Back at It

After a brief and much-needed break from job searching, I’m back.

It’s refreshing to see that the coolness of the fall season has enlivened the job postings. While there are still far too many work-at-home opportunities to wad through, there are also more real postings.

Unfortunately, they are still requiring more skills/certifications/experience and offering smaller salaries. Still, it’s a step in the direction out of the recession.

So, just this morning, I applied for a Technical Writer position. These positions are quite competitive, so I’ll be excited if I hear from them. I also applied for some administrative positions (with a Tech Writing & Editing spin) with the City of Austin.

So, I’m back on the market with a little more gusto than in previous weeks.

Multiple Apps

Job boards these days are all automated. I get spam from them for sales & insurance jobs that have nothing to do with my list of skills and experience. No human is deciding to send me those based on the idea of a good fit.

The reverse is true as well. I apply for jobs that have the titles I’m looking for: Trainer, Editor, Technical Writer. So, I get little email and Twitter updates when those jobs post…and then I go apply.

It’s always funny to me to see a posting with one of these titles and then not see the name of the company until the very end. So, LifeSize, I apologize. You got more than one app from me for the same position, but not all of the systems give us all of the information at the beginning of the application process.

I hope you are forgiving. 🙂

The Training Problem

Looking for a job in training is tricky. I met a friend at lunch today whose education and experience is not much different than my own.

We commiserated over the fact that job boards/sites don’t help us because we are not in a particular industry. For me, unless the subject is something like a hard science or some kinds of engineering, I can learn the material and then train the staff or customers. This is especially true of software. I don’t have to fully understand the quirks and nuances of the banking industry to train tellers on the software they will be using. In fact, my fresh perspective will ensure that more of the necessary questions are addressed in the training.

So, where do industry-less people like me find our niche?

Easiest Applicaion Ever

Staffing agencies websites and big-name job boards have their advantages, but most of them seem to have missed a user-end evaluation. Many of them are (intentionally?) difficult to use and make applying for jobs tedious and time consuming. The worst ones have .pdf forms and expect you to recount your entire career history on their form. Better ones have online forms for the same information. Some really nice ones can pull a traditional resume and fill in all the job titles, date range, duties, etc. leaving the applicant to fill in the details. Since practically all of them also request/accept a resume, this is a lot of—yes, it bears repeating—tedious and time consuming work.

The more annoying—and vastly more time consuming—part is that there seems to be no industry standard. Fields for standardized information like dates and phone numbers could be one field or three. The really irritating ones are drop down lists. I understand they want accuracy, but those take so much more time and don’t allow for exceptions or ranges. And when they use a drop down for industry, that never fits me. Education on those things almost always means K-12 and pedagogy and not higher education and andragogy. Plus, for 4 years, I had two part-time salaried/professional jobs. I can’t demonstrate that on their forms. Each of these time-consuming applications can take up to an hour—-just to copy/paste resume blurbs into a form!

Today, I found a job that is a really good fit for what I do. It came through Kforce and is a “Technical Writer / Trainer” position. Kforce had me at “hello”.

Then, they went on to impress me further. Here is a screen shot of the application.

Kforce Application Screen

See, they get all the goodies they really need and don’t ask for my mother’s maiden name, date of birth, social security number, and current mailing address. I don’t have to worry that they are going to either reject my application for a few blanks or steal my identity.

So, here’s hoping they are as impressed by me as I am by them!

More Than Just That

I have been concentrating my job search on Training, Editing, and Technical Writing. This is where my talents and skills can shine.

However, I see the need to widen the net. While the economy seems to have picked back up just a tiny bit, those jobs are still few and far between. Companies with a little more budget than before seem to still have training/writing jobs low on the list of priorities.

That’s ok in a way. I have a lot of talents and skills and, given training, can perform a wide variety of tasks. I’m honest and trustworthy, too. Not every candidate can say that.

So, when asked, I’m available for training/writings jobs, but also more than just that.