Resources for job hunting after 6 years
February 9, 2017 8:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm very likely to get laid off within the next month. I've been working for the same company for six years and it was time to leave anyway. I have very little idea how to start a cold job search - I got this job through a friend that worked here, and previous jobs were temp-to-perm. I'm a project manager (sort of, details inside) but I'm more interested in data analysis & presentation.

I started off in this company building essentially web forms with database backends that spit out reports. I ended up being a SharePoint admin and managed a few short-term projects. The contract with that client ended and I applied for a new role at a different client. The title is Project Management Analyst and I'm always intro'd as a project manager, but it's not really that. The first year was spent managing server builds and moves and it was fast paced and exciting. But for the last year I've been managing a technical team that doesn't have much to do. I suspect they stuck me into this (boring) role to encourage me to quit after I transitioned on the job, but I can't prove it. I could bluff my way through a project manager interview though. It's not really what I want to do, but it's good money.

I would love to transition to being a data scientist, but I don't have a lot of the skills they're looking for, or I'm not up to date on all of them. Perhaps I should have been moving towards this a year ago, but I didn't, and now I have several weeks before I'm likely unemployed. My other dream job is to be a GIS analyst, and I actually have a certificate in GIS (and a Master's degree in urban planning), but my skills there are 10 years out of date.

I have several months of savings and very low living expenses (single though) so theoretically there are a lot of jobs I can take to just scrape by in the short term (assuming I'm not rejected for being overqualified). I am 100% open to moving to a more liberal state (west coast preferred, MN or VT/MA okay).

I'm having a hard time formulating my question here. I guess - what's the best approach to finding a job these days? I have a medium-sized social network on Twitter & Facebook, not so much in person. My Linked In needs to be updated - is that site as crucial to networking now? Should I try a headhunter even though I'm not particularly experienced or skilled?

Bonus: I am a trans man, if you have experience job hunting while trans I'd love to hear it. All my documentation has the correct name and gender, and I'm mostly cis-passing.
posted by AFABulous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say update Linkedin as a first and easy step: it will not necessarily help job hunting, but not having an up to date profile can hinder it. Right or wrong, it's seen as a mark of professionalism to have one.

I don't know how it is where you live, but over here project managers are becoming somewhat of a rare species, as everybody goes agile. It may not hurt to invest some time and money to get e.g. Scrummaster certified.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:41 AM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

LinkedIn's usefulness depends on the industry, but I would still keep it updated just in case. The other thing is that LinkedIn's jobs section is better than most other job boards, so it is a useful tool.

I also used Glassdoor extensively to research companies and use their job boards - their salary ranges are also very useful if you're looking in a different region than where you currently live.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:52 AM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, I looked for headhunters when I was in your position last year - having enough skills to bs into a number of different positions, but nothing that was obvious from a sheet of paper. What I found was that the only headhunter that really paid off was one that I already had a relationship with - they had done some recruiting for me at my last position, so they had a very good idea of my old environment and what my skills are. With the rest - I know I made it into their databases because I'll still get feelers out from them, but they didn't produce anything I couldn't also get by checking glassdoor or linkedin or other job boards.

The other thing is having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile means that recruiters will email you all the time. A number of them will be crap, but at least you know they're looking.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:05 AM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just post my resume on Recruiters start calling. Most will be crappy but a few good ones show up. That's how I've gotten my last gigs. Also, let folks in your network know you're looking. Line up your references. Basic job hunting.

Take a look a job descriptions for the kind of job you want and tailor your resume accordingly. Have someone else take a look at your resume for feedback. Public libraries and librarians are surprisingly helpful and often host job hunting and resume workshops. (Librarians are always helpful. :-))
posted by shoesietart at 9:18 AM on February 9, 2017

I learn a ton from reading Ask a Manager, you might also want to buy her e-book.

I also recommend hiring a professional resume service to spruce up your resume. Everyone I know who has done it wishes they had done it much earlier.

LinkedIn and Dice probably have all the jobs you're looking for. Mayyyybe a few on Craigslist.

Definitely update your LinkedIn.

GlassDoor can be a great tool. You have to take reviews with a grain of salt, but if you start seeing themes it can be enlightening. And salary reviews are very helpful.
posted by radioamy at 10:59 AM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

For what it's worth, you've just described many, many vital roles in the health insurance company I work for - and you can't swing a cat without hitting twenty health insurance companies here in ultra-liberal Warren-country (Massachusetts). My company in particular is very welcoming of diversity in employees. Memail me if you'd like a list of potential companies to investigate.

Of note, MA is somewhat protected from Trump's inevitable destruction of the ACA because it's actually state law here already. We did it first! So please don't read "inherently doomed" into the words "health insurance" in this case.
posted by invincible summer at 11:15 AM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I would check the employment website for your state's government. Find the department that seems to do the things you are interested in (e.g. they will likely have some form of land/spatial division) and get a foot-in-the-door position there.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:32 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: turbid dahlia - our state government literally just took away insurance coverage for transgender people last week. :/

Thanks everyone. It's looking like today is the Big Day.
posted by AFABulous at 7:40 AM on February 10, 2017

AFABulous -- any updates? I am curious.

I'm trans, recently completed my social transition and will be laid off in around 18 months. I'm just now beginning the foray into interviewing, and it'd be cool to share notes.
posted by dwbrant at 6:50 AM on February 17, 2017

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