“Don’t use the Internet!” and Other Ridiculous Job-Hunting Advice My Mother has Given Me

Moms mean well, but they can be seriously out of touch — especially when it comes to what life is like for an underemployed millennial trying to get her hustle on. I’ve been looking for a full-time job in my field for the past few months, and while I love and appreciate my mom for spending hours listening to me bemoan my current tragic employment situation — I’m a cashier at a liquor store — I can’t help but roll my eyes at most of the job-hunting advice she dishes out. I know she means well, but the woman hasn’t been a recent university graduate looking for a job since the reign of Molly Ringwald. Needless to say, the game has changed over the past 25 years and my mother’s advice, though well-intentioned, isn’t good for much more than a cynical chuckle. For example:

“You’re relying too much on the Internet to find jobs. I think you need to start going door-to-door with your resumes like I did.”

Handing out resumes “door-to-door” was a lucrative venture when I was 16 years old — I was inducted into the McDonald’s family a mere two weeks after submitting my resume — but that practice just doesn’t fly for a 24-year-old professional lady looking for a professional job. Regardless of whatever delusions my mother is suffering under, finding work these days requires research skills, particularly the ability to use a search engine properly. On that note, is it even possible to rely on the Internet too much when it comes to finding things? If I can use the Internet to hire a professional ninja [Link 1], then I can certainly use it to find work. But try explaining that to someone who once Googled the phrase, “I’m not sure how to use my husband’s new GPS and I would like help, please.” Not possible.

“Why don’t you get a newspaper and apply to the jobs posted in the classifieds? There are dozens of them!”

Yeah, Mom, because “MAKE EZ CASH FAST!!!! $20/HR 2 START!! NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY” sounds like a totally legit job opportunity. Pass me that paper!

“Why aren’t you applying to jobs in the government? There are always jobs in the government!”

Actually, no. That would be incorrect [Link 2]. (Yes, that link leads to an article about cuts in the Canadian government, as I am a Canadian, but I think it’s safe to say there aren’t many government jobs to go around for my sisters south of the border either.)

“What do you mean you spend hours tailoring your resume for every job you apply to? I had one resume that I used everywhere and I got a job!”

Dang, job hunters in the 80s had it easy. A world where it was possible to become gainfully employed by submitting the exact same resume to multiple job postings? Utopia!

“Make sure you mention how many years you worked at McDonald’s in your resume.”

Talk about rubbing salt in the wound (pun not intended). My mother seems to be under the impression that the years I spent slumming it under the Golden Arches as a high school student will impress the magazine editors and communications coordinators I’m emailing. I am under the impression that they don’t care, unless, of course, they’re interested in the sodium content of the McNugget combo they had for lunch yesterday.

“You were always such a happy little girl. You need to be more optimistic about finding a job, like you were when you were a kid auditioning for plays or running for school president.”

But of course! An optimism deficiency is holding me back from becoming gainfully employed, not the bleak job market or the fact that university degrees are just about as common as colds. Now that I think about it, the cupcake campaign I ran during the race for the presidency of my elementary school was super successful… Maybe giving potential employers pumpkin spice cupcakes that read “Hire me!” will help?

“Why don’t you become a nurse like So and So did or work with computers like What’s Her Face?”

I have an eleventh-grade biology education. If people with eleventh-grade biology educations were allowed to become nurses, the country’s life-expectancy rate would be much, much lower than where it stands today. And as for “working with computers,” well, I once mistook a personal DVD player for a laptop. I had to ask for help the first time I needed to turn on a Mac computer. There are octogenarians who have mastered the fine art of the Excel spreadsheet faster than I did. Suffice it to say that I really am the last person on Earth who has any business “working with computers.”

Given the dismal unemployment rate and a mother’s biological instinct to offer incessant and unsolicited guidance to her offspring, I’m willing to guess I’m not the only one on the receiving end of rather-unhelpful-and-maybe-even-a-tiny-bit-laughable motherly advice. Care to commiserate with me? And if you were one of the few touched-by-an-angel people who did manage to score gainful employment post-graduation, help the rest of us out by sharing your secrets!

You can read more from Kristyn Filip on her blog.