Jul 21, 2010

Career Advice and Job Hunting

I recently got listed as the 30th blog for "career advice" by Online Degrees. I must admit - it's been a long time since I posted something specifically about managing one's career.

However since the last few weeks - I have been job hunting - and some things that I have done and some reflections on what is happening in my career front. It's not an advice piece - so if you get anything out of it - it's purely your own :-)

  • When I knew I had to move on from my last role - I got into touch with people - recruiters, college friends, ex-colleagues, twitter friends, bloggers I knew. People cannot help you unless they know you need help.
  • Over the last few years I had opened up my networks to help many of these folks - particularly journalists, recruiters. So asking them for help didn't feel strange for me :-)
  • I blogged about my changed employment status, shared it on facebook, linkedin and twitter too. Many people would consider that a bad move. Friends in large corporates told me "you have to look without looking" - however I believe in being transparent and open - so even if a prospective employer offers me a salary that's lower (which is where the hesitation to share one's true employment status comes from) that's OK with me.
So yes, I haven't yet got a job - but people have been incredibly helpful, pointing me out to opportunities, and helping connect with people they think can help.

Some other things that I have done:

  1. Targeting 2-3 different kinds of roles - depending on what I have done so far - and the next steps in my career.
  2. Trying to get as much referrals from recruiters to get at least a phone conversation with the hiring managers. I'm fortunate that recruiters are pushing their clients to at least talk to me when they don't seem very impressed with my resume. One interviewer said "Mr. [recruiter] urged me to talk to you because you're creative and have done different things"
  3. Traditional HR and Learning and Development folks don't understand my "Social Business" stint - so I explain it not using Facebook, Blogging and Twitter - but as modes to increase employee engagement and employer branding.
  4. Researching as much about the hiring manager (using Linkedin, Twitter) to discover common interests, previous employers, mutual friends - helps to discover common ground and a shared ground. If it's a hiring manager who's interviewing you - you have to get to a comfortable personal equation.

Ultimately it boils down to a few important things - how much social capital you've invested in your networks, how much do your family and friends support you and help you not to be down - and your own determination not to be cynical or get into a self-pitying mode.

What are some of the things that have worked for you when you have been looking for a new job?

Care to share?