Friday, September 2, 2011

Reflections and instructions

While I was waiting at the auto-shop this morning, I had some time to reflect on my job hunt so far. I've had a couple insights- for one, job hunting is not like having a job, it requires different skills and a different perspective. I don't think these must be mutually exclusive, but I'm creating a completely different professional persona as a job hunter than the mousey science grad student that just defended that dissertation. Results can speak for themselves, my resume needs more help advertising.

Something about this advertising and self promotion makes me deeply uncomfortable. I'm not well versed in professional social interactions (or social interactions) so I worry I am going to really stuff this up somehow. But my second reflection was that I haven't yet. I haven't done anything really regrettable yet. Sure, I don't have a job yet, but I keep thinking I am trying more and more outrageous things, but so far none have backfired. I called an HR person! I posted my LinkedIn Profile on Twitter- I'm tweeting, for crying out loud! People return my calls and are happy to help me out. Maybe my sense of what is outrageous in a job hunt is finally approaching normal.

This does seem to affirm though that I have no natural sense for this. I still feel like I am fumbling in the dark, making phone calls, submitting resumes, rewriting cover letters and tweeting. I hope this activity will result in a job, but I mostly feel like I am inefficient and naive. Which is why I am always looking for advice- and is also why I will continue to do absolutely everything Steve Levy tells me do. It was his idea to put up the twitter feed. He told me to start sending tweets to my target companies- it worked on a little guy, why not Pfizer? He told me to join more groups and add people to my linked in network religiously.

My excitement to follow instructions in the job hunt is an indication of how unfocused I'm been, so here is my new plan. I'm going to start everyday with a plan. Next week, I'll be joining a couple other professional networks so I get get into some big LinkedIn groups, I'll be following up on one resume and with one recruiter and I am going to start looking for target companies using LinkedIn. I'm going to finish every day by achieving something- I always want to have an answer for "What are you doing now?" I've got two other balls up in the air right now, I am doing contract work editing chinese manuscripts, and I am volunteering at the Carnegie Science Center. I have goals for both of those, as well- dollar amounts for the editing work and to actually learn customer service at the science center. I like having goals.

But my other goal: I'm taking a break- a proper vacation. I've defended, I've entered the job market, I've learned tons, and just this week, I officially left my bench. When I was a girl scout, one of the survivalists we talked to told us if you are ever lost in the woods, make time to play. If you only worry about how you are going to survive, you'll wear down too quick to make it. Didn't your brownie troop get visited by survivalists? Next week, I'm a full-time job hunter, but this weekend I am going to celebrate graduating 22nd grade and the end of summer.

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