On The Job Hunt

I’m about a month into my active job search and it is interesting to say the least.  I was prepared for this task as I left DellEMC voluntarily and had many weeks of hiking to figure out what I wanted to do next (of course, I didn’t).  This wasn’t a surprise for me an yet, I’ve found my job search to be very challenging.  I’m not all that experienced in selling myself to complete strangers.  It isn’t a skill I’ve acquired in my career.  And that makes it intimidating for me.  That said, the last few weeks have taught me a lot about finding a job and while I haven’t landed anywhere yet, I’m confident in my approach.  I’m using this post to share what I’ve learned thus far.

I have never really had to look for a job in the past.  My first position at Genzyme was an intern to perm offer with little in the way of interviews because I had proven my skills doing the job.  For my second role at EMC, a recruiter found me.  Sure I had to interview but I didn’t need to generate interest.  That came without me trying, which was nice!  I’m in new territory and am learning as I go.  The following are a few techniques that I’ve started to employ.  It is too early to say whether or not they are successful but I’m hopeful.  In no particular order…

Leverage Your Network

At one of the resources I have used, workitdaily.com, founder J. T. O’Donnell states, “Your network is your net worth” for a job search.  I believe this is the case and you need to take time to cultivate those relationships.  I am very confident that my next role will come from someone I know personally rather than a random recruiter seeing my profile on LinkedIn.  I’ve reached out to a lot of folks I know in the IT industry and have asked them about their current or past employers.  I’m trying to get a sense of the cultures within these companies before I even start to investigate potential opportunities.  It’s critical to have these conversations for a couple reasons.  First, you get an insider perspective rather than the /whoweare page on the company’s website.  Second, and probably more importantly, informs the second item on my list.

Know What You Want

It is critical to have a good understanding of what your goals are.  These could be excitement and pace, visibility, salary, location, color of the company logo – whatever is important to you.  For me the culture of my new organization is critical.  I have left both of my previous jobs in large part because the culture evolved into something that didn’t align with my values.  Full disclosure, I went through two acquisitions – you can read more about those in this post.  Because of those experiences, I know how critical culture is to my personal job satisfaction.  That puts culture high on the list of things I need to investigate and why the conversations with my network are so important.  But culture isn’t the only thing on the list.  There are other considerations that will be different for each of us.  It’s important to know what you’re looking for before you can find it.

Be Kind To Yourself

A job search can be frustrating.  You’re forced to put yourself out there in hopes that people will like what they see enough to want to talk to you.  And then you’ll have to convince even more people to want to work with you.  This will all take weeks and months longer than it should (be better corporate hiring process) and it will weigh on you.  I’ve found that I need to take time for myself.  I don’t look for a job 8+ hours a day.  Finding a job isn’t my job – I don’t really enjoy it.  So I’ve got a lot of other things I’m doing.  I’ve started a vegetable garden, hang out with my chickens and ducks, tend my bees, and got my old FJ40 (1979 Toyota Land Cruiser) street legal again.  I’m also volunteering, brewing beer, and watching all the crappy action movies I can find on Netflix.  Whatever you do for a hobby or to pass the time, please do it even more as you’re looking for a job.  This hunt is terribly stressful and I need to find joy elsewhere.

Don’t Settle

As my job search lengthens, I know that my instinct will be to take the first offer that comes along.  I have a family to support and as a single income provider, that pressure is all too real.  But I need to resist that temptation because I know that if I get into position where I’m not happy at work, I won’t be happy at home.  So in the short term, the finances will be better but in the long term, I won’t be any happier.  I need to make sure that the next role I take aligns with what I want in many dimensions, not simply the salary.

So those are some of the things I’ve learned on my job search thus far.  I’m sure new insights will come to light as time passes but that’s where I am a month in.  I hope you’ve found it useful.  If you’d like to connect to discuss in more detail, please find me via my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherhendrick/

Chris

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