At the end of August of last year I left my job with 10up. This was the first time in a very long time I left a job without a plan (other than to spend more time with my kids). Turns out that was TOO much time with my kids. I also felt that, much to my horror, I may have finally burned out on web design. That also turned out not to be true, I still love technology and communication interaction (phew).
Last night I had a lovely chat with a former colleague asking about how to find a job for his pal and I thought Id share my tips. Heres what I did once I decided I wanted to get back to work.
- Contacted colleagues. In the last year, I’ve met some amazing folks in the WordPress and web community. I contacted a couple of them who had shown interest in working with me or who I heard had extra work. Scored 2 jobs!
- Peeked around some freelancer-for-hire sites like Guru.com and elance.com. Dead end.
- Signed up with some recruiting firms, specifically Robert Half Technology, whom I had a relationship with from the hiring side, and Vitamin Talent (Acquient). So far… no results, but I have a access to a cache of online training resources and can easily apply for projects in their system. I also was in time to attend the Robert Half holiday lunch which was actually really fun, I met some very nice recruiters and hiring managers.
- Craigslist. yeah. A ping but no luck… Turns out companies really are stuck on hiring full time workers. I naively thought we all had expanded our notion of work in this modern time, but, no.
- Retooled my resume, thanks to a pal’s great advice: “If you dont want to do it any more, don’t put it on your resume” and “make it scannable”, and “DO namedrop”, start your opener with:
I am interested in your _____ position. I would be a great fit for your company because I ____.
I ensure a successful project by ______. You can rely on me to do a quality job because I’ve done so many times for clients like ______.
- After making these changes I reapplied for a job I was really interested in and got a response immediately. Unfortunately, they were still hung up on me not wanting to work full time.
- Keep busy! I reignited my art passion and opened an etsy store, submitted and was accepted into an art show. I also signed up for art classes at the community college.
- Volunteer! I took on a pro bono project through Catchafire.org and am having a great time working with a very smart entreprenuer @ Wits End.
- Get out and talk to people. Working alone from your house or a coffee shop can be very isolating. Before, I was on video calls all day long with my team and clients. I know that I need to be around people. I found an office coop just a few blocks away called Capsity where I pay a small membership fee and now I can go in, drink wonderful pour over coffee from Pachamama, chat with other small business owners, use a copy machine, have a mailing address and access to a conference room (which has already come in handy).
- Research. I found an article from the Sacramento Business Journal of the best employers in the region and researched them, applied to a few. Nothing there yet, but a couple firms now have me on file if they need help.
- Mine LinkedIn. I connected with folks I had met at conferences, and checked our their connections and the “you may also like” suggestions. I made a list of those companies and checked for job openings. I’m still working on that initiative.
- Take a vacation! At the end of last year, things were looking a little scary. After all this work, still not much was happening (remember it takes a while). The second I left for vacation I got inquiries every other day!
I have enough work for now, but Ill continue to look so that I keep a backlog going. I also took steps to solidify my status as a Sole Proprietorship by getting an EIN and certifying as a small business through the state. A short “Hacking Business” class at Hacker Lab helped with that. I also stay active in local groups (via Meetup.com) to network.