Saturday, April 10, 2010

Job hunting 2 of 2

Job hunting 2 of 2:

This blog post started off as a friendly post to the Computers for Communities volunteer mailing list and grew into a small rant and now into 2 blog postings.

The original post (found here: http://list.openconcept.ca/sympa/arc/c4c/2010-04/msg00019.html )

Hey Folks,

As C4C in its by-laws has a component for skills development I thought a short post concerning job Hunting might be of use. It is also handy that I can speak from a personal perspective as I will be out of work on May 14, 2010. I am optimistic I will find work before then, and I would like to share with you what I know about job hunting.

I know from talking with many people on this list, and also the many new potential volunteers, one of the key things people are looking for from their experience at C4C is to build experience to add to their resume so they can either get a job because they are unemployed, or are looking to develop different skill sets so they can move up in their career.

I have shared with some of you already that I have been job hunting since the beginning of March (2010). During this time I still have work as I finish off my term employment with Natural Resources Canada. On the side my usual hoby is getting Computers for Communities off the ground, but right now I am a full time job hunter. A special thanks to the other volunteers who have stepped up to help out in this crunch time so C4C continues to opperate while I find a new job so I can get back to working on C4C.

If you are in the same job hunting boat looking for a job you are not alone. My post became a little long so I turned it into a blog. A blog dedicated to all the C4C job hunters out there and job hunters in general.

Check it out to find out about some of the books I recommend and a bit about my own experience.

...........

So I thought a job hunting post might be good for anyone looking to earn some extra cash or land their next dream job. If you are not looking maybe you can share any tips or tricks that have helkped you in the past.

Seeing as this list is focused on technology the key here is that looking for work in the knowledge worker domain may be different than others.

In brief, if you want to network this Sunday at our workshop (http://tinyurl.com/c4c-events) bring some resumes, print off some business cards and let people know you are looking. Read the books mentioned bellow, and turn despair into a job. If you want some motivation, read on.

Keep in mind the fact that you come out and volunteer on your weekends, work hard and have lots to contribute to C4C makes you marketable for your dream job. However, if no one knows about this hard work how are they going to offer you your dream job. I would expect to see your volunteer work highlighted in your resume.

If you job hunt alone, you will last 2 weeks of job hunting before getting extremely stressed and probably depressed. This happens to the best of us, even us high energy keeners and big dreamers, it sucks when we crash. So avoid the crash. If you have some help you will last 2 months. If you build an army you can last 2 years looking for work. But with an army you will find your dream job in far less than 2 years.

I have always known that without technology, the job hunting process is even harder. In my jobs I have saved 1000's of dollars for employers by leveraging technology. I have increased productivity by factors of 10's by leveraging technology. So why should my job hunting be any different?

When I step out of the house to go meet someone I must make sure that all the tech tools are working 10 times harder so I don't have to. I think of job hunting as something that should take care of itself. Just like a Python script that will automate a process I want to automate my job hunting. But first you need to invest and build the system. Better yet, build as you go.

All through my youth and after University I was almost a professional job hunter. I would get contracts here and there for months at a time so I was constantly on the look out. This time is only different in that I have more experience and know a bit better what I want out of a job. I have also refined my tactics.

If anyone wants to talk about Job hunting or do some networking with the group on Sundays by all means, make it happen. Maybe the job I am looking for someone else already knows about.Maybe they have found a posting for my dream job but they are not qualified or interested, so they ignore it. Maybe one of my contacts is looking for someone just like you, and I am not the right fit and i don't know you are looking. having talked with over 20 people in the last month I have come across lots of opportunities that don't fit me. I pass them to to those I know and trust or discard them and move on to the next target.

As well as networking, part of what I find works best, is not to do what your high school guidance counsellor taught you. Don't only look for job postings and wait for your job to come your way and be called for an interview. They call it JOB HUNTING for a reason. You have to go hunt. It is not called JOB WAITING. Once a job is advertised you are competing with everyone else that sees the add. You need to find the job BEFORE it gets posted.

Think of a big game hunter, maybe hunting for a lion. The hunter does not lie down in their tent and wait for the lion to lie down next to them, roll over and let their belly get cut by a knife. There is a hunt. You are the hunter. Your dream employer is the Lion. Go after it. Better yet, devise a plan and execute it. Don't run all over the jungle, you'll tire, starve and die. Think it out.

Two books I highly recommend for developing your plan and add different tools to your arsenal include:

First off check out "what color is your parachute". Should by a copy in the library and I bought the most recent at chapters. This helps define your key characteristics. I found it quite handy because I always thought of myself as a generalist and jack of all trades. "So what I can program in Python" I would think. This books helped to bring my key qualities to the surface. I am a problem solver, and the Python language helps me as a tool to solve tech problems. I am an idea generator, problem solver and initiator. I am not a maintainer, and sometimes I am a poor follower.

So i need to match my job to what I can offer. I now market myself as a problem solver, project manager and innovator working towards middle management.

Second, "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0" (GM4JH). When I started Computers for Communities (previously Free Geek Ottawa), I got a hold of another book from the same folks "Guerrilla P.R 2.0". That book helped us as a group get the organization off the ground and word on the street.

It worked so effectively in fact I quickly filled my garage with computers to the roof and ran out of working space. I then used the same tactics to develop the partnership with Boys and Girls Club. We have now outgrown that location. So these tactics worked once. I was curious how it could help my job hunting.

GM4JH has helped me refine my job hunting tactics this time around. The job market has changed since I last looked for work. When I was in university all my buddies were getting high tech jobs that were well paid. I chose a canoe and the wilderness for 4 months of the year.

After school, I jumped around to contracts and short term gigs. Now i have a wife, a house, pets and bills. The game has changed, I needed to learn how to play. That is where GM4JH comes in.

Many of the tools in GM4JH rely on the internet, but only to facilitate you hitting the pavement, getting the face time and making the phone calls. They are too numerous to go through all of them but I will highlight a couple.

I started with revamping my website (hosted by http://nfc.ca) and grabbed my own domain (still in the works). You do not need your own domain, but for $12 or something for the year a new salary will pay that off when I get a job. Check it out:

http://davidsampson.ca

One interesting thing is I receive an e-mail every day with a new video or audio clip or key website as a bonus which is kinda handy. A great bonus included with the purchase of the book. They have even let me share some with you.

This was in todays e-mail "The 30 Day Job Search":
http://bit.ly/UhhsM

This was yesterdays e-mail video of building the ultimate "Guerrilla Resume":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7X6vgEPGas

Lets just say I no longer have a 7 page resume. It was tough letting the long resume die (or at least for now). That resume got me into numerous competitive processes and landed 4 years at NRCAN which were great. I started as an EG-02 and finished up as a PC-02. So a 7 page, in-depth resume works for automated job processes. It does not work for humans.

The books all say the same thing, but I wasn;t buying that a shorter resume would get me more jobs. Here is what taught me that lesson.

A number of months before receiving my letter of termination, I posted volunteer positions for Computers for Communities on the Volunteer Ottawa website (http://www.volunteerottawa.ca/vo-clean/index.php?/eng/i_want_to_volunteer/community_organizations&startwith=&agencyId=867)
As founder, president and CEO of Computers for Communities I wanted to find more volunteers, my target was to grow from 30 to 100 volunteers. So the volunteer postings made sense.

I started receiving resumes, cover letters, references and though it would be great until people sent me their resumes that looked like mine. A month later I was also looking for opportunities of my own and started reading GM4JH. I thought my resume was fine despite what all the books said.

I quickly learned why no human would want to

So I asked managers and co-workers to provide feedback. They kept saying, cut it down, focus, narrow in.

But I do offer multiple resumes in different formats. including one you can see in google earth (KML). Eventually it will show all my locations where I have worked.

http://davidsampson.ca/resume.html

I also developed a fresh outlook on all these gimiky social networking tools that are out there. I now understand how to make them market me and make them hunt for work while I am out on the street meeting with people.

Marketing yourself effectively using todays social network tools is not playing on facebook for 2 hours, but having an effective and consistent PROFESSIONAL network of people that can help you. Now I actualy use those networking tools for networking. I have met with people I had in my networks who work for the companies I want to work for or learn more about

Check my current networks. Each one fulfils a different need. GM4JH explains more:

http://davidsampson.ca/networks.html

When I started this process I googled myself and it took a while to find me. I had bits and pieces all spread out. Now when I google "David Sampson Ottawa" I show up as the second hit for twitter, and fourth hit for Linked in. A few more tweaks and I think I can get my website to the number 1 slot. "David Sampson Canada" I am the first hit with my Linked in Profile, which is linked to my site and my resume. And "David Sampson Resume" I am also the first hit.

Employers and headhunters have lots of tools to use to reasearch you before they ever consider calling you back or responding to an e-mail. Why not control what they learn about you.

Yesterday alone I was talking with 4 people in a position to either offer me a job or provide more networks and contacts. I have a call list of about 50 people right now and it grows by 5-10 people with every new person I meet to talk with.

My last Job hunt included 300 Resumes, 17 cold calls and 10 informational interviews. The result led to finishing off a buddies contract with the government as he went back to school. That experience led to 3 years of term work with Natural Resources Canada.

This time around I trust I will find my next dream job.

So if you want to network this Sunday bring some resumes, print off some business cards and let people know you are looking. Read the above books, and turn despair into a job. The fact you come out an volunteer, work hard and have lots to contribute to C4C makes you marketable for your dream job. If you do it alone, you will last 2 weeks of job hunting. have some help you will last 2 months, build an army and you can last 2 years looking for work, but will find your dream job in far less than that.

See you Sunday

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