Abandon Hope, All Ye Searching Texas’ Job Sites

Unemployed in Texas? Ever actively looked for work, especially with the state, using what appear to be state-sponsored job search sites? If the former applies to you, you’re likely currently experiencing the unnecessary complexity of the state job application process. If you’re of the latter variety and have looked for a job within the past few years, you’ve also likely experienced the same frustrations I’m about to describe.

In my recent longer-than-desired full-time job looking for jobs, I’ve discovered that the state of Texas uses any number of methods to confuse and frustrate job seekers – especially during the application process. It seems every state agency uses a different job site. Nearly every agency requires the job seeker to register and rebuild his or her resume in that agency’s template before he or she can apply to a job.

Some state agencies refuse to take the print common state application – ah, for the days of that old staple. Others, like the Texas Veteran’s Commission, will only accept paper applications. HR Access, an outside human resources company, says it accepts paper applications for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), but who really knows? You send your application into the ether of Round Rock and wonder if it ever makes it back downtown to HHSC’s actual human resources department. (And given that HHSC requires job seekers to search and apply for jobs using Microsoft Internet Explorer only makes one want to snail mail his or her application that much more.)

Ah, but what about WorkinTexas.com, you ask? Isn’t that the job site for Texas jobs? Sure. Just like GovernmentJobs.com is a site for Texas jobs. Or, really, any other job-search site. You can use WorkinTexas.com or GovernmentJobs.com –in fact, depending on the agency, you may be required to use one or the other –but you’ll have to register and rebuild your resume. Again. On both sites. And even that doesn’t get you everywhere. As noted above, HHSC has outsourced. Even the Texas Legislature is guilty of this — separate applications for the House and Senate. But most laughter-inducing was finding that the University of Texas System uses a different application system than its own flagship campus, UT-Austin.

Why is it that the state can’t have a single employment site? For years it was a print common state application that could be used to apply for a position with any state agency (just like state universities currently offer). Now it’s almost impossible to know what to expect when you visit an agency’s employment page or one of the supposedly state-endorsed job sites.

Overall, it seems like a tremendous waste of jobseekers’ time and the state’s money to have such a complicated, disparate system. Lawmakers should consider making life a little easier on those of us who really, really, really want to work but are discouraged at the mere prospect of once again registering for a new site listing and/or accepting applications for state jobs. They should direct the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Department of Information Resources (DIR) and other necessary agencies to boil it all down to one simple state job portal.

To make it even easier and put Texas on the forefront of online application processes, a simple LinkedIn application could be transmitted to state agencies. If that sounds too much like endorsing one business over another, TWC and DIR should find or create something equally as straight-forward.

It just makes sense.

This may seem like something small, but when unemployment is still unacceptably high even in Texas, it makes a huge difference. Constantly rebuilding one’s resume for another site is not only tedious and time-consuming, it also leads to burn-out – a sense of, Is this all there is? A constant filling out of forms? Job seekers become discouraged and stop applying for jobs for many reasons. Anything that can be done to reduce the frustration felt by job hunters, simplify the application process and bring more qualified applicants to the state’s employers can only help.

And remember: Job seekers already have to write cover letters for almost every position. Isn’t that work enough?

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