Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- I got my first rejection letter.
- I received a phone call from a headhunter I had worked with at my last job. I believe my Monster resume posting must have triggered his call. He was inquiring about the circumstances of my departure and offering to help. He spoke of a couple of opportunities on the phone and I will be meeting with him today.
- I received two phone calls from two different people from the another head hunter agency after posting my resume on Monster. They will be called back today.
- I have spent more time setting up agents and reviewing jobs on-line. I'll be firing off resumes this week.
So, it's time to regain the enthusiasm and get busy again. Here I go.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
- Check the emails or rss feeds from any automated job agents you may have set up. This is like panning for gold. You slop through a lot of stone to find the gold nuggets.
- Review and evaluate position postings. Basically, once you see the gold, you have to figure out if it's fool's gold or real gold. This involves researching companies.
- Initiate and maintain contacts. A lot of this is emails and the rest of it is phone calls. If you're not initiating these, they you're responding to them.
- Watering and pruning the resume - every day you can find new ideas on how to improve your resume. The secret is to figure out what advice is useful and what advice is noise.
- Clicking "send" or "apply for job". Right now this is hard for me. Not that I don't want to apply for jobs, but most of the jobs posted involve some compromise in location, salary or position from your ideal job. I know I will begin to compromise these things, but in the first week or two, you like to believe that you'll find that perfect job next door to your house. The reality is that you won't and every job involves some kind of a compromise.
- Building and maintaining your self-confidence. All of the job descriptions are looking for the perfect candidate. I am not perfect. There are experiences I don't have. There are certifications I don't have. I haven't worked in every industry under the sun. However, I need to be able to convince prospective employers that I am the right candidate for their job and if I'm to do that, I need to convince myself.
So, other than those daily steps, I made more connections to former co-workers, arranging for a lunch or dinner meeting in one case. I sent my resume out to a couple more contacts. Oh yeah, I contacted the outplacement agency that my former employer signed me up for. I'll meet with them next week. I'm not sure what they can provide in terms of help, especially since I've dealt with this firm at least twice before (that sounds sad). Some of what I know about finding a job comes from them, but it has been 7 years and they may have some new ideas to offer.
Another activity yesterday was emptying out my briefcase. It was filled with stuff I had grabbed from my desk as I left my former employer. I didn't take much, just some pictures and personal items I brought in. i found a box in the basement that contained similar stuff from other jobs and dumped the briefcase contents there.
I also worked on organizing my contacts. I tried to synchronize my Outlook contacts with Google contacts using Plaxo, but the results were not what I wanted. Plaxo holds both contact lists, but they aren't merged. It's probably something I did or didn't do, so I'll take another look at that later.
Today the wedding plans are beginning to creep in. I'll be on-line most of the day, but tomorrow, my hours will probably be about 4 and the none on Friday. So if you don't see a post, don't worry. I'll be having fun!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It's not really hard to sound upbeat right now, because I am. I think as time goes by, it might get a little harder. But generally, I have a story to tell why I'm available and each time I repeat it, I get to pare it down to the essential elements so that it sounds more like those infamous "elevator pitches". From Wikipedia: An elevator pitch (or elevator speech) is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words). This is something I'll need when I go for an interview, so it's good to hone it.
The rest of the day was spent emailing and searching the web. I still have a ways to go before I feel like I'm set up with the job agents I want and I still have a number of web sites to review as resources. So many job sites, so little action.
A surprise happened yesterday when I got a call from a recruiting firm. The woman who called said she had gotten my name from a person who's name I didn't recognize. She had a copy of my resume or at least had seen my LinkedIn profile. When we emailed later in the day, she told me she had gotten my name from her boss at her firm, still a name I didn't recognize. Although I've given my resume out to a number of people, I still like to have some control over where it goes. It's quite possible somebody may have forwarded it. Mostly I'm not concerned, but it is a mystery.
The next few days may see a bit less activity on my part. My daughter's wedding is Saturday, and there are details to deal with this week. Probably no searching on Friday; maybe some on Thursday and tomorrow should be a fairly full day.
The search goes on.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I spent a good amount of time on Friday researching acronyms (PMI, ITIL, CMMI) that were on a job posting for which I applied. I found that while I have knowledge in these areas, certifications are a way of proving that knowledge which is why I suppose employers ask for these things. I'm willing to get certifications, but I need to be a bit further down the job search road before I want to invest time in those versus time in searching.
I have to remind myself on occasion not to get "job lock". You know what it is: when you see that job that you'd be perfect for at the perfect company paying good money, you fixate on getting that job and the general search or progress you've made on other jobs takes a back seat. It usually happens when you get the first interest from the employer, but as I researched the certifications, I realized that although I was gaining general knowledge, it may or may not help me for other jobs I might be considering.
Another significant activity on Friday was finding my old cover letter file. What I've done in the past is save paragraphs that I might put into a cover letter so that I can cut and paste some of what I need. For example, if a job posting asks for good communication skills, I have a paragraph that lists a specific example where I've demonstrated good communication skills. Of course each paragraph might need to be tuned for the specific circumstances of the job I'm applying for, but it's nice to have a starting place.
I did take the weekend off from job hunting, but not from worrying. With my daughter's wedding a week away and with the construction on the house going over budget, the amount of months we can survive my unemployment keeps going down. I guess I'd better get back to the hunt.
Friday, September 12, 2008
It was a busy day for me yesterday. I spent time reviewing my severance agreement. It all looks good so I'll sign it and get it back to my former employer. I worked on my resume - it was already mostly up to date so with a few tweaks, I was ready to use it. It got sent to a couple of contacts, one of which surfaced when a fellow blogger read my post and indirectly got in touch. Her high tech husband now has a copy. The other contact is a contractor at my former employer who reached out to help.
Which leads me to another topic. I received a wonderful outpouring of support from associates at my former employer. I received many text messages, emails, IM's and phone calls. Most expressed the same shock I felt. All of them expressed their appreciation for my time in their lives and I did the same in return. This separation is tough for me, but it also causes the ones left behind to wonder what happened. It leads to the thought that if it could happen to a guy like me, it could happen to anyone. I've often said that while my former company was a little wacky, the people there are great. That statement has been validated again.
I applied for a job on-line for which I am probably qualified and probably missing an essential certification. I spent some time researching that company and contacted a family member who worked there to see if he could add some juice to the on-line application process. The frustration with the online process is twofold. One, your resume gets uploaded, but then it gets scanned and munged up into tiny boxes. Much of the resume is lost in translation. The second frustration is that there is no capability to add a cover letter. The cover letter is an important part of shaping your experience to their needs. I'm going to try to send one of those through my family member to see if he can get it to the hiring manager.
I spent some time getting my LinkedIn profile up to date. That's in better shape although I think I can still improve it. I also plan on enrolling in Facebook, something my carpool mate Kreblog has been suggesting for months. In a later post I'll probably expound on how electronic networking has changed the job search rules.
Got a lot going on today, too. I received some welcome comments on my resume so I need to work on that a little. Several leads have been sent my way that I need to investigate and respond to. I have yet to subscribe to the job boards (I have an old agent still running on Yahoo that needs review as establishing myself on others). Kreblog sent me some tools to scan the boards and turn the results into RSS feeds:
I'll be trying these out.
Busy life for the first few days. Catch you all on Monday.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Our company is very sales driven and when the economy goes bad and the sales are down, they basically have one response: roll heads. I had seen it twice in my seven years, and I had arrived on the scene a scant six months after a fairly major layoff. I guess one spot of good news is that I'm on the leading edge of this one so I won't have to watch as others are affected. And, given the generally cheap nature of this organization, they gave me an o.k. (not generous) severance to help me make the transition.
On the bad news side, we were at a stage in our lives where the money was flowing out faster than usual. The combination of a construction project at our house and my daughter's impending wedding has caused us to dip into reserves that might normally have helped us make the transition a bit easier. Timing is everything.
Back to good news. I've been through this before so I know what has to be done. My resume has been kept fairly up to date. I have a number of friends and associates who will help me in any way they can, including my now ex-boss.
Over to the bad news. I'm not getting any younger. The economy is not great right now. My skills are not technology specific in a market that seems to increasingly value specific experience. Prices are going up.
Good news. I don't have to drive 45 miles each way any more. I don't have to cross the stream of traffic from the neighboring high school at 7:15.
Bad news. I'll miss the time I spent with the guys in my carpool. I'll miss the daily association with the people at work whom I've grown to respect and to care about.
Good news. When (not if) I find another job, I'll expand my circle of friends. I'll have some time for home projects, although it will be at the expense of taking time away from job hunting.
Enough of that for a while. It's time to review the severance matierials, update my resume, work on a job search plan and begin linking in to networking and job sites. I'll probably be posting to this site as a way of keeping a few people informed of my search and progress. Stay tuned and carpoolguy becomes jobsearchguy.