Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Strength of Networking in a Career Search

When I first started my search for a career that utilized my Computer Science skills. I began by registering with an online job service, Monster.com. I began searching for jobs in the Portland area only to find that many employers were looking for mid to senior level employees, not junior or entry-level college graduates.

After a few weeks, I landed my first interview with Nautilus for a software development position in support of internal business software. Not having C# experience, as well as my extreme nervousness, led me straight back to the drawing board.

Eventually, I registered with Job Dango, an online career search website focusing on businesses located in the Pacific Northwest. The more I used these career finder websites, the more I learned about the job search process. While Monster allows its users to preserve the format of a resume by uploading it as a Word document, other sites require that a user build her or his resume by building it step by step or by cutting and pasting. As a result, I learned that it is better to go directly to the employer's website and submit my resume and cover letter via email, if the employer supports this option. In this manner, time could be spent pursuing more important endeavors, such as looking for a job!

After three months of searching and only a few interviews, my level of motivation shot through the roof. I began doing as much reading as I could regarding my field. I read blogs and articles related to software development, open source, job hunting for college graduates, and anything else that could help me gain an edge in the market. Portland, Oregon is a very competitive environment when it comes to looking for a job, especially for a newcomer, so I needed every possible advantage.

Eventually, I found the Portland Bar Camp Meeting on Dawn Foster's 'Open Culture' Blog. This week, I had three interviews! Two of the interviews were from contacts I made at the Portland Bar Camp Meeting. That's three interviews in one week as opposed to one per month! Am I going to the next Portland Bar Camp Meetup. You betcha!

See the article titled Good Code is Like Glass for more helpful job search information and job tips.
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