CONFESSION: I don’t know how to job hunt

As I mentioned in my last post I’m thinking about looking for a new job. There’s just one problem – I don’t really know how.

How am I employed now, you might wonder? I did it by doing all the wrong things. Namely, I posted my resume online and waited for people to call me. Which worked, I’m very lucky to be in a field with high demand and recruiting companies who go out to look for employment candidates. But not every employer hires a recruiting company or calls candidates themselves. I’m willing to bet that many of the best employers don’t have to, they advertise that they’re looking and wait for the applications to come in. By advertise, I mean they put it on their website and maybe post on a job board.

Now, a good recruiter can be great to work with. They can act as a go between so that you can be completely up front and frank with them and they can be more politic with the hiring company. They often know more about the company than what’s printed in the job description and can help find a good fit. If you don’t get the first position most recruiters will hold on to your resume and call you when other opportunities arise. If you’re lazy (like I can be), having the jobs come to you is rather nice.

But there are downsides. Recruiters cost money – the hiring company pays the fees (at least in my field) but that makes you more expensive than a direct hire. As I mentioned, not every company uses outsourced recruiters so by relying solely on them you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. Some recruiters care only about getting you into a position so they can get their commission and will discourage salary negotiation, or even push you into taking a lower wage than you want or lie about the position/company to make it seem more appealing.

In short, if I do job hunt I’ll continue to use job placement agencies but this time I want to take more control and actually look for jobs. But how? I know of a few ways, I just don’t have much practice at them:

  • Networking – ask people you know about open positions. Unfortunately my social skills are lacking and my network is pretty small, but it doesn’t hurt to try anyway.
  • Job Boards – if you’re in the technology field, dice.com is where it’s at. It’s my profile on this site that got me my last few jobs but I haven’t actually searched and applied to the posted jobs in a while. Craigslist is probably worth a look as well. I might take a look at other sites like Monster.com… is Monster even running still?
  • Visit the Sites – Some companies only advertise openings on their website. It’s a bit more time consuming but if there was someplace that I really wanted to work for I can always go to their site and see if they’re hiring for anything I can do.
  • Ask – It’d be nice to get something close to home but as far as I can tell there are no tech companies located up there. Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real estate agency that wants to hire a web developer. I might also be able to find some freelancing clients if I decide to go that route, but that’s another post.

As you can see I have some ideas on how to job hunt, but knowing the theory and actually doing it? Totally different. Especially with my social awkwardness that occasionally blows up to social anxiety. Which is why I like the lazy job hunt method so much. Unfortunately the tech field will change, a new technology will sneak up behind me and become the hot new thing making me not quite obsolete but not nearly as marketable, so I’ll have to learn to job hunt properly eventually anyway. That or find a company that I can stay with for the rest of my life – which would be nice – but I’m not holding┬ámy breath.

Since I started writing this post last week I have decided to start looking to see what else is out there. That doesn’t mean I plan to quit my job, but if I do find something better I’m open to jumping ship. I find job hunting while employed to be awkward but I’ll manage it somehow.

ps- In my last post I mentioned having a second interview but hadn’t heard back about it. Just after I hit publish I got a call, they really liked me and were discussing the “next steps”, whatever that means. Then the recruiter called this morning to tell me that they were still trying to get in touch with the manager. So there’s still a chance that this could turn into an offer but there’s also a chance that the process might slam to a halt for whatever reason – they’re too busy to focus on hiring, they decide to transfer from within, they aren’t busy enough to hire someone, they change their mind about me, etc etc. That’s the one good thing about job hunting while working, it’s easier to be patient with drawn out hiring processes. And you can be pickier. Ok, that’s two good things. I still prefer to look for a job when I don’t have one.

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