IT Employment

Laid off and running out of options

TechRepublic member jdclyde talks about how difficult it is updating a 20-year-old resume and some of his considerations and concerns about finding employment in the current market.
This post was written by TechRepublic member jdclyde.

Just over three weeks ago, I found myself -- THE Network Admin -- out of work.

I struggled when deciding whether the best route was to seek additional training or jump right back into the job market. At first, I leaned heavily towards the training route, but that's no longer an option. I just found out that, because I have a BA in Networking, the only way the State will admit me into the re-training program is if I can show letters of rejection at attempts to get employment in the current field. To make things worse, there are very limited fields of study available. On the bright side, I could become a nurse, because there is plenty of funding for that.

So, it's time to sit back and re-evaluate where I'm sitting. The sitting back part is much easier than the re-evaluating part. What I'd really love is to take a nap right about now, as my energy levels and over all motivation is going down hill fast. I made a mental compromise -- work now and nap later.

The place to start is my resume. If I would have kept it up-to-date all along instead of not even thinking about it for over 20 years, this process would be much easier. To be honest, I forgot, because I was approached for my last two jobs in a row, and I didn't even have a resume. What a major blunder on my part. Time to fix that mistake, and it's a mistake I will never repeat again.

For some reason, I don't think the chronological style of resume suites my situation very well. I have to reconstruct my work history, but what do you do when a few of the companies you worked for are no longer in business? Since all but my most recent job were held over 10 years ago, I'm hoping that a potential employer wouldn't want to contact them anyways.

The next step of the reconstruction process is to come up with a list of accomplishments. How do I tell someone how great I am without handing them a book?

One of the services the State of Michigan has is helping people write resumes and go through mach interviews. It would be good not go into the first few job interviews "cold."

The final avenue to follow is getting job leads. The local paper is going to be a bust. I know that before even trying. How about job placement sites? Heck, why not, right?

The idea of making my own opportunity is very appealing, such as going to different companies and introducing myself, but what steps do I need to complete before walking through their front doors? What are some good ways to research companies, such as what do they do, how do they do it, and who's the person (or people) I need to talk to?

How did you go about searching for a job in this tight economy?

More posts from jdclyde:

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

142 comments
gas
gas

A company like Tachymatics provides a marketing front end for independent consultants while allowing the consultant to maintain their own brand. By removing the overhead of a traditional consulting company, the client has less cost while the intellectual porperty remains with you, the consultant.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Why consultants are considered unemployed salesmen.

melekali
melekali

...not keeping your resume current. I recommend no more than two pages (my 20+ year resume is one page). Just put the most important stuff you actually did relevant to the job you are looking for. Use the internet for research (job search & company) so you have some idea of what is expected by the job if the listing doesn't give you enough info. Good luck man...

sboverie
sboverie

I was laid off in 2002 and did temp work for long time before I found another job in 2004. This is advice to get through a long unemployment. Your motto should be "Everything works, Nothing Works" meaning that some job tactics work sometimes but not everytime. Creative tactics, like buying a bill board, work sometimes but sometimes back fire. You want to stand out in the crowd but not as a bad example. Sign up for Amway or other business. This is weird but, it doesn't stop your job search and should not be a factor in reporting to most state unemployment departments. The advantage is that you can write off expenses for the business on your taxes. It helps to be entreprenueral, it gives you information about thinking like a business. This is not the same as being self employed. Use every resource you can find. The want ads in the local paper used to span 10 pages in the Sunday edition now span just 2 pages. Job boards are helpful but be aware that you may be contacted for what sounds like a job but isn't. Networking with friends, family and ex coworkers will help. Resumes are tricky. With a rich past experience you should be able to identify at least 3 or more accomplishments that show how you made money for previous employers. Think about your resume as a living document and not as an obituary (Here lies JD Clyde.... I recommend customizing the resume and cover letter to the prospective employer. The only purpose of a resume is to get an interview. HR tends to be the filter that resumes go through, if you find an ad, use the same keywords in your resume so that it will be more likely to be in the top 5% of the interesting resumes. Remember, HR departments get hundreds and thousands of resumes and they tend to spend perhaps 10 to 20 seconds looking at your resume. Networking will help bypass the HR dept and get you in touch with the hiring manager. If you can find some who is one or two levels above the hiring manager, you will get more attention from hiring manager. Another word about resumes, appeal to the senses by using heavier paper, slightly colored paper and use a type font that is different from the usual NY Times fonts standard. Be absolutely perfect in spelling and keep the grammar simple. Bullet points help save on word count and can help the reader see important points quicker. If I were laid off, I would seriously consider a different career. IT has lost its luster so long ago I can't remember it being shiny. IT also was the place that other professionals had to retrain to do. You pointed out that you need some rejection letters before you can get assistance in retraining, I found it hard to get any response from employers during my last job search. If this happens, perhaps having a list of employers that received your resume may count as rejection. Good luck, unemployment is a nasty roller coaster ride of thrilling hopes and dark despair. Look to family and friends for support and understanding.

daveo2000
daveo2000

... you should go to the various vendor websites for equipment that you have worked on and see if they are having any seminars in your area. I know that Oracle and Sybase (systems that I work on) regularly have seminars around the NYC area and they are great networking opportunities while keeping up on the latest toys that the vendor is planning. Perhaps they do that in your area and realm of technology...

jdclyde
jdclyde

go to the Detroit area. When I go to seminars, it is always a few hour drive, so doesn't give a lot of opportunities in the area. Thanks for the idea though, because I it did trigger a few avenues I can check on! :D [i](there are no dumb idea....)

ramnet
ramnet

Welcome to the world of well qualified , high performing IT Professionals with an exceptional range of achievements yet are now unemployed. Its a bitter pill to swallow but may God help you if you also happen to be approaching 50 years of age because your chances of gaining meaningful employment again are just about zero. If you don't know it now the heady days of IT Pro's being valued and rewarded is long gone. You are just a commodity item there at the CEO's pleasure or displeasure , add to that the financial woes enveloping us all and things are not too bright. Personally I would not consider re-entering IT. There are a few niche markets left but not many , you would be better off being the Company Accountant or Lawyer or even Workplace Safety Officer than going back into IT. What a world we live in. Ken IT Director Melbourne

dean.christensen
dean.christensen

I was about to post something similar. And I would even lower your age limit to around mid-40's. It's a sad time in which we live...

lccurtis1
lccurtis1

I have been laid off since October of 2007...Yeah that long. I have had stints in other jobs like since but nothing in IT. I had to keep myself up on new technologies and its very difficult to do when you have limited resources. I also live in Michigan and it seems that the only people they want to train is laid off plant workers without degrees, but always remember nothing stays the same and keep positive I still believe with the new administration that it will pick back up around mid-summer.

daveo2000
daveo2000

... but then I heard an update (at least for the New York area) that many of the IT jobs out here will simply not come back. I have been out since this past November and have little hope of getting back into the corporate world. I am back looking at start-ups where a more diverse background is actually a good thing.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Yes, the shop workers, but a little further north, "Migrant workers" are getting a LOT of attention as well. Because I have a degree, as I have always found with government, the programs are not there to help people like me that have worked hard to advance. Good luck. Not sure your exact niche in IT, but I thought there were still a lot of jobs in the Detroit region. We will bounce back. :D

reisen55
reisen55

Incredible - started a new job a month ago and no warning, 3 month temp to perm and they just fire. I am in shock and depressed. I have some outside consulting and I took this position as a financial cushion for 2009, but I suppose once you do independent work, going back into CORPORATE again just never works out. Extremely depressed.

rstan251
rstan251

Sorry to hear about your situation. You can always go back to corporate but why would you? Can you knock on doors and ask for side projects or seek out old contacts? I see lots of small jobs and piece work available due to the layoffs. The work still needs to be done but companies are afraid to commit. You might try and find a way to take advantage of that. I think we all have to realize that we aren't going to be paid the same as we were in 2007-08. At least temporarily, while these companies figure out if they are going to survive. Do you think you could sell yourself as an independent contractor to a couple small businesses?

JamesRL
JamesRL

..is the first target to go. Every temp or contractor we have is being reviewed - because its easier to get rid of them than a permanent employee. Some of mine are protected because of the nature of the project. Don't be depressed, it isn't your fault. You were in a vulnerable place at a bad time. Its natural to be in shock. Take some time to get over it. I hope for the best for you. James

half
half

My wife says have you ever thought of another country?.No tornadoes No snakes, Great venison,[farmed]Cheap food, and good, temperate climate ,fruit all year long, employers here are more tolerant to personal problems ,they work with you ,not against you. heaps of property's medicare is free and a small co-pay of $1.50 per script, unless a special drug She is a M.I girl and loves it here, your $ is worth $2 NZ dollars and here is a link to one site for jobs http://www.seek.co.nz/jobsearch/index.ascx?DateRange=31&catlocation=1017&stateselected=true&catworktype=242&catindustry=1215&catoccupation=1452&searchfrom=quick

jdclyde
jdclyde

sorry to hear. Just remember what I keep telling myself. [b]I was laid off. I was NOT FIRED. I did NOTHING WRONG.[/b] It helps, really. Doesn't take the sting away completely, but it does easy the pain. Well, that and a good single malt. B-)

reisen55
reisen55

I am headed out soon for a good scotch and soda and also pocketed a check from one of my outside accounts that is a godsend right now. They wanted me to drop the outside trade but I wisely set it to the background. Well, send out resumes tonight and re-connecting with my contacts too. The IT department I worked for was really nice people managed by a total idiot who has tons of power. He wants it to be an isolated island (and wonders why users feel a disconnect, hence a new helpdesk program to manage SLA levels). He installs anything new without pre-testing. Many problems ensue. Nobody in the nominal department, inclusive of my immediate manager, likes him. My manager in fact told me that his own power and methods have changed for the worse. IT is not an isolated castle. It must be integrated with a company and social contact be maintained, roll-out of something new must be thoroughly tested and evaluated. Sigh ...............

jdclyde
jdclyde

http://www.payscale.com/Job_Description/Network_and_Computer_Systems_Administrators Do you think this is an accurate gauge of what pay scales are in the different areas? I would hate to lose out on a killer job because of asking to much, but at the same time, if the pay scale supports it, I want it. B-)

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

I would worry less about the first paycheck amount and more about a good fit. If it looks like a killer job don't worry too much about the starting salary, once you get in there and prove your worth the pay will be there. The first key is to get that job, and even if it is not the best fit of all it will be steady pay, that is the first thing. Just because you land a job does not mean you stop looking, in this economy you may be getting hired to be laid off again. Not to be the voice of doom but these are hard times, and there may not be too many offers at any price. If you get an offer for a job that looks good it might be best to take it, even if the funds are not that great.

santeewelding
santeewelding

If you can take it from someone self-employed, JD, which, I realize, cuts not much ice here. If I have my hands around the throat of a bird, I'm not too interested in ones in the bush. I'll make do, thank you.

jdclyde
jdclyde

as in the interview, was what I was talking about. Sitting in the interview and they ask your expected range...... Don't know if I will be working with a recruiter yet or not. I do remember the discussion about going back and forth with recruiters for pay. Good discussion.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

looks like best idea is to NOT tell ANY recruiters your past salary. Instead to tell them the RANGE you'd be comfortable with. However DON"T TELL THEM THAT unless they will first tell you the range budgeted for the job.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

An excellent post and is very illuminating on how people usually do not work in the field in which they trained professionally.

ajohansson
ajohansson

I was advised to dodge the question during interviews with a "I'm sure we'll agree on fair compensation when we know that we are a good fit for each other." Or something to that affect.

JamesRL
JamesRL

It depends on the total package of salary and benefits. Cause you would not be smart to ignore benefits for the sake of salary alone. Plus that gives you some manouevering room. You have to develop a feel for what your prospective employer can afford too - are they a barebones operation, or do they look prosperous. You do need to know a range. And you should ask for a range - say "from 50-60 K, depending on the whole package, bonuses, vacation etc." rather than...55K. James

hollisowl
hollisowl

I've been a member for over three years, as a home computer user who enjoys this site. I went to college for psychology and ended up a chef, but we have something in common: a mid-career professional out of work. No one told me the internal impact that overwhelms some of us. This becomes real apparent when interview after interview it seems we must be talking to mannequins, and we begin to doubt ourselves. For some of us, it may be a time to turn inward and renew our vision in life. For others, it is a time to learn the "trade of job search" through a career center. What is becomming more certain in these times is how employers view the workforce as a dollar figure and not a person. I am begining to see that in order to win, I have to join this concept of business and play the game of economics, making my employment a career/business in its self. I am a commodity. When a salesperson sells an item, they are trained to stay away from the particulars and play up the benefit to you, the consumer.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Deploy your spring-assisted Kershaw and cut your way out of this Goddamned embryonic sac. ed: too fast, too altogether anxious.

jdclyde
jdclyde

when the interviewer asks you your expected salary/wage, you can't just shrug your shoulders. You have to know a ball park number out and go from there. My point was not about trying to get top dollar. As I said in one of the earlier blogs, I could easily take a pay cut if the job is local because of my huge transportation costs I had been paying.

jdclyde
jdclyde

If I walk in with a major low ball, I would think that shows a lack of knowledge of my worth and the going wages, right? On the other hand, demanding to much will just make me just another high priced guy standing in the unemployment line.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

looking unprepared for is the pay scale I would not think that is a bad thing. As long as you are prepared to look confident, upbeat and ready to rock, you will make a good first impression. Again, the money is secondary to a great job, and that is what you really want.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Agreed, I am not looking, nor expecting top dollar. But if you dont' know a range, you look unprepared. A starting point. As I said, if it is close, I can take a big cut in pay and not even notice it because of my existing travel expenses I had been dealing with at the last job. Sucks, couldn't have gotten laid off when gas was over $4/gallon, noooooooo. :p I was paying over $100/week in just fuel.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

is going to be very hard to determine, if you do not have a spy in the company you interview with. You will probably have several interviews before you get to the pay thing, basically I would not have a problem with stating that in my last job I made x amount and that amount or more would be satisfactory, however I understand that you want me for the least amount of money can possibly get away with, so make me an offer. This will give you the low ball number. If they want you let the dickering begin, or not. Once hired you will have a 30 to 90 day probation period and after that if you have provided superior performance they may toss you a bone. And as you go forward your pay should increase rather rapidly for the first several years. Of course in this economy it may be slower. I was laid off in 1991 and when reemployed I took a large paycut for a really fine job that I am still at, the money moved up well and now I am doing nicely, it was quite rough at first making much less than I had made, but it turned around with time and I am in quite a nice position. Like Santee said; a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

This does vary depending on field of interest. In IT, especially as a sole netadmin, I assume your skills are broad and offer a good general knowledge of all IT tasks. I'd look for a smaller company, the great thing about IT, is almost everyone has some form of IT department, of course salary will be dependent on the demands of the company's IT department also. You'll probably find that really small mom and pop companies will have entry level admin staff, high school grads with some hands on knowledge but no degrees. They will pay less and you will have to lower your standards. A small business, established with say 10-20 employees is probably your best bet. You can get fair pay, a good general IT position that encompasses all tasks you are used to. I have a feeling that you wouldn't fit well into a larger company with a more defined IT department where your role would quickly become to narrow for you, you need to run the show. That aside, what small to medium sized business do you target? Well as everyone has some form of IT department, especially those with established websites or e-commerce set ups, the choices are limitless. First of all, you are big on music, seek out companies in the industry. Now your hobby and your work experience can combine into pure bliss for you. Look to studios, I am sure there are many in your area, they just don't advertise a lot so you have to go looking for them. I'd also look to music production companies, local performing arts studios etc. In other words, find out what industry you enjoy, then look for the companies in that industry that would have IT departments, they aren't all software companies as some people seem to limit themselves. Web research is usually enough, however you can always call and ask for company info or product information, when the secretary asks why, just explain your goals and interest in exploring the industry, most are flattered at the interest and would happily help you out. As for contacts, with these businesses don't ask for the HR department, ask who the manager or owner is. Just a name is all you need for now. If the secretary is helpful, ask if the person is available now, if not find the best time to call back. Have a pitch ready. I am a pro sales rep, have done it almost my whole life and don't even think about steps to sales, its fluent. now, that boasting aside, I would NEVER call someone unprepared/unscripted. On a cold call, ask for the person by name. If they are not available, ask when to call back and get a time/date. If it's hit or miss, you have to take what you can get. When you call back on that date, be prepared. "Hi, my name is jd and the reason I was calling is that I have been working as a network administrator for X years now and due to economic hardships have found myself seeking a new career. I noticed that your company provides widgets and I have always taken great personal interest in widgets, I am confident that I have some valuable skills that would benefit your company and would like to seek out an opportunity with you....are you the person I should be talking to about that or is there someone else I should speak with. (NOTE: If you are talking to the boss, it would be GREAT if he passed you DOWN to someone else, they will treat your resume and interest with full attention, after all the boss sent you there an may ask about it). Be assertive, closed ended questions, not too passive. Work your contacts, work your leads, an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM or 20 cold calls per day, NO LESS!!!!!!!!!!! It takes a hell of a lot of drive, especially when it isn't your normal business to cold call people but to work, it MUST be done. Once you get the right contact on the line, ASK FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET. Don't just say, can I send you a resume. If they ask for one, just say "Yes I'd be happy to bring one by, when can I meet with you?" Don't say CAN I meet with you, don't drop one to a secretary unless a last ditch effort "WHEN CAN I MEET WITH YOU?". (then be silent and wait for the reply, do not talk). Do this over and over again. If they are not hiring, and you've properly pitched your desires, its a must to get referrals. "I can appreciate that you are not hiring right now, Mrs.Gillespie, seeing as I have 20+ years of Java development (just an example of a personal skill) and a great interest in getting into your field, do you know of anyone else I should be speaking with? the great thing about such referrals is that they give you name of people they know, people that allow you to side step normal hiring channels. You will be surprised at how many people actually think about it and give you leads if they have them. Nothing better than a company referring you to someone. Then start at A again and get in to the other door. I'm serious though in that this is a numbers game. When playing a numbers game it is usually a quick in and out, in this case it is a targeted and qualified numbers game, VERY effective, CALL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. Make it a daily practice, getting in the door, pitching your achievements, desires and goals. Do it over and over again, every day. Ultimately this will result in interviews, after a week you should have enough interviews to keep you busy most of the day, however always set aside time for more cold calls or follow ups. Finding work is usually harder work than the job itself. so why does it work? well it is a numbers game, just as any job hunt is. A recruiter weeds out and throws a numbers of applicants at the employer and the employer decides. Usually they will add useless employees along with one over qualified but desperate employee. This makes him stand out amongst the rest and as he is desperate, he will offer greater skills for lower pay, don't get sucked in! The recruiter gets a percentage of your first years earnings, that could have been in YOUR pocket if you found the job yourself. He is not interested in you working there beyond that, he'd rather find them a new overqualified employee for low pay and take another years salary. The company doesn't mind, they keep getting qualified employees thrown at them, making the recruiter look great. Bets route I've found, even in these modern times? Yellow Pages!! yup the old phone book and phone method, dig deep it works very well!!! The key is to build a sales funnel, cold calls on top, turn into a few interviews below and result in a couple of interested parties or good leads. Without filling the top of the funnel all the time, you will run out of leads. KEEP CALLING PEOPLE. What I like to do at first is choose companies that would be on my B list for employers, that way you get the rust off where it is less important and can hit the pros when polished. believe me jd, I have learned this when young, taught it to others very successfully and still do it when I need to seek out new employment or am looking for contracts to work. I use it to market bands, I use it to market myself, I use it to market my company's products, it is tried tested and true for many decades by millions of sales people. It works flawlessly. TIPS: While cold calling, keep an eye on your script, its right in front of you, right? Don't sound canned but rehearse, a friend, your kids even a mirror if you are on the shy side is fantastic. IF you can, record your call or at least a few fake calls and play it back, you'll be shocked how you sound and will notice issues instantly. When you cold call, you will be rejected repeatedly, its only the phone. Be polite, ask for references and move on. When you do get cut off in mid sentence, note where in your script it was. If it occurs around the same time each call, revise your pitch until you can get through it effectively. It will take practice and attention, but relax and be natural about it, have fun and its easy as pie. Get appointments, get leads, get interviews and you will get into "the cycle". After a while you will find you get up, pop off 15-20 calls over morning coffee, then are off to meet people and be interviewed for the rest of the day, its a powerful and exciting feeling after a while, you will be on top of your game! Ultimately what happens is you get more than one offer on the table, you now have a choice, can meet with, haggle salary and deal with those who want you most and who YOU want to work for. The end result YOU found YOUR job, it is doing something YOU want and with a company YOU selected and at a better salary than the recruiter will find you. WIN WIN WIN WIN all the way. JD, you have proven you are astute, skilled, dedicated and a VERY fun person in these forums, get that across to your selected potential employers and they will eat you up and beg for you to work for them. Really, you will win, if you play the game with strict rules, discipline and tact. Your job today, write a pitch, practice it and look for B list companies in the yellow pages to call in the morning. Actually write a pitch and write down companies, then keep notes when calling them. Your job tomorrow, working for an employer you have chosen for yourself. It couldn't get any better than that! All the best of luck to you, go get hired! You live in America, dammit; the land of opportunity!

J Alley
J Alley

Oz has the right idea. Here are some more thoughts. Cold calls are hard to do well, hence the importance of turning a cold-call into a lead for another warm-call. You get a referral to someone else. Even easier, I think, is making connections through your network. I tried to look you up on LinkedIn and I am not sure if you are Jd Clyde, comp sys admin at premarc, Saginaw Michigan. If you are, you should post your Linked In profile URL here. If everyone who has given you helpful advice became a connection you would have a huge network. Then add any sales person that has ever approached you, friends, colleagues, relatives, old high-school budies, etc. Never mind that some folks posting on TR are from NewZealand or Canada - the network spans huge areas. Then, make your profile read like your resume and get recommendations. Recruiters use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is also great for researching companies and getting introductions to places - beats cold calls. LinkedIn is only one part of a networking job search. I have heard of studies that say 80% of jobs are found through networking as opposed to adds and job boards. I heard of one person who got a job from chatting with the garbage man who's brother's company needed someone with his skill set. As for search terms, you want to be specific so try things like Cisco, Unix, Linux or skills that you have rather than job titles. This would be particularly important if you are looking for a similar position in a small company where the job title could be anything. Pay expectations. I believe you want to convey as large a range as you feel comfortable with and emphasize that you need to see it in the context of the whole package including pension, health plan, vacation days, potential for work from home, paid training, etc. This gives them the most room to fit you in. For example, if your last job paid $80k then a range of %65-85k or whatever you feel comfortable with would be a good suggestion (assuming you think your past job paid you right for what you did). I am still working away on my own job search with several promising opportunities - mostly from networking. I have been getting some coaching on resume and cover letter writing. I'd be happy to do a review off-line. And one final thought. Ever think of approaching TR for a gig as a blogger or subject matter expert? It would be like teaching. Note to TR: why haven't you offered this guy a job? Hmmm?

ajohansson
ajohansson

I'm not a salesperson but did the cold calling as well. It took a while but I got a few interviews (one guy had me in just out of cursiosity) and landed a spot with a small Credit Union when they changed CEOs. I saw the announcement for the new CEO in that paper and mailed her a resume that week. It took 2 interviews and she created a position for me. I targeted small/medium organizations because I'm a generalist and found that I enjoy the small org. That helped with the last couple of positions as well. I emphasized the small biz experiences stating that I understand that money doesn't grow on trees and am not wasteful (a fear for the small biz when dealing with IT). It took 4 months in a decent economy, so it may take a while. Good Luck!

jdclyde
jdclyde

to do a basic search on 20 companies a day? And then there is knowing to ask for the owner vs manager... manager of what department, if multiple, clearly the IT, IF they have an actual department. Many smaller companies don't even have a department, just a guy that knows more than everyone else so is IT-By-Default. :D And yes, my last job was an industrial company, having NOTHING to do with technology. Hell, when I got hired in, there wasn't even email or internet access. B-)

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

yellow pages will give you an idea of who to contact, company wise anyway. I always have a quick look for a website, read teh company bio and it usually gives me an idea of what they do as opposed to their competitors, just a quick search so you don't sound like an idiot. Cold call : "Hi, its jdclyde calling. I'm an IT professional looking for new opportunities, 'can you give me the name' (very important phrasing)of the owner or manager in charge of your IT department?" she has a job to do, giving you the name, not screening such calls but if she asks why, tell her, its no secret you have nothing to hide. If she responds with, we're not hiring right now, just politely say fair enough and ask for the persons name again. At that point, if he/she is not available or not in, thank her and hang up. Call back in two days and just ask for the person by name. Secretaries can be extremely helpful if you make them want to help, just don't appear to have a hidden agenda or sound like your trying to sell something and you'll often get through. If not, remember its just a numbers game, you can even ask the receptionist is SHE knows of anyone else that she thinks you could apply to. They often talk between comanies and know exactly what the other is doing. JD, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Changing jobs is a positive experience, it always worls out better in the long run. You'll find hunting this way quite tough at first, prepare for rudeness and rejection but accept it and be polite about it. Just keep going. I've heard every excuse that it isn't working, whether from salesmen trying to get a client base built up or people seekign work with little to no experience. Stick with it, you will get good at it and it actually becomes fun once you get going. You'll be picking out companies and getting in the door in no time, it is SO rewarding! P.S. for a pitch, try writing down your skills. Then write down a few examples of situations you[ve found, such as designing, implementing an entirely network, but don't stop there, tell them how it increased productivity etc. Then when you call, you can introduce yourself, rattle of a couple of your key skills and then probe the guy for opportunities. If he begins saying things (in vague example here) like We've only got a small network and we just call a guy in as needed. Use the FEEL FELT FOUND ticket. I know how you feel, the last company I worked for felt that way too, we sat down and reviewed their basic business needs and they found that a small network managed in house would save them money and keep them ahead of the game. Feel-Felt-Found To use FFF in response to your last post. I really do understand how you [b]feel[/b], JD. I was unsure and [b]felt[/b] that getting started on cold calling was impossible, I [b]felt[/b] uncomfortable, nervous and antsy at just the thought of it then I found that with proper preparation and a lot of discipline it was actually easier than expected and I got some great leads. (remember voice inflections and expression, without hamming it up. Speak one tone lower and at the same volume than the person you are talking to. Try to mirror people by using their same energy level. People CAN hear you smile, I promise you! I've even stuck mirrors in front of people when making such calls just so they can make sure they are always smiling) All this sounds dumb but believe me, this is one area I do know VERY well. In your position I would not just give you BS information for the sake of it, I am honestly trying to give you a hand and am not just playing games with you, I'm not really THAT much of an a$$hole. ;) P.S.I've read a few of the other posts here and most are very valid advice. Always have mroe than one iron in the fire, but stay focused and driven. You know for a FACT that you will find work again, you are not going to be unemployed for life, its just a matter of when and where or how, keep all doors open.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You are in danger, JD, of sounding like the "but" guy a while back with his motherboard. Imagine a technology you know little or nothing about. Say, medicine (I'm guessing, having acquainted myself with you here). Then you go balls-out learning. You learn by the wayside what is serious when it comes to you, and -- most importantly -- what is serious when it comes to the boys. And what to do at the onset. (Can you and anybody else put two and two together when it comes to Obama and two of his priorities: education and healthcare? And for whom the bell tolls?) I refer of course to (nursing), which at the lowest level axiomates medical training. Put whatever you want into the parenthesis. And put stock in what Oz just said. I do.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Most people aren't comfoprtable with cold calling, especially if out of that loop for a while. Yup, Rainbow, made some cash and then found a real job. I actually did pretty good with it, mind you they are over $3k up here so the funds roll in quickly. Hey I've been dealing with clients for decades and I still get antsy before going after the big fish. It's a good thing that keeps you sharp I think. I forgot your background, takign that into consideration, you'll have NO problems with this one mate!

jdclyde
jdclyde

hell, in my early days I sold "rainbow" vacuums. If I can sell people a $1300 vacuum, I can sell myself. B-) Sales are easy, if you believe you are selling a quality product. ;\ Thanks again. jd

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

The key to me being successful as a BDM is that I've learned to identify needs. Once I pinpoint a need I can sell a solution. Often the person doesn't even know they HAVE a need, that's your job to explain. Here's an example, crappy ineffective website. You can position it properly and get them exposure. If they have a generic, ISP domain name, sell them on getting thier own domain name, saving money by hosting their own mail, controlling their own spam so they don't get important mail in Junk folders. Of course look at the company bio/history, check out teh products and see if there's a connection, through personal insterest etc. all these things give you ammo but also give you a little more confidence when cold calling. YOu may even start talking about a product or if shot down ask about a product or service they offer. Don't forget to ask if he/she knows of anyone else that could use someone with your skills or straight up ask for advice on how to get into THEIR industry. Damn, so much to go over! The idea is just to be forthright, to the point and pleasant. Don't picture the person as sitting in a highback chair at a teak desk. These people usually know less than you do about your job, they will need your help and are usually just guys in kakis and polos, don't create an illusion of someone untouchable. These guys are all just men like yourself. mental preparation is so easy, when you are rehearsed and practiced, it is second nature and becomes fun. Plus its a great skill to learn that will help you forever. I honestly wish I could just fly down and work with you on it for the first week, unfortunately that's not in the cards but feel free to email me anytime, especially if you have specific hurdles to overcome. I would love nothing more than to help you get through this hiccup and on your feet again.

JamesRL
JamesRL

And I say, a little of both. If there is someplace you really want to work, then dig deep, and research. Find out what they do, company history, competitors, stock market performance, anything and everything. I found a sales powerpoint on the web from someone at my current employer - very helpful. But while you use the rifle to target your ideal jobs, use the shot gun to get your resume out to a large number of people as well. I used the shotgun on contracting companies etc. James

jdclyde
jdclyde

just wondering if I am over thinking the company research, and it is just a quick review to get a basic idea of what they do?

jdclyde
jdclyde

Ok everyone. It is time to play the keyword game. What are keywords to include? What are keywords to avoid? I do networking, sys admin (not AD or Novell), cabling, pc hard and soft support, users support, user training. If I had my masters, I would get back into teaching at a local college. They made that change a few years back that you needed a MASTER to teach. I would LOVE to get a position teaching *nix and/or Cisco. Hmm, wonder if I can get a grant to get started in a Masters program? Oh wait, I forgot. They base it on your PREVIOUS years pay, not your current. :( Drat.

marie.truman
marie.truman

I just sat through a financial aid presentation for a Master's program. You fill out the Federal Financial aid with your previous tax year status. Once it comes back you cantact the school to file a form that signifies you had a change in income. The school is then able to look at need base with your current income status. You could then qualify for a scholarship, assistanceship, or fellowship. There aren't actually any grants at the Master's level (at least any I'm aware of). Keep your keywords specific to the company you are applying for. Research and find out how they call things within the organization and use those words. Every company is different.

jmantra
jmantra

Have you thought about volunteering? Volunteering is a great way to keep yourself in the field even though it's not paid. Even if you can't find a tech opportunity, volunteering is a great way to network. I am sure the local food bank is VERY busy and could use all the help they can get.

jdclyde
jdclyde

and figure that is about a month away. First step is to get myself and my resume out there and see what is going on in the area. After that, as much to show I am still active as anything else, will come volunteer work.

KSoniat
KSoniat

Everyone seems to have some good ideas: LinkedIn is good - I just started. After being stay-at-home mom for almost 8 years it was like I had the plague - had to work REAL hard to get back in. www.Indeed.com covers Monster, Careerbuilder and all the biggies in one stop. Dice specializes in IT. Go to google and put in your keywords - many jobs are posted on the company website only. Find 1-2 recruiters you can work with. Target places YOU would like to work - find the names of the top IT guys and make contact. (Yep, cold calling). Best of Luck.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Good ideas, thanks. Congrats and breaking your way back in. B-) jd