Widgets Magazine

Job Hunting for AVTweeps

Looking for a job in 2016 is a very different thing from what it was even five years ago. From dealing with head hunters to using your network to deciding where to start, this is my story of how I went from unemployed to having a great job with a great company.
This past June, the Monday after InfoComm as a matter of fact, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed. While it would have been a little easier to network for possible opportunities at the show, it did help a bit that I had just spent a week talking to people throughout the industry.
The first thing I did was activate my social network almost immediately upon being let go. A single tweet went out and within an hour I had multiple phone calls from people asking what they could do to help or with whom they could put me in touch. It was actually very touching and showed to me just how close-knit the #AVTweeps community really was.
After the initial shock and consolation by others, it was time to get to work. My new job was finding a job. This included updating my resume to include my latest accomplishments, re-opening accounts on several different job boards, and starting to look around to see what was available. One thing that stood out almost instantly is that the week after InfoComm may rival the week between Christmas and New Year’s for the worst possible week to job hunt in the AV industry. No one is trying to hire the week after the biggest show for commercial AV in North America, but I waded full force into that minefield.
One of the first stumbling blocks I came across were that the ads on the different job listing sites had several instances of the same job being listed with different contact information. I quickly learned that these were job placement companies, better known as head hunters. These people will be hired to represent a company and seek out qualified candidates for a particular position. They have always been around, but there seems to be a new twist on this old format. Instead of working directly for a company they are now acting as middle-men, taking the jobs that are publicly listed and trying to find people to fill those positions which just adds an additional layer to pass through in the employment process. The drawback of this is that they make their money by getting a percentage of the salary of a hired employee. That’s potential money the employee could be earning for themselves if they had gone direct to the hiring company. While I responded to a few of those, I actively looked for the original job posting to respond directly to the hiring organization. I tend to think I’m my best advocate in these things, so I like to go to the source.
As my unemployment stretched on for a while I was forced to get more creative. I widened my search to include job titles I previously may not have thought about. When I found the company that eventually signed me, I actually applied for a service tech position. I had figured at worst it was a good way to work my way up in the company. However, their HR person (to her credit) read my resume and immediately recommended me for a design engineer role that wasn’t advertised. I had an interview within a few days and was hired within a week and a half.
When the right job comes along things happen like that. It all just sort of falls into place. To anyone out there who is seeking a new job I have a few words of advice. First, don’t give up. You will eventually find the right fit. Second, don’t be afraid to look outside your norms. Titles are less meaningful today than in the past. Search vague terms and narrow the job listing down for yourself based on description, not titles. The biggest thing is to cultivate a network. You need to be doing this all the time, not just when you are unemployed. The wider your network is, the easier it will be when you actually need to use them to get something done, like getting yourself employed again.

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