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The Great Job Search Saga – Day 184 – Some lessons learned

I’m now on day 184 of my job search. I’m getting 1-2 US recruiter calls per day and about 1-2 offshore recruiter calls.
The offshore recruiters are looking to fill US jobs. I’ve learned to ask where the position is located when they first call. I’m not interested in relocating at this time. 
I’m waiting on a start date for a job with a government contractor. However, some members of congress are holding things up for their own vote getting agenda. 
I’m getting more sideline work for Joomla, Ruby on Rails and WordPress. That is helping quite a bit. The more I see, the more I believe that the IT job market is semi controlled chaos. The whole process is ripe for someone to come up with a product or service to make sense of things.

Lessons Learned:

Go back to the basics

I had an hour long phone interview with a major company in Philadelphia.  The interview went quite well. However, there was one sticking point. The team that was interviewing asked a number of questions that someone out of coding boot camp could most likely answer. After thousands of hours of Rails development, I’m at the point where “I’ve forgotten more than most people know”. Yes, that sounds arrogant but it is true.  However, the truth is, that I need to brush up on the basics that are at the very bottom of my development foundation. If you are being interviewed by a team, the odds are that many of the team members are recent boot camp graduates. Their perspective will be to think in terms of their hiring process.

Let people know you are looking.

I’m expanding my reach as much as possible. It is paying off. I was speaking with a client the other day and he mentioned a government agency that, for various reasons, is expanding their IT department. I mentioned that to another friend and they confirmed that. I am now checking the agency’s site weekly.

Start a sideline with active or passive income

Many organizations have rules against moonlighting. However, if you can establish a passive income stream or perhaps something through a corporation that you own, you can have a sideline income. That will come in handy if you are in between jobs. This is especially true for job seekers over 40.

Build a contact list and ping it regularly.

As I mentioned before, my impression is that the IT recruiting world is chaotic at best. The  recruiters are moving at a breakneck pace. You can easily fall off their radar. A simple email with your status will help. Here are some tips.

  • Prepare a 1 page summary of your situation. What are you looking for? Will you take full/part time? Are you open to Contract/Contract to hire?
  • Include your current resume.
  • Do NOT sent the email as a bulk BCC email. Send the emails individually with a short note and address the recruiter by name.
    • The email client I use will see all the messages as one thread if they all have the same subject. I use a slight variation on the subject for each email which makes it easier to manage replies. It also makes it less likely to miss an emai
  • Use the delayed send of your email.
    • Don’t send the emails the Monday morning after the Superbowl.
    • In fact, don’t send them first thing on ANY Monday. Time them to go out perhaps Tuesday in the late morning.
    • Spread your emails out. Don’t send them all at 10 am. Do something like 10, 10:05, 10:10. If you spread them out, you might avoid a sudden influx of calls.
  • Make sure you put updated contact information in the email


Review your profiles.

I received an email from LinkedIn that my profile stating that I was open to recruiters was going to revert to “Not looking” because it had been set to “Looking” for 180 days. It was simple enough to change it back to ‘Looking’. Check all of your profiles: Dice, Glassdoor etc.

The Great Job Search Saga of Chris Mendla

The Great Job Search Saga of Chris Mendla

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