Fear and Loathing in the Job Search

Finding a job is a huge challenge in today’s economy. Getting a foot in the door is something that all job seekers want but many don’t realize how they inadvertently reduce their chance for success.

Having designed and led a diversity outreach and intake program for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), I’ve reviewed hundreds and hundreds of applications from job seekers. One thing that I found is that most common reason that an application does not make the ‘first cut’ is ta failure to demonstrate how the applicants fulfill all the required qualifications.

Many of those candidates may have well been able to do the job but resumes that implied a match sold these candidates short. This is because recruiters cannot analyze resumes for qualifications when the candidate has failed to make them obvious. The onus is on the job seekers to make sure that their cover letters and resumed comprehensively demonstrate that they satisfy all the requirements.

Demonstrating a match to job requirements is even harder for job seekers with disabilities. it harder because, as a population, those with disabilities tend to have fewer opportunities to gain the same level of work experience as job seekers without disabilities. Worse yet, many employers desire progressive work experience, which means that there is an obvious, upwardly mobile connection between each position that the candidate has help. In this area, job seekers with disabilities are disadvantaged. Many of us have held jobs for a number of years longer than most workers or moved between a number of survival jobs, which does not offer evidence of advancement.

Of course, job seekers with disabilities almost never get feedback from recruiters as to why their applications don’t generate employers’ interest.  Employers are reluctant to meeting with job seeker with disabilities who request for such information because they fear that it could lead to a human rights complete. Without such feedback, job seekers are left without an ability to grow from the experience. Instead, the develop a loathing about their prospect in the labour market and, for some, themselves. At this point, they start to give up.

This can be avoided if job seekers with disables become more mindful of the jobs that they apply and learn how to provide examples that make their competencies and attribute stand out above the crowd.

The first step in this process is to create a career journal that lists all the jobs that were have held, the skills gains in each position and the accomplishments achieved. Then write a narrative about each of those job experiences and compare them to the requirements listed in the job posting.

Once an opportunity that close matches their experience, the next step is to use those narratives in the cover letter that accompanies the resume.

It’s won’t be easy to do all this but it can be done!

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