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previous: giustd I'm pissed and down on myself a lit... -- 8/22/2003 4:21 PM View Thread

Re: Got laid off wednesday and...

8/25/2003 8:36 PM
Mark Hammer
Re: Got laid off wednesday and...
I used to teach a course in workplace psychology to IT students, and one of the things we covered was resumé writing. I wish I still had the book reference, but it was something like "101 Resumés", that I found in the library. It had resumés from a wide variety of job types and levels, and having them all in one place was extremely instructive. What makes an applicant look skilled and competent in one line of work makes them look amateur and lame in another. And I'm not talking about the things you list about yourself but rather the way in which they are listed. Probably the worst thing you can do for yourself at this point is use a canned resumé package which takes no note of what your level is or what sorts of firms you'd be applying to. DO NOT start your resumé with what they taught you in high school (i.e., your "goals"). Even things as straightforward as your education vary in impact depending on where they fit into the flow of the resumé and the job/firm applied to.  
Undoubtedly, you'll be looking broadly since you clearly have a broad range of skills, and that means you'll need to have a couple of different resumés to peddle depending on who you're peddling them to and for what jobs. That's also one of the shortcomings of the job boards - they have no way of determining what resumé a prospective employer *ought* to see. In the days when the telecomm industry was running around hiring anything in a t-shirt who knew that "Cisco" was not vegetable shortening, was fine, but I suspect it is not as effective a route now as one where you tailor the image you present to the hiring firm.  
Writing a resumé can be alternatively a depressing thing or a very inspiring thing. More likely to be inspiring if you don't do it alone, but have someone who knows you assist you. There is often a great deal about ourselves that we take for granted and fail to put down on paper. Once you take stock of everything you really have to offer an employer (even the things where you think "Aw, that's nothing"), you end up looking at the 2-3 pages and thinking "Hell, I'm damn good. Somebody WILL hire me and when they do I will *deserve* that job and be competent in it.". That's the sort of thing that will take you through a 2-month search without turning into a beer-swilling depressive who desparately needs a shave.  
I suppose one thing you ought to seriously evaluate is whether you are the sort of person who could be self-employed or whether you truly need to be paid a salary by someone else. For instance, I know I'm an extremely capable analyst and could make a damn fine consultant....if only I could tell the difference between providing friendly advice and billable hours. In other words, I'd be among the most highly recommended consultants among the working poor! :) My own dad went bankrupt with all sorts of nickel and dime businesses owing him money that he had extended the payment period for - as bright and competent as he was he didn't have the heart to be firm enough. I'm in the same boat. If it's time to strike out on your own, fine, but if you're not cut out for it or currently lack the business chops then you need an honest self-assessment.  
I suppose another thing to consider is what your current needs are financially, what you're long term plans are, and what will take you closer to achieving those plans.  
As for areas that need people like you, security and monitoring systems will never go out of style and are also local-based enough that they will never move out of the country; if a farmer needs a water monitoring or henhouse temperature monitoring system, they need it from someone in the region, not someone in Norway of Malaysia. If you haven't gotten into PICs yet, start now. There is a big future in intelligent standalone industrial microcontrol systems.  
A night course in project management is NEVER wasted effort. Knowing that you are someone whom a project can be turned over to in a pinch without having it go to hell in a handbasket makes you attractive to employers.  
Finally, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. They have up to date stats on which occupations and regions are experiencing the most hiring. It's also a good place to rethink your strengths and refashion those competencies into another profession you might not have thought of before.

John Martin At the end of this month I will hav... -- 8/28/2003 2:33 AM