I have been quiet – online, at least – of late, and the reason, if the title of this post were not clue enough, has been due to a period of job hunting. You will be pleased to know – especially if you are my bank manager, but especially especially if you are my wife – that the hunt for a job was fruitful and I start at the new place very soon indeed.
Being quiet online during this extended season of sourcing new employment was a necessity for a number of reasons. Firstly, nobody wants to walk into an interview and be greeted with:
"We Googled your name. Didn’t you just write an article extolling the virtues of sex with geese?"
Secondly, and more importantly, it’s difficult to persuade your wife you’ve nothing better to do than produce articles extolling the virtues of sex with geese when you’ve taken the time and effort to convince her you really have been looking for a new job, honing your CV to perfection, and learning enough of the skills you’ve claimed you know on the CV you’ve just been honing to perfection in order to get a foot in the door.
But I have a job now so that’s all over. That said, there will be no more mention of sex with geese, no matter how good it is. And it is. It really, really is.
I learned some things – not just skills for the job – while I was quietly looking for that new opportunity, these things being still somewhat job-related, and so thought I would impart my accumulated knowledge to you, should you find yourself in a similar position. This makes me feel good, frees up room in my head to pick up something trivial, and helps to form a delightful segue back into writing regularly once more.
There are four ways to find a new job:
- Sit at home and wait for a mysterious, black envelope to drop through the letterbox out of the blue. Inside will be instructions on where to go and who to meet. You’ll be earning a seven-figure salary instantly and will be required to sleep with devastatingly beautiful people in order to entice out secrets of foreign powers.
- Ask friends and family if they know of any jobs going.
- Send out your CV and covering letter to employers and agencies.
- Sign up with an online job searching website and wait for the agents to call you.
I was tempted by the first option but my wife and her awesome +4 Iron Of Search For A Job Or I’ll Hit You With This convinced me otherwise. Friends and family don’t work in my industry making that particular route pointless. I was left with the latter two options.
There is a skill to writing a good CV. I’d tell you what it is but it appears I never mastered it if the feedback or lack thereof was anything to go by. Thinking positively, that deafening silence may have had something to do with considerable numbers of people applying for the same job as me and diluting the impact of my sterling application and my obvious skills, said people having honed their own CVs to a far more exacting standard of perfection and outright lying than I could ever hope to achieve. That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway.
Once the CV is online you’ll be contacted by agencies. Employment agencies. Agents. Hmmm.
The main thing I learned from searching for a new job is that agents and employment agencies – with a few exceptions, admittedly – are pure, unadulterated evil in evil form with an evil topping of evil sauce, sporting new coats in the evil style, made from double-stitched layers of evil, by that most evil of evil designers, Evil St Laurent.
The agent will tell you he is your friend and that he’s got something that might interest you but first he needs to get a few details. He will "mmhmm" and "uh huh" while you embellish your employment history still further, mentioning that time when you single-handedly saved your company a million pounds and rescued orphans at the same time because that’s the sort of selfless person you are. It will sound like he’s making notes… but he won’t be. Then he’ll describe a job that sounds exactly like the job you’re after but ask to where you’re prepared to commute on a daily basis. Sure, you only want to work from your living room if you can but you say something reasonable like "well, for the right job I’d be prepared to travel up to, er, say, er, maybe an hour each way." "Mmhmm" he will say and "uh huh" once more and you’ll just be able to hear him typing furiously and bringing up Google Maps in the background over the phone. Oh no! This job – this perfect sounding job he had – is in another country altogether and you ideally needed to be an ex-astronaut but the agent will keep your details on file in case something else comes up so he can get back to you or submit your CV to some of his clients. Only…
… the agent doesn’t – obviously! – want to send your CV to people you’ve recently interviewed with. How embarrassing would that be? (I know, I didn’t think it would be terrible either but apparently it’s a big deal as all the agents mention it.) So… if you can just let the agent know:
- every company you’ve recently applied to or interviewed with,
- what skills they were looking for, and,
- the name of a contact at that company
then that would be a sensible thing for you to do.
The first time an agent told me this, I naively thought "well, he’s the agent so he must know what he’s talking about" and reeled off some names. And the second time. By the third time I’d wised up and realised the agent was getting schmucks like me to do his work for him so he could try to place people in interviews for positions I’d applied for, reducing my chance of getting a job significantly.
So, yes, finally: here is my really big tip for job hunting if you use online job sites and agencies – keep a list of fictitious companies where you’ve just had fictional interviews to hand in order to slow down job agencies and keep the number of applicants for any roles you’ve applied for down to a statistically better minimum. And don’t be afraid to be inventive. By the end my phonecalls with agents typically included conversations like this:
Agent: So, just so I don’t submit your CV to somewhere you’ve applied to already or recently interviewed with – because, you know, that can look unprofessional of course, and, you know, we’re trying to make you look the best we can, of course, you know – could you tell me, erm, where you’ve recently, you know, hmmm, applied?
Me: Of course, of course. Well, let’s see… there was Click.
Me: Yes. With a Q.
Agent: Oh, yes, yes, I think I know them. C-L-I-Q, yes?
Me: No. Q-L.
Agent: Oh that one! Yes I do know it.
Me: Yeah, I thought you might. There was also Upskirt Underage Scorpion Holdings and, just last week, Hmmfsdfmeqwwwr Ltd.
Agent: Oh. That last one’s a new one for me. I, er, had better make a note of that in case it comes on our system. Don’t want to, you know, send your CV to them. Unprofessional. So, how’s that spelt?
Me: Just how it sounds except with three double-yous, even though you only pronounce the first and last ones. I learned that the hard way. Really annoyed Mr Vulva, the CEO.
Happy job hunting.