First Time Looking for a Consulting Job – The Search Continues

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. 

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

Looking for a Consulting Job – The Beginning

I had set the somewhat arbitrary date of August 1st to start looking for a consulting job, but as the date approached I found that my anxiety around the whole process increased.  Theoretically the entire exercise should have been something I looked forward to.  After all, it was something I was interested in doing for a very long time, and I had gone to a considerable amount of trouble to put myself in a position where finding a job wasn’t an emergency.  I have no kids depending on me, low monthly expenses, no debt, and could work and live anywhere in the country where we could handle the winter weather in the RV.  Lee was totally on board, my skill set was solid, and after a year of working other jobs I was definitely ready to jump back into the professional world.  Even with all of those factors in place though, I was very nervous.

It wasn’t just that I had been out of the market for almost two years, but more that I hadn’t seriously looked for a new job in more than 10.  I worked for the same two companies for 22 years and occasionally I would look and see what was out there, but I was never willing to take the plunge and make the switch.  Plus, we lived so far from a major city, Lee had a job he loved, and we had kids in school, so relocation wasn’t really a good option…at least not for a voluntary job change. Now I can look across the entire country, and have way more choices, which is overwhelming in its own way.

I have been faced with seemingly overwhelming tasks before, and the best way for me to handle them is to break them down in smaller chunks and just start the process.  And instead of waiting another week, I woke up on Wednesday (after another restless night) and decided to begin.  Most of my work information is on my laptop, which rarely gets used, so the first step was making sure I had a clean platform to work from.  That meant checking a separate work email account I had ignored for several months, updating my resume on Linked In and several other sites so it would come up in employer searches, and making sure my information was up to date on professional websites I was associated with.  This was no small task itself and took a few hours.

It is important to note here that the process of finding a job takes time, and that time is uncompensated.  For those who are working in a white collar environment with a computer, some of that can be done during the regular work day, but for those of us who are working “blue collar” jobs all of that must be done during our time off. And it requires some research on how to use the job search tools out there.  Don’t get me wrong, tens of thousands of people do it every day, but just like I had to set up Work Kamper  to look for work kamping positions, I need to reacquaint myself with Indeed and other job search sites.  I am not starting completely from scratch here though.  I have spent time talking to some folks who are in my field and who have looked for positions to hear about what worked for them and once I get into it I am sure it will get easier, but unless I am tremendously lucky I expect to spend hours on finding a job.  Since we are already working 35 hours a week, those hours will need to come from our free time.  I’ll make sure and keep track of how many hours it takes to find that first job and include that in the final analysis.

And yes, there will be a final analysis. It is my intention to look at consulting just like I have looked at every other job and weigh the pros and cons as it relates to the lifestyle. And maybe that is why I am so nervous about the whole thing.  Consulting isn’t a “no-brainer”.  Sure, if we look at jobs simply from how much money we can make it would be, but that’s not how we look at jobs anymore.  We look at jobs based on a much more complex matrix now.  Location, hours required, and stress level are all big factors.  Whether a job is omnipresent or whether it can be put away during off time is another one.  I am still judging my life by the WOW moments and pretty pictures I take, and if I am tied to a phone 24/7 that will have an impact.  It did in our first year on the road and I am in no big hurry to sign up for that level of stress again.

The question is, can I find a consulting job in a great location, for a relatively short stint, that makes me feel like I am making a difference while still allowing me to have a personal life?  That is a tall order, and ultimately may be next to impossible to find, but I am committed to trying to find it.  And of course I am completely aware I could have worse problems.  Unemployment rates are pretty low and having lots of choices to wade through is much better than the alternative.  So it’s time to stop thinking about it and start doing it .

I sat down at the computer at about 8:30am and dove right in.  First I went to Linked In (which I had ignored for over a year) and was pleased to see I had a couple of private messages from folks I used to work with.  I replied and let people know I was getting back into the professional world and then made sure my contact information was up to date.  Recruiters have the ability to see when the last time you updated a site and generally skip folks who aren’t active so any kind of update is important at least once a month to keep the connections active.  I also downloaded the Linked In app on my new phone so I could keep in contact easier and opened my professional gmail account which I also hadn’t looked at in over a year.  This account had 663 emails, but since most were notifications I was able to clean it out in about 20 minutes.  After doing that I downloaded the Gmail app for my phone so I could have both the Camper Chronicles email and my consulting company email on that device.

Looking at email led me to which was a tool I used to use for the occasional job searches.  Thankfully the account was still active and I updated my information on their site as well, including uploading a 2017 version of my resume.  I chose to not list my work kamping jobs on my professional resume, but there are no gaps in employment as my consulting company employment will cover this time period.  This is a bit disingenuous since I haven’t strictly been consulting, but I am more than happy to discuss that in the interview process.  Having a big gap in employment is a bit like having your house on the market for a long time period; it makes people wonder.  How I am handling this is akin to taking a house off the market for a month and then relisting it to reset the dates.  It’s just how the game is played, and I am past the age where I feel the need to do everything strictly by the book.  If this lifestyle has shown me nothing else it is how to color outside the lines and make it work for me.

My answer by the way for what I have been doing the last year is pretty simple.  I took advantage of a buyout and took some time off to travel.  I’ve done some volunteering, worked the occasional seasonal job, and traveled the country, including spending a summer in Alaska.  All of that is completely true, and the specifics of what those various jobs entailed is really not relevant. There is a possibility of course that some employers might be concerned that I took the long break, but with my prior work history showing long-term commitment to two companies I really don’t think it will be much of an issue.

As I was wandering through the various sites and job postings things were a bit haphazard, but in a good way.  I didn’t make myself crazy by needing to see every single posting out there before applying, instead anything that looked interesting I submitted a resume to.  I know this may lead to a deluge of responses, but I wanted to cast a wide net and see what came back.  One of the first recruiters I signed up with was Kelly Services.  By submitting my resume to them, and making it clear I could travel, I was showing I would be open to multiple positions. I also set myself up with a profile on their website which put my resume into their database, and hopefully while I was looking for them they would also be looking for me.

This initial “refresh” of my information took about three hours.  Just to be clear, that would have taken tens of hours if I didn’t have a resume, Linked In account, and website already in place.  That work was done during my last few weeks of my prior job and in the first couple of weeks after my transition.  Even though things have just sat I am glad I did the heavy lifting back then, because dusting it off was relatively easy.

My next chunk of time was spent setting up more refined job searches. I wanted to make sure I was getting daily emails on new opportunities, but in order to not miss anything you need to be very careful about how your searches are setup.  I played around with different criteria and saw the results and ultimately decided on what worked for me.  This process is a bit frustrating as the search criteria didn’t quite match what I was looking for.  I found to be pretty friendly because they only showed legitimate companies who had “flexible” positions, but I wasn’t 100% confident my search criteria was inclusive enough. was even worse.  It is probably the number one site people use, but their search engine choices were not very helpful for me and my results were either really small or many hundreds of jobs.  I needed to be honest with myself on how much time I would have to go through job descriptions so a strong search engine was a must.  Finally, I reached out to fellow Dreamer Ruth who had recently completed a successful job search, and she recommended Virtual  Even though the cost was somewhat steep at $15.99 per month, I decided to give it a try because she had such a good experience with it.

So on Friday I spent another 3 hours setting up job searches and applying at a few positions, including another large staffing company.  Virtual Vocations is a great resource when you are looking for full-time work, but since I am looking for temporary work at this point I prefer Flex Jobs.  I tried to spend some time on Indeed, but there is so much out there it was pretty overwhelming.  It’s definitely a rabbit hole and you could spend an entire day searching and looking and still have more to look at when you were done.  I did set up a couple of job searches there as well, so we will see how that all plays out over time.  And the best news of all was I contacted by Kelly Services to submit my application to a company.  Unfortunately their recruiters cover specific geographic areas (which makes sense for local employment) but at least I talked to someone.  What really excited me was when I did some research on the company it was polar opposite of the very conservative New England company I worked for.  Not surprising since it is based in California, but that is exactly why I wanted to try consulting in the first place, to have exposure to different industries and different corporate environments.  Don’t worry, I am not going to jump at the first thing I see, but it is a nice start, and I am particularly excited about the fact that the job is a 3 month position. Yes, there is a ton of work out there, but most of the jobs are 6-18 month commitments.  If it was virtual I would be more willing to start with a longer time commitment, but for something onsite, short-term is better, at least to start.

So that’s it for now, I will let you know how things progress over the next few weeks.  We have our heavy weekend schedule, of course, and then Jim and Diana are coming to visit and we are taking a trip to Mount St. Helens.  Lots going on here, hopefully I can keep all the balls in the air!

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.