Linking in.


I’m not very good at selling myself, but most Twitter bios make me cringe. I guess they are kind of like the ‘Objective’ line in a resumé: a fairly unnecessary evil designed to sell oneself.

(Seriously, the ‘Objective’ bit of a resumé is ridiculous. My objective is always to, y’know, get the job for which I’m applying.)

Except, I think people try too hard. I think that’s true in general, though maybe that’s why I’m in a middling job and arse-deep in debt. I find it hard to break myself down by category, so I’m surprised and amused by how many Twitterers are ‘passionate about social media’ or describe themselves as ‘dreamers’. Duh, you’re on Twitter (though, ‘passionate’? really?) And most people dream of something, whether it’s designing a better composting toilet, or winning the Lotto 6/49, or one of the terrible ‘I have an exam I haven’t studied for and my pants seem to have vanished’ nightmares. It’s also kind of amazing how many ‘entrepreneurs’ there are out there too, eh?

My Twitter bio has been the same since the beginning, because I am not good at categorizing myself beyond ‘person’. I write, but I wouldn’t call myself a writer. I run (slowly), but would never call myself a runner. I like food, but I wouldn’t call myself a foodie (and only in part because that word has gone beyond ubiquity and into virtual pointlessness).

I find it fascinating that people can classify themselves. Do they really identify this way in everyday life? I’m a human. My name is Megan. Beyond that, I’m not that interested in breaking myself down into wee nuggets for the world at large to see. I’m pretty envious of those would can do the outside-looking-in thing to figure out who they are, or at least who they want people to think they are.

Because you can’t deny that it’s at least partly an aspirational thing. I was never a great salesperson, even for myself. It’s fine. I try to run an arthouse cinema. Sometimes it works, sometimes I drink wine. It’s truth. (FWIW, my favourite Twitter bio is Ellen Page‘s.)

I bring this up because, a couple of weeks ago, someone I know sent me a link a job competition (it’s a government gig) saying I should apply, but that the deadline was about 11 hours away. I said I was probably not qualified. He said I should do it anyway, since they were hiring 10 people and that he suspected that I could totally get one of them.

I quite literally hadn’t applied for a job in about six years, so didn’t even have a proper CV anymore. And when it came time to do a statement of qualifications, I got stuck. Who the fuck am I? What can I do ACTUALLY aside from (most) of the job I presently have? I dug around in my brain to think about it, got into my old Yahoo! account to rummage through the ‘sent’ file for a cover letter/resumé combo from a decade ago, and cobbled some stuff together that hopefully made me sound like a useful human Megan.

When it came to the part of the application involving specific questions about my specific work experience with relation to the specific position for which I was applying, I didn’t give up exactly, but decided that there was no point in trying to fluff my language to make me sound more qualified. I told the truth. Which is that I didn’t have the specific experience they wanted, but that I knew a great deal, and had worked in the fringes of the field in the past, and that I did some things that related, if not directly, than not too obtusely, but not in that bullshitty way I did when I was in my 20s and still in the ‘Who am I supposed to beeeeeeeeee?’ phase of job-hunting.

Ugh, that phase. The worst.

‘By working with small children, I learned [something not-relevant to any position outside of childcare].’
‘I am highly familiar with [insert software package I used to write term papers].’
‘I am passionate about [insert whatever job field I’m applying for today]’.

(Really, today I could have just written about how overused the word ‘passionate’ is this days. I can’t say I’ve ever swooned for data entry or answering phones, and nor has anyone else, unless Ewan McGregor was on the other end of the line.)

Were you expecting me to say they called me right away to come in for an interview? Because they didn’t. Ottawa is not a magical fairyland where government gigs are filled with any kind of expediency, especially not with external candidates. Even if they thought honesty was a virtue required in a government department, it’ll take months to find out anything.

But I’m pretty curious to see what happens.

Especially if we get to a point where I don’t try to sell myself in an interview situation because I don’t know how to do that.

Maybe I’ll use my farting in a stranger’s car story as an example of how I got out of a difficult situation.

3 thoughts on “Linking in.

  1. Jackie

    I think you need to cultivate your online persona in a way that infuses passion into your personal brand while keeping your objectives and skillsets top-of-mind with the nation’s hiring directors.

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  2. People keep telling me, “Oh, you should apply for X job and Y job!” And then I read the descriptions of the job and realize that I only qualify for like, 20% of it. I don’t have supervisor experience, I haven’t worked in a library before, I’ve never done payroll in my life (nor do I want to), blah de blah blah. I know how the online HR system works and they specifically ask if you have done those specific things and it automatically rejects you if you haven’t. So why the hell do people tell me to “apply anyway!” when it’s wasting my time and I’ll be ruled out by the system in 2 seconds? I honestly don’t think employers are “willing to take a chance on an unknown kid” these days who has little to no qualification for the job, for fuck’s sake.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.