Looking for a job

I have been absent from my regular posting due to the fact, that I myself have been found laid off and looking for a job.  Because I haven’t been actively working with technology it’s been hard for me to sit down and write a blog.  All of a sudden it came to me today, I know I am not the only technology professional who is caught in this circle of hell, and I could write what I am doing to look for a job, as tips to help others out there.

1. Treat Job Hunting as a Job
I make sure that during an unemployment period you keep to your regular habits.  Despite my want to sleep all day or play Call of Duty Modern Warfare.  I set my alarm and make sure that I am up and looking for a job and constantly sharpening my skills.  One of the things I notice is people just tend to get frustrated and just give up or scale back their search after they get nowhere…it takes time to find the right job.  Also sharpening skills is extremely important, I try to learn new programs and new things at home.  As a tech, I usually have a spare PC at home, so I load it up with Windows Server or Linux and try something I haven’t tried before, then try new things with it.  It sounds silly, but at home is a nice safe development environment to test and learn new things.

2. Work your Network
One of the things I have learned is that your network of people, friends, and colleagues is the best place to mine for jobs.  My ex-colleagues and friends have been the best source for tracking down job opportunities for me.  Having one set of eyes is very limited when looking for a job, but having over two dozen eyes looking for me can cover a lot more ground than just I could.  Also, it gives you the ability to use their network to mine for jobs, I can’t tell you the number of friends who have sent me e-mails from their friends or co-workers who have jobs that I could apply for, these jobs would have gone unknown except for my network of friends and ex-colleagues.

3. Only go for jobs you want
Most people who find themselves out of work, tend to apply for any job that remotely has anything to do with what they use to do.  The problem is, that if you take a job that is underneath your skill set, you might not be happy with the outcome.  Though most people will have that any job is a good job, your potential employer may be aware of your want to get a better job.  Most employers spend money on hiring you and training you, and if you bounce at the first sign of a better job, it’s money wasted.  It’s a job employers market meaning they get the choice…and a bouncer is not someone they want.  I can tell you that from personal experience when I saw someone with a recent job accepted (within the last couple of months), I listed them as a bouncer, and eliminated them from my choices.

4. Sell Yourself
One of the things people forget is that it’s not just your skills that get you a job, it’s your personality.  I tend to think that in the jobs that I have had, I was hired by my personality, and my resume got me in the door, but my selling myself is what actually got the job.  People say a first impression is important, and that’s the way I look at my resume, it’s the first impression, to see if I meet their minimum requirements..then when they contact me, it’s up to me to make myself worthwhile to them.  Most companies want someone who can communicate well and will get along with the staff.  Also don’t feel bad to brag a little bit, but just don’t overdo it.

5. Know the Company
Just like a company that advertises makes sure their ads are targeted to a particular market, make sure you tailor your communications and yourself to the company you are interviewing with.  The best way to do that is to know the company.  This will help you tailor your questions and your interview style.  Even though I personally think it’s dumb, make sure you know about the company you are interviewing at.  In a tight economy, any little advantage helps, and it may be stupid but every little thing helps.

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