Employer Says She's Been Looking For A Year, Can't Find A Soul To Hire

For the country's 12.8 million unemployed, it may seem like the jobs just aren't out there. The average jobless American is out of work, after all, for nine months. But a somewhat different lament is coming, increasingly, from the employer's end: They can't find good enough people to fill all their open jobs.

There's a raging debate over what's going on here. Is it a "skills gap"? Too many bachelor's degrees? Not enough bachelor's degrees? A generation of over-coddled narcissists? AOL Jobs decided to go to one frustrated employer and find out. Meet Kimberly Yasa (pictured above), director of market intelligence at ChemOrbis, which provides marketplace and trend information for the global plastic resin market.

Yasa says that she started hunting to fill an opening over a year ago, a work-from-home job that pays $30,000 to $50,000, depending on experience, but with no benefits (it's an independent contractor position). The only requirements are a four-year college degree and some writing and editing skills, so she thought she'd get a bounty of qualified, eager applicants. She didn't. And she's pointing her finger at one culprit: the Internet.

%VIRTUAL-hiringNow-topCity%Eighty percent of the applications that she's received didn't include a cover letter, she claims, and of the ones with a cover letter, three-quarters of them didn't even mention the position. One applicant even used the wrong company name.

"I do believe that the Internet is causing a vicious circle," she says. "You can too easily hit the send button. So a candidate gets used to sending 100 resumes. Of course they hear nothing back, because they weren't right for the job in the first place. So they don't want to put effort in the next 100 resumes."

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"They just want to throw them out there and see what lands," she says.

Yasa's opening is for a junior market analyst at her company, and no work experience is required. "We're looking to train someone from scratch," she says. "They don't have to be from my sector whatsoever. We would turn you into an expert."

But when she posted a paid ad last year on Monster.com she received only 64 responses after a month, and none of them were good enough to hire. So she posted the ad again last week on LinkedIn, and has so far received just 77 applications -- the vast majority of them worthless, she says.

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"How many millions of kids graduated this year?" she asks exasperatedly. "How many are out of work? How many want to work from home?"

After going through this experience, Yasa has a few tips for job-seekers who have been sending out their resumes, but getting no bites.

  • Send a cover letter. "This is basic stuff," she says. "Everybody knows you have to have a cover letter." A cover letter, she says, needs to explain how the person's qualities match the job description. Without that information, she has to do all the work herself of combing a person's resume for the relevant skills. "I need to see how you fit and why you fit and you need to show me," she says. So many people, "just throw out their resume and hope that the company figures it out for them."
  • Explain why you want the job. Yasa says that she'll receive resumes from people with a background in other sectors, and isn't quite sure why they want to move into her's. "I don't bother to call them," she says. "I need to see their desire to work at this position. I want someone to be happy and enjoy this job and stay with me for a very long time."

  • Mention the position. So many cover letters, Yasa says, read like copy-and-paste jobs, recycled from a hundred other applications. Job-seekers should at the very least mention the position they're applying for in their cover letters.

  • Sell your services, not your goal. A lot of applicants, Yasa says, will talk about wanting the job to "better themselves," or "get real world experience," or "improve my skills." And while Yasa wants her employee to be the best they can be, job-hunting is a seller's game. "You can not sell me your betterment," she says. "That's not why I pay you money. I'm not paying you so you can round out your resume."

Yasa is still accepting applications for the job. If interested, you can view the job description and apply here. But don't forget the cover letter.

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