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the articles, they do nothing April 10, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Experiences, Seen Elsewhere.
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It was only a matter of time before someone created Stuff Unemployed People Like. I’ve been reading the site, and so far, this is the best thing I’ve come up with, especially since I — even though I’m still employed — do get taken in when I see these article titles in my RSS reader.

Unemployed people have nothing but time to browse the internet for any form of entertainment, however base it might be. At some point, however, they might find themselves obsessively refreshing CNN and Yahoo for new news and inevitably a headline such as “How to fight the office blahs” or “Six six-figure recession proof work-from-home jobs that you don’t know about” will result in a click-thru. Everyone knows they’re better off shutting down the computer rather than clicking on the link. But maybe, just maybe, this article will have some interesting and insightful information that will result in a job.

WRONG.

Once again, the unemployed implode in fury as they realize they’ve been duped into reading yet another overly anecdotal article, littered with quotes reminiscent of the fake opinion holders from “The Onion”, with absolutely no helpful tips, and no new insight on how to survive in the working world should one be able to obtain one of those ever-so-coveted jobs. The thing CareerBuilder doesn’t seem to realize is that they’re silently killing the unemployed by offering tips better suited for high schoolers looking for mall jobs. This is a new era where fairly high skilled workers with years of experience and professionalism are suddenly out of a job, so tips on how to make eye contact, give a firm handshake, and not chew gum in the interview, are not only unappreciated, but make the reader want to have an aneurysm.

I’ve worked for job search and employment firms, and I’ve been a hiring manager. I suppose that, in some universe, people do need to know how to talk to potential employers, but the firms I worked for were talking to the kind of audience that already knows the basics. And let’s be honest here: people who are looking for jobs on CareerBuilder and similar sites already know how to interview (for the most part). What they really need are tips on how to network, and those are a lot harder to come by because networking isn’t something that can be taught.

No one who interviewed with me ever came in chewing gum, or was afraid to shake my hand, or dressed poorly. One person I interviewed wore a suit, but then, he was extremely overqualified and looking for full-time, not part-time; all I had at the time was part-time. People know the basic stuff, and they even know some of the non-basic, like “six recession-proof jobs”. (Hint: people will always need to buy food, so go work at a grocery store.) The trick is to hook people into reading your slightly-useful articles in hopes that they will come to the actual career site (ie: CareerBuilder) to get the really useful ones — and, if possible, pay for them.

Even CareerBuilder needs to make a little money now and then.

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