It may be that looking for a new job is the most humbling thing I've ever done. I used to think that I was pretty darned employable: by virtue of prior military experience, what I flatter myself to think has been excellent performance in a wide array of assignments, current location in a military town, veteran's preference, yada yada yada. That was before the wheels fell off the juggernaut of the American Speculation Machine and Starbucks started requiring a Master's Degree to serve espresso drinks.
So it is in this oppressive economic climate that I have toiled over my qualifications and sweated out dozens of cover letters. I've rewritten my resume no less than 100 times, each time in response to a specific set of job requirements. I've carefully culled key phrases from the announcement, dissected the description to the point of splitting atoms, stuffed the application with all the position specific phraseology that's fit to print. For all this, I've only made it through the Army's Resumix computerized system one time, and I have yet to hear from the hiring official for an interview. It occurred to me the other day, after the umpteenth electronic rejection, that the federal job hiring process is vaguely reminiscent of calling Verizon customer service (i.e. I experienced in each repeated failures to find a way to interact with a human). Say two for new hires. I'm sorry, I didn't understand you. Transferring to main menu. Say two for new hires. I'm sorry, you're not qualified for that menu option. Please call again when you have your doctorate.
I've had some limited success with state job applications. I made it to the interview level for two jobs, only to hear a week later that the jobs are now subject to a temporary hiring freeze that may or may not last the rest of the fiscal year. So it's back to the drawing board. The good news is that, now that my job search is out of the closet, I've had multiple offers to help. It looks like I'm gonna need it.