A job-seeker recently told me that a local public radio station explicitly asked applicants to SEND THEIR RESUMES AND REFERENCES VIA SNAIL MAIL. This set me to thinking.
While email has made communication faster and easier, it has also lowered certain barriers. Applying for a job in the old days, when you had to type up a cover letter, print out your resume, and then entrust your career ambitions to the postal bureaucracy, meant that the application process itself served as a filter. It was a hassle. You had to really want the job in order put in the effort.
Nowadays, applying for a job is just a question of pointing and clicking, a fact that effectively devalues the act of applying itself. (The additional fact that companies let machines scan resumes for keywords before forwarding them to a human being is one potent indicator of this devaluation.) By making applicants jump through an out-moded hoop, the radio station erected an initial screen and therewith cut down on the number of frivolous applications from the unqualified and the quasi-interested.
Now, consider reverse-engineering this move and, next time you apply for a job, actually print out a cover letter, etc., and send the whole dang thing off. Although there was nothing differentiating in the past about this approach – it was the main and most common way to apply for jobs – it’s quaintness will now distinguish it from the torrent of digital applications.
Just an idea.