Posted by: kimothy | January 28, 2010

Thoughts on the Job Search

So I have recently moved home and restarted the job hunt… my old job folded because the current state of the economy is not kind to startup companies. And, New York City is not kind to people who don’t have jobs. So I’m now living with my parents at home in Colorado, and starting all over again. It’s as if I graduated in December rather than May. Those last two sentences can spawn several rants on their own, but this entry is about the daunting concept of searching for jobs in the current state of the union (and Obama’s speech last night can fuel yet another rant… but a) politics makes me sick, and b) not what i’m talking about right now).

There are several things I dislike about how people are “supposed” to go about finding a new job. So many of the recommended (and sometimes required) tactics go against my own moral code, and I hate that I will have to do things that I flat out do not agree with. I am generally a modest person; I do not like flaunting what I have, because doing so has brought me trouble in the past. And, being boastful is part of one of the cardinal sins, no? But selling yourself, talking about how awesome you are, is one of the essential parts of the job search — in resumes, cover letters, interviews, and follow-ups. Unfortunately, tooting your own horn is the only way for companies to know what a valuable addition you would be; letting companies find out after hiring you is just not the way it works anymore. Finding the fine line between being boastful and presenting a good image is quite difficult… and I’m trying to find a way to present myself well while being modest, too, since that is a big part of who I am. But, since I don’t have many tangible assets (awards, job experience, volunteer records, etc.), I have to sell my skills, and presenting those in a non-boastful manner is proving to be exceptionally difficult.

I spent a while in a Barnes and Noble the other day, reading through Resumes for Dummies. Most of it was aimed for baby boomers re-entering the workforce; it explained what the internet is, how to use job search engines, and all kinds of other computer-related things that have been second nature to me since I was old enough to talk (it explained that you should use a word processor on a computer to create a resume, not write it by hand or use a typewriter. I’m sure that’s useful advice for someone in their 50s, but to me and my generation… seriously?). However, it did have some useful information on how to make a resume as a recent graduate, and how to make a resume based on skills rather than experience. The part I want to rant about, however, is the final appended chapter on follow-ups.

The last chapter presented methods on what to do after you send your resume to a company. It gave time frames on when to call the recruiting personnel, how to get past secretaries and “gatekeepers,” and what to say when you finally get through to the person who will make the decision about whether to hire you. Some of the time frames were weeks long, telling you to call several times per week to get through to to the person, and what to tell them in voicemails: selling your assets over and over again, and telling them why it’s stupid to put off hiring you.

I have several objections to that tactic. It seems to preach that as long as you stay persistent, the hiring person will eventually cave in and hire you. If you bother the person and his secretaries long enough, he will eventually give in. How is that a good tactic? Don’t you want to be hired by a company that wants you for your skills, not one that gave in to incessant messages and sales pitches? There is a line between being persistent and being belligerent, and the book seemed to recommend going way past the line. I might have a narrow-minded view of this, since I’m a recent graduate from a top university and just my degree puts me several notches above a lot of people; I won’t have to call incessantly to be noticed. I also balk at any small action on my part that causes another person annoyance or undue stress. The meek shall inherit the earth, or suchlike. I’m sure Type-A┬ápotential I-bankers or traders would have a different view on this tactic than I do, but from my viewpoint (I’m 70% Type B), it’s a terrible way to go about things. That view might cost me some jobs. Maybe I’m relying too much on my degree to get me offers. But I would rather stick with my own moral code and get fewer offers over a longer time period, than throw the code out the window and bully myself into a job in a way that I would regret for a long time, no matter how awesome the job is or how fast I procure it.

Another thing that irks me is that most career search resources seem to only support one mindset when it comes to the job search: the aggressive one. That is, pretty much the opposite of what I believe in. I’m Type B, not aggressive, realistic, a still-waters-run-deep kind of mindset. I believe in letting my skills speak for themselves without having to sell them (relying on embellishment, which is just short of lying — and just as deplorable — in my opinion), and letting companies discover me. I think that once I get in, I’d be found invaluable and be able to flourish and benefit any company. But to get in, I have to be not myself. How is that possibly a good thing?

I haven’t finished redoing my resume yet, and haven’t started actually applying for jobs, so I don’t know if, despite my opinions on the job search, I will be successful in finding a job before I go absolutely stir-crazy living with my parents. I guess I’ll find out. But when I’m disgusted with the whole process, and face having to be someone I’m not, how can I possibly do this and stay true to who I am?

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Posted by: kimothy | January 1, 2010

A New Year…

So, it’s a new year. 2010. The “aughts” are over (everyone laughs at me when I call them that, but whatever). And, cliche as it is, I’m using the new year as grounds for several new beginnings. 2009 was a rollercoaster year, for sure… there were a lot of good parts, but also a lot of bad parts. I’m glad it happened, but also glad it’s over. Time for a new beginning!

Anyway, aside from all kinds of potential career-related changes that are happening, my easiest change is a return to my photoblog! I will aim to post a picture every day of 2010: http://lifefromthelens.wordpress.com/.

I stopped updating my photo blog at the end of October when my job status took a turn for the worse (if you want to know more, ask me… it’s too in depth for a lighthearted blog entry), and Maslow’s Hierarchy took over… but now, hopefully, I’ve figured enough out so that I can start enjoying more of the top of the pyramid again. We’ll see.

Let’s see if I can stick to the blog this year. I don’t believe in huge super life-changing resolutions, since they never really last past January anyway… but hopefully posting a picture every day is an attainable goal.

Posted by: kimothy | October 22, 2009

Mindless Movies

SUPPOSEDLY if you’ve seen over 85 movies, you have no life (though being able to get out to see a movie seems like more of a life than not being able to get out to see a movie!). Nevertheless, mark the movies you have seen. There are 239 movies on this list.

Read More…

Posted by: kimothy | October 5, 2009

Best Rant I’ve Had in a While

Look here:

http://slashnburn.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/things-that-ruined-my-day/

for the best rant I’ve had in a while. That’s the joint blog I made with Adrian and Eugena, for those very few who don’t know… I wonder how many people read this, anyway. Hmm. Anyway, go see my rant; I’m proud of my storytelling. Haha.

Posted by: kimothy | September 30, 2009

The Life Through The Lens

So I have created a photoblog officially, for those who haven’t found it yet:

http://lifefromthelens.wordpress.com

Rather than using this current blog as a photoblog, I created an entirely new WordPress blog for it. Since I feel the need to explain myself to Mr. I-Comment-On-Everything-Ever (you know who you are… actually, so does everyone else), I shall.

a) I really like the photoblog theme I found on WordPress, for the new site. It picks the colors for the site based on the colors in the photo it’s currently displaying. I wish the empty strips on the sides were black instead of white (the emphasis would be so much nicer), but I don’t know how to change that. I don’t know enough CSS (that’s next on the list of things to learn in my spare time). But still, that’s a small problem. I also don’t like the front page; if there’s no photo on it, it’s ugly and unceremonial, but if there is a photo on it, the photo is massive and defeats the purpose of a front page (also, that one photo will get old quite fast). Again, not sure how to fix it. But those are just bugs to work out.

b) Going off (a), if I were to use this current blog as a photoblog, I would have to switch the theme to the photoblog one, since I don’t think this theme is good for displaying photos. And, like I said, the format without a photo is ugly. Maybe if I learn enough CSS I can change that, but for now, I think a separate site will be easiest.

c) I decided, rather than doing themes, I would just post my photos at random, photoshopped or not, just to display my work. I’ll create fairly detailed categories, to sort them somewhat, but the posting will be random. I think that kind of captures the essence of photography, from my standpoint: if something catches my eye as I’m walking around with my camera, I stop and take a picture of it (much to Adrian’s chagrin, if he’s with me), no matter what it is, or what I’m trying to photograph at the moment.

d) Subject to change! And I’m always open to suggestions, though I might not always follow them.

I’m really liking web design and presentation of information on a computer… it’s making me think I would have done well in a graphic design or web design academic path. Maybe my next big venture will be buying a domain and making my own website from scratch, the XHTML/CSS way. I really really like having evenings and weekends to myself… no homework to get in the way of life! Of course, my life is kinda boring and sometimes sucky right now… but that’s in no way a permanent thing.

Whee optimism!

Edit one day later I figured out how to make the background black. It’s pretty much the easiest thing ever. BUT… you have to pay to custom edit the CSS on WordPress. DAMMIT.

Edit part two I decided to post one picture per day. That’s a good amount, right? Not too many, not too few. Also, I took off the stupid front page and now it just shows the most recent post (it didn’t before when I was creating it; must have been buggy or something). So, in theory, there will be a new front page every day!

Edit part three Looks like I’m using this blog to rant about changes to my other blog. Haha.

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