Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Job of Getting a Job

Post Number: 108
Review of Yesterday's Progress
     Daily PPV Used/Left: 22/49 of 71 (Goal: 28/43)
     Pedometer Reading: 5671 (paused)
     Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
     Exercise Completed: Swam Laps at the Y (6 laps, 300 yards)
     M-W's Daily Word: Melancholia

My Heavens! Getting into networking is paying off in quite a few job leads. I am incredibly grateful for all of the job leads I have received. They range from assistant librarian to business statistics instructor to probation officer to highway district project assistant. I will be busy this week researching the position and tailoring resumes. I have already determined in my first round of streamlined research that the upper age limit for a US Probation Officer is 37. But other than that, it's only going to take time to apply for the remaining positions that my network has provided to me. The great thing about these networking leads is that not only are people out there keeping me in mind, but by keeping me in mind, the next layer of leads will be those jobs that aren't listed yet. That is where the greatest power of networking comes in. And I look forward to taping into that power.

And I hope to have the power that arises from the effort of working out this week. I reached the Y after getting up at 5 am. The 5 am wasn't as difficult as originally expected. But by 10:30 am, I was ready for a nap. Fortunately, that is the time slot for our snack. The snack time didn't happen until 11 am, but grapes don't need much prep. Snack time was a much needed respite for me.

And then a few hours later, it was off to job applications. While taking a break from the first resume for the job I was most interested in, I chose to follow up on a couple applications from last week. It is a good thing I did. For the position at Simplot I am interested in, I had completed my profile, but hadn't actually submitted an application to HR. And then, hot on the trail of the "Submit Application" button, I was blasted with the error message: faultMessage: Could not create HTTP connection. faultType: HttpCreationFault fcn: HttpDialog.prototype.process I typed out the error message so, by golly, it is going to be used somewhere. I have a variety of hypotheses on what that means, but I could ponder the technological significance later. I tried applying again. Same error message. I switched web browsers. And the application was submitted. And even better, I received an email confirmation.

Later on, I took a break to research reasons that might explain why I am not getting a job. I read quite a few online articles. Several of them were more of the bent that it may not be your fault that you weren't hired. Those were informative but not particularly helpful. One of the articles that had me pondering was: The main reasons why you are still looking for a job. The five points the articles makes are:

  1. Your resume just doesn't cut it. Response: Nope. Only one reviewer has thoroughly disassembled my resume. The advice was superb and the rebuilding was strenuous. I am grateful for the give and take he was willing to provide over the course of an extensive e-mail conversation. The only piece of advice I didn't take was dropping the use of "and more" at the end of a list of accomplishments or responsibilities. I left it in because an article at CareerBuilder suggested putting in teasers like that. Just be sure you can answer an interviewer's question about those "and more" statements with at least three more examples in the list. Also, don't put in more than one or two "and more" teasers in the entire resume. Most resume reviewers are impressed and suggest only minor corrections.
  2. You aren't at your best during job interviews. Response: Nope. I enjoy interviews. Interviews are my best chance to shine. And I do shine. I have made it over the major hurdles and have reached the pool of the final few candidates.I have researched the company, department, and obtained as much information as I can in that direction. I have researched the skills in the job description to be abel to provide specific answers to questions.  I am ready, able, willing, prepared, knowledgeable. The interview is my chance to prove it. At my Hastings manager interview, I took company reports on my phone to study. I downloaded the article 6 Fundamentals That Can Make You A Better Manager In 2014. And I only had a couple hours ahead of the interview. I tailored my resume, researched the company, and prepared for the interview. And I still wished for more time to prepare.
  3. You may be asking too much or may be overqualified for the job. Response: Nope/Maybe. I rarely get asked about a requested salary range. I can only think of two jobs in the last three rounds of job searching that asked: Amalgamated Sugar Company in Nampa and Hasting in Meridian. I have heard during an interview that I am overqualified for the job. But that's okay. Those skills and talents are there for the company to use to their customers' advantage while I continue to grow those skills and develop new skills for the company's continued success. A win-win situation.
  4. Your job title is rapidly becoming endangered or extinct. Response: Nope. Chemists will always be needed until Star Trek's replicator or some variation of it is actually created. Teachers will always be needed until telepathy (biological or technological) can be used for transferring information between people. Computer techies will always be needed until the computers take over the world.
  5. Your attitude is terrible. Response: Nope. I enjoy the exciting challenges of a new job. For several jobs that I may have not been the best fit, I still chose to take the time to shine. At an IT service desk, I was hitting the minimum resolutions while still in training. For a temp position at government lab performing the exact same analysis all day every day for months, I was still excitedly performing chemistry. I was as excited by the chemistry on the last day as I was on the first.
In all of these points, there is a piece of background information that motivates me to research deeper. I have asked about my resume and interview after a rejection. This is not easy to get someone to do because most interviewers worry about legal ramifications if they provide the information. Some have been uncomfortable holding a conversation with the person just rejected. I inform them that I only want to be a better candidate for the next time I interview. When people start providing information, I don't get defensive. Coming across as argumentative or whiny is only going to make the situation worse. I need the information to make improvements and the best information comes from following up with those that rejected me. And so far, I mostly hear great things. There have been specific descriptions of my strong points in all of my follow-ups for feedback. And the only negative points have been in relation to the person that was offered the position. And in following up when I have been hired, I have sought feedback there as well. That feedback was positive as well. After all, I was hired.

In spite of the positive feedback, there are other issues behind the scene that I want to explore. It might well be my weight. It may be my age. Maybe the recruiter wants to provide only encouragement to keep me motivated. It may be that I am over-confident or have some other characteristic annoying to the interviewer that no one has mentioned in my follow-ups. Assistance I have received from several groups that assist job searchers have also been at a lost in what to suggest for improving my resume or interview skills. There is something deeper here that I need to explore. And that will have to wait for another day.

As will my next post. And my next article. These will have to wait because today is going to be long. As I type this line, my computer's clock says it is 4:52 am. My alarm will be going off in eight minutes. I was able to prepare this post because my two little girls woke me at 3 am to ask if they could get a drink of water. I assured them that they were welcome to quench their thirst. And then I couldn't get back to sleep. Hopefully, this post is good therapy to get my day started.

Lots to do. No time to do it in. No energy to do it with. Time to head to the Y ahead of my alarm. So please excuse me while I dance off into the sunrise.

Yours the delightful exuberance a little dancing can accomplish,



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