrating and quite a bit sad. I am applying for work that I know I can do because I’ve done it before, for decades even. But I’m still not even getting to the interview stage.

I don’t know for sure, but it’s hard not to take the rejection as personal. It’s personal to me, because isn’t that what “personal” means?

On a good day, I picture prospective employers (who are human in my mind and not computer programs) being inundated with applications, too many to review, and understand that a cutoff has to be made somewhere.

On a bad day, I envision those reviewing my application and résumé doing the math, realizing I must have graduated college before they were born. Maybe they’d be more comfortable supervising Gen Yers or Gen Zers younger than themselves. Or maybe they feel people my age would be out of touch with the new generation and the ways and means of working in today’s world. But I have been employed consistently throughout my adulthood, I’ve taught myself how to use–and keep up with–new technology and programs that friends my age have never heard of.

Still, that aspect of employment is ever changing, and maybe they’re right. Maybe I wouldn’t be the best fit. There’s definitely a comfort level with technology the new generation has that we baby boomers do not. I’ll catch my 21-year-old, who has grown up in the age of screens, his fingers dancing and skipping around the keyboard like nobody’s business, while I want to save just about every file to my desktop and even print out a hard copy for safekeeping.

But hooking a job is more complicated than just being tech savvy.

Until I get a “welcome aboard” email, I’ll keep plugging away and see if anything turns up. And if not a job, I will hope for at least a kind rejection letter.

cutting michelle williams out of my life, or, how not to be depressed when looking for work

Sometimes you’re batting a thousand, and at other times life throws you curve balls. Actually, those both sound like OK scenarios to me. Right now, I’m at the plate waiting for that pitch to come . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting, but it never arrives. Oh, the pitcher is on the mound, for sure. He’s even winding up at times. He just never releases that ball, it never connects with my bat, and so I stand there, looking like a fool.

This is how I feel at the moment trying to find freelance editing work. As of 42 minutes ago, I have applied to 24 jobs since mid-November. I have gotten a couple hits and taken a few tests, but nothing has come of any of it. And I’m applying to positions that fit my experience pretty much to a T. I’m not one of those people sending in resumes to jobs in search of the next head publisher at Penguin Random House. I know my limitations, know what I can do, and I have a great track record with plenty of experience to offer.

So what does this have to do with Michelle Williams? Let me just say that if you’re feeling a little too upbeat, life is going great, and the sun never stops shining, stream a movie starring Michelle Williams and you’ll come quickly crashing down to earth. Watch her movies when you’re receiving rejection after rejection and you can pretty much guarantee a day or more of sheer misery.

I did this on Sunday. The skies were grey, I had been awash in rejection, my best friend was not feeling like talking to me, and I have fear of the unknown in my future. I streamed the indie movie called Wendy and Lucy, and it just resulted in more pain. The 2008 film is about a down-on-her-luck young woman who’s traveling in a beat-up old Honda from Indiana to Alaska. She and her adorable golden mutt break down somewhere in Oregon, and one heartbreak after another ensues. Just when you think Wendy has hit rock bottom, things only get worse.

Of course Michelle is great in this film. That’s the problem: She’s too convincing. I FEEL YOUR PAIN, MICHELLE WILLIAMS. I. FEEL. YOUR. PAIN. And this role fits her like a glove, which is why I must stop watching her movies. Have you ever seen her in an upbeat rom-com costarring Tom Hanks? Do her characters’ lives ever reflect happiness, good fortune, or even the mundane, for that matter? Of course not.

So, I am steering clear of any Michelle Williams/Debbie Downer movies until the pitcher is not only on the mound, but he’s released the ball that has connected with my bat that was misplayed in left field that got me on first base, then second, then third, then to home plate, the crowd is cheering, and endorsements are flying my way.