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"Snippets" are mini-articles - they allow me to very quickly add answers to your frequently asked questions, and add brief explanations for topics that you've searched for without success. So, everytime you send an email or perform a search, chances are a new snippet will be the result!

22 May: How I found a job (or four)

Finding a job is like waiting for a #10 bus - none come for a long time and then 3 come at once.

It took me 3 months to find a job, and then I found myself with 4 job offers in 2 weeks. Luckily the 3 months wasn't painful - my employer gave me 5 months notice that my office was closing in June, so I was employed the whole time. I know many developers that have been out of work for over 12 months which doesn't bear thinking about.

Job hunting online

So how did I find my jobs? First, I visited every job site I knew, from to HeadHunter.Net and - over a dozen sites all told. What a waste of time.

I sent upwards of 100 resumes to employers in my area and got 1 - yes ONE - response.

On talking to some employers I found that they literally had a box of resumes on the floor next to their desk where they "filed" the 100s of resumes received for every position they advertised. It is pure luck, not your skill, that gets your resume seen nowadays. I heard one story (or urban legend, maybe?) that said that Microsoft had a web developer position open for a single day and received 750 resumes. Sheesh!

One thing that I found job sites useful for (the only thing) was to estimate the salary you can expect in your area for a particular skill. You don't need to register to get that information.

Talking of registration, you may not realize it but when you get a job the job sites don't have a way for you to remove your membership. You can remove your resume, but it seems I shall always be listed in some form on these sites. Is this a sneaky way to boost membership numbers when advertising their sites to employers?

Step 1: Write a great resume

This does bear repeating: write a great resume. You can use mine as an example if you want. Make it extremely clear. Well written. Spend lots of time writing an exciting objective. Re-write it all a few times. Create different resumes aimed at different positions, then give out the relevant URL. Write it for the web, then save it as a Word document for emailing to prospects. For goodness sake, give it some personality. Most resumes are bland.

Did I mention typos? Resumes go in the trash can when I see the first typo. No excuses. I don't care if English isn't your first language - it is mine and it shows that you didn't put any effort into it. Go and bother someone else.

Step 2: Call everyone you know

You've heard it before: it's not what you know, it's who you know. It's amazing how true that is. 2 job offers came from people that I knew - not friends mind you, just acquaintances. But they had a positive memory of me and that got me past the resume police.

Step 3: Call your competitors

If you're like me, you may have a speciality in a particular vertical market. Call the competitors of your ex-employer. Not surprisingly you'll probably get a very favorable reaction.

Step 4: Advertise yourself

If you're a developer looking for work, write a web page. Admittedly I already had one, but 2 companies approached me after finding my resume with their "resume robots". Both companies offered me jobs.

Step 5: Cold call local companies

I saw a Georgia Technology magazine one day and decided to email my cover letter and resume to every company that was advertising half a page or more in the magazine. It proves they have money. They weren't advertising for jobs, which helped too. No job offers from this, but 80% of the companies replied.

Good luck!

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