Author Topic: Please help, advice on starting the job search.  (Read 3773 times)

Apocalyptica602

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Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« on: May 18, 2016, 03:02:40 PM »
Hi all,

So being an Engineer, I'm very analytically minded and metrics driven in both my professional and personal life, this includes my career. I've grown increasingly tired of half-hearted development talk and internal opportunities (all from my specific manager) that are verbalized but never end up materializing.

Without getting into too much detail, something happened that triggered a long standing "If X happens, I'm beginning a full time job search because my manager is dishonest, I am not valued and it's time to leave." Flag in my brain so my full time job search begins... now.

Main question is, I've been in the 'real world' for 5 years now and have moved roles internally but never externally. I have not done an external job search since college, where my current opportunity was obtained through my school system / career fair although my resume and LinkedIn are up to date.

Some more general info about me:

  • Mechanical Engineer, 5 years of experience entirely in project management, manufacturing and lean / six sigma, currently make $81k
  • I live in Maryland, greater Baltimore area, have a house and a wife who makes 120k in the area and doesn't want a new job so not looking to relocate.
  • Partially completed MBA degree (in progress) current job is paying for it so if I were to leave this second I'd owe $12k in partially vested tuition
  • Desire to move into more project management / functional management roles, less hardcore mechanical design

Now for my questions

  • What is the best method / sites you've found to search for jobs outside of personal networking (I've already put my feelers out here).
  • Should I work with a recruiter? Any recommendations? I get spammed with recruiter invites on LinkedIn but don't know how reputable they are.
  • My job isn't 100% toxic, it's just unfair and clear that people hired from outside are getting higher offers and better titles with less experience and responsibility. Am I being a whiny pants here and should I just keep plodding, giving up the idea of promotion until my degree is paid for?
  • Ideally I wouldn't accept less than a 10-15% raise. Is ~95k an unreasonable expectation in the Baltimore area for a ME with 5 years of exp. I find it hard to judge whether I'm well compensated or not.

Thanks for any and all advice.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 11:50:47 AM by Apocalyptica602 »

VaCPA

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2016, 03:10:46 PM »
How long until your tuition vests and you won't owe the money? It's a lot of money if you can just stick it out but then again you can't put a price on happiness. Only you can really decide if leaving is the right choice.

I find recruiters are invaluable. It's almost like they do the work for you, finding good opportunities and bringing them to you to get their commission(from the employer who hires you). I'm in accounting/finance and there are tons of recruiters who specialize in that field. I'm assuming it's the same with Engineering? LinkedIn is a great resource to network with them. Over time you generally figure out a handful you like working with.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2016, 03:11:37 PM »
I don't think you are being whiny pants but really take a look at the situation that caused you to start looking. Because every work place has something, some people you will not like.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2016, 03:23:53 PM »
How long until your tuition vests and you won't owe the money? It's a lot of money if you can just stick it out but then again you can't put a price on happiness. Only you can really decide if leaving is the right choice.

I find recruiters are invaluable. It's almost like they do the work for you, finding good opportunities and bringing them to you to get their commission(from the employer who hires you). I'm in accounting/finance and there are tons of recruiters who specialize in that field. I'm assuming it's the same with Engineering? LinkedIn is a great resource to network with them. Over time you generally figure out a handful you like working with.

The tuition is a rolling vesting schedule based on each individual payment per semester.

If I wait 6 months (and take NO new classes) $12k becomes $7600 etc. I think I'm leaning more toward whether my next company can cover it in the negotiation process.

mxt0133

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2016, 03:41:40 PM »
No you are not being a whiny pants.  It is just the nature of large organizations and the sooner you learn it the better for your career.  Every organization will emphasize career growth and opportunities, what else will they say 'you will be stuck as a drone for the majority of your career with only those that are willing to stab/brown nose/work nights and weekends actually move up to middle management'.  With regards to pay, organizations know that once you are in the standard 3% raise is what people will tolerate to keep them there as most people get comfortable and won't look for new employment.  They will not pay you market rate, they will hire someone new at market rate but not current employees if they can get away with it.

So you should absolutely be looking for a new position and I would recommend that even if you were perfectly happy with your job you should be interviewing every year with the goal of getting an offer.  It will let you know what your market rate is.  What skills other employers in your industry are looking for.  And ensure that your resume and interviewing skills stay sharp.  It will also help you to network, even if you don't get the job or accept the offer people will know you and might think of you if the right opportunity opens up.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2016, 04:13:24 PM »
My tips:

 - Update your resume again.  Have at least 2 other people proofread it and offer suggestions.  Update it again.  Move things around, lay it out so when you look at the full page it's pleasing to the eye and would make someone want to read it.  Get it down to 2 pages if it's longer than that.  Be terse in your verbiage.  Basically you want to look at your resume and go 'damn that's a nice resume'.  I can't count how many resumes I've thrown aside (as someone trying to hire) because they were 4 pages of useless fluff with zero formatting and my brain shut down after 10 seconds of trying to read them.

 - I use craigslist, monster, and careerbuilder.  They seemed to have the most relevant postings for me (I work in IT).

 - Apply every single day/evening.  Go to the library to job search after work if you'll get distracted at home and end up not getting around to it (I have to do this).  The first day of searching will take a long time because you'll be considering/applying to things a week old, but if you do it every day you'll have much less work to do each time.  But the main reason to search every day is...

 - Apply immediately when you find something.  I hear friends say 'I found an awesome-sounding job, I'm going to apply this weekend'.  NO!  Not this weekend, not even tomorrow morning.  You apply now.  Most jobs are available because someone is leaving, and the faster they get someone in there the better, so that job might not be there tomorrow.  I've gotten at least one job the week it was posted because I applied same day, had at interview next day, second interview day after, then immediate offer.  Move fast or someone else will, and they'll have the job.

 - On job posting sites, I try to find out what the company is contact them directly if I can.  I might email HR and say I applied online but also wanted to send along a copy of my resume for their convenience, or something.  Especially if the online process is a stupid form and I didn't get to submit my actual resume.  I just try to do something that makes me stand out, which is hard when everything is online and impersonal.  I used to mail physical copies of my resume places after applying online, but in the IT industry I started to feel like that was making me stand out in a weird way rather than a good way.  Though I did get an interview once for that specific reason.  They were intrigued and wanted to meet me.  Didn't get the job, but at least it got me in the door :-)  Maybe that's something that would still be well-received in the engineering world.

 - Put some effort into customizing the cover letter for the company/position.  You don't have to write it from scratch each time, but include a line or two about the position and why you think you're a good fit.  If you're applying via email, the email body is your cover letter, you don't have to attach one, that just makes the email body itself awkward.

Good luck!

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2016, 06:35:18 PM »
My tips:

*snip* Lots of great tips

Good luck!

Thank you for your tips and well wishes, I'm revising my resume again (what I considered up-to-date was 6 months ago) as well as my cover letter. I agree wholeheartedly about doing some applying every day, we've had some turnover and I've firsthand witnessed my boss scramble to get people in, so when I see a posting that's been up for 30 days I'm much less optimistic about receiving a callback.

I'm a recruiter / interviewer on a volunteer basis for the corporate 'engineering leadership program' that I joined my current company through so thankfully I've remained close to the interview process in THAT function, but it's a different ballgame being on the other side of the table once more.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 06:45:42 PM by Apocalyptica602 »

Goldielocks

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Re: Finally the last straw! Advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2016, 12:07:41 AM »
Consider registering with the Engineering association, and add EIT or even PE to your qualifications.

Especially if you want to look at government or consulting / design employers.    These are particularly good if you would like to combine a new employer with a move to a lower cost of living area.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2016, 11:22:57 AM »
Started to apply last night for ~8-9 roles, planning to keep looking every day at new postings.

Giving this a bump. Any other comments or advice on my situation?

Thanks!


Sibley

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2016, 12:34:25 PM »
Ask A Manager's blog has resume/cover letter tips, plus more. And tends to be pretty entertaining :)

Axecleaver

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2016, 12:02:08 PM »
Ryan gave really good advice for standing out in a job search. Most hiring today uses recruiters, so you should absolutely start responding to their requests. The good recruiters will invest their time in you and market you to lots of different companies. They'll keep in touch with you after you're placed.

Personal networking is the best way to find a new job, but once you've run through your network, you'll have to expand your search beyond. Start going to the user groups and professional associations in your area. There are a lot of jobs that get filled this way, and never hit the traditional hiring channels.

Finally, actually showing up in person to a company you're really interested in working for, is pretty rare and will make you stand out. If you can't get in through the normal channels, give this a try. I have not needed to do this in a while, but it opened a lot of doors for me back in the 2000-2001 era after the .bomb crash.

Sibley

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2016, 12:08:49 PM »
If a job seeker showed up in person at my office without being asked to, security would be called and they'd be blacklisted. Axecleaver, maybe that worked for you, but I'm guessing that for most professional jobs it's a really bad idea.

BlueHouse

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2016, 05:35:42 PM »
If a job seeker showed up in person at my office without being asked to, security would be called and they'd be blacklisted. Axecleaver, maybe that worked for you, but I'm guessing that for most professional jobs it's a really bad idea.
hmmm..  we would probably just say "no, we don't take walk-in applications, but thanks for your interest."  Calling security seems pretty drastic unless the job-seeker is carrying an Uzi. 

 It is pretty amazing how much times have changed though.  Believe it or not, I got my first two jobs by  walking in the front door and asking about openings.  Was sent to the "Personnel Dept" and filled out an application.   LOL, when was the last time anyone called it "personnel department". 

Sibley

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2016, 07:55:46 PM »
If a job seeker showed up in person at my office without being asked to, security would be called and they'd be blacklisted. Axecleaver, maybe that worked for you, but I'm guessing that for most professional jobs it's a really bad idea.
hmmm..  we would probably just say "no, we don't take walk-in applications, but thanks for your interest."  Calling security seems pretty drastic unless the job-seeker is carrying an Uzi. 

 It is pretty amazing how much times have changed though.  Believe it or not, I got my first two jobs by  walking in the front door and asking about openings.  Was sent to the "Personnel Dept" and filled out an application.   LOL, when was the last time anyone called it "personnel department".

We've had a few issues...

Axecleaver

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2016, 07:36:41 AM »
You would call security and blacklist a well-dressed, well spoken, polite man showing up in a suit asking about a job? I guess things really have changed. We don't get many people applying in person, but we sure don't call security on them!

LouLou

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2016, 09:37:02 AM »
If a job seeker showed up in person at my office without being asked to, security would be called and they'd be blacklisted. Axecleaver, maybe that worked for you, but I'm guessing that for most professional jobs it's a really bad idea.
hmmm..  we would probably just say "no, we don't take walk-in applications, but thanks for your interest."  Calling security seems pretty drastic unless the job-seeker is carrying an Uzi. 

 It is pretty amazing how much times have changed though.  Believe it or not, I got my first two jobs by  walking in the front door and asking about openings.  Was sent to the "Personnel Dept" and filled out an application.   LOL, when was the last time anyone called it "personnel department".

This has definitely changed. Do not just appear. Follow whatever instructions are explicitly in the job post so that your materials are not lost.

Ask A Manager is an excellent resource, and she explicitly examines how hiring norms have changed. Applying for a job has changed drastically for me, and I'm still in my twenties!

Sibley

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2016, 11:35:27 AM »
You would call security and blacklist a well-dressed, well spoken, polite man showing up in a suit asking about a job? I guess things really have changed. We don't get many people applying in person, but we sure don't call security on them!

It's not the norm anymore, and it's perceived as a threat. Right or wrong, that's how it works now. At least in all the professional offices I'm familiar with. It may also depend on the industry, but don't do it for public accounting or health insurance companies!

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2016, 09:36:15 PM »
Thanks for all the advice so far.

I've been primarily sticking to various online job sites. Maybe applied to ~10-15 postings over the past few days. Got an interview next week (!), and most likely have another one referred through a former co-worker.

Question about references: I have a variety of professional references but I've been noticing that certain jobs ask for full details of references, names, contact information, etc. on the generic online application even before the first phone screening!

Should I be putting all that information into every app in order to not be automatically discounted? Or can I do some form of 'available upon request' (I know that's a no-no on resumes, but short-form applications?)

VaCPA

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2016, 06:44:30 AM »
If a job seeker showed up in person at my office without being asked to, security would be called and they'd be blacklisted. Axecleaver, maybe that worked for you, but I'm guessing that for most professional jobs it's a really bad idea.
hmmm..  we would probably just say "no, we don't take walk-in applications, but thanks for your interest."  Calling security seems pretty drastic unless the job-seeker is carrying an Uzi. 

 It is pretty amazing how much times have changed though.  Believe it or not, I got my first two jobs by  walking in the front door and asking about openings.  Was sent to the "Personnel Dept" and filled out an application.   LOL, when was the last time anyone called it "personnel department".

Yeah, I wouldn't call security. But at the same time I wouldn't appreciate someone showing up in person asking for a job. Too busy for that. And I may think they're a bit desperate, which isn't a good look for a job seeker. If they want to follow up with a phone call after applying that's fine.

I suppose it may depend on what type of job you're applying for though, as to which methods may be most effective.

pbkmaine

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Re: Please help, advice on starting the job search.
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2016, 07:08:34 AM »
Thanks for all the advice so far.

I've been primarily sticking to various online job sites. Maybe applied to ~10-15 postings over the past few days. Got an interview next week (!), and most likely have another one referred through a former co-worker.

Question about references: I have a variety of professional references but I've been noticing that certain jobs ask for full details of references, names, contact information, etc. on the generic online application even before the first phone screening!

Should I be putting all that information into every app in order to not be automatically discounted? Or can I do some form of 'available upon request' (I know that's a no-no on resumes, but short-form applications?)

I always put "available upon request".