In which I check my alert status …

You would think that technology would make looking for jobs easier. I’m sure that it does when used properly. When I started job hunting in earnest I set up a brand new gmail address and registered with every agency I could think of. I also signed up to the jobs pages of the Times and Guardian. And, of course, I got to grips with LinkedIn.

None of this activity has yet got me the job of my dreams but it has helped me get to grips with how recruitment works these days. That’s been particularly important given how many years it has been since I was last ‘out there’.

Most days sees me getting a handful of automatically generated  job alerts from various organisations. But I’ve begun to wonder whether I need to revisit my search parameters.

Yesterday was a fairly typical day given it’s the quiet season for recruitment. Here’s a sample of what I was offered –

Graduate trainee recruitment consultants – I had half a dozen or so of these on one of my alerts. All starting with something like this – 

My client is an incredibly ambitious, rapidly expanding recruitment company with a track record of excellence within their specialist markets, which include the IT and Financial sectors.

I suspect that a grumpy bloke in his late forties is probably not what they’re looking for. So I’ve been unmoved.

Despite having never taught children in my life I was also sent a notice – on the same alert – about the Headship of a prestigious school. Never really seen myself as a Mr Chips sort of figure so I don’t think I’ll trouble them with my CV.

For reasons that remain obscure to me I was also sent some information yesterday about the advent of the World Beer Pong Championship in Las Vegas. Er …

Then I got an alert about an Interim Management opportunity – sadly not in my particular area of expertise but at least it showed the communications channel with that consultancy is working well.

Then there came a slew of messages from organisations and individuals offering me the chance to earn ‘£Thousands!’ from the comfort of my own home. And it would only take a small investment from my to secure this opportunity. Thank you, but no.

There are other organisations out there – you know who you are – who put up job alerts on the basis of a chat they may have had down the golf club or overheard in the gym. Notices from these folks often look like this –

Our client is a leading public/private sector organisation with an outstanding reputation for customer service excellence. Despite challenging market conditions they are looking to recruit new talent to enhance their senior leadership team. If you are an experienced professional wanting to take your career to the next level please send your most recent cv to Doug or Caroline at

After hearing nothing for a while you will start to get strange spam. That’s because our friends at are trying to sell you – without your knowledge – to anyone daft enough to take a call from them. That’s right there is no job. Instead your CV is, so far as I can tell, standing on a virtual block in a virtual auction.

Some of my funniest moments though come from browsing what Total Jobs sends me. Yesterday I was encouraged to consider being an Infantry Soldier by my friends over at Total Jobs. My profound respect for our armed forces tells me the last thing any unit wants is to be saddled with me as a soldier. But you can’t fault Total Jobs ‘thinking out of the box’ approach because here they come again letting me know about a post as an Agricultural Solicitor. It’s hard to think – infantry soldier apart – of any job I am less fitted for.

So I think it’s time to go back through all the parameters I used when I set up these alerts because there are clearly boxes that I should have ticked or not ticked that need some attention.

Meanwhile I am going to the library to look up exactly what this means – Linux Support Engineer, Systems Engineer – Linux, MySQL, Tomcat.

About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in job hunting, private sector, Public sector, recruitment consultancies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to In which I check my alert status …

  1. bookworm221 says:

    Hi RPS
    Your parameters must be exactly the same as mine – I recognise many of the jobs from my inbox! Do you think our skill sets are identical?! And there was I thinking that the jobs had been carefully handpicked for me! 🙂

  2. localgov says:

    There are some really random ones out there, aren’t there?! I too get the ‘graduate trainee headhunter’ alerts, despite professing a disposition to actually hunting them rather than getting them jobs.

    I think that job might actually be good for a graduate themselves, so all they need to do is find themselves one and they’d be laughing. If only they employed someone whose job that was to do…

    • Dear localgov,

      Has the hunting ban on graduates been lifted? I must have missed the vote …

      Like Reggie Perrin’s hippo I get a vivid image of smiling forest folk with blowpipes whenever I see the term ‘headhunter’. Just imagine if it was a literal description of the job specification.



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  4. Mean Mr Mustard says:

    Today, via an apparently reputable jobs board – which I shall now be unsubscribing from – I was invited to become a currency speculator. Just a short (free!) seminar to learn the trading methodology, work for just an hour a day – then let your computer do the rest.

    Meanwhile, reading through my daily check of collapsing ponzi economies, Michael Hudson at reports – “Take any stock in the United States. The average time in which you hold a stock is–it’s gone up from 20 seconds to 22 seconds in the last year. Most trades are computerized. Most trades are short-term. The average foreign currency investment lasts–it’s up now to 30 seconds, up from 28 seconds last month.”

    Now that’s Casino Capitalism for you. We should be fearless parasitic speculators, not needed service providers. Feeling lucky, RPS?

    • Dear Mean Mr Mustard,

      Scary how so much of our economic well-being depends on nothing much better than glorified space-invader programmes.

      Given I’ve never been in a casino in my life and have a complete absence of knowledge of high finance I think I’m admirably suited to a job in banking regulation.

      I wonder where they get listed?


      • Mean Mr Mustard says:

        You just provoked a chilling memory there, RPS. In 2005, I visited a floating casino in Oregon. Glamorous and sophisticated it was not. It was filled with morbidly obese chain smokers with glasses of beer to one side, perched on bar stools at their chosen machine. Many were regulars – attached to the machine with an in-house charge card inserted in the machine, that card connected to them by an ID-style lanyard and coiled plastic, almost umbilical. A shocking scene of desparately poor and disadvantaged looking for that one lucky break. About 10% of the floor space was given over to non-smokers, which perhaps said something about the addicted nature of the clientele. As it was, there were no coin fed machines with the manual crank handle, my own old fashioned idea of fun – a slot machine – so there was nothing there for me.

        Perhaps there’s parallels there with job seeking. The methods and rules of the game have radically changed, and the odds seem stacked against us. I call the job search touchscreens at the job centre ‘slot machines’, because of how they spool out prints of possible opportunities. But it’s not addictive, and the odds are more favourable – I’m only seeking a modest payout, not a jackpot .

  5. RL says:

    It’s a great tip to set up a separate Gmail account for job-hunting through agencies, to avoid all the spam your hunt will inevitably produce.

    The problem is, the name you choose needs to look pretty reputable for those few times an employer actually reads your CV. will impress nobody. I already have, and is taken by someone else. I don’t fancy using my middle initials either ( because I have too many of them and some people will have an irrational prejudice against that. Short of (which almost implies I’m running my own agency), I’m lost as to what to use that’s different from my normal address, but uses enough of my name that it will be taken seriously by recruiters.

    Any ideas?

  6. Troodles says:

    Happy New Year Mr RPS and family,

    I have been enjoying your new year blogs but this one made me laugh out loud, as I too have been subject to some very odd recruitment emails and contacts. My family look at me very stangely when I am reading your blogs, as I cannot help but chuckle here and now. One word of warning to your avid readers, I did go to one of these companies that contact you after they find your cv online, when I was first made redundant, mainly to try to find out as much as I could about a recruitment market that I had not been in for 27 years. I went to www.***, exchange *for a well known CS union. They were very pleasant, but I could tell a good sell from a mile off. So after being told how much they could help me, they offered to do this for just under 4k and when I didn’t respond reduced it to 2.5k.

    I’m off to check my search criteria now, should be finished in a couple of hours!!

    • Dear Troodles,

      And a very Happy New Year to all at Troodles Towers.

      You make a really powerful point about some of the predators out there only too happy to take money for stuff of questionable value.

      One of my drivers in creating the resources bit of the blog was to help folks see what other people were finding as they splashed around in the labour pool.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Best wishes


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