Job Hunting Woes


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  1. #1
    Job Seeker in NJ Guest

    Job Hunting Woes


    In a few months, I will be moving to the Northern NJ area because my wife
    (a vet) is starting up a practice in that area. Because of this upcoming
    move, I am looking to start a new job in that area. However, thus far my
    job search has been fruitless to say the least. I have a MS in Computer
    Science and 8 years of experience doing software development in a variety
    of relevant, in-demand languages, so I definitely I am definitely not one
    of the legions of "new grads" with paper credentials and no real-world skills.
    I've been around the block a few times as they say.

    The most frustrating thing is that I see postings for jobs in the newpapers
    and on the web (hotjobs, monster, dice, etc) advertising for positions that
    I _know_ I would be perfect for. I have the skills, experience, and education
    these people seem to want, yet it seems like my resume ane cover letter is
    getting lost in the shuffle.

    I have a couple of theories:

    - With the job market tight, everybody and their mother is sending resumes
    to every open position. Because of this flood of resumes, the good ones
    get lost in among all of the marginal ones.

    - Companies are advertising for positions that they don't want to fill.
    I know of at least one company that puts ads in the paper for jobs that they
    don't intend to fill because they have to satisfy H1-B visa requirements.
    I would like to think that this wouldn't be a widespread trend, but given
    the lack of corporate ethics these days I wouldn't be too surprised.

    - Perhaps I'm not marketting myself well enough. I started out by sending
    the same stock resume and cover letter to everyone. Now I am custom writing
    each cover letter based upon the description of the position. Still, this
    doesn't seem to help.

    - I do not usually follow up with a phone call. Now I know there are those
    that like to always follow up, but I haven't been doing this because I don't
    want to spam anyone. I figure that these people have enough to do without
    me bugging them by begging them for an interview. Besides, my resume and
    cover letter has always been enough to get a response. However, I am thinking
    of changing this strategy.

    - I am not as perfect as I think I am. With all of the layoffs, perhaps
    I am now competing with people with twice my experience and I am just not
    making the first cut.

    The most frustrating thing is that this is really the first time I have had
    this type of trouble getting a job (not that I've been job-hopping or anything
    like that). When I graduated from school in '93, the economy was just as
    bad as it is now, but I was still able to get some "bites" as a new grad.
    It is starting to make me very cynical about the whole job hunting process
    altogether. It's not so bad since I still have my job in my old city, so
    it is not like we are living on Ramen noodles. However, it would be nice
    to join my wife in NJ once she starts her practice up!

    Thanks for letting me vent. If anyone has similar experiences or advice,
    I would love to hear from you!

    Job Seeker in NJ


  2. #2
    Elena Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    Point #1: The job market right now is AWFUL. It's NOT YOU.

    I visit a couple online forums and this is a universal theme. I've been
    working at my current client on a month-to-month basis since last summer
    and I consider myself extremely fortunate.

    Yes, many of those job ads are bogus. Sometimes it's the H1B cover-up thing.
    Other times it's headhunters and job brokerages that just want to load up
    their databases with lots of names so if they get a lead on a job, they can
    pull up 20 resumes to fax to the client. And although I've never experienced
    this myself, I understand some of the brokerages collect resumes and job
    references solely for the purpose of calling your references to see if they're
    hiring anyone.

    Yes, any job ad returns a couple hundred resumes so the company has to wade
    thru a LOT of stuff to find your resume.

    Now, given the horrible state of the job market, you have to look at things
    you can do to improve your chances. It sounds like you've already figured
    out some of this - - personal contacts (not harassing! just touching base)
    are important. So are resumes tailored to appeal to the particular position.
    Often the imbeciles in HR have no idea how technologies relate to each other
    and can only match up acronyms so assume NOTHING. I'm not a very good source
    of resume advice other than to say you need to keep it short, succinct, and
    hit the hotbuttons for whatever job you're applying for. You can tell them
    your life history in the interview if you get one.

    Online job boards and newspaper ads are legitimate places to search but they
    should not make up more than, say, 30% of your job-searching time. This is
    bad news to us techies because most of us would much rather apply online
    than call/meet with people in person (myself included!) Also, as people
    say, searching for a job is a full-time job. And real-live-people-networking
    is still the most effective means of finding employment.

    Now I have no idea what "northern New Jersey" is like. If it's very rural
    (meaning not a lot of companies to work for) maybe none of this will help.


    I can imagine it's terribly demoralizing to be in your position but believe
    me, you have plenty of company. I believe things will get better but not
    as fast as any of us would like.

    Hang in there!

    Elena


  3. #3
    simon Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes

    The best way to find a job is still the good old "networking". Your friend
    in a propective company will know exactly who to submit the resume and
    follow up for you. There is no better way!

    Forget about the newspapers. By the time you saw the ads, the HR department
    has already been flooded with mountains of letters. Also, I have seen that
    many many times, that companies have candidates in mind but put out the ads
    as formality. Some companies even go out of the way to put their ads during
    the weekdays so that the exposure is minimal. So don't waste your time on
    newspapers.

    As of the job web sites, they are better than newspapers. But they are
    flooded with recruiters trying to capitalize on your job search. Be very
    careful to screen the recruiters. Most of them will not do anything for
    you, just wasting your time. But hooking up a few good ones will get you
    some interviews.

    Last but not least, go over your resume again. Make sure it is brief and
    to-the-point. Nobody has time to read an *essay* if you know what I mean.
    And make sure you hit all the buzz words that will catch the eyes of the
    recruiters/hiring managers.

    Hope this helps, and good luck.

    simon.


    "Job Seeker in NJ" <job_seeker@nowhere.com> wrote in message
    news:3c969768$1@10.1.10.29...
    >
    > In a few months, I will be moving to the Northern NJ area because my wife
    > (a vet) is starting up a practice in that area. Because of this upcoming
    > move, I am looking to start a new job in that area. However, thus far my
    > job search has been fruitless to say the least. I have a MS in Computer
    > Science and 8 years of experience doing software development in a variety
    > of relevant, in-demand languages, so I definitely I am definitely not one
    > of the legions of "new grads" with paper credentials and no real-world

    skills.
    > I've been around the block a few times as they say.
    >
    > The most frustrating thing is that I see postings for jobs in the

    newpapers
    > and on the web (hotjobs, monster, dice, etc) advertising for positions

    that
    > I _know_ I would be perfect for. I have the skills, experience, and

    education
    > these people seem to want, yet it seems like my resume ane cover letter is
    > getting lost in the shuffle.
    >
    > I have a couple of theories:
    >
    > - With the job market tight, everybody and their mother is sending resumes
    > to every open position. Because of this flood of resumes, the good ones
    > get lost in among all of the marginal ones.
    >
    > - Companies are advertising for positions that they don't want to fill.
    > I know of at least one company that puts ads in the paper for jobs that

    they
    > don't intend to fill because they have to satisfy H1-B visa requirements.
    > I would like to think that this wouldn't be a widespread trend, but given
    > the lack of corporate ethics these days I wouldn't be too surprised.
    >
    > - Perhaps I'm not marketting myself well enough. I started out by sending
    > the same stock resume and cover letter to everyone. Now I am custom

    writing
    > each cover letter based upon the description of the position. Still, this
    > doesn't seem to help.
    >
    > - I do not usually follow up with a phone call. Now I know there are

    those
    > that like to always follow up, but I haven't been doing this because I

    don't
    > want to spam anyone. I figure that these people have enough to do without
    > me bugging them by begging them for an interview. Besides, my resume and
    > cover letter has always been enough to get a response. However, I am

    thinking
    > of changing this strategy.
    >
    > - I am not as perfect as I think I am. With all of the layoffs, perhaps
    > I am now competing with people with twice my experience and I am just not
    > making the first cut.
    >
    > The most frustrating thing is that this is really the first time I have

    had
    > this type of trouble getting a job (not that I've been job-hopping or

    anything
    > like that). When I graduated from school in '93, the economy was just as
    > bad as it is now, but I was still able to get some "bites" as a new grad.
    > It is starting to make me very cynical about the whole job hunting

    process
    > altogether. It's not so bad since I still have my job in my old city, so
    > it is not like we are living on Ramen noodles. However, it would be nice
    > to join my wife in NJ once she starts her practice up!
    >
    > Thanks for letting me vent. If anyone has similar experiences or advice,
    > I would love to hear from you!
    >
    > Job Seeker in NJ
    >




  4. #4
    Job Seeker in NJ Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    "Elena" <egermano@comcast.net> wrote:
    >
    >Point #1: The job market right now is AWFUL. It's NOT YOU.
    >


    Thanks for your advice and encouragement. I guess the bottom line is that
    I have to keep slogging and hopefully the market will start to thaw a bit.

    I agree with you about phantom job postings from headhunters. I sent one
    resume to a job that looked decent. I got called back by a headhunter and
    he told me straight up that he was just fishing for resumes. Of course,
    he didn't have any opportunities for me! In retrospect, I should have known
    that he was a headhunter because the ad was very vague. Now that I'm wise
    to these tricks, I can spot headhunter ads a mile away!

    As I mentioned, I am still employed at my old job, so I'm not hurting financially
    like other people who are in the market. Nevertheless, it is good to vent
    every once in a awhile!

    PS: Northern NJ (at least where I will be) is very close to NYC so it definitely
    isn't rural. After 9/11, a lot of companies who were dislocated have moved
    some or all of their operations in NJ.



  5. #5
    Job Seeker in NJ Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    "simon" <substring0NOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >The best way to find a job is still the good old "networking". Your friend
    >in a propective company will know exactly who to submit the resume and
    >follow up for you. There is no better way!
    >


    I am definitely "working the network". So far I haven't gotten any good
    leads but I am definitely trying!

    >Forget about the newspapers. By the time you saw the ads, the HR department
    >has already been flooded with mountains of letters. Also, I have seen that
    >many many times, that companies have candidates in mind but put out the

    ads
    >as formality. Some companies even go out of the way to put their ads during
    >the weekdays so that the exposure is minimal. So don't waste your time

    on
    >newspapers.
    >


    Actually, 2 of the 4 full time jobs that I've held have come out of newpaper
    ads, so they aren't all bad. Of course, that was during better times!


    >As of the job web sites, they are better than newspapers. But they are
    >flooded with recruiters trying to capitalize on your job search. Be very
    >careful to screen the recruiters. Most of them will not do anything for
    >you, just wasting your time. But hooking up a few good ones will get you
    >some interviews.
    >


    That's what I'm starting to figure out. I have a feeling that I am just
    one of thousands of people applying to anything and everything that moves!


    >Last but not least, go over your resume again. Make sure it is brief and
    >to-the-point. Nobody has time to read an *essay* if you know what I mean.
    >And make sure you hit all the buzz words that will catch the eyes of the
    >recruiters/hiring managers.
    >


    What length would you suggest? When I came out of college, I was told that
    I should keep my resume to 1 page max. Now that I have some work experience
    under my belt, I've pushed it up to 2 pages. However, I am starting to think
    that I should go back to using a one page resume. Sure it will be less detailed,
    but like you said, nobody likes to read _War and Peace_ when just the Cliff's
    Notes will suffice!

    PS: I agree with what you said about C++. I am a long time C and C++ coder
    so I am biased, but with those languages under your belt, you can pick up
    just about anything!



  6. #6
    simon Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes

    "Job Seeker in NJ" <job_seeker@nowhere.com> wrote in message
    news:3c98002b$1@10.1.10.29...
    <snip>
    > >Last but not least, go over your resume again. Make sure it is brief and
    > >to-the-point. Nobody has time to read an *essay* if you know what I

    mean.
    > >And make sure you hit all the buzz words that will catch the eyes of the
    > >recruiters/hiring managers.
    > >

    >
    > What length would you suggest? When I came out of college, I was told

    that
    > I should keep my resume to 1 page max. Now that I have some work

    experience
    > under my belt, I've pushed it up to 2 pages. However, I am starting to

    think
    > that I should go back to using a one page resume. Sure it will be less

    detailed,
    > but like you said, nobody likes to read _War and Peace_ when just the

    Cliff's
    > Notes will suffice!
    >

    Keep in mind that those so called career advisors may not know any more than
    you and me. IMHO, most of these things are simply common sense. After a
    few years of working experience, there is no way you can put everything into
    one page.... well, unless you are using font size 6 and attach a magnifying
    glass with your resume, haha.

    Two pages are definitely okay. I like to itemize my skillset and experience
    in bullet points instead of long wordy paragraphs. That is clean and easy
    to read, and it is the cardinal rule of writing a resume.

    Resume should serve no more than catching the attention and interest of the
    recruiters/hiring managers. If they want to know more about you, they will
    set up an interview.

    By the way, economy is coming around. Mortgage interest rate has risen
    above 7%. Companies will soon relax the hiring freeze. But then of course
    they won't be paying those outrageous salaries and big sign-up bonus
    anymore. =)

    Keep you head up and keep searching. The "right" company will "find" you.
    =)

    simon.



  7. #7
    Elena Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    "simon" <substring0NOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>Resume should serve no more than catching the attention and interest of

    the recruiters/hiring managers. If they want to know more about you, they
    will set up an interview.<<

    To pick up on Simon's point, the average recruiter/broker/HR rep/manager
    spends all of ELEVEN SECONDS on each resume when making the first cut. So
    if your hotbutton skills for this particular job don't jump out in that 11
    seconds, your resume falls into oblivion.

    A common technique is to have bulletized areas near the top of the first
    page:

    TECHNICAL SKILLS:
    Databases: SQL Server, DB2, Oracle, Access

    Hardware: Intel-based servers, Sun Server xxx, whatever,

    Languages: Visual Basic, ASP, XML, XSL, HTML, JavaScript, CSS,
    Transact-SQL, PL/SQL, C

    Operating Systems: NT Server 4.0, Win 9x/NT Workstation 4.0,
    XP Professional, HP-UX Unix, Free BSD, xxx

    Software: Visual Studio 6, Dreamweaver, xxxxx

    You can re-arrange this to highlight whatever type of skill you're pushing
    but you want this info right up front - - after the job objective and BEFORE
    your college degrees and the details about your past employers.

    And I wasn't kidding when I said ASSUME NOTHING. That means even though
    HTML is a given in any web development job, don't leave it off because some
    idiot will exclude you thinking you don't have this really complex skill
    that's on the job description he's trying to fill.

    Elena



  8. #8
    ******** Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes

    The resume tips and educational advises sound great when the economy is
    strong, but
    when we have a severe recession and companies tighten their IT spending, I'm
    not sure whether the qualified person will be the one who gets the job. The
    sad part about the job hunting process is that, despite the terrorist attack
    and the slump in IT market, the burden of proofs fall on the applicant when
    the interviewer wants to know why the job candidate was unemployed for such
    a long time (or why he/she had so many jobs prior to the lay-off)...

    It is ironic that not long ago the US media claims that there is a shortage
    of US programmers! Having a technical know-how provides you with only the
    first 50% of getting the interview or the job. To keep that job and to
    survive that corporate culture, the other 50% depends on your ability to
    deal with politics and difficult people.

    My .02 cents,

    Peter


    "Elena" <egermano@comcast.net> wrote in message
    news:3c98b57e$1@10.1.10.29...
    >
    > "simon" <substring0NOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote:
    > >>Resume should serve no more than catching the attention and interest of

    > the recruiters/hiring managers. If they want to know more about you, they
    > will set up an interview.<<
    >
    > To pick up on Simon's point, the average recruiter/broker/HR rep/manager
    > spends all of ELEVEN SECONDS on each resume when making the first cut. So
    > if your hotbutton skills for this particular job don't jump out in that 11
    > seconds, your resume falls into oblivion.
    >
    > A common technique is to have bulletized areas near the top of the first
    > page:
    >
    > TECHNICAL SKILLS:
    > Databases: SQL Server, DB2, Oracle, Access
    >
    > Hardware: Intel-based servers, Sun Server xxx, whatever,
    >
    > Languages: Visual Basic, ASP, XML, XSL, HTML, JavaScript, CSS,
    > Transact-SQL, PL/SQL, C
    >
    > Operating Systems: NT Server 4.0, Win 9x/NT Workstation 4.0,
    > XP Professional, HP-UX Unix, Free BSD, xxx
    >
    > Software: Visual Studio 6, Dreamweaver, xxxxx
    >
    > You can re-arrange this to highlight whatever type of skill you're pushing
    > but you want this info right up front - - after the job objective and

    BEFORE
    > your college degrees and the details about your past employers.
    >
    > And I wasn't kidding when I said ASSUME NOTHING. That means even though
    > HTML is a given in any web development job, don't leave it off because

    some
    > idiot will exclude you thinking you don't have this really complex skill
    > that's on the job description he's trying to fill.
    >
    > Elena
    >
    >




  9. #9
    simon Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes

    "********" <ple@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message news:3c98ba15$1@10.1.10.29...
    <snip>... the burden of proofs fall on the applicant when
    > the interviewer wants to know why the job candidate was unemployed for

    such
    > a long time (or why he/she had so many jobs prior to the lay-off)...
    >

    Companies can lay you off within a heart beat, but most of them still demand
    loyalty and do not like job-hoppers. That is reality and there is nothing
    you can do about it.

    > It is ironic that not long ago the US media claims that there is a

    shortage
    > of US programmers!
    >

    If we trust everything the media feeds us, we will be in deep trouble.

    > Having a technical know-how provides you with only the
    > first 50% of getting the interview or the job. To keep that job and to
    > survive that corporate culture, the other 50% depends on your ability to
    > deal with politics and difficult people.
    >

    This calls LIFE. That's why those who can deal with politics and people get
    the promotion and the big bucks. And those who cannot remain in the
    programmer dungeon <g>.

    simon.



  10. #10
    ******** Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes

    I beg to differ on the last sentence. I know some talented designers and
    architects who would rather quit their job than to stifle their creative
    mindset in a politics environment. Of course, life ain't fair for those of
    us who refuse to play the game and therefore some of us have to pay the
    price.


    "simon" <substring0NOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3c98eae1$1@10.1.10.29...
    > "********" <ple@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message news:3c98ba15$1@10.1.10.29...
    > <snip>... the burden of proofs fall on the applicant when
    > > the interviewer wants to know why the job candidate was unemployed for

    > such
    > > a long time (or why he/she had so many jobs prior to the lay-off)...
    > >

    > Companies can lay you off within a heart beat, but most of them still

    demand
    > loyalty and do not like job-hoppers. That is reality and there is nothing
    > you can do about it.
    >
    > > It is ironic that not long ago the US media claims that there is a

    > shortage
    > > of US programmers!
    > >

    > If we trust everything the media feeds us, we will be in deep trouble.
    >
    > > Having a technical know-how provides you with only the
    > > first 50% of getting the interview or the job. To keep that job and to
    > > survive that corporate culture, the other 50% depends on your ability to
    > > deal with politics and difficult people.
    > >

    > This calls LIFE. That's why those who can deal with politics and people

    get
    > the promotion and the big bucks. And those who cannot remain in the
    > programmer dungeon <g>.
    >
    > simon.
    >
    >




  11. #11
    MarkN Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    One reason I continue to work for myself. Not the reason I started to though.


    Mark


    "********" <ple@nyc.rr.com> wrote:
    >I beg to differ on the last sentence. I know some talented designers and
    >architects who would rather quit their job than to stifle their creative
    >mindset in a politics environment. Of course, life ain't fair for those

    of
    >us who refuse to play the game and therefore some of us have to pay the
    >price.
    >
    >
    >"simon" <substring0NOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    >news:3c98eae1$1@10.1.10.29...
    >> "********" <ple@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message news:3c98ba15$1@10.1.10.29...
    >> <snip>... the burden of proofs fall on the applicant when
    >> > the interviewer wants to know why the job candidate was unemployed for

    >> such
    >> > a long time (or why he/she had so many jobs prior to the lay-off)...
    >> >

    >> Companies can lay you off within a heart beat, but most of them still

    >demand
    >> loyalty and do not like job-hoppers. That is reality and there is nothing
    >> you can do about it.
    >>
    >> > It is ironic that not long ago the US media claims that there is a

    >> shortage
    >> > of US programmers!
    >> >

    >> If we trust everything the media feeds us, we will be in deep trouble.
    >>
    >> > Having a technical know-how provides you with only the
    >> > first 50% of getting the interview or the job. To keep that job and

    to
    >> > survive that corporate culture, the other 50% depends on your ability

    to
    >> > deal with politics and difficult people.
    >> >

    >> This calls LIFE. That's why those who can deal with politics and people

    >get
    >> the promotion and the big bucks. And those who cannot remain in the
    >> programmer dungeon <g>.
    >>
    >> simon.
    >>
    >>

    >
    >



  12. #12
    Job Seeker in NJ Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    "simon" <substring0NOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >Two pages are definitely okay. I like to itemize my skillset and experience
    >in bullet points instead of long wordy paragraphs. That is clean and easy
    >to read, and it is the cardinal rule of writing a resume.
    >
    >Resume should serve no more than catching the attention and interest of

    the
    >recruiters/hiring managers. If they want to know more about you, they will
    >set up an interview.
    >


    Definitely good advice! I try to list my experience in "bullet point" form
    so that you don't have to slog through paragraphs and paragraphs.

    >By the way, economy is coming around. Mortgage interest rate has risen
    >above 7%. Companies will soon relax the hiring freeze. But then of course
    >they won't be paying those outrageous salaries and big sign-up bonus
    >anymore. =)
    >


    Selfishly, I hope that interest rates don't rise too much more because we
    are looking to buy a house in the next few months!


    >Keep you head up and keep searching. The "right" company will "find" you.
    >=)


    Thanks for the encouragement!

  13. #13
    Job Seeker in NJ Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    "********" <ple@nyc.rr.com> wrote:
    >The resume tips and educational advises sound great when the economy is
    >strong, but
    >when we have a severe recession and companies tighten their IT spending,

    I'm
    >not sure whether the qualified person will be the one who gets the job.



    I am not sure that I am following your logic here. If anything, I think
    the tight labor market means that companies can't just hire any old bum of
    the street to be a "web developer"

    The
    >sad part about the job hunting process is that, despite the terrorist attack
    >and the slump in IT market, the burden of proofs fall on the applicant when
    >the interviewer wants to know why the job candidate was unemployed for such
    >a long time (or why he/she had so many jobs prior to the lay-off)...
    >


    I don't agree with you there. Companies have every right to ask questions
    of job candidates. Just like you as a candidate have every right to ask
    questions of your prospective employer. Sure it isn't fair. Sure it would
    be "nice" if employers just hired people on their good looks, if they did
    we'd have a lot of failed companies. I think asking about what you did when
    you weren't employed or why you switched jobs so frequently is a perfectly
    acceptable question to ask. If you have a good accounting of your time then
    what's the big deal?

    >It is ironic that not long ago the US media claims that there is a shortage
    >of US programmers! Having a technical know-how provides you with only the
    >first 50% of getting the interview or the job. To keep that job and to
    >survive that corporate culture, the other 50% depends on your ability to
    >deal with politics and difficult people.


    I agree about there not being a shortage of programmers. I think part of
    the problem is that the people doing the hiring often overvalue experience
    with specific technologies and they undervalue general software and technical
    experience. They assume that if you are development using Widget 2.0 that
    only people who have experience with Widget 2.0 need apply. From my personal
    experience, you get more productivity out of a good programmer who may not
    know your specific platform. The good programmer will end up being more
    productive in the long run, no matter what their background.

    As far as politics and difficult people go, that's life for you. Unless
    you are a hermit, life is about dealing with people. I used to think the
    way you do. I used to think that politics and such was bullsh*t, and I did
    my best to steer clear of it. However, I found that you can attract more
    bees with honey than with vinegar. If you try to make people's jobs easier,
    they'll make your job easier.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents for you!

  14. #14
    ******** Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes


    "Job Seeker in NJ" <job_seeker@nowhere.com> wrote in message
    news:3c992449$1@10.1.10.29...
    >
    > "********" <ple@nyc.rr.com> wrote:
    > >The resume tips and educational advises sound great when the economy is
    > >strong, but
    > >when we have a severe recession and companies tighten their IT spending,

    > I'm
    > >not sure whether the qualified person will be the one who gets the job.

    >
    >
    > I am not sure that I am following your logic here. If anything, I think
    > the tight labor market means that companies can't just hire any old bum of
    > the street to be a "web developer"


    Perhaps if you get used to thinking outside of the box, you'll probably
    understand my logic :-)
    What I meant is companies have taken advantage of the large pool of
    unemployed professionals in this IT downturn. The hiring managers are
    getting very picky as far as the "perfect" candidates are concerned. It
    used to be the case that if you satisfied 9 out of 10 requirements in the
    list of skillsets, you'd get the job. Not any more. All I 'm saying is
    while you may be qualified to have this same job three years ago under
    normal circumstances, it is a much tougher sell for you to be hired now
    (Even though you may think you can do the job without any problems).

    >
    > The
    > >sad part about the job hunting process is that, despite the terrorist

    attack
    > >and the slump in IT market, the burden of proofs fall on the applicant

    when
    > >the interviewer wants to know why the job candidate was unemployed for

    such
    > >a long time (or why he/she had so many jobs prior to the lay-off)...
    > >

    >
    > I don't agree with you there. Companies have every right to ask questions
    > of job candidates. Just like you as a candidate have every right to ask
    > questions of your prospective employer. Sure it isn't fair. Sure it

    would
    > be "nice" if employers just hired people on their good looks, if they did
    > we'd have a lot of failed companies. I think asking about what you did

    when
    > you weren't employed or why you switched jobs so frequently is a perfectly
    > acceptable question to ask. If you have a good accounting of your time

    then
    > what's the big deal?


    Again, it's ok for employers to ask questions about what you did when you
    were unemployed or why you switched jobs frequently, but if the interviewers
    go to the extreme by overlooking your qualifications and how you can make a
    contribution to the firm FROM THIS POINT FORWARD then it'll be a loss for
    that company.

    > >It is ironic that not long ago the US media claims that there is a

    shortage
    > >of US programmers! Having a technical know-how provides you with only

    the
    > >first 50% of getting the interview or the job. To keep that job and to
    > >survive that corporate culture, the other 50% depends on your ability to
    > >deal with politics and difficult people.

    >
    > I agree about there not being a shortage of programmers. I think part of
    > the problem is that the people doing the hiring often overvalue experience
    > with specific technologies and they undervalue general software and

    technical
    > experience. They assume that if you are development using Widget 2.0 that
    > only people who have experience with Widget 2.0 need apply. From my

    personal
    > experience, you get more productivity out of a good programmer who may not
    > know your specific platform. The good programmer will end up being more
    > productive in the long run, no matter what their background.
    >
    > As far as politics and difficult people go, that's life for you. Unless
    > you are a hermit, life is about dealing with people. I used to think the
    > way you do. I used to think that politics and such was bullsh*t, and I

    did
    > my best to steer clear of it. However, I found that you can attract more
    > bees with honey than with vinegar. If you try to make people's jobs

    easier,
    > they'll make your job easier.



    Life is certainly about dealing with people; however, I have worked in an
    environment (a well-known brokerage firm in NYC) where someone tests his
    programming scripts on production server without any testings, and when I
    pinpointed the problems caused by this scenario, a lot of fingerpointings
    took place as a result. I'm not a hermit like you implied because I know
    when somebody treats me with deceptions and twisted facts. Making someone's
    job easier does not mean we have to stoop ourselves to the level of
    dishonesty.

    Anyway, good luck with your move to NJ.



  15. #15
    Gary Guest

    Re: Job Hunting Woes



    Your letter, and the responses, sound so familiar. I've been in the workforce
    since 1980 and have been laid off three times. It seemed like every time
    the economy went into recession, I got laid off. (This is not a bad recession,
    by the way. I'm still working! It doesn't compare at all to 1982.)

    Unless you're in a hot field, job hunting is always discouraging. You don't
    know when it will end, and every effort seems to reward you with rejection
    and a bruised ego. You can really come to hate HR departments, upper management,
    and the whole hiring process. But it eventually does end. I've never failed
    to find a job. Quite often when the dam does break, you'll get multiple
    offers! (This has happened to me a lot. I'll go for months getting nothing
    but form rejection letters and suddenly get two interviews and offers within
    the space of two weeks. Another weird thing is I've often gotten calls from
    resumes I sent out many months ago, and after I've accepted a new position
    and reported to work. This is life. Good things can happen too.

    Networking is the very best way to find a job, and sometimes it is the only
    way. Youíll get a better job than by applying to ads, and it will be more
    secure.

    One resource you might be overlooking is you wife. She has a veterinary
    practice. She meets lots of people, some of whom might work for local IT
    companies, be hiring managers at local IT companies, or know someone who
    works for a local IT company. She could quietly put out the word for you.
    While she probably isnít going to come right out and ask her customers if
    they know of a job for her husband, she can make small talk such as asking
    them what they do and where they work. Most people enjoy talking about themselves.
    And if one of them happens to work for a local IT company, she can reply,
    ďOh, my husband is a programmer. Heís working in ______, NJ, but heís going
    to move here when he finds a job.Ē It would be unusual if the person didnít
    offer to help. People like to help; it makes them feel good.

    Something else you might try is to send a letter to the president of the
    local Chamber of Commerce. Explain that your wife has begun a veterinary
    practice there and you are looking for a job in order to join her. Could
    he refer you to any local IT companies that might be hiring? It would not
    be inappropriate to include a resume. This is a perfectly legitimate request.
    C of Cís are in the business of promoting business, and attracting highly
    qualified workers to the area is good for business. A reference from a source
    like this is several orders of magnitude better than anything you are going
    to pick up in the classifieds.

    One final piece of advice: donít take a job just because itís the only one
    you can get in the area. Make sure the company you are going to work for
    is a good one. Since you are still employed, you donít have to take just
    anything that comes along. Thereís a lot of power in saying ďnoĒ. Donít
    let a company take advantage of you because they know you want to move to
    the area. Regardless of what they say, they're not going to hire you out
    of charity, and they should expect to pay for what they get. How you hire
    in sets the tone for your entire tenure at a company, and you don't want
    start out being exploited. If you do, it won't get any better.

    Good luck!

    "Job Seeker in NJ" <job_seeker@nowhere.com> wrote:
    >
    >In a few months, I will be moving to the Northern NJ area because my wife
    >(a vet) is starting up a practice in that area. Because of this upcoming
    >move, I am looking to start a new job in that area. However, thus far my
    >job search has been fruitless to say the least. I have a MS in Computer
    >Science and 8 years of experience doing software development in a variety
    >of relevant, in-demand languages, so I definitely I am definitely not one
    >of the legions of "new grads" with paper credentials and no real-world skills.
    > I've been around the block a few times as they say.
    >
    >The most frustrating thing is that I see postings for jobs in the newpapers
    >and on the web (hotjobs, monster, dice, etc) advertising for positions that
    >I _know_ I would be perfect for. I have the skills, experience, and education
    >these people seem to want, yet it seems like my resume ane cover letter

    is
    >getting lost in the shuffle.
    >
    >I have a couple of theories:
    >
    >- With the job market tight, everybody and their mother is sending resumes
    >to every open position. Because of this flood of resumes, the good ones
    >get lost in among all of the marginal ones.
    >
    >- Companies are advertising for positions that they don't want to fill.


    >I know of at least one company that puts ads in the paper for jobs that

    they
    >don't intend to fill because they have to satisfy H1-B visa requirements.
    > I would like to think that this wouldn't be a widespread trend, but given
    >the lack of corporate ethics these days I wouldn't be too surprised.
    >
    >- Perhaps I'm not marketting myself well enough. I started out by sending
    >the same stock resume and cover letter to everyone. Now I am custom writing
    >each cover letter based upon the description of the position. Still, this
    >doesn't seem to help.
    >
    >- I do not usually follow up with a phone call. Now I know there are those
    >that like to always follow up, but I haven't been doing this because I don't
    >want to spam anyone. I figure that these people have enough to do without
    >me bugging them by begging them for an interview. Besides, my resume and
    >cover letter has always been enough to get a response. However, I am thinking
    >of changing this strategy.
    >
    >- I am not as perfect as I think I am. With all of the layoffs, perhaps
    >I am now competing with people with twice my experience and I am just not
    >making the first cut.
    >
    >The most frustrating thing is that this is really the first time I have

    had
    >this type of trouble getting a job (not that I've been job-hopping or anything
    >like that). When I graduated from school in '93, the economy was just as
    >bad as it is now, but I was still able to get some "bites" as a new grad.
    > It is starting to make me very cynical about the whole job hunting process
    >altogether. It's not so bad since I still have my job in my old city, so
    >it is not like we are living on Ramen noodles. However, it would be nice
    >to join my wife in NJ once she starts her practice up!
    >
    >Thanks for letting me vent. If anyone has similar experiences or advice,
    >I would love to hear from you!
    >
    >Job Seeker in NJ
    >



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