A reader writes:
Since I came home from my first year of college in May, I’ve been looking for a new job to no success. I haven’t even gotten so far as to be interviewed, despite having been on a job hunt since May. Finally, in mid-July, I’m getting a glimmer of hope! The bakery department at the supermarket where I’ve been a part-time cashier/bagger for over two years now is seeking help. Not only would I enjoy working at the bakery, but I would receive more hours. I’m very hopeful that I will get this job, because I have always “exceeded expectations” in every performance review, and am overall a very good employee.
However, I worry that the advice my parents are giving me might screw up my chances of getting this job. My parents, who have both not had to worry about getting a job since the earlier 90s, tell me to visit the manager and check in on the application at least once a day, or call to check in on it. I feel like this would be very annoying for the manager, and I don’t want to come off as annoying.
Earlier this summer, I was applying to a coffee shop and took their advice. I went in every day, asked for the manager and explained who I was, that I had applied and that I just wanted to check in on the application. My parents even told me to call later in the day too, which I refused to do, thinking it would just be nagging. I apparently made an impact there, because the third time I came into the coffee shop, the head barista looked at me, sighed very loudly and said, “I’ll go get him.” Five minutes later, I was being interviewed by the manager… For one minute, literally. I was asked three questions, which were just to verify information on the application, and then told to stop calling them.
They never called back. (My parents still tell me to call them… I feel like it’s beating a dead horse at this point…)
I’m worried that the advice my parents are giving me is one of the reasons why I seem to struggle to get a job. They tell me that nothing has changed in the almost twenty years since they’ve gotten their jobs, and that what worked for them will work for me.
I really want to get this position in the bakery. What advice would you give me, or are my parents’ strategy correct?
Stop listening to your parents on any matter related to job searching (and maybe your career in general) right now.
Check on your application in person once a day? And then call too? And keep calling that coffee shop after they directly told you to stop calling and indirectly told you that you were being a pain in the ass? And nothing has changed in 20 years?
Frankly, I highly doubt that these tactics were effective 20 years ago since most people don’t want to work with people who are inappropriately aggressive and annoying. And moreover, plenty has changed about job-searching in the last 20 years. Conventions are different (see: objectives and one-page resumes, among many other things), the job market is different, and the Internet has changed everything.
Your parents are hereby barred from giving you any job search advice, and — more importantly — you are barred from listening to them. They are destroying your job search efforts.
Read the following:
Calling to follow up after applying for a job
(Note that in food service and retail, you can tone this advice down a bit. While for office jobs you shouldn’t call to follow up on your application more than once — and preferably not at all — in food service and retail you can do it a couple of times. But certainly not daily. Please also read Kerry Scott’s advice on this.)
Should you show up without an appointment?
Again, food service and retail are different and unscheduled visits aren’t seen as crazy there, but I want you to read this so that you’re armed against your parents’ advice if they tell you to do this when you’re applying for other jobs — where it absolutely will be seen as crazy.
When does persistence becoming stalking?
Don’t stalk the hiring manager
10 outdated pieces of job advice
Consider printing this out and handing it to your parents. Actually, don’t, because I don’t even want you engaging in a dialogue with them on this because there’s no point. Just ignore them and do your own research about how this stuff works today.
I’m sure your parents give good advice on some topics … but job searching is officially not one of them. The good news, though, is that your own instincts seem pretty sound. Trust your gut, and supplement it with a little online research (from good sources, not inexperienced/outdated ones), and you’ll do fine.