CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

Archive for the ‘Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey’ Category

Lessons Learned From the Job Search

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Peter Fitzgerald has been chronicling his process of navigating from losing his job to a new and brighter tomorrow. To read other posts from the series, seeĀ “Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey”.

As with any project, it’s crucial to take the time after the dust settles to consider the lessons learned in the effort. Assessing what worked and what didn’t work, what you would have done differently and what activities hit the nail on the head gives you better starting point for the next time around.

What Worked?

  • Networking: Keeping touch with people I know and doing my best to help them while I was employed meant that I had a great support structure when I needed it. Moving quickly to contact my network and ask for ideas made for leaps and bounds in the progress of searching.
  • Recruiters: Contacting recruiters was, as almost always, a big benefit. By being both selective and as good a candidate partner as I was able to made for very productive working relationships with a handful of good recruiters. This isn’t to say that I didn’t talk to more, but discerning which recruiters were reliable and working hard with them was a good use of my energy. Communicating what I was looking for and setting boundaries around what I needed to make a position work also made for much better opportunities.
  • Feedback: Both getting and receiving feedback made the time go faster. The best experiences I had were with the opportunities and recruiters who were most able to share feedback as it came in. Being able to share what was working and refine the types of roles where I had an interest and get leads on more!
  • Keeping Track: Making (copious) notes about what positions I had applied for, who I’d applied for them through, and what the next step and timeline was helped plan my days. It also helped to be able to see who had relationships and who didn’t since the groups who didn’t have the relationships were offering the same opportunities with the same few companies. (As a side note, the groups without relationships also offered the lowest rates for the same positions.)
What Didn’t Work?
  • Job Sites: Not a single nibble came from a position posted on any job site. Posting my information on two of the big names actually led to more noise from the body shops without actually helping the search. Your mileage may vary, but anecdotally I’m finding a lot of folks with much the same experience.
  • Free Resume Review Services: I’ve now tried three, and in each case was told that the industry standard was something completely different. I actually went through and built resumes following each of the recommendations and asked for commentaries. The result was that my original resume was deemed the most effective, although I’m still planning on cleaning it up. I have to admit that I have not paid to have my resume professionally re-done, but haven’t been instilled with confidence by the people I spoke with.

What Would I Do Differently?

  • Negotiate Before an Exit: Hindsight is 20/20. Even so, knowing that I was going to be kicked to the curb beforehand didn’t provide the motivation I needed to negotiate my way out. Next time I see the writing on the wall, I intend to be more proactive in talking my way through the layoff.
Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and (periodically) attempting to learn the bagpipes.

My Belated Thank You Post

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Peter Fitzgerald has been chronicling his process of navigating from losing his job to a new and brighter tomorrow. To read other posts from the series, seeĀ “Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey”.

Long delayed and much belated, I have to write to thank the people who helped me in my job search. Having been gainfully employed and ramping up with the new role, I haven’t managed to post my thanks for all the help and support along the way.
First thanks has to go to my kind and supportive network of wonderful professionals who gave encouragement, leads and references. It’s amazing how much energy everyone shared to help me through.
Second, thanks goes to all the recruiters who were kind enough to help in my search. Everyone was great about sharing leads and getting me connected. I’m only sorry I couldn’t work work with all of you!
And last but not least, a special thank you to Sara Link over at TEKSystems. Besides actually helping me land my current role, your constant communication and energy was a fantastic motivator!

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, preparing to start a new day job, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and (periodically) attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Rapid-Fire Interviewing, A New Job and Lemonade

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Peter Fitzgerald is chronicling his process of navigating from losing his job to a new and brighter tomorrow. To read other posts from the series, see “Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey”.

Yes I had another crazy week that kept me away from blogging. However unlike the last sojourn the week was incredibly productive. Going into last week I had a conversation and one interview planned, by the end I’d attended four interviews and accepted a position which starts next week.

I will quite happily admit that at the end of the previous week I was a little concerned at the lack of activity. Maintaining a positive attitude through the job search is not an easy task and the down swings take a lot of energy to get through and recover from. Being able to go into an interview and present a strong, confident you is crucial to getting the right place.

At the same time I’ve found a lot of positive things in this search process. I’ve proven to myself the strength, vibrancy and diversity of my network. I have much of that network to thank for the support, guidance, encouragement and connections that got me through to a better spot.

I’ve also had my drive to help others in their career growth renewed. As I go into a job where I will get to stretch myself and gain experiences I’ve been looking for, I’m seeing the fruits of the struggles. I’m hoping that as this new chapter unfolds and others read through my journey that it gives them hope and new tools to approach their ever expanding horizons.

Which leads me to a wonderful documentary that I’d like to share called “Lemonade”. Lemonade explores the opportunity that being laid off gives everyone and the positive cycle that can be set in motion. By following the paths taken and the stories of a group of individuals laid off from the advertising industry, the film paints a wonderful montage of the possibilities. The film presents stories of a new mobile coffee venture and a self-published advertising commentator, a full time artist and a yoga instructor and more.

It’s a little off-beat in parts, but the message is clear: If you’re let go you’ve been given an opportunity and it is whatever you choose to make of it.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, preparing to start a new day job, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and (periodically) attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Check in and Pre-View of Upcoming Articles

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Peter Fitzgerald is chronicling his process of navigating from losing his job to a new and brighter tomorrow. To read other posts from the series, see “Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey”.

As I regroup from a very active few weeks, I wanted to share an update and give a bit of a preview of some articles I have in the works.

Unfortunately my absence doesn’t mean that I landed a position and was whisked away to intensively draw in the needs, expectations and environment of a new role. There have been ups, downs, an unexpected trip to Australia for a wedding in which I gauged the job market in Sydney and Melbourne (the trip was unexpected, the wedding was not) and lots of rushing around to get out submissions for positions. There have been some phone screens, a lot of positions taken off the table by internal candidates and a number of promising opportunities that haven’t provided feedback but that I have to assume aren’t in play anymore.

All that being said, the flow of opportunities hasn’t slowed much and there have been a number of roles popping out of the woodwork. I’m seeing a lot of available positions and I’m seeing a pretty good response for phone screening. I’m still hopeful, but I am concerned about the holiday season being just around the corner which presents its own issues to landing a new position.

More to come on the experiences and I’ve been working up some articles along the way. So over the next week you can expect to read more thoughts on the job search including:

  • Recruiters: What they can and can’t do for you
  • Things to consider in using social media
  • Disappointments and staying positive

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, looking for a new day job, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Day 20: Being Sick on the Job Hunt Stinks

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Peter Fitzgerald is chronicling his process of navigating from losing his job to a new and brighter tomorrow. To read other posts from the series, see “Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey”.

I had a good interview this morning. Perhaps I should say that I did well in my interview this morning.

I woke up sick and with almost no voice to speak with. After spending some time coaxing it back into life, I was able to get to and make it almost all the way through the interview without it failing on me. By the end of the interview I had made myself a viable candidate, but was quite ill by the time I made it home. After a couple of initial follow-ups I pretty much fell apart, being either unconscious or incoherent for the rest of the day.

Much as fate has a nasty way of throwing up these roadblocks, if you can avoid this situation somehow I highly recommend it.

As you can imagine it drove my contacts to distraction pretty quickly. Of course I didn’t discover this until the fever cleared, and it made it difficult to figure out what had occurred during my personal “outage”. I have some explaining to do which will hopefully be understood.

In any case, some recovery is in order and taking it easy is going to be a priority to make sure this doesn’t get worse. It’s better to lose a day than to lose a week.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, looking for a new day job, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.