The current wheeling and dealing going on in Washington concerning the passage of the 2010 Unemployment Extension bill not only has the unemployed, the recently unemployed, and the soon-to-be unemployed in a state of constant worry over the near future, but it also has a few of the more colorful among those unemployed coming up with ideas on how to get their elected representatives to understand their plight. Although some of the ideas are angry and violent in nature, most are creative (if still angry in nature), with many of those centered around some form of campaign strategy to sway the vote of politicians. But the best ideas center around sending Congress some form of message. The best idea ever (thus far) is one that is not only brilliant but puts the unemployment benefits extension bill in proper perspective.
The best idea I’ve come across is a resume. That is correct — a resume, as in “applying for a job” resume. Many of the protestation ideas and the strength-in-numbers ideas center around e-mail, phone-in, and petition campaigns, flooding Congress with the names, requests, suggestions, protests, and feelings of those concerned. They’re all good ideas and if the numbers are great enough, elected representatives will take notice. If they do not, the media will take notice for them. Being accused of being out of touch is a common allegation against politicians, but when the media calls a particular politician to the carpet for ignoring his constituents, things can get rough quickly. In short, they will notice.
But sending your elected representative a resume does several things at once: It personalizes the message to a degree that a list of grievances does not, reminding the recipient that this is not only about jobs and labor statistics and deficits, but about individuals with lives and careers. A resume is a not-so-subtle hint that the sender/constituent/voter is out of work. The proffered resume would count as looking for work, a job inquiry, something many of those controlling the unemployment extension legislation in Washington seem to believe is not being done by the unemployed. Who knows? It might get you hired, but, barring that, along with a host of other resumes sent in by other constituents/voters, it might get the message across that there are real people looking for work that need their elected government official to help them out.
So send your local Congressional representative a resume. By all means, include a cover letter. Make it professional but add personal details, explaining the plight of your family and your job search history since you’ve become unemployed, perhaps mentioning what you and your family have lost since you’ve been out of work and thus far have not been able to again find gainful employment.
Perhaps if Congress, especially those in the Senate that have done nothing to advance the 2010 Unemployment Extension Bill, received enough resumes from the unemployed, they just might be moved to pass some helpful legislation.
And by all means, continue to sign the petitions, send e-mails to every Congressperson on Capitol Hill, call them and e-mail them as well. But send them a resume and make the point that you were once a productive member of the American workforce and through no fault of your own were laid off, marginalized, downsized, or severed through company bankruptcy or merger, that you were not only a taxpaying member of the workforce but also through no fault of your own and the vicissitudes of the current economic conditions have not been able to secure employment.
For those who are a little more mean-spirited, you could include an attachment labeled “For (Insert Politician’s Name) In November” and include an unemployment benefits application.
For those of you sending resumes to Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, send a waiver agreeing to take a drug and alcohol test as a show of good faith. Just remember: Already filled sample cups might be frowned upon.
As noted, it’s the best idea that’s been proffered thus far.
Because, in the end, nothing says “I need to be hired” better than a well-constructed resume…