9 secrets of a successful job seeker

9 tips getting hired at Energy Consulting Firms

In today’s economy layoffs are common in energy consulting firms and have lost the stigma they once had. Having said that, it’s easy to ignore the personal sacrifices families make when an energy consultant is let go, when we are dealing with the statistics or news. You might have heard this quote on TV or Radio many times. “It’s Recession when your neighbor loses his or her job, but its Depression when you are laid-off“.

Recently one of my close friends was impacted due to down-sizing in a large company in Silicon Valley; he had been working as a mid-level management professional in that company for nearly a decade. He is a hardworking and well qualified software professional who was on a good growth path in his energy career, this layoff came to him as a shock. He was not prepared for this situation as it was evident to his close friends like me.

After a struggle of 9 months he finally landed a job in a reputed consulting company that specialized in energy and oil and gas. Since I was one of his close friends supporting him through his job hunt, I got an opportunity to be a first hand witness. I want to share my observations in this post as 9 things one should do when searching for a job.

  1. Never broadcast your resume

As most of us would do, my friend started preparing his resume the very next day after he was let go from his company, with in few days he had his resume ready and started applying for jobs and also uploaded his resume to popular job portals like Monster, Dice and others. Within few days he started getting calls from energy consulting companies, recruiters and head hunters. Initially he was excited but soon he found out most of them were calling him for consulting jobs that were not relevant to his experience. He was really interested in working for a company called Opportune LLP.

Though he felt busy all day answering calls from recruiters, he was going nowhere. After couple of weeks he pulled his resume out of the job portals and started focusing on finding jobs he was interested on job portals or on company websites and prepared his resume for each job posting instead of a “one-size-fits-all” resume.

  1. Get feedback on your resume from your friends and trusted mentors

When I met him after couple of weeks at a coffee shop, we discussed his progress in job search and he shared his experience with the recruiters and head hunters. He also mentioned he had not got a single interview call in past 4 weeks after he started applying for jobs. He was not sure if his resume was any good or his experience was of any value in the market. I volunteered to review his resume and suggested he get feedback from trusted coworkers and friends in his area of expertise. He even contacted a career coach.

I gave my feedback and so did others. He realized what he was missing in his resume and made changes. In few weeks he got his first interview call, and more followed.

  1. Attend Job Fairs and conferences

Many of us view job fairs or seminars with skepticism, especially those which charge an entrance fee. I agree – not all job fairs or seminars are worth the fee they charge, but ignoring them all together can cost you opportunities. My friend kept looking for good job fairs and seminars and attended few he felt were good, here are some of the criteria he used to narrow down his choice

  • Who is organizing the seminar or job fair
  • Which companies are participating
  • What’s the theme of the seminar ( is it related to your specialization. Example – Security Software, Cloud computing etc )
  • Who are the speakers ( go through their profiles on Linkedin )
  1. Look for volunteer/un-paid positions while you are looking for jobs

My friend spoke to one of the speakers after his talk, he found out  he had a company which specialized in Mobile software development. He offered to work without pay to gain experience. The speaker invited him to his office the next week to talk about it in detail. Two weeks later my friend was working as a product manager (without pay).

  1. Get out of your home, have a routine

One of the benefits of working as a volunteer in a company or in the community is routine, you get out of home every day and maintain a schedule. This helps you stay active, meet people and most importantly build your confidence. If the work is related to your field it’s even better as it helps you stay up-to-date on technologies and processes. If the organization which you are volunteering agrees to provide reference, you can add your current work in your linkedin profile and resume. This will help you standout in the interview.

  1. Attend Meetups related to your field, if possible volunteer to be an organizer

If you can’t get unpaid or volunteer position as my friend did in your area of expertise or in the field you are interested in, you can always participate in groups that are local or participate in online groups. This helps you in connecting with people, learn about new opportunities and stay updated. Metup is a good place to start for finding groups local to your area, if you can’t find one, you can always start one. Linkedin is a good place to interact with professional group in your field of interest or start your own.

  1. Spend time with your friends and family

I admire my friend’s calm and focused approach towards his job search. He never lost his cool or focus; he tried things and took feedback from others. He never ignored his family or compromised his time with his family during his job search. He went out on weekend with his kids and wife as usual, played basket ball with his kids in the evening and went to movies or concerts occasionally as he always used to. This helped him recharge and stay emotionally strong. I believe it’s important to maintain your cool especially when you have young kids at home; they are watching us and learning from us.

9 secrets of a successful job seeker

  1. Attend courses related to your field

My friend signed up for courses in technologies related to his field to get himself up-to-date. It’s easy to lose touch with the latest development in the industry when you are working in a company as you have no time to train yourself in the latest technologies due to work pressure. He later told me the courses he attended helped him to get back to learning mode and improved his confidence in the interviews. I believe going back to school (not literally, it can be an online course as well) is a must for those who have been in management jobs or have not been hands-on in their previous jobs. Most of the interviews in the technology industry involve technical rounds and though the job might not require you to be hands-on you are expected to do well in the technical rounds.online course as well) is a must for those who have been in management jobs or have not been hands-on in their previous jobs. Most of the interviews in the technology industry involve technical rounds and though the job might not require you to be hands-on you are expected to do well in the technical rounds.

  1. Exercise

I know it’s good to exercise even when you are employed, but it’s more important to stay fit and healthy when you are looking for a job. Making time for exercise or physical activity during the day keeps you alert which helps in having a positive impression on people when you meet them at seminars or in interviews.

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