Where The Hell Did My Job Go?


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'Make sure you always give yourself time for that afternoon down at the pub'

'It was worth reading even by under employed Americans'

'As one fellow job-seeker to another, hang in there'

'Let me check the spelling for you'

'Is it making money yet?'





Taking redundancy personally.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

The job hunt really began today! I can’t remember how I came across JobStats but it’s a great site which gives you a snapshot of the current state of the IT job market showing the demand for each skill. It shows (unfortunately) the steady decline for IT vacancies over the last 12 months. Not the most inspiring news, but sometimes it’s better to know the truth!

JobStats then links to Jobserve to display the vacancies for your chosen skill. Very soon I had built a list of 10 jobs that looked suitable using Crystal Reports and Winrunner as criteria. Unsurprisingly, the remainder of the day was spent writing covering letters to highlight my skills as in their advert. I’ve not had much advice in the way of writing covering letters. Perhaps I should hunt some out. I’ve taken plenty of advice about my CV’s and am quite happy with them.

By the end of the day I had one agency call me for more details and they are putting my CV forward to their client. I should hear something by next week. A good start to the New Year!

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

It seems that I am only suitable for three of the five shortlisted jobs from yesterday. Don’t know what I was thinking of…

For the other three it’s just a case of rewording the advert so that it looks like a covering letter. It’s important that the letter has the main points of the advert so the job agency can quickly read it and see that I am a suitable candidate. It’s then important that key phrases from the advert are included in my CV as the covering letter will never get as far as the client who would like to interview me, if only she knew it!

Without biting the hand that might possibly feed me. Some of the agencies are not the brightest bunnies in the employed world. If they cannot see the same phrases in your CV as they placed in the advert, you are no longer a candidate. Your database programming skills will be overlooked if they require RDBMS knowledge. As will your team leading if they are looking for mentoring. These people are not all knowing experts in their field. The majority of the time, they are people like me and you who just ended up in a job by accident, perhaps even because they were made redundant.

A case in point this morning as I began to apply for the second job on the shortlist when I realised that the job advert was very similar, hang on a minute, identical to the first one. Both technical author roles. Both listed by different agencies. One based in Cambridge. One based in London. The chances of two different jobs having identical requirements in slim. The chances of a Recruitment Executive still feeling lazy after the new year celebrations is more likely. Perhaps my CV will strike a chord and I’ll be given the chance to enquire further over the next couple of days.

Killing time and money on Amazon I accidentally came across the jobs section. With a total of 15 jobs listed at their head office in Slough, they certainly warrant being included on my Top 100 list. In fact, at the moment, they are the only entry. There was only one position of interest to me, but more of that tomorrow.

I managed to fire new year emails off to about 7 people this afternoon. I’m still in touch with some of the people I used to work with before being made redundant – some of them also redundant and some still employed. Ensuring that I remain in contact with as many people as possible is important as being at home robs you of workplace chatter and office gossip. Also, at the back of my mind is the statistic that 30% of jobs are found through word of mouth. A very scary statistic when you have a small group of friends who work in your field.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003
The job hunt begins in earnest by avoiding looking for work in the hope that I could pounce on it this afternoon.

Spent time tweaking a graphic and looking at the admin functions of CFM who are hosting Scribbling Rivalry Press.

Looking at Blogger.com as somewhere to host this journal. It looks as though I also need to find somewhere to host the site if I want to do more than host a simple blog. Although I could be wrong, that will become apparent over the next couple of days.

The peddlers in Laos seem to be working hard enough to keep the Jhai Foundation web site up. A great idea started by a veteran's conscience putting into place a huge community project of which the Remote IT initiative is only a part. They readily accept donations via PayPal - it's so easy it's rude not to! If you would like more information before donating, please read this article at Digital Dividend.

However, another weblog site that I was keen to have another look at, took it's turn to be offline. Has Graham Dell taken to a pedal powered server too?

As the job hunt finally began I was ready to pounce on all those choice vacancies still sleeping from the season's festivities. And there were a surprisingly high number of them. From a couple of hours trawling, there is a shortlist of 5 waiting for me to do something with them tomorrow (I know I should have done them today but things just snowballed! - I spent too long looking for more vacancies and there were none!)

Having spent time looking at public sector jobs on the advice of a CEO withing IT that only these organisations are recruiting (an overstated comment but there is enough truth contained within), I came across NetAid. The site pairs off small organisations that need assistance with IT projects and individuals with the necessary skills and time. While I'm not sure that it's right for me at the moment, I'll bear it in mind if my ability to remain unemployed continues and I get itchy fingers. Until then, the job hunt must get more of my attention which is why this must end so abruptly.

Monday, January 06, 2003
Not so much a new years resolution as a process to extract some substance from the whole redundancy experience. This journal will be used to track the progress of my job hunt and the myriad other activities which will be taking me closer to employment.

What has triggered this journal? The new year signals the 3 month mark of my redundancy. According to prior calculations this means that I will run out of money in another 3 months. I am half way to the panic point!

The job hunt strategy will continue to focus on cwjobs.co.uk where the majority of IT jobs appear. The search will expand to my list of Top 100 companies. (This list still needs to be compiled!) If after a couple of months, I have not found gainful employment in one of my chosen fields as a business analyst, test analyst , crystal reports writer or technical author, I will be applying for any and all suitable positions.

In order to ensure my employability I will be working on a number of sideline projects including my own website (maybe), an eBay store (likely) to generate a bit of extra income, gaining further certifications from Brainbench (definitely) and writing a book to help others cope with the redundancy process.

My first task this morning was to prepare graphics and PayPal links for the Scribbling Rivalry Press website. The company is run by my ex-MD who is self-publishing a poetry collection entitled Hobnobbing. The first batch have been collected from the printers today and he is keen to have them selling like the proverbial from his site.

Whilst taking a break I found myself checking out old favourites Slashdot, The Register and NTK. Whilst on NTK reading about a project to provide a bicycle powered network to neighbouring villages in Laos. Intrigued and willing to donate some money in a fit of new year (yet unemployed) generosity I tried to access the site. It seems that the villagers were not peddling hard enough to keep the site running!

From NTK I drifted onto Danny O'Brien's site Oblomovka (the meaning of which I am sure will become clear on subsequent visits). Danny is one of those industry figures who always has his finger on the pulse and a wry comment to accompany him. A site that I'll be checking back on regularly when trying to construct my own web log site.

AmIMoreEmployableTodayThanIWasYesterday? No.