I’m up, getting back into a routine, I’ve walked the dog already. It’s cold out there. He didn’t fancy it, so I didn’t have to go too far. I’ll be commuting soon when I start my new contract - best get used to early starts.
So having a bit of time on my hands, I wanted to share what my experience has been like, looking for a new role over the last 5 weeks.
Mainly, because I see there are many like me, also looking, but also making a good many mistakes, in my opinion. Maybe sharing my own personal experience will help, or maybe not.
This is straight-bat, no humour intended, stuff. Here goes:-
It’s a bit harder than I thought. There’s a lot of frustration that comes with so much activity vs often so little reward. Don’t get down, keep at it. I see some people with a very negative outlook, that’s not going to serve you well. I see how you get there - but you must fight it.
You need to get noticed - one way or the other. The role I have, the Recruiter found me. No publicity is bad, and whoever gets noticed in our digitally-driven world seems to do ok on the back of it. Have a bash at it.
Mix it up. While you are applying, knocking on doors, interviewing, meeting, bring other things into the mix. I’m not a natural networker, but networking can be more productive than 1-1 meetings - as I’ve found several times. Meetings give you access to one or a limited number of people, but networking, many many, more.
Be cheeky. I’ve contacted companies on spec, asking for work. A lot of “nos” and some “maybes” like a teleconference with a company abroad yesterday, which could turn out to be really interesting in all truth. It’s a numbers game, you’ve got to ask.
Don’t apologise for being cheeky, or getting in peoples faces, or trying to stand out. I worked in sales a long time back, I don’t have a thick skin, but nobody is going to do it for me - same for you.
Keep relevant by looking at what is happening in your field. No “direct experience” doesn’t mean you can’t have an appreciation of the subject and be able to converse on it. Yesterday, I attended a great event in the morning by IBM Research, on Machine Learning and AI. A few weeks back I visited Smart Factory Expo, in Liverpool, and next week I’ll be going to Fintech Connect in London, where once again, I’ll be making a nuisance of myself.**
Let people help you. I owe a lot of thanks to certain people in my network, I won’t name names, but they’ve opened a few doors and offered great perspective. Very grateful for this. I’m not always upbeat and larky and perspective and judgement get clouded at such times. Suffice to say, I want to get closer to those guys just as soon as the opportunity presents itself again.
Recruiters and HR folks are lovely people in the main. I’ve met some belters over the past couple of months. I hope to stay in touch with many of them. That said, some don’t always follow up and close things down. They should.
Step back from it. It’s not very often you do get a break from work. Enjoy it. I’ve been reading a lot, in fields unrelated to tech, and I’ve been doing stuff I normally wouldn’t. I’m really enjoying some 1-1 business strategy sessions, focused on what I want to make of my own business. I won’t name anybody again, but I could definitely recommend them. I’ll be off to one this morning when I’ve done the school run.
Just lighten up. It’s a process, it’s not easy, but when things are easy, you’re generally underachieving anyway. Enjoy the fact it’s difficult, know that that’s part of its worth, and know that you’ll come out the other side.
Laugh. Same as 11? My first interview was a ‘mare. I hadn’t interviewed in 12 years, and was totally out of my comfort zone. I’m the guy that leads the meetings - why was I on this side of the table? Things improved. Nobody is great out the door, we’re human. Shrug it off by taking the micky out of yourself. You move on quickly that way.
Accept what you are. At times I felt the fact I’d been small-cap/startup didn’t help me. I’d had to wear a lot of hats in those jobs, whereas for some roles, especially in tech, this presents too many questions, and is a quick route to “no”. Round peg. Square hole. Not much to be done about that I’m afraid. But you’re great for another business/employer, you just need to find it.
Think of it as an ongoing process, even when you have that new role or contract. The mentality will keep you in the right place, it will be easy to pick up again when it is time to find the next thing.
Never miss an opportunity to promote yourself. Maybe you didn’t know: I’m a Golang developer and I’ve worked in the Financial Services and Accounting space for many years.
Market yourself. Blog. Post on Linkedin, and one excellent tip I was given - set your “available for work” preferences in Linkedin. If nothing else you’ll grow your Linkedin network. I only had 3 connections when I started looking. Now I’ve got over 420**
Anything to add, dive into the comments and we can have a conflab! Any typos, well, I don’t want to know about them ;)
** Sorry, just two jokes. I’m allowed two. Two is the optimum level of humour for you to remember me. I know, I’ve been on a course.