After spending a few days trying to keep up with all of the potential jobs out there, it soon became clear that I needed to narrow down the search criteria a bit. Between working and just living my life, it’s hard to find time to look through 30+ potential jobs a day and I was concerned that I might actually be missing a really good opportunity. So on Wednesday I spent a couple hours reviewing my various searches and tweaking them a bit. No single job search seems to have the perfect combination of factors, so I am relying on numerous searches from various sources and hoping I don’t miss anything. A person really could spend countless hours doing this, and I am trying to strike a balance between effort and payoff.
The main problem I am having is the lack of a concrete job title. Having a varied skill set is great, but that also means the job titles are varied as well. Yes, you can search for parts of a title, but that also brings back jobs that aren’t what you are looking for. My two major keywords are “analyst” and “project”, but using project manager for example (depending on the particular search engine) also brings back anything with manager in the title and that list is obviously very long. Once the lists come back, I then need to scroll through and look at the locations eliminating any place that will be too cold this winter. I haven’t found a good way to eliminate the northern climate in my searches, so I’m manually removing them.
I decided that my first choice of location would be in the Carolina’s, and I was able to set up a couple of searches specifically for that area, but if I did something similar for the entire south I would have way too many searches. For those of you who have never done this, it’s really not that different than making travel plans when you have a destination in mind but only a vague idea of how you want to get there. In order to start looking for campgrounds, you really need to have some idea of your route planned, but sometimes you plan your route based on campgrounds you want to stay at. I guess what I am trying to say here is that that much choice can lead to difficulty making any choices at all in the beginning, but the more you narrow things down the clearer the route eventually becomes. This job search has been very similar to that. But, just like when you are crossing the country and you think about all the places you might be missing, I feel the same way about the great jobs I might be missing that are just outside of my searches.
Which led me to thinking about letting people find me. I am lucky enough to work in a field that has some professional recruiters and their full time job is matching people with employment. In order to get on their radar though, I needed to post my resume out on a few of their websites. One good way to do that is to apply for jobs that they are “holding.” Many companies don’t hire directly anymore, but work through staffing agencies, and applying for any of those jobs generally gets you into the staffing companies database. Sometimes these applications can be extremely time consuming as you need to retype you resume into their online forms, but in general technology is much better in this area. Most have the ability to upload the information directly from your resume or from your Linked In account. I liked the second option the best, because I am confident in my profile and the formatting, and it was during one of these uploads that I discovered something interesting about my security settings.
At some point I changed Linked In so that my profile would not be available to recruiters. I was very surprised by this and honestly cannot remember exactly when I did it. I believe it may have been towards the end of my tenure at my previous company and I think I just forgot to set it back once I left. Or maybe it happened in one of the many software updates and I just didn’t see it, but essentially I was set up so that only friends of friends could see my profile. Very similar to Facebook, and what that meant was anyone who was looking for someone with my skill set wouldn’t find me. Over the years I have had recruiters reach out regularly, but it has been a while since that has happened, and since we have been focusing on other types of employment I honestly didn’t think much of it. Now that I have changed the setting back (and set up some new job searching profile settings) I will be be curious to see what comes of it. One of the best things about the Linked In setting is you can put places you would be interested in working and it allows you to pick numerous cities, or in my case, numerous states. I’m just glad I stumbled across it, because I have to believe it was limiting my exposure, and like I said, I will be interested in seeing how many of those “I saw your resume on Linked In” emails I will be getting.
And while I am doing all of this work, it is not lost on me that anecdotally at least, most people find a new job through their personal network. This has always been a bit of a struggle for me because I worked for the same company for such a long time. A few years before I left I started really paying attention to my network and as people left the company and moved onto other opportunities, I tried to maintain those contacts, at least casually. I’ll be the first to admit I am pretty lousy at this. I envy people who have strong networks of people they stay in contact with, and although I love seeing where people end up and like keep track of their various successes I was never very good at reaching out. That’s one thing that has changed for me with being part of this mobile lifestyle, and I have learned how to maintain friendships, at least, across long distances. Thankfully some people I used to work with seemed genuinely glad to hear from me and those people I am also Facebook friends with shared how much they have enjoyed reading about our “adventures”. Plus we have met a couple people on the road who are also working and Kat in particular (who is work based out of the Raleigh area) said she would check around for me and see what’s out there. From this perspective at least, it’s a shame that most of the people we have met while on the road don’t work, and even those we who do are primarily working in the Work Kamper arena, but that’s the path we have been going down. I know there are lots of mobile workers out there, I just haven’t spent the time getting engaged in those Facebook/RVer groups.
Ultimately that is what this whole job search comes down to…time . I turned a blind eye to this side of my professional life over the last 15 months and now I am playing catch up. It’s not the end of the world of course, people re-enter the job force all the time, but if you have ever done it you know it can all be a little daunting. I just keep focusing on doing a little bit every day and being patient with the process. I also have to keep reminding myself this is not an emergency. In my past job searches were mainly triggered by an immediate need and consequently had a sense of urgency attached to them. If anything I probably started this process a little too soon, as most of the jobs seem to have near-term start dates, and I have plenty of time to find something. Even if I don’t, I have a perfectly good job lined up and we heard back from the Gate Guarding recruiter just yesterday about our upcoming availability. I don’t need to find a consulting job, I just want to find one, and it’s important that I don’t lose site of that and jump at any opportunity that fits my basic criteria. Again, not that different from choosing campgrounds on a cross-country trip 🙂
Update: Not too long after I wrote this post one of our long-time readers, Greg, who is a mobile worker reached out and connected with me on Linked In. Hopefully over time I can build up my network with RV enthusiasts who are also mobile workers, and with Kat, Greg, and Casey as a starting point I am pretty hopeful about that. So, if you are a fan of the blog and work in an industry that uses project managers or analysts please feel free to check out my Linked In profile and send me a connection. I’ll be honest, it’s a little uncomfortable for me to even say that. By nature, I really am lousy at networking, but if there is one thing I have learned over the last 4 years is how important having a community can be. I’ve tried in my own small way to provide support to others and asking for help in return is not a bad thing. Plus you never know. The perfect gig is probably out there somewhere and I just don’t know about it. Having extra people keep an eye out simply increases my chances. We actually got our current job in Oregon because a reader sent me the job description and overall this has been a nice experience for us. In the meantime I will keep plugging away and as always will keep you updated.
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