What's the modern procedure for finding a job?
August 26, 2010 9:32 AM   Subscribe

How do people find jobs these days, anyway? My beloved husband was fired yesterday from the job he's held for ten years as a full-time employee and for four years prior to that as a contractor (after his first bad review, not that I'm bitter).

Given that I'm having a baby in two and a half months, getting a new job ASAP is pretty imperative. . . but how? The process has clearly changed in the past decade. He has a LinkedIn profile; how can he best leverage that? What's the etiquette for introducing friends-of-friends on LinkedIn? Until yesterday, he was a technical writer at a Large Software Company in Redmond, with consistently good reviews. Do people still use monster.com or whatever?

I apologize for the scattershot nature of this question; I'm freaking out a little bit. God, I hope they don't contest unemployment.
posted by KathrynT to Work & Money (25 answers total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
Every job I've had for the past few years, I've found through either craigslist or a employer's HR website.
posted by hought20 at 9:35 AM on August 26, 2010

Find a temp agency and be willing to do whatever comes up. They usually try to place people rather quickly.
posted by theichibun at 9:38 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was searching for a high-tech job recently. I used:

LinkedIn (jobs search feature)
Dice and

I also went directly to HR pages of local corps.

Your husband might also check what services the state unemployment agency has.

Good luck! And feel free to memail me if your husband wants any more detail.
posted by nightwood at 9:41 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Craigslist, professional associations, LinkedIn, indeed.com, simplyhired.com, alumni career sites at your college, the jobs section of your local newspaper online.
posted by anniecat at 9:43 AM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]

monster.com and dice.com are still used -- i believe at least monster and possibly both allow you to set up rss feeds of searches.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2010

Also, don't worry. As a technical writer in Redmond, WA, I'm sure he'll find something else pretty quickly.
posted by anniecat at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: He should contact Volt's Bothell office, (425) 806-1900. Volt is of course one of the big agencies that places contractors at the Large Software Company in Redmond, and may in fact be the agency he worked through before when he was a contractor. Their Bothell office, however, is the one that specializes in placing "creatives" such as writers. If Lesli Sager is still working there, I recommend her. I've worked with her in the past and she got me working very quickly.
posted by kindall at 9:46 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Did he get a settlement? If not, it may be time to immediately look for a survival job of some kind.

You're lucky, though (all things considered) as September and October are prime hiring months. Things cool down considerably in November, and don't heat up again until the spring.

LinkedIn should really be considered to be a contacts managers (kind of like Outlook). Personally, I've always found it a little weird to be contacted out of the blue on LinkedIn, but for some reason I don't mind if people find me on LinkedIn and contact me via email.

Your husband does need to expand his network, but introductions are always necessary. Cold-calling (with a primer email first) is actually acceptable.

There are two kinds of cold calls:

1) when you want to expand your network and get more information about what's going on out there (these are pretty easy)
2) when you see a company you might want to work for and you ask them for a job (this is harder)

For #1, always ask for advice. You can mention you're looking for new opportunities as a technical writer or whatever, but it scares people if they think you're begging them for a job. Everyone likes to give advice, because it's free and there are no strings attached.

For #2, you basically explain how you can help. Emails are not effective; this really requires a cold call that has been primed by an email first.

The best way to find a job is to contact hiring managers at companies (but never the HR manager) to see who is hiring.

Besides asking for advice, you should always ask, "Is there anyone you think I should talk to?"
posted by KokuRyu at 9:48 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also, since you're having a baby, don't forget to get him to sign up for COBRA (if you're on his insurance). The employers might just let the coverage run out at the end of the month and then you won't have any.
posted by anniecat at 10:25 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Make sure his LinkedIn profile is well set up--I actually got called about a job through it just a couple weeks ago (and it was a great job; I just didn't have quite the right amount/kind of experience).

I second Indeed and SimplyHired -- most of the tech people I know say they're more efficient to use than Monster.

(and hi, I believe I know you and stuff. I really hope he gets hired somewhere even better ASAP! Feel free to connect your husband and me on LinkedIn--I might know someone who knows someone.)

Good luck!
posted by wintersweet at 10:32 AM on August 26, 2010

In addition to the job boards recently mentioned, he might check Stack Overflow and the Daily WTF's job listings.
posted by kindall at 10:59 AM on August 26, 2010

Also, since you're having a baby, don't forget to get him to sign up for COBRA (if you're on his insurance). The employers might just let the coverage run out at the end of the month and then you won't have any.

The employer has 14 days to notify you that you are eligible for COBRA. Once you receive notice, you have 60 days to elect to participate, and 45 days after that to make your first payment. Coverage is retroactive -- if you have claims during the election period, they will be covered once you make the payment (however, you will have to pay the premiums retroactive to the date of termination as well). So he has a couple months to find a new job and see what kind of health coverage he will get there before paying anything for COBRA.
posted by kindall at 11:09 AM on August 26, 2010

Question for others (if that's okay):
As Kathryn's friend, but not a techy enough person to know some of the industry-specific language and etiquette, are there things I can do to use my LinkedIn contacts more efficiently? Is it kosher to send messages to my own contacts, saying, "Here's [Mr. KathrynT], who is a friend's husband; he is looking for a position in either tech writing or the other things he's specified in his profile. Could you pass his name along to others who are in the Seattle area and/or have tech writing contacts?" Should I add anything else?

(This may, in fact, be the definition of how we're supposed to use that site, but I've never actually done so. Wheeee!)
posted by Madamina at 11:36 AM on August 26, 2010

The good news: Career Builder, Monster, Yahoo Jobs, etc are still a great source of job postings. The bad news: he'll be competing with hundreds of people, even for the jobs for which he is the perfect candidate. And they'll take less money than he will. Networking is what will help put him over the edge. In my experience, "who you know" matters much more than "what you know."
posted by litnerd at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Re: Linked In - I found my current job by being part of a LinkedIn Group for my area (both in the professional and geographical sense). For example, if there is an STC group or similar on LinkedIn for your area, he should join it. Recruiters will sometimes post jobs in those groups and if you're froggy you can get in the door quickly.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2010

Just a reminder - as a technical writer, he's not bound to the geographical area. Telework is becoming a lot more common these days, and he may well find a firm elsewhere that's happy with him staying put most of the time. Don't limit your search to the nearby area!
posted by swngnmonk at 11:44 AM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: You guys, this is awesome. Thanks. I mean, keep it coming, but this is AWESOME.

We're working on his LinkedIn profile. If anyone wants his contact info, please memail me; I'd rather not have his full name in this thread, but I am pretty happy to welcome all help. We have access to COBRA, thank god, to the tune of a shrieking $1560 a month; that has to stay going until I have the baby, so we're just going to suck it up and pay it. He got no severance, no package, and they may well contest unemployment.

wintersweet, I DO know you. Memail me your first and last name, please, and we'll hook it up.
posted by KathrynT at 12:19 PM on August 26, 2010

Madamia: That's totally kosher for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is fancier than your address book, but it works essentially the same way. I found my current incredibly awesome job by telling everyone relevant in my address book that I was hoping to move into something like my incredibly awesome new job in the next 12 months. I asked them to let me know 1) if they heard anyone was hiring and 2) if they knew anyone in the industry who wouldn't mind chatting with me about what I'd need to do to be an attractive candidate.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:31 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: This probably isn't as good for pro-actively finding jobs, but having your employment history / resume up on Facebook and available to networks can help. I get more job offers via Facebook than LinkedIn. Worth considering while actively looking.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2010

I have gotten multiple jobs through networking- as many people report, Linkedin is a good resource, but there are lots of other networking opportunities too.
-Google groups
-Meetups, local groups
-Have informational interviews with people who may not be hiring. They might be able to connect you to other people, or give you good tips on the industry.
-Leverage existing contacts, people you may have fallen out of touch with, family, friends, etc.

Good luck!!
posted by tessalations999 at 4:36 PM on August 26, 2010

This is my little brother. He was only out there 1 day (albeit a hot one), and he just had his 4th interview yesterday.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:25 AM on August 27, 2010

Your husband does need to expand his network, but introductions are always necessary.

Oh, SHIT, I meant intros are NOT always necessary. Cold calling is fine. Having a reference is helpful, but not necessary. Usually I've found the point of networking is to gather information, rather than to ask people to do stuff (eg, introduce you to someone) because asking people to do stuff, rather than asking them for advice, is like pushing a rope and will slow down the process.

The only way if this will work is if you (your husband take the initiative and start calling around looking for info.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 AM on August 27, 2010

We have access to COBRA, thank god, to the tune of a shrieking $1560 a month;

You may want to see about just covering you and not him. I did that 10 years ago when I left a company and my wife was pregnant - I covered her and the kids, and dropped myself. The company balked, but I insisted and they did it. It's risky (he could get sick or hurt and not be covered) but it might save you some significant money that (I'm guessing) you probably need.
posted by I am the Walrus at 9:49 AM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: Walrus, we've looked into that. The BIG drop is if we cover just the kids -- that takes it to $207. Since I'm currently in the $ohshitexpensive phase of pregnancy (at 29-30 weeks, if I gave birth now, the kid would almost certainly live to come home, but would probably rack up between half a million and two million dollars in health care costs before his first birthday), we're definitely going to maintain full COBRA coverage at least until I give birth. If he's still unemployed by then? We'll probably get it for the kids and see what we can do about Medicaid or whatever for us.
posted by KathrynT at 11:09 AM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: Well, this actually has a happy resolution! Via some really assertive networking, my husband managed to land a short-term contract with a strong possibility of going permanent in basically his ideal setting, after a head-spinning 17 working days unemployed. Until there's a permanent offer in hand, he's still investigating other opportunities, but this is such a relief.

The magic trick in this particular case was getting friends who worked for really small companies to submit his resume, regardless of whether or not there was an open job that matched his skill set. One of these small companies, it turned out, had just completed a planning session in which they'd discussed the need to bring on some skilled and highly experienced writing talent, and so when my husband's resume came across the internal bulletin board, the CTO leaped on it and called him 5 minutes later for an informational interview. That interview ended with the company deciding to bring him on for a short-term contract to see if he was the guy they would create a permanent job for.

I also did a certain amount of personal non-spammy SEO (we set up a domain for him that was HisFirstNameHisLastName.com, and used it to host his resume; I then linked to that out of my LJ and Facebook accounts), in part because he shares a first and last name with the bassist for a Finnish death metal band called Rivers of Gore (!), and I wanted to ensure that at least anyone in the states who googled "HisFirst HisLast" would find my husband first. I don't know if that did any good, but I bet it didn't do any harm.
posted by KathrynT at 3:04 PM on September 26, 2010

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