Hello, my name is Rob, and I’m unemployed.

Previously posted at LinkedIn

I mean, I’m freelancing. No, consulting. Whatever.

In my last role as Creative Director, I branded a new Fortune 1000 company, helped build a top notch internal design department, learned and taught PowerPoint and design within brand guidelines, facilitated style guide compliance and learned management and prioritization.

I personally worked with all the head executives into the night on-site in 3 different cities on their presentations at huge events. I designed their entire icon library and infographic styles and was assistant director on set for three video productions, and directed countless more though email and Webex calls. I mentored my design team, pushed back on my Senior Director when she wanted to bucket incoming projects, so that I could align each designer with their areas of expertise and maintained monthly presentations of our best work to the CMO and CEO.

I have 20 years of experience as a visual designer and illustrator, motion graphics/video editor, freelancer, Web, email and print designer. I’m skilled at branding, digital marketing, design, illustration, typography, Web, mobile, print, event design & infographics.

I’ve reworked my portfolio (in both web-based and presentation formats), designed and implemented a personal brand across not only my resume and cover letter but all of my social properties and personal marketing graphics. I’ve written articles through LinkedIn and Medium on job hunting, creative careers, advertising and email marketing best practices.

On top of that, I’ve helped my wife launch her new custom apparel and gifts business and am volunteering as Communications Director for my small town’s upcoming Community Center project.

Yet apparently, I still need to justify a 6-month gap in employment. I’ve applied at 5-20 positions a week that I’m perfectly qualified for (and at last count, 36 of those roles have been at Amazon alone). In six months, I’ve had four in-person interviews. FOUR.  And two of those were for places that didn’t even have positions for me at the time. And the rest of those applications every week? Either automatic rejection letters from nameless “Talent Management Systems” or radio silence, likely because my application came in so far down the recruiters’ inbox they didn’t even see it for weeks.

I’m good at my job. Wait, scratch that. I’m AWESOME at my job, and I don’t feel prideful in saying that. I had to pull 60+ pieces from my portfolio when I started this job hunt because it had grown that fat over the years. After 20 years, I should be able to be picky, especially in a job hunter’s market, as I’ve been told. I shouldn’t feel bitter when I see others in my LinkedIn network post about their new jobs – I used to rejoice… so what is it? I can’t help but feel I have some gigantic Scarlet Letter on my chest, or at least can’t break through the line of prescreening robots that are most organizations’ first line of OFFENSE in finding talented “unicorn” candidates.

I know there’s no such letter, but I can’t help but look down every couple of days. I didn’t quit my job. I wasn’t fired. I was downsized. It happens.

But SIX MONTHS? Come on. I’m talented. I’m available. And you have a need, else you wouldn’t have just posted that job on Linkedin, Indeed AND your own website. Do you really expect me to believe “you’ve decided to pursue other candidates that more closely align to your needs at this time”, while you continue to post the SAME job requisition every two weeks for five months straight?

Maybe there is a big “U” on me somewhere…


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