For the past five weeks I have been testing the waters with respect to the job market in the Ottawa area and I was pleased to find that tech industry is growing. Growth presents it’s own challenges though and hiring managers have to choose between letting recruiters find their new employees or hiring by word of mouth. I can remember in the growth days at Newbridge how human resources complicated the hiring process.
Most of the time I would avoid talking to human resources and would seek word of mouth references for people that could do the job I was trying to fill. If a hiring manager goes to human resources with a resume in hand, the whole process is shortened and he/she can avoid the stack of resumes. In most cases hiring someone that you personally know produces a better result than rolling the chamber and pulling the trigger (resume roulette). In a surprising number of cases the best people don’t write good resumes.
So it seems that some things don’t change with the passage of time. I started my hunt by talking to recruiters, signing up on web pages, uploading resumes and not much happened. I reformatted my resume, got professional advice and waited for the phone to ring. What I discovered is that recruiters are used to fill mostly entry level positions and executive placement agencies are used to fill senior executive positions. Everything in between is another story. You can sign up for email alerts and apply to job postings but don’t wait by the phone.
If you are an experience designer and you want to find a new challenging role, it’s best to mine your own LinkedIn connections and former colleagues who can get your resume to a hiring manager and vouch for your abilities. There will still be an interview process and you will still have to pass the scrutiny of Human resources, but you will get to those stages much faster.
Formatting your resume to meet the needs of the hiring manager is an area where there seems to be inconsistency. Many people that I talked to actually have a number of resumes that they tailor for the “job du jour”. I opted for a skills based CV and a traditional CV but the skills based CV seems to be the winner. I was advised to remove all dates and titles because they tend to make people think you have expectations that you may not have. In the end, a personal reference can make the resume nothing more than something the hiring manger hands to human resources to get the hiring process started.
I have to ask myself, why do companies use recruiters when most companies avoid hiring that way? Perhaps it’s a form of advertising that starts an underlying process where people interested, talk to people inside, who shop around their resumes. Maybe it’s a form of promoting that the company is growing? What it doesn’t seem to be oddly enough, is a form of recruiting [grin].
So in summary then, mine your contacts they are your best resource. Format your resume to highlight what you know and how well you know it. Don’t sell yourself short, you can do anything you put your mind to. Your experience is valuable and always remember the advice from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy “Don’t Panic”.