Job hunting while employed. How to approach.
March 12, 2007 8:32 PM   Subscribe

Job hunting while employed. How to approach.

I've decided that I'm going to start looking for a new job after 3 months into my current job to look for something that's more suitable to my personality. I'm an assistant media planner at an interactive advertising firm. I love the internet space but I want to do something that's more project based instead of the glamorous culture of advertising.

I am at meetings more than my desk and I probably only do an hour, two if lucky, of actual work each day and the only work I do is paper pushing. I have coffee and lunch with publishers almost every day, "laughing" and talking about their babies, vacations, and new house, there are happy hours hosted by publishers almost every week and if you are "recommended" to go and I always feel really uncomfortable at all these social events. I really feel like such a big part of the job is building connection and relationships and it's just not for me at all. I don't really have any real responsibilities besides paper pushing and tagging along to meetings and publisher events. I'm a naturally shy guy so this glamorous, social, work=fun kind of environment is making me really anxious and stressed out at work. I dread going to work the next day because I'll have to attend more meetings.

Quite honestly I hate it. I want to sit down and work on something. A job that will allow me the time to think about and do my work instead of this 30 minutes at my desk, an hour at meeting, another 30 minutes at desk, and over and over type of job. At first I totally thought that working in advertising will be awesome but it's way too glamorous for me. I get sick of the idea of helping a client spend 50 million dollars a year telling people to purchase their products. I'm thinking about finding a new job in market research. Does anyone have any experience?

I'm going to be applying for a research analyst position at Comscore, an internet research company. I have experience using many of Comscore's service in my current job and noting the working experience at my current company will help me IMMENSELY in landing this Comscore gig. However, I've only been there for 3 months. Should I include that in my resume and explain the reason behind my short stay in my cover letter? Or will that totally turn HR off? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

posted by willy_dilly to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
experience at my current company will help me IMMENSELY [...] Should I include that in my resume

Of course -- it's going to help you immensely.

In your cover letter, you should say that you've found the field of advertising not of your liking, but that you find the related field of market research to be fascinating -- mostly thanks to your exposure to the Comscore service/data, and so on...

A pattern of 3 month gigs is a red flag. A single one right out of school (I'm assuming) combined with an explanation that the industry isn't quite what you were expecting is, at worst, a yellow one.

I'd refrain from talking negatively about your job and your duties -- it's OK to say that you're not a good fit for the gig, but not OK to say that your company is asking you to do things that you find appalling and you dread going to work because of it. There's a big difference there.

(Also, as a more general tip, do you have a contact directly into Comscore? If so, send your resume through them, rather than straight to HR. Anything you can do to get a human pair of eyes to read it first (rather than the awful and ubiquitous scanning programs) is good for you.)
posted by toxic at 8:49 PM on March 12, 2007

How much other work experience do you have? How many other jobs will be on your resume if you leave this one off?

Should I include that in my resume and explain the reason behind my short stay in my cover letter?

Absolutely not.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:49 PM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Explanations about why you are leaving your current job are for later in the process. ThePinkSuperhero is absolutely correct, do not get into it at all in a cover letter. There's no reason you cannot state in a cover letter that you have work experience with this service, unless you plan on excising your current position from your work history and resume (which I don't recommend).

Eventually you are going to have to get into why you are leaving your position after such a short period so work on how you will address that. You want to lean on that wanting to be project oriented angle (sounds positive!) and find a more diplomatic way to to talk about how you hated schmoozing with clients. The short tenure can't help but count against you but how you address it will have a big impact on that.
posted by nanojath at 10:00 PM on March 12, 2007

Job hunting while employed will work far better if you stay in your current post at least a year, particularly if it's in a related field. It may be hard for you to hear this, and I'm genuinely sorry, but at this point you are setting yourself back in the job market more than forward by changing jobs - until you pass that 1 year benchmark.

Consider this job a paid training for your next job. All that schmoozing and contact-building and networking and glamour will help you get a job in related industries - even if it just builds your people skills. To this end, this is what you should do to prepare for the next job - even though it's not, technically, "job searching," until you reach the 1 year mark.

I hate the long tea breaks that indulge management as well. I sat through them, and listened, and guess what? I got to know the people talking about their lives, and they are ordinary people, if flawed. Babies, holidays and houses are a way people free themselves from the falseness that is work. I learned from those tea breaks and happy hours how to schmooze and get ahead, which are indispensable skills at work and in my avocation, politics. Now I'm looking for a new job in a new city, I got a lobbying gig out of the old job, and a great recommendation. Much of this comes from listening to the boss whinge about her health problems and the vagaries of her own work.

We've had three questions from you about this job, and it seems like you are extremely dissatisfied there, but you are the manager of your own career. How lucky you seem to me, that you have an easy job where you can learn these skills and network. Use that ease. Try to find a business process that needs improving. Believe me, they do. Get these people to synch more closely with their technology. Find the money leak - even spendthrift offices like to see a savings, even if it's a modest one.

Put yourself in your boss's shoes - try on her problems. What would you do if you were her? Ask questions during those tea breaks and happy hours. Anticipate the needs of others and serve them. All of this is stuff you can use in the next job, and it will help you get stellar recommendations to land the next job.

In order to address the important concerns of your heart and psyche during the next year, try to find projects at home that fulfill your needs of continuous work. Or, try to train yourself to work in shorter bursts when required - this is an essential skill for your life.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:21 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hang in there dude. I know three months seems like an eternity but this is your first job. You will most likely find your first job overwhelming no matter what it is. You seem to be in a position that many others would kill for. Stick around for at least a year and make the best of it. Desk jobs ain't all that great. You might even grow to love the glamour and schmoozing, and schmoozing skills will ALWAYS be useful.
posted by sid at 5:20 AM on March 13, 2007

also, it's very easy to track where you are working via your MetaFilter history, which leads to a sock puppet. And if I can find it, so can your boss - so be careful about your Internet profile when you are switching jobs.
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:11 AM on March 13, 2007

It's probably a good thing that you currently have a job. I disagree that this is a red flag. Employers will notice it, and then ask you about it, but discount you because of it? I don't think so.

When you are asked why you are leaving, it would probably be a good idea to say the work is not as challenging as you expected or ... something. You need to say that everything is going great at your current job. Be honest, but in a way that does not disparage your current employer. For instance, there is less work related to analysis than I thought, etc.

In short leave your current job on your application, but be expected to answer this question. Tie your answer to why you are excited about the new opportunity.
posted by xammerboy at 8:26 AM on March 13, 2007

By the Grace of God is so right. I don't think there's any problem with starting to look for jobs right now, but as someone who screens resumes, I'm wary of anyone applying for jobs after just starting one- every company wants some degree of loyalty from their employees, I don't want someone who is going to give it 3 months and quit. And frankly, your complaints about your job aren't that impressive to me- this is a great chance for you to stretch yourself and learn something new, and after you stick it out for a year, you can have those skills in your pocket to impress your boss at your next job. I'd think hard about how you're going to answer the "Why are you leaving your job?" question, to make sure your answer comes off as diplomatic and forward-thinking, and not whiny.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Can you talk to your current employer about wanting to do more solitary work tasks for at least part of the day? If you phrase it in terms of "these are my strengths and it will make me a better employee, which is good for YOU", they might be quite willing to train you in different areas.
posted by matildaben at 8:50 AM on March 13, 2007

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