18Mar

How to find “a job,” or at least pretend that you’re looking for one

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

You’re a geek in need of a job. In the meantime, you need to convince unemployment insurance that you’re looking for a job. For the latter, you need to send out a few resumes every week, and go to any interviews that arise as a result of your efforts.

For both of these, RSS is your friend. Get yourself an account on Google Reader, or install a copy of Liferea, and then put the following into a folder entitled “Job search:”

NPost
http://feeds2.feedburner.com/nPostJobPostings
Startuply Seattle
http://www.startuply.com/Rss/Search.aspx?s=in%2098148
Craigslist Web jobs
http://seattle.craigslist.org/web/index.rss
Craigslist Computer Engineering jobs
http://seattle.craigslist.org/eng/index.rss
Craigslist Software, QA, and DBA jobs
http://seattle.craigslist.org/sof/

That’s basically it. That’s your twice-a-day scan (breakfast and lunch) of job postings. If you’re in a different region, obviously use a different Craigslist origin and change the zip code on Startuply.

Also, if you use Firefox, take all the other jobs listings and put them in a single bookmark folder (use the bookmark organizer under “Bookmarks” to find it), and when you check your listings in your reader, go to that folder, right-click the folder, and choose “Open All in Tabs.” That’ll then give you a reliable, repeatable, scannable experience twice a day. After a few days, you’ll get into the rhythm of your job search page collection and be able to separate the viable posting from the ridiculous ones in a matter of minutes.

Firefox supports the displaying of RSS. You might just want to use it instead of Google Reader. Also, Monster.com will give you a customized RSS feed if you use Firefox, because Firefox supports persistent authentication.

Here are the job boards I get using the Firefox trick:

Write four or five cover letters with sections bolded where you will customize the letter for the given position. There shouldn’t be any bold when you actually post it. Make it clear that the letter you’re sending them isn’t exactly a form letter, but was written with the job posting you’re responding to explicitly in mind. (Cut and paste is your friend here.) Do the same with resumes, especially if you have several job skills. As both a Django and Javascript developer, I have two resumes, one that leads with my Django and Pylons experience, the other that leads with my Javascript, jQuery, and Ext experience. (Actually, I have more than that, but this is a solid example.)

Have copies of your resume in pure HTML. This will be useful when you’re faced with one of those “paste your resume into our textbox here for keyword scanning” robots so endemic to midsize companies that don’t have the time to actually think about you as a candidate.

p.s. I don’t actually need a job at this moment.  I’m working for an amazing start-up.  But a friend of mine asked me how I found work, and this was part of my toolkit.  I’ve had recruiters beg me for this explanation.  But it’s so obviously easy, I don’t understand why other people haven’t done it.

2 Responses to How to find “a job,” or at least pretend that you’re looking for one

sharon fisher

March 19th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Elf, showed this to some of my friends, and a couple of them immediately jumped on the “resume’s” in the first graf. If it’s an apostrophe, it’s wrong; if it’s an accent, you need one on the first e as well.

Elf Sternberg

March 19th, 2011 at 9:35 am

ROFL. Well, this article isn’t a resume. So you’re right. I’ll fix it.

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