Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Managing the Undiscovered Career

The company who recently released me from service was kind enough to hire a career transition company called DBM. It is the first time I have ever tried using that kind of company. Sure, I've used headhunters before, and may again. This is different. They are a resource to teach you effective ways of job hunting.

I've always kept a live resume, updating and modifying it from time to time. It was effective enough for me, especially when I wanted to stay within the industry. When it comes down to it, a resume is effective if it gets you the interview. After that it's up to you.

I say was effective because we live in unusual times. In today's economy, with so many jobs being eliminated, it's hard to stand out. I'm learning that there are better ways to present yourself on paper. There are ways to change industries.

Part of the problem most people have is boiling work experience down to accomplishments. Even in jobs I despised and spent the whole day wishing I were on my way home, I accomplished something of note. (In this case, I'm not thinking of any recent jobs. I'm thinking of that place I worked before my oldest kid was born, the place with bags of iron oxide everywhere.)

The problem is how to translate that into something that makes you look like a person who can accomplish things. That's where I'm finding this place helpful. It's one thing to say that you wrote awk/sed scripts in UNIX. It's something entirely different to say that you wrote awk/sed scripts to retrieve often-needed line-items of data that takes 3 seconds, when it took 5 minutes to do it manually. Boom. You demonstrate a skill and an impact.

I'm still constructing my technical version, but I already have a freelance writing version that I have already used. Time will tell if it is effective.

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