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Job search

/* This post is about my search for a job and the lessons i learned. Even though you might not be looking for a job,  i hope you’ll get something out of it. Feedback and ideas would be very welcome as well. */

The search

Well, it seems my search for a job just came to an end. I signed my contract and will start working next week. It took me roughly 2,5 months, after graduating this summer in July. I have been  pretty active, and i contacted a LOT of companies.It wasn’t that stressful (no family to support, no financial problems), but still it’s pretty tiring to do so much effort and see no direct results.

Lessons learned

However, if i look at it from the bright side, i can say i learned a lot in the process.

  • How to do interviews: how to prepare and present myself, what questions are generally asked, what questions should you ask, …
  • How to write a good CV and cover letter: certain things should be stressed or avoided depending on the job.
  • How to look for a job: which websites to use, which companies to contact, …
  • I learnt a lot about all kinds of companies. Which sector they operate in, which products they have, what kind of jobs they offer.
  • I have a better idea of the career path i want to follow, and the kind of jobs i (don’t) want to do. And the different factor you should take into account when considering a job. At the moment, income is less important to me. The main objective is to learn a lot and improve my technical skills, in the meanwhile i can personally work on improving my soft skills. If i work on both aspects this will give me a stable base for any kind of future job.

I think my CV is actually pretty good, but it seems my lack of working experience is something which scares a lot of companies. Furthermore i think the crisis was an important factor, plus the fact i started looking in July. In the summer months it seems companies are not hiring many people. Now the summer is coming to an end, i’ve gotten a lot more response from companies who are inviting me for an interview.

Tips

I must say it wasn’t the most pleasant experience, it would have been nice to find it more quickly. I’ll share a couple of things which i found helpful:

  • Put some time in making a great looking CV and cover letter. There are a lot of websites out there which give good tips. Give it to some smart people (friends, people you know who work in HR, people online) who can give you pointers. Make it stand out from the other 2147 applications they receive.
  • Be confident: this is extremely important both in your CV/cover letter and in the interview. Make eye-contact, smile, ask questions.
  • Stay productive. My second step (after making a CV) was posting my it on a lot of websites (general job-sites). A couple of companies contacted me this way. Even after a couple of weeks, force yourself to check out other companies, other websites, more openings, … for at least a couple of hours a day. If you stay focussed you can get a lot done in the morning, and use the time in the afternoon for other things (i was studying French and SQL).
  • Practise makes perfect. Don’t be scared to go to an interview to practise your “interview-skills”, even though the company doesn’t interest you that much. Before going, think about different projects you have done, problem situations, your thesis. They’ll likely want to hear some examples on how you handle problems, projects, etc…
  • If you aren’t accepted, ask feedback. I thought my first interview went well, but i got an email telling me very nicely there wasn’t an opening for somebody with my profile. On the phone, the lady gave me some useful pointers which helped me a lot on other occasions.
  • Document everything. I put everything in text-files. Lists of companies, contacted companies, feedback i receive, general ideas, … This way you don’t forget ideas or feedback, and it helps to stay organised and have an overview. I know exactly which companies i contacted on what day, if they answered or not, what feedback i got, … This is useful during the search, but can be useful in the future as well when changing jobs another time.

If you have any questions, feedback, comments. They would be very much appreciated!

Un saludo,
Jay

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Categories: Job
  1. October 4, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Hoe gaat het? Just leaving a note so you know someone stopped by. Good luck with the job and the blog.

    • October 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

      Alles goed! 🙂
      Thanks for the wishes. I’m still figuring out this blogging-stuff, re-wrote my post.

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