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Subject:Re: Networking for work From:"Bergen, Jane" <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 15 Sep 1998 10:26:32 -0500
I am responding to you off the list, but also to the list as I believe
this is a good topic for us. Since I just got a new job on Friday (after
almost five L-O-N-G years at one company), this is pretty near and dear
to my heart.
First of all, how are you currently finding your contacts? If you are
depending on one source (for instance newspaper classified ads), you're
in trouble. When you search for a job...and this is ESPECIALLY TRUE of
entry level....you have to pull out all the stops. Here are a few hints:
Networking - the very best and most valuable. I don't want to start
another STC/anti-STC holy war, but I've personally found this to be the
most productive method of networking. Join a chapter, become active
(i.e., visible) by doing something productive for the chapter. Now that
doesn't mean that your sole purpose in joining should be for finding
jobs....that's just one of the by-products. Our local chapter has an
excellent job bank, as do many chapters. If yours doesn't, well then
there you go...volunteer to work on it. If not STC, then find a few
writers and organize some get togethers....lunches, etc.
Agencies - even if you don't want to work FOR an agency (as a
contractor), at least give them a shot at placing you permanently. Many
employers work exclusively through agencies. They refuse to advertise
any more because they are swamped with unqualified candidates (we got a
resume from someone who said he/she would be a good technical writer
because he/she had written a pamphlet on bowling).
Newspaper ads - a few good openings actually do turn up from time to
time, but you have to be really diligent in searching them out. I've
heard some statistics that indicate only five percent (5%) of all jobs
ever make it to the classifieds.
Job fairs - this seems to be a growing trend, especially for the
technical fields. In the Dallas area, we have these fairs almost weekly.
While most of the openings seem to be for developers, engineers, etc.
the employers will still accept your resumes and pass them on the human
resources dept for filing. You never know.... It also gives you
information about which companies are out there hiring bodies. Ask the
recruiters who you might contact at their companies to follow up on
technical communication opportunities.
Internet - I put my skills information on one site
(www.texas.computerjobs.com) and 16 agencies contacted me. Some were
just trolling for resumes, some were serious. One of them was serious
and I am going to work for them in two weeks! You'll need to check these
out pretty carefully...some of them may not be an agency you want to do
business with (this again points to the importance of having a good
network). There are tons of internet job sites, probably some in your
area, too (though I'm not sure where that might be). Go to the large
search engine sites (Infoseek, Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, etc.) --- most of
them have a "Careers" or "Jobs" category that lists some of the major
Cold calls - probably the least effective, but still worth a shot. Do
your homework to see which companies are ramping up (hiring lots of
people), getting new contracts, starting new projects. You'll have to
scan the business section of the newspaper for this information, talk to
recruiters, talk to many sources.
Last but not least are these hints:
* Prepare a professional (not cutesy or overly "clever") resume that
soundly promotes your skills. Go to a large bookstore and just sit and
look through the books on resumes for ideas.
* Check your resume VERY carefully for spelling and grammar errors,
typos, etc. If you use bulleted lists, make sure the lists are
consistent (verb tense, punctuation, etc.) Have someone else look at it,
too, just to have a second pair of eyes.
* Use standard fonts (no "Chili Pepper" or "Star Trek") and simple
formatting. Many resumes are scanned by the employers. If the scanner
can't read them, the resumes get trashed.
* Prepare a simple, ASCII text version for sending via email. Many
potential employers will request this. You can follow up with a
nicely-formatted version by fax or snail-mail.
Hope this helps you or someone on the list. Good luck.
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
AnswerSoft, div of Davox Corp.
Richardson, TX, USA
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly19745 -at- AOL -dot- COM [mailto:Kelly19745 -at- AOL -dot- COM]
> I have a degree in technical communication and am eager to
> get started in the
> profession. I've been sending resumes out and had a few
> interviews, but
> things seem to be inching along at a snail's pace. I'm
> beginning to wonder if
> the fact that I don't really know anyone in the field is
> minimizing my chances
> for employment. Is networking the best (maybe only?) way to
> get a job in