Finding a new job is hard for just about everyone. Unless you’re the guy who is being hounded by offers, I guess. I’m not sure who that guy is, but I know it happens. For me, finding a job entails lots of searching and networking and hustling. And also looking up in the thesaurus the difference between ‘excel’ and ‘proficient’ because good god that could mean a 5K difference in salary or an office with a view or one with just paper clips. It involves lots of sleepless nights and stomachaches while I remind myself how much I don’t qualify for anything and go down the list of If Only They Knew. And I’ve landed a few really great positions with excellent companies full of people that I hated leaving and wished I could work with forever. I know I did a great job working for/with them and I have a quiver of recommendation letters and references to prove it. But moving to be closer to my kids and being ill for a few months over a year ago necessitated changes in employment. I’ve tried to roll with the punches and embrace what’s next.
Recently, as I shined up the ol’ resume for a new go at things, I answered an ad which stated it required a 4-year degree. This is not new. I’ve done it many times before. I have no 4-year degree but, in past years, I’ve thought nothing of including in my cover letter something to the effect of, ‘You indicated a requirement of a 4-year degree. I have [X]# of years of experience and [X]# of references I could send to you by way of indicating my qualifications for this position in lieu of said degree blah blah blah.” To which I’ve never received a negative response. Until now.
Yes, quite possibly I’ve received no negative response because 9 out of 10 times, my resume went straight into the shredder. Or the recycling bin, as it were, since I was considered unqualified. And I’ve been OK with knowing that could be true. I’ve always held some sense of Universal Timing and felt in my bones that the right companies would still find me attractive and I would land the position I was meant to have when the time was right.
But never did I consider that I might be angering people on the other side. I didn’t feel that having to read through the first three lines of my cover letter would waste so much of the reader’s time as to do some type of permanent damage to their retina, as this last enraged reply implied.
You have no idea how insulting it is to receive you application for [this really awesome position] with [this slightly less attractive company] this afternoon. Our description said in very certain terms that we are looking for someone WITH a COLLEGE DEGREE. You DO NOT have a COLLEGE DEGREE. Perhaps if you had a COLLEGE DEGREE, you would not have wasted the very valuable time it has taken me to read your application LACKING a COLLEGE DEGREE and respond to you with this email. (Ed. – to be fair, I didn’t ask her to reply is she was going to be an asshole, just if she was interested in speaking with me. So I’m not sure that last part was accurate. But what do I know? I don’t have a COLLEGE DEGREE.) In the future, may I suggest you do not blunder in this way again and refrain from replying to job positions that explicitly require a COLLEGE DEGREE. A good way to smarten up – GO TO COLLEGE.
Very, very sincerely,
[Redacted] [Extremely less attractive company at this point]
And so, my friends, I’m smarting a little from embarrassment. I’d like a college degree, sure. But I don’t see me finishing 2 years of remaining school in the next couple of weeks. And I’m more than slightly worried about sending out more cover letters with the same information I’ve been sending out that so ticked off this woman with so little time, except just enough, to write me a stinging email. I do not want to burn bridges or get a poor reputation. I feel, in a word, stuck.
Will write stupid poetry as payment for constructive advice and helpful feedback.