Saturday, April 10, 2010

Job hunting 1 of 2


This blog entry is dedicated to all those job hunters I run into at Computers for Communities (C4C).

I founded C4C for many reasons, but one that I was most passionate about was to provide an opportunity for people who lack access to home computer technologies and the Internet to gain those exact skills and access those technologies. The idea is that you volunteer for 24 hours and you get a free computer. Or if you build 6 computers you also earn a computer. The theory is that there is a mis-match between those who have too many computers and those who don't have any. I happen to be the former and wish to bridge the gap to the latter.

My next blog post will be a mailing list post turned blog post to the volunteers of the Computers for Communities mailing list

I know I have a lot in common with the volunteers that come out to our now weekly workshops ( and recently I have joined the ranks of job hunter. I have already met many volunteers who are looking to spruce up their resume with recent experience and C4C offered that opportunity for many people. About 2 months ago we started a volunteer recruitment campaign to increase our volunteer base from 30 to 100 volunteers in the Ottawa area. We posted opportunities to the Volunteer Ottawa website (). A few weeks after posting the opportunities () I received a letter of termination for my current job. I was lucky to receive 60 days notice which runs out May 14, 2010. Others are not so lucky, but at the end of the day we all face the same goal, find a job.

The flood of requests to volunteer came fast and furious. Next I knew I trying to manage a volunteer recruitment strategy while also hunting for a job. Over loaded and stressed I had to focus and strategize.

This post is for all of us in that same boat as job hunters or even those wanting to make a change in their career but feel stuck or blocked.

Job hunting is not new to me. I am in that 30 something demographic that will see many careers in our life time. Jobs used to mean 3-4 months of employment before pounding the pavement for the next job. Sound familiar as a university grad?

Looking back I have already retired from 10 years as a wilderness instructor and have now been in the geomatics technology field working with geography, web maps, remote sensing, Goggle Earth, Spatial Data Infrastructures and Geographic Information systems along with a whole list of other terms and acronyms any geek could learn to appreciate, for 8 years now. And here I am again, back looking for work. No matter when it life it happens, it sucks. No two ways about it. Its tough, challenging, demoralising and a knock to ones ego.

The last time I was switching careers I found myself underemployed, collecting EI and dreaming of past days in a canoe or leading a hike. I found an opportunity to join a JOB HUNTING CLUB so I tried it out. This was a three week program that was right down my ally. Nothing ground breaking from what I was already doing but certainly a nice boost and kick in the but.

Each day started with showing up to the club at 9:00am and "working" a full day. When they say job hunting is a full time job, we practised that to a 'T'. We did many different directed and self directed activities. In the morning we focused on in class stuff including examining the hidden job market. We worked and re-worked our resumes and we did mock interviews. This was regular fare.

The really great part that I loved (and thus was good at) was the cold calling in the afternoon. This club location had a room we called the "boiler room" that had a bank of phones and study cubicles like what you see in a library. Each participants prepared a list of numbers the night before and proceeded on the cold calling. Of course I had my list and in a short time saw results. I went to meet people to learn about the geomatics industry, gain more contacts, learn about courses and training and that eventually led to landing a job.

In three weeks I sent out 300 resumes, did dozens of informational interviews (aka meet and greets), had a hand full of job offers and ultimately landed a job working for a not for profit over an hour away from my house on the shore of Big Rideau Lake.

This was about 8 years ago. My situation has changed in life style, work experience and life lessons. However being out of work sucks when ever it happens.

I thought that just like before, working with a group of people to find work might benefit myself and my volunteers at Computers for Communities. So I started writing a small e-mail to the mailing list which quickly grew to an essay. I started off wanting to recommend two books and it lead me to thinking of writing a blog. But before that blog was to happen I thought giving some background might be appropriate. Thus this blog.

So now that you have the backgrounder please stay tuned for my next blog for my attempt of setting up a quasi job hunting club for a non profit organization whose goal is to see people get technology into their home and develop skills. The next part of the equation is to put those skills to work in a job so we can all contribute to our society.

To learn more about or goal at Computers for Communities or to become a volunteer to get those skills for your next job please go to

Now I have run out of time for now and will post the other blog soon. Stay tuned, follow my blog on RSS or check out my twitter. Heck check out all the other networks to follow me on