Steve’s Job Search 2012: Miscellaneous Findings

Whew, well that was weeks of posts on what I found in the job search.  It’s just about over, but now that we’re done with what I found in general, I want to share a few miscellaneous findings and discoveries that don’t warrant full entries.

  • There are openings at least in some areas.  A lot of recruiters I talked to were very busy.  In fact . . .
  • There isn’t enough talent available for some jobs.  Yes, there are more jobs going unfilled (again in some businesses and locations) than you may realize.
  • HR and Recruiting is at times its own worst enemy because of speed.  People who really want jobs, and want them fast, don’t have time for slow recruiting processes.  No small amount of recruiters I talked to kept loosing people just due to the speed factor.
  • Job boards (and even job news) is not always a good measure of a company or industry’s staffing needs.  Sometimes that’s kept very quiet.
  • Odds are unless you’re a serious careerist, your job search skills are sub-par for this market at this time.  It’s so odd, unusual, and requires a lot of media savvy.
  • People who are very good at the job search probably set an unnaturally high standard for those in recruiting.  Someone who can make a killer resume, cover letter, portfolio, charm everyone at all interviews, and pass a test is awesome – but really how many people who are truly talented can do all that perfectly?  I think the ability to pimp out your job search materials and so forth has set unrealistic expectations.
  • Still, I think a lot of people are just plain lousy at the job search.  I think a lack of empathy is a big part of it – they just don’t realize how they come off.
  • More and more contracting places seem to offer benefits.  Some contract companies are doing what was big in the late 90’s – essentially treating contract staff as full-time employees.  That could be a good sign.
  • If you’re willing to take a longer commute, it may be an advantage.
  • Speaking of commutes, know the transport system of your target area(s) really well.  It may help you not only get to work, but shows awareness in interviews.
  • Everyone knows the job search is insane.  Everyone.  No one is sure what to do about it as a whole, but everyone knows it makes no sense.

So I wish you luck in your job search – and let me know if there’s any lessons you learn.  You can blog about them here!

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at


Steve’s Job Search 2012: It’s A Campaign

Yes, you’re probably wondering “With a New Job, how is it that Steve has time to write this series?”  First I wrote it up in my break between search and new job.  Second I type fast.  Third, because it’s what I do.  Fourth, because this is all in my head and I want it out now.

One thing I found quickly is that a job search really is a campaign, like a marketing campaign, the installation of new software in an office, etc.  A job search is a focused, multi-faceted effort that needs the right resources, the right goals, and the right navigation to get there.  It’s not just sending out a few resumes and hoping.

Have Your Materials: Have your cards, resumes, portfolio, personal site, LinkedIN profile, etc. all up to date, all their data unified, and ready to go.  These are how people find you, see you, and contact you.

Have Your Story Together: Make sure you have a narrative that is reflected in your interviews, in your materials, and in your head.  You need a story, just as sure as a marketing campaign tells a tale.

Hit Hard – But Check Your Targets: As noted I’m all for a job search blitz, but you also need to find the best ways to get the word about you out.  That’s going to require some assessments, analysis, and a few about-faces.  Analyze what’s working for you and what’s not, figure which job board, recruiter, or contact yields the best results, etc.  Sometimes spreading your net wide is good, and narrowing in later, sometimes not.

No Turning Back, Just Going Around: You’re in this for the duration, you don’t give up, you just redirect and reorder your efforts.  It’s important to find the balance between charging on and choosing a different direction to charge into.  You’ll need to find that.

Sell, Sell, Sell: Always look for opportunities, always think of new ways to get you out there, always explore options.

Tie It Together: Tie all your efforts together.  Ask that person who didn’t hire you why so you can tweak your resume.  Pass friends on to the recruiter who’s helping you (builds more allies).  Ask that HR person you just met to pass you along.  Every effort, contact, and thing you do should be maximized for results.

You do this – and adapt – until you get a job.  Just the way marketing campaigns target, focus, and refocus.  Just the way an educational campaign adapts to the needs of target audiences.  You don’t quit, you keep going, in one big, unified effort.

It’s a campaign.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at

Steve’s Job Search 2012: Empathy

(Steve’s seemingly never-ending series of what he learned in his last job search continues . . .)

On your job search, you’re dealing with people.  People like you one way or another.

I’ve always emphasized empathy towards people doing recruitment, but over the last year and over my job search I began to realize how often we don’t empathize with others in our job search.  What of the people in HR?  The people doing the interviews?  The people you’re talking to that you may be working with?  The poor folks applying that annoying online test?

They could use empathy too, just like anyone else.

I found that having more empathy for everyone in the job search was good for me as a person.  It’s so easy to view the search as a kind of hunt or challenge or gauntlet, when really it’s just a bunch of people like you.  Remember that, take the time to think how they feel, to relate, to understand.  You’ll save yourself a lot of bitterness, delusion, and being a jerk.

The job search – as inhuman as it can seem sometime – is all about people.

I think this increased empathy helped me a lot in the job search.  I got more interviews.  I felt more comfortable with people – and helped them feel more comfortable.  I understood their needs and helped communicate how I could fulfill them.  I had a better sense of what was really going on for recruiters, companies, and jobs.

Also, it was more relaxing.  When you remember people are people, it’s easier to work with them.

Oh and needless to say, i felt like I was being a better person.

Not sure you can feel empathy during all the chaos?  Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of other people and ask how you can help them.  During an interview put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and ask what they feel and what they want.  Relate to them as people.

You’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to understand them just by taking a moment.  That moment may get you the job, save your sanity, or both.

Empathy.  It makes you a better person and helps you find a job.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at