Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Out at Outplacement

I feel like I have been out of the hunt for days, but really, I've been learning how to be more effective in my job search.  As mentioned earlier, outplacement has a process, and I'm trying hard to get into and through the ten steps.  Last Thursday and Friday, I covered steps one and two by myself.  Yesterday, I went to a 9 to 1 session that was an overview of the 10 steps.  Today I was at a resume writing workshop and this Friday, I go back for more in depth coverage of steps 1 - 10.  Add to that, the time I could/should be spending in web exes and phone conferences and on their proprietary website and I'm not sure how I actually have time to look for a job.  Their approach is to be very prepared as you get into the search so you can be more effective as you make contacts.  I can't say if they're right or wrong but I'm following the process because if you do the work, you will get a job.

Step 1 is to survey your market.  I've done a couple of things: 1) I did some searches on trends that were happening in the IT industry (I'm first and foremost an IT professional and not focused on any specific indusstry).  Here's a click from Software Quality News written at the end of last year that holds up pretty well.  I'm sure this year's trend predictions for next year should be interesting in light of the current economic news.  2) I've read a bunch of job ads for positions in which I might be interested to see what they're looking for.  My only regret so far is that I don't have the PMP (no, not pimp - Project Management Professional) designation.  Lots of jobs are looking for that at this point.  It may be something I pursue a little later down the road.

Step 2 is the one I like least - Self asssessment.  What am I good at?  What do I like to do?  What are my interests? What are my career objectives?  Answers: I don't know.  However, the step is important because it helps you position your job search.  Although you don't put a professional objective on a resume any more (seriously, don't do this), you will be better able to target your search if you know what your objective is.  Makes sense, right?  I mean, when I start a project, I always need to know what it's supposed to do.  So, I've done a bunch of the assessment stuff.  Along the way, you describe your accomplishments: What was the situation? What were the obstacles?  What were your actions?  What were the results?  This stuff becomes fodder for your resume.

Step 3, finally.  Work on your resume.  First, though, you need to work on your exit statement.  I mean, why am I out of work.  After many drafts that either were vague, put me in a bad light or were just plain mean or vindictive towards my former employer, I came up with one that's succint.  Now I need to practice saying.  Your resume follows - put together the summary, the accomplishments, the other stuff.  At today's workshop, we got as detailed as favorite fonts and font sizes.  My resume was in pretty good shape, but I did learn a number of things to help improve it.

We also talked about using a "Value Proposition" and your calling card rather than your resume.  The thought is that the resume begins to disqualify you as quickly as it qualifies you.  Therefore, you do a one page fancy looking power point which serves as your marketing tool.  I'm going to write one up and shop it around to people I know to see what kind of reaction I get.  I've never done or used anything like it before - it's a document build by our instructor and incorporated into the outplacement repetoire over the last three years.

Well, today is almost shot for me because I have to head to the airport to pick up the honeymooning couple.  They should be nice and relaxed after a week plus in Curacao.  Man, that sounds nice right about now.


Leigh said...

you're doing such a good job trying to stay focused, that is really admirable. I'm interested in this "one page" calling card idea. It makes sense. I just had to submit my resume and I could not believe how out of date it was, and how long it was. kreblog helped me shorten it down from 5 pages (yes, 5!) to 2. It looks so much better. Who the hell was going to read 5 pages about my work experience? it didn't need THAT much explaining. I'm interested to know what the ideal resume is supposed to look like these days, any tips?

carpoolguy said...

Leigh - listen to your man. One of the cardinal rules of resumes is never more than two pages. One of the guys at outplacement had six. Guess what he did.... technical writer. Any tech writer that can't convey his qualities in two well worded concise pages is not one that I would hire.

If you need more tips, contact me direct.