I feel like I haven’t posted to In Write Field in weeks. Hang on – it HAS been weeks. Two and a half weeks, to be exact.
When I started blogging nearly two years ago, I set a goal to post at least bi-weekly and generally stuck to that. (At the end of 2012 I had blogged EXACTLY 100 times. How’s that for follow through?) More recently, I guess I just fell out of the habit of blogging, and there’s a reason for it…
Most of my non-working hours in 2013 have been devoted to job hunting. “The search” was all-consuming, exhausting — and for a while, maddeningly fruitless. So now that I have at last received (and accepted) a job offer, and my imminent departure from my current position is public knowledge, I can finally blog about it.
I’ve been squirreling away material, with no public outlet for my frustrations and amusing anecdotes. Now, I have a few things to get off my chest.
My last three jobs have been with the same large financial services company, and it has been nearly 10 years since I conducted an external job search. The process has definitely changed. When I graduated from college – in the dark ages known as “pre-internet”– I decided to try my hand at public relations in New York. Perhaps eager to bump me off the gravy train, my father bought me a P.R. directory as a gift. It listed every agency in North America, its location, size and client list, and the names of its senior management. Each day, I would zero in on several firms in the directory, pick a few executives’ names, TYPE a cover letter to each, and send it by mail along with my resume. Protocol dictated I make follow-up calls no more than five days later.
Networking? Back then, networking was for electricians. Sure, we all kept our ears to the ground. We asked friends to watch for openings at their firms. The very creative among us even scoured alumni directories for someone who might take pity on them. But mostly, a job search essentially meant cold calling.
A few years later, when I finished graduate school, there was a greater emphasis on nurturing alumni connections – yet job hunting was still mostly paper based, consisting of letters of introduction, requests for informational interviews and the ubiquitous three-ring binders filled with hard-copy resumes. Binders full of women… and men!
Now candidates and recruiters have LinkedIn, which has in turn spawned an industry around LinkedIn profile writing. Oh, and let’s not forget behavioral interviews. (I’ve heard we have Google to thank for those.)
One of my favorite behavioral questions, found online:
Q: Do you listen? Give an example of when you did or when you didn’t listen.
All topics for another day, and another blog post. See what I mean? Job searching is like breaking rocks – but now I have so much material!