The Problem is Not Your Resume

Send to Kindle
These people want your job. (Source: James Cridland)

These people want your job. (Source: James Cridland)

You’re trying to get a job. You’ve applied for a bunch of them. Maybe even got some interviews. Sadly, none of those big fish have bitten yet, and your savings are dwindling. Maybe the problem is your resume (spoiler: it’s not). So you take some resume advice, say from Google’s HR Manager, like here. Now your resume’s really swell. You’ll get some better attention from an interviewer, and perhaps you’ll get a job. Good news for you.

Now let’s imagine that everybody takes that resume advice, everybody makes their resume better, which is apparently what people giving resume advice want to happen so that they don’t have to see a single terrible typo in front of their delicate resume-reading eyes. The problem is that still only one person is getting that job, no matter how great everybody’s resumes are. If you improve your resume and get it, that means the person who would otherwise have got it still needs a job.

There are 2,600,000 unemployed people in the UK with 400,000 jobs available (source). There is a similarly unpleasant ratio in America (source), and while I haven’t checked every country, I’d expect that there aren’t likely to be any countries where there are more jobs than people wanting them. There simply are not enough jobs for all the people unemployed. The point I’m making here is that while for some individuals it may be their fault if they don’t have a job, for the limitless majority it is not their fault. The system is to blame, because there aren’t enough jobs. And even while we know there aren’t enough jobs, we tell everybody to get a job, so that there are 10 people competing for every 1 job.

As with most things in life, if you want to know why something is a certain way, you can follow the money. Who benefits financially from there being more people than there are jobs? In a free-ish labor market such as we have, if there is a larger demand for jobs than there is a supply, then the job-suppliers (i.e. employers) get to raise their price, which means lowering the wages for the job. They don’t have to make their jobs more appealing, because we believe in a system where everybody must have a job, no matter what that job is. Most companies who pay minimum wage for an undesirable job have no incentive to pay more – the supply of workers is far above what they need.

I don’t see any incredible system which is going to create all those millions of needed jobs. We need to move away from a system where everybody needs a job just because. Processes are becoming more efficient. Robotic or automatic systems are taking over human jobs. There will steadily be less and less jobs, and a world where we believe everybody should have a job is not going to be sustainable.

Let me know your thoughts!