Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Reflections on the Job Hunt

I've been busier these last couple of weeks than I have been in a long time. Looking for employment is an all-consuming set of tasks.

Finding a job is like starting a small consulting firm combined with multiple final exams. You are responsible for sales, marketing, public relations, copy writing, and product development. If you're interviewing for a technical position, you also need to have nearly instant recall of diverse bits of arcane information and have the ability to make comprehensive oral arguments demonstrating your mastery of the topic, much like a member of a debate team.

However, when you get down to what makes a successful job hunt, it is very much like what makes a successful sales representative (my first job after graduating from Drexel was in outside sales). The more companies that you contact increases the number of interviews you will be invited to. The more interviews you attend, the more polished your "why you should hire me" message becomes.

Like hitting a baseball or riding a bicycle, becoming a good interviewee requires lots of practice. By the time you get an offer, you'll be presenting yourself and your experience in a confident and professional manner. If you're looking for a job, get out there and make some calls today!

I've found a number of free resources that have helped me in these first couple of weeks. Not surprisingly, they are all provided by Google. You will need to sign up for a Google account in order to use any of these.
  • I had been sitting on this domain for a long time without doing anything with it. I did not want to use my ancient Yahoo! mail account for this job hunt, so I began researching inexpensive options for hosting and email. I was pleasantly surprised at the comprehensive set of utilities Google Apps provided me with. I am using them for hosting, a customized start page, email (just like GMail), and documents/spreadsheets. An additional bonus is that I am getting all of this for free using the Standard Edition. There is also a paid Premier Edition level of service, which has additional options such as extra email account storage space.
  • After I configured my DNS settings to have work with Google Apps, I pointed this blog (hosted by Blogger) to a custom URL at This was very easy, and gives my blog an easy to remember address. Instructions on how to do this with your Blogger blog are here.
  • There were approximately 70 members of our technical staff effected by the layoff. Fortunately, one of us was forward-thinking enough to set up an invite-only Google Group that we have all been sharing information on - posts to recruiters and job leads, documents, resources. I have been very impressed with Google Groups, it's like SharePoint's little sister. It is also free.

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