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An Open Letter to Employers with Ridiculous Requirements


Dear Wayward Employer,

I’m writing you this letter because I was perusing your website and saw a job that looked awesome. I read through the description and everything about the job was me. Then I read the “requirements and qualifications” and found myself flabbergasted and appalled. I’ve done everything you describe in the responsibilities, but some of your requirements are…umm, how can I say this? Ridiculous? Kobe bullshit? And this is why you’re single. 

I have five years of experience in this stuff, so I can talk ish and back it up. My problem? You’re asking candidates to have a Master’s and industry certifications, but you’re paying 35k. In the words of the graceful Sweet Brown…

degree inflation

I love — well, loved — your company and all, but this ain’t what my student loans are here for. This ain’t what my job search is here for. I’m supposed to be progressing professionally and financially. I don’t send money to my Capital One 360 (RIP ING) account so that I can take a job doing what I do well for less than I’ve ever done it. And I damn sure ain’t going back to school to get an extra degree just so you can pay me in monopoly money. F*ck. That.

Aight, so I just clicked another job on your site for giggles. An entry level customer service job to be specific. This sh*t is pitiful.

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You’re requiring a Bachelor’s, experience with six technologies and a past life as a dragon. THIS IS AN ENTRY LEVEL CUSTOMER SERVICE JOB! If I was a college senior, I’d be tight right now. Tuition for telephones? Terrible. Just five years ago, this same job only required a high school diploma, a positive outlook, and a nice personality. But this mess you’re talking…

You’re lucky I’m at my computer.

You should read up on degree inflation and understand how much a part of the problem you are. Then again, you probably know this already and are ready to say “It’s a buyer’s market for employers thanks to the recession.”

Yes, we’re still coming out of a recession, but this foolishness you’re on will come back to bite you in the ass when things pick up. The person you get to take that 35k job will be gone with the wind as soon as the job market rebounds. Then you’ll spend the money you thought you saved trying to recruit and train his or her replacement. You’ll take a bigger loss than Ross… and I clearly don’t mean weight.

If and when I come back to your site, I’m sure I’ll see another ridiculous job posting. Maybe you’ll only be hiring janitors from ivy league schools, or secretaries with MBAs and five years of experience…for 30K. Eat 30K rocks.

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Wayward employer, may you get stuck in a cabin in the woods with the ghost of recessions past. May you be slapped repeatedly by Dikembe Mutumbo, or covered in a thousand dirty diapers. I rebuke you, your insulting salary, and your ridiculous “requirements.”

Without Regards,

slim jackson

What  say you on this topic? Have you been on the job hunt? Are you seeing ridiculous job descriptions paying feeble monies? Any frustrating stories to share or questions you’d like answered? 


  1. Good LAWD, this is right on time! After searching my employment site for research positions this morning, I was seriously questioning my sanity at this renown institute asking for candidates with "preferably a Masters" + 5yrs experience…for $32,000/yr??? With these Ivy School loans I got?!?

    Sh*t, I might as well stay in social services, at least the benefits are great and they WANT you to stay and move up, b/c the burn-out rate is so high lol smh…I can't w/ today's market…

  2. Please tell me why you are preaching a sermon of my life this morning? This just describes what I am seeing all over the place.

    Any professional services position that requires more than 5 years of experience shouldn't even think about offering the type of salary you posted.

    I am on the hunt as well (still gainfully employed). The whole thing is utter bull. I work in IT and definitely the PITA is the technology specific qualifications. You really need someone who knows all 5 out of 7 of those technologies? Why can't you hire someone and just teach them. I think a lot of times those are written in that manner to cater to internal applicants and push external applicants aside. Because, who in their righ mind knows all those company specific technologies, except for someone who already works there?

    Yes, the old responsibilities vs qualifications conundrum. BS BS BS. I completely agree. I am tired of reading job postings where I find that I am fully qualified based on responsibilites, but because of their whack ass qualifications, I can't even apply. Crazy.

  3. DAWG.

    I’m recently er…”downsized” (**sob**) and some of the requirements make me want to fling my computer out of the window! I saw a company ask for a “recent graduate from a TOP institution with a stellar academic record and 1-2 yrs experience”….offering $10-12 bucks. An. HOUR. In NY?!?

    ***fights air****

    But you wanna know what’s even MORE frustrating? Getting thru the door anyway (sidebar- shout out to Slim’s other site-gotten more compliments on a resume than i have ever gotten in mah life) only for them to tell you the job was more entry-level than you ever could imagine- i know someone who interviewed with a company advertising an office managerial position only to find out they were trying to bypass the unions to hire an in-house porter! It’s hard out here for a pimp.

      1. To some small defense, one hiring manager did finally admit those requirements are the difference between getting 1,000 applicants and 5,000 applicants in this market, but STILL.

        1. I mean…as a recruiter, I get it. But if they have a good applicant tracking system, all they need to do is run a keyword search for what they actually need and it won't be as much of an issue.

          But they don't be knowing how to leverage their technology. That's a story for another day and another site.
          My recent post IAmRichJones: RT @OPENForum: 7 apps that will make you more productive immediately: <a href="http://t.co/GhWDU0WcSh” target=”_blank”>http://t.co/GhWDU0WcSh

        2. You are right, Most recruiters don't even know how to utilize the ATS appropriately… I enjoyed reading this, but there are so many other things that contribute to the madness on both sides of the equation (employers & candidates). For one, sometimes the mgrs don't have control over a job description, yes I know it sounds crazy, but it's true…if a role falls within a certain division there may be certain qualifications that some fool in HR decided should be "blanket requirements" for ALL positions within that particular division. I could go on and on, but not enough time in this day… To applicants, I say if you meet half of the requirements, apply…it's kind of hit or miss because you really don't know which requirements they've put heavy emphasis on anyway, especially if the JD is poorly written.

        3. What's kinda funny about this is I'm an HR Generalist and Recruiter. I fight the good fight from the dark side. Fortunately, my org is good about job descriptions and only listing critical skills. And if they aren't critical, I go back to the hiring manager. We're not a huge company so I know it's a little different. Less red tape to make things happen.
          My recent post IAmRichJones: RT If you feel this post-&gt; An Open Letter to Employers with Ridiculous Requirements http://t.co/Anvg634ew0 #careers

        4. I figured you were when you referenced ATS, lol. I too fight from the dark side… It can be a harder fight when you're working in a larger org, but I'm a tough cookie to crumble so….. Either way, completely get it, it's tough out there, but these applicants have to have the hustler mentality….in some industries, the tables have turn, depending on the level of hire, it's no longer an employers market, tides have turned…

        5. Errm…but wouldn't that actually weed out the LEAST desperate who can afford a better job with better pay..? So these companies really just end up with those who'll do more for less, but are also less competitive/sought-after candidates.

  4. A hearty Bronx cheer for the HR gatekeepers perpetuating this nonsense!

    As one of the no longer counted in statistics long time unemployed thank you for shining light on the foolishness out here.

  5. AMEN to this!
    I'm walking around with three degrees in my back pocket and can't get hired. I've been unemployed since August, and am now being rejected for jobs that I feel I shouldn't even be applying to, as I'm qualified to do more. And, apparently, the employers feel the same way, because I'm constantly being told that I'm "overqualified". O_o And the jobs I KNOW I qualify for are sending generic responses stating they've gone with someone who more closely fits the job description.
    So my dilemma is, remove my Masters/Bachelors degrees from my resume, thereby removing my bargaining chip for rate of pay, or keep my resume as-is and still get rejected because, while I was in school, others who opted out of the college experience and gained "hands-on" experience are the ones being selected…

  6. All I can say is “Yessssssssssssssssssssss!!’

    I wish I could submit this post instead of a resume when I come across those ridiculous requirements.

  7. My part-time employer does this. They had an open position announcement for a nurse at their camp. They wanted the nurse to be a licensed RN, but are only paying $11.00/hr. They underpay at every position, yet want superlative experience and credentials, bachelor's degrees, and as an added insult, expect you to work over 50 hours a week. They smoketh the crack. I know it's an employer's market, but damn.

    They offered me a wellness director position a while ago. I told them point-blank, "you can't afford me."

  8. Speak on in my brother in the search. And don't you hate when they put pre-screeners in the online application process? If you don't have experience in five of those seven industry specific programs, you're scored so low, nobody ever even physically looks at the resume. Never mind that you have expert level experience in software systems that are direct competitors of the ones they listed in the job requirements and pre-screener questions.

  9. Wow. I woke up this morning thinking about how arduous the job search can be. I just left Brazen Careerist site, then headed over to SBM. You’ve pretty much stated how I feel. Lol @ R.I.P. ING.

  10. Nothing to add here but pure gospel. I've been gearing up to start the job hunt in the near future, but my current guaranteed salary and benefits is making me complacent like a mug….35K in New York? You can mayyyybe afford to sublet a couch with that money. Cushions would be extra, though.

  11. This makes me scared for my future. I'm returning to school to prep for a career switch. I intend to start looking for jobs next summer. But, I don't have entry-level bills! My current field and the field I'm pursuing are completely unrelated

    Again, reading this did NOT ease my concerns, smh


    1. You'd better network your tail off then. Shake hands and shoot the breeze with as many people as you can in your field and keep them posted on your moves. That's the only way you can subside some of your worry in today's climate.

  12. Great post.
    A buddy of mine on FB posted up similar after reaching a frustrating apex in his job search. I'm in IT and so was he. Now there is a misconception that we all make six figures to do absolutely nothing and that is far from the truth, but what some of these folks are asking for is ridiculous. The company I work for, although notorious for low balling, gives me considerable perks with their about average salary. My friend lamented because they wanted not only every standard certification (A+, Net +, Security +, MCP, MCSE and Cisco Certs and more) but they also said that they wanted 10 years experience and an advanced degree on top of that. The kicker was they were only paying about $45K. The starting salary for a CCNE qualified individual is no less thatn $75K and in just a few projects you can be in the six figures depending on your drive. He also pointed out that this company, although adamant in it's requirements, filled the position at least 5 times in the past 3 months. Talk about turnover. Some argue "It's good to just have a job" which I think is BS. With that philosophy, I should be glad that with all my experience someone gives me a shot to collect carts at Safeway.

    1. Yeah, I was an IT headhunter in my last job. Placed people on contract assignments. I hated calling someone that recently lost their job telling them I had an opportunity available…that paid 25K less. Like, it'd be the equivalent of the job they lost. So yeah, I completely hear you on this. And yeah, some companies would rather turn people over every few months than just pay a fair wage. Kinda crazy.
      My recent post IAmRichJones: @WisdomIsMisery man, i don't even know who the makers are. all i know is i got em at Macys.lol

  13. A lot of people go through life in a very linear fashion. They always preach, "keep moving forward." I think it's always important to know where you're going and what it's going to be like when you get there. A lot of these things could be cleared up if you researched the jobs you hope to obtain after graduation or getting a particular certification.

    Take for example, International Relations positions… you will need a master's degree and shouldn't expect much more than 35-40K. The same for Fashion or Journalism. Just about every time I hear someone talk about their salary being low, I ask them what they do and give them a lesson on "hobbies and careers." I love Fashion, but I would not do that for a living because it don't pay and I know the type of life I want to live. I knew that in college too. I was originally a drama major, then was like, "oh naaaa, i'm not going to sleep on someone's couch in LA for a year trying to make it." …. then I took my ass to business school.

    Jobs is like money. You have to have one to get one and it's better if someone can give it to you, rather than having to earn it.

    But like seriously, if you have a choice and you pick to make less money or little money, you can't complain. If you didn't have a choice, then I totally feel for you.

    1. Totally agree! As a campus recruiter I'm constantly telling students that following their passion should be an option AFTER they've made some actual money. I speak with high school seniors and let them know, your career starts as soon as you begin college! You need to know what you want to do, how you're going to get there and if any of it will be marketable and profitable when you graduate.

      Poetry, fashion, drama-those are hobbies not majors!

    2. Totally agree. It's unfortunate that the students who could benefit from actual college guidance don't have access to it. I understand not everyone is meant to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, but there is no real medium telling prospective college students that the benefit of their degree needs to outweigh the cost of their debt until it's too late. Public relations personnel are needed in the world. However, like you said, they should also be aware that the starting salary MIGHT be 30k. Therefore it wouldn't necessarily behoove them to go to a private liberal arts college and rack up six figures of debt…

      I would love to work with kids or own a business at some point. Instead, I am in the finance field (yeah, I know, way to live life on the edge) so maybe one day I can accumulate the funds to live out those dreams. I don't see myself doing this forever, but it is nice to have had a job waiting for me since before I even finished undergrad.

      Basically, I couldn't agree more. Follow a passion AFTER making money.

    3. I dunno. I feel like it's hard out here for everyone and that there are no guarantees. I have several friends with engineer degrees and experience who are working at hotels and such. It's hard out here for everyone. Also, I feel if everyone decided to be a lawyer or doctor the career path would be flooded. Isn't that already happening. I mean, I know nurses out of work. I don't think there are any easy answers. Reading this does make me realize that I'm not alone.

      1. I hate to say it, but yes the lawyer thing is a bit over done. Doctors? Probably not so much. I believe I read that there is a GP shortage coming up.

        1. Yeah, The pool for lawyers is rather inundated. A good bit due to people who just go to law school because it sounds good. I’m just saying not everyone is meant to follow the stereotypical ‘money making’ career fields. however, they should also be sure that when they pursue that desired career path, the end justifies the means (debt). Nothing is guaranteed but i still wouldn’t go to Vanderbilt with out a full ride if I wanted to be a grade school teacher.

    4. Were it all so simple . . .
      Career guidance should be a bigger thing in this country.
      However, it's one thing to know the average salary for your industry/profession. It's another to come across that bottom of the salary range job ad when your profession requires costly training to qualify. There will be anger and/or laughter; cuz that ish just makes no sense at all.

  14. Its funny, I was just over at Monster looking at some positions and it said Masters or PhD in Math or Comp Sci is required and the starting salary was 35K. I couldn't stop laughing. I guess the company's rep is just THAT good.
    My recent post Knapsack Problems

  15. This is my life! I just got my Masters!!!! I am looking for a job, but I thank God that my assistantship allows me to work Full-time until I get hired somewhere.

    I honestly thought I was the only person going through this!!!!! I look at all the requirements, experience, and the pay (something does not add up). It's sad, but I am sure if you keep the faith, we will all find a position meant for us!

  16. I feel this but Dr. J absolutely right. Having degrees is not enough. Even if you do want to study the arts or humanities, at least double major in something that will give you hard, technical or business skills. And do and create something truly amazing, something impressive.

    Every college student or young person should look at job postings as early as possible just to see what the requirements and salaries are like before you get surprised.

    You have to go with the economy. Look at what skills are in demand, what industries are expected to grow–>set your sights here for an easier job search.

  17. YOU ARE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR!!!!! I graduated from an Ivy League school and am working on my Masters degree from another Ivy League University, and an employer had the nerve to offer me a job that didn't even pay 40K!!! I was so insulted! My rationale is if I can invest in my education to be a better candidate for hire in my field, then you can invest in paying your employees what they deserve. SMH

  18. OMG, this is exactly how I feel! I am >this< close to finishing my degree and I get distraught looking at some of these job postings.

  19. All I have to say is preach!
    As a long time lurker, I just had to comment because this post speaks to my exact situation, and clearly the situations of others.
    The hoops employers are asking candidates to jump through have gone from demanding to downright ridiculous. If you want me to be a champagne employee and you've got a Kool Aid pocketbook…something's gotta give!
    My recent post Thrifted: Odds and Ends + Spring Cleaning Tips

  20. Preach!

    Graduating with my Masters in a month and am getting increasingly depressed in my job searching efforts due to exactly what you describe. Ugh. Let this recession be over and done with already!

  21. Damn, dude. You hit the nail on the head. Masters in psychology with some market research experience on the side. But even that is not enough. You may qualify for education but not fit the experience, you might have the experience but not the qualification. Then there's the absurd working conditions and pay. Argggh. Trying to keep my sanity by writing a novel at the moment. At least I'm being productive but I'm getting hungry these days.

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  24. This is Spot on! and never ending cycle, I have had to pass up 3 jobs in 6 months because I make more money on unemployment! not enough mind you, but with what I m being offered wont even pay my gas money to get to work. Therefore I am forced to juice the system, because I cant qualify for any other assistance because apparently you have to loose your home and car and default on all your bills before you qualify for any assistance in Texas! I don't want help and want to work however I am being put in an impossible situation!

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