Here’s an interesting experiment for ya: A job seeker wanted to know what he’s up against. In order to assess his competition and see what it’s like on the other end of the in-box, he created a faux job ad and posted it on Craigslist.
According to Lifehacker, Eric K. Auld received more than 650 responses within one day. The adjunct lecturer in English is currently employed part-time and has his Master’s degree. Sounding a bit dismayed with the full-time job search, his experiment is the result of thinking outside the box or in this case, the CV.
He writes in the piece:
“I grew thoughtful, curious, worrisome, and thoroughly impatient— all in that order. I also knew many others in my position who had suffered similar fates. I had to find out more on where I stood in this uncertain job market. I thought that if I could figure at least a piece of that out, then maybe I could improve my job hunting techniques, and, maybe then— just maybe —an employer would actually call me back.”
Focusing on New York, he created a full-time administrative assistant job with a decent paycheck and health benefits for a “busy midtown office.” Oh, did we mention the pay? Between $12 and $13 per hour.
Expecting to receive “a lot” of resumes, he underestimated the anticipated overflowing in-box! Four minutes after posting the ad he received the first CV and they kept pouring in. Exactly 24 hours later, low and behold 653 responses. At that point, he pulled the plug on the ad.
And yes, in case you’re wondering he did indeed peruse each response to see what he was up against. For starters, 27 contained “an inaccessible attachment or a copy-and-paste job gone awry,” so he didn’t even bother with them.
Putting on an HR recruiting cap, approximately 147 resumes had five or more years of relevant experience. As for education, only three percent of applicants had their Master’s degrees while almost 40 percent had their Bachelor’s degrees.
The main take-away he quickly surmised was reminding himself there are over 600 people who want the same job he does. That said, a more specialized position like an editorial assistant requiring relevant experience would probably garner fewer resumes than a generic admin role.
His advice to stand out from the pack? “Employers won’t notice me by my résumé alone….Am I really going to stand out in a tidal wave of 626 applications? Probably not. What I should do is figure out methods to grab the employer’s attention…”
Secondly, if you do happen to see a cool job on Craigslist, he recommends applying to it immediately.
Third, he surmised the application review process can take a while. That is, of course, assuming the recruiter goes through the entire pile instead of stopping in the beginning when stellar resumes are found.