Monday, June 15, 2009

Set 'em up, knock 'em down

As someone who isn't accustomed to having forty to fifty hours available at his discretion, even with the best intentions of staying fully disciplined, it hasn't been easy. Finding a job in 2009 requires full time work. Unfortunately, I'm sometimes the guy who can get easily distracted by things around the house like impromptu omelet cravings, signing up as a fan of not being murdered by clowns on Facebook, and cats who choose inopportune times to be playful.

Time management is the key, and to that end, I think I've found the ticket. Of course, this will make me sound like a complete idiot, but this morning, I finally wrote a list of everything that needs to get done today. Everything I did after that would be bonus, but I had eight tasks to get through. Well, lo and behold, the potential shame of an incomplete list motivated me into one of my most productive days yet!

I finally applied for my first jobs today, both at the same company. Because I'm not always the brightest guy, I spent the weekend printing out classy looking hard copies of my resume. I had nice looking folders that contained tailored business cards, copies of my performance reviews, and samples of my previous creative work (these jobs were creative positions.) It was actually quite exhaustive as I was painstakingly anal about proofreading and making sure there everything was formatted to platinum standards.

So when I dropped by the corporate headquarters this morning, I was told they don't accept physical press kits and resumes, and that all of the job requests are done on-line. He was pretty nice about it and wished me good luck. To be honest, it didn't hit me as a complete surprise. I'm sure the amount of paper wasted in resumes and cover letters could save a forest given all the applicants in today's challenging market. Unfortunately, I'm still a little annoyed at myself for not having checked this out first and having wasted effort.

Still, I was a little disappointed. I completely understand why employers prefer on-line applications. It's easier to transfer into a hiring database and thus search. It's much less wasteful. It forces the applicant to really focus on the positions core competencies. The only problem I have with on-line application is that it's a little harder to demonstrate a passion for the company or position you're employing to when you don't have necessarily a physical product to work with. I always feel a little restricted by the formatting too. But, my friends assure me that many companies have adopted the stance that the well chiseled and laid out resume is just not as critical given the consistent reports that can be generated by human resources software.

That said, I was really happy with the targeted resumes I developed for this job. Obviously, I'm going to get smacked in the mouth a few times by this job search so my hopes aren't unrealistic. But just to get this done was the first step in what I'm sure will end up being a rewarding journey. Tomorrow's itinerary rests at my side, awaiting completion!

1/2 hour attempting to drop off application at corporate HQ (oops!)
1 1/2 hours applying on-line
1 1/2 hours biking to the U of M for unofficial transcript
1/2 hour compiling web bookmarks for career calendars and prospective employers
2 hours completing "flower exercise" from What Color is Your Parachute 2009
1 hour reading LinkedIn FAQs, blogs, and building network
1 hour guitar exercises
3 1/2 hours at band rehearsal

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